Motivation Theory Practice

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Motivation Theory

I. Defined: There are many widely varying definitions of motivation. One of them involves the “push” from inside a person: The tension, the want, the discomfort from inside to do or accomplish something. A desire to satisfy ones self by learning, doing, accomplishing, or experimenting.

This document is not intended to be a complete summary of what a student should know of motivation theory. It explores only some highlights of motivation theory and practice; please refer to the course textbooks and necessary outside readings/research.

II. Practical Motivation: How Management Should Act at Workplace

Be Strong: Emphasize authority and the need for people to have a constantly applied KITA to make them work. Uses Douglas McGregor’s Theory X-Y, but focuses on the X part of the theory to guide its approach to the situation. Emphasizes authority, the constant threat of layoffs, takes advantage of a tough labor market for the unemployed.

Be Good: Herzberg’s Hygiene management (satisfiers). Expressed as Paternalism—where the boss “takes care” of his employees as he would take care of his children. Provide not only the basics, but shower the employees with fringe benefit “goodies” to make them work harder.

Keep the Implicit Bargain: Management lets workers know they have an implied or understood bargain with each other: Management will pay a reasonable wage in reasonable working conditions for which employees will turn out a reasonable amount of work. The problems arise when each side has a definition of what is reasonable that differs widely from the other side. Each side will push until a reasonable accommodation is achieved. If not, workers quit or are fired.

The Workplace is a Competitive Field: All employees compete with each other to retain their jobs in bad times and to get pay raises or promotions in good times. Stresses survival of the fittest—the weakest are separated from the organization.

The Workplace Must Generate an Internalized Motivation: Management provides the means (job surroundings, resources, work challenges) for employees to self-actualize. Employees then generate their own motivation to work and achieve. This is coupled with careful selection of the types of applicants allowed to join the particular workplace. Fosters self-selection of candidates for separation because they have lost their internalized motivation.

III. Practical Use of Major Theories

ERG Theory: Clayton Alderfer. Groups Maslow’s needs into three areas: Existence (needs 1 and 2), Relatedness (needs 3 and 4), and Growth (need 5). A person’s makeup may be described like a Pie chart –the degree to which a need drives that person’s decisions and actions is expressed by the relative size of that segment of the Pie.

A terrific theory to “test” whether a person’s motivation problems are due to the person or to the characteristics of the job—shows immediately whether there is a mismatch between needs of person and how well the job and its challenges can satisfy those needs.

Assume, for example, Mr. Jones’s need distribution is as follows:

[pic]

But, suppose he is in a job whose characteristics require the following type of individual:

[pic]

Mr. Jones wants to self actualize and wants to be with people. The job he has, however, is quite probably routine, sitting by himself in a cubicle, doing unimaginative work. It does not take very much imagination to see that Mr. Jones will be a very unhappy person in that job.

Victor Vroom Motivation Theory

Vroom’s theory is excellent for going into an operating business and analyzing what is going on—it provides a “structure for analysis.” It provides guidance as to what data to collect, areas to investigate, questions to brainstorm.

Vroom’s "expectancy theory" needs a bit of modification to be used, but it can then be expressed as follows:

Motivation = f{Effort, Performance, Valence}

Expectancy...
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