Motivation at Work

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  • Topic: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Psychology
  • Pages : 8 (2525 words )
  • Download(s) : 395
  • Published : August 1, 2010
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Motivation has been defined as the psychological process that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior(Reference 1). In psychology, motivation refers to the intention of achieving a goal, leading to goal-directed behavior (Reference 2). In simplistic terms, we can define motivation as the desire and willingness to do something and the inner force that helps individuals achieve their goals. Understanding what motivates employees and what can employers do to motivate their internal customers has been the focus of research by many researchers and the topic has gained special importance in recent years. This is mainly because motivated employees can provide a firm with a distinctive advantage and a competitive edge and by being more productive they can help organization thrive and survive. There are two schools of thought on motivational theories, the scientific school of thought and the behavioral school of thought. Scientific Model

The basis of scientific management is considering employees as an input to the production of goods and services. The approach stresses on scientific selection, training and development of workers instead of allowing them to choose their own tasks and training methods and its objective is to carry out work in accordance with scientifically devised procedures. One of the pioneers and inventor of scientific approach to management was Frederick Taylor. Frederic Taylor, (1856-1915) was the first to analyze human behavior scientifically with his machine model by making individuals into the equivalent of machine parts. He broke down the tasks to its smallest unit to figure out the best approach. After careful analysis of the job, workers were trained to do only those motions essential to the task. Taylor attempted to make a science for each element of work and restrict behavioral alternatives facing worker and looked at interaction of human characteristics, social environment, task, and physical environment, capacity, speed, durability and cost. Taylor's machine model was a success and did increase production and profitability because rational rules replaced trial and error and management became more formalized which eventually led to increased efficiency. But Taylor's treatment of human beings like machines faced resistance from managers and workers who considered this way of working as "dehumanization of work". One of the other features of Taylor's work was stop-watch timing as the basis of observations and breaking the timings down into elements. This method also faced stiff group resistance because no one likes to be so close monitored for each little part of the work he/she does. Despite its criticisms, Taylor's methods had a great impact on work because he invented a new, efficient and more productive way to work that changed the complete nature of the industry. Before scientific management, departments such as work study, personnel, maintenance and quality control did not exist. The core elements of scientific management remain popular and have only been modified and updated to suit the current scenario. Behavioral approach

Unlike scientific approach behavior approach places emphasis on what motivates people and seeks to identify and account for the specific influences that motivate people. Some of the distinguished theories of behavioral approach to motivation are discussed below. Maslow (1943) put forward the 'hierarchy of needs theory' which saw human needs in the form of a hierarchy, ascending from lowest to the highest. He argued that lower level needs had to be satisfied before the next higher level need and once one set of needs is satisfied, this kind of need ceases to be a motivator. The five needs are:

* Physiological needs - These are the most basic human needs which are important for sustenance like food,...
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