Part I. Definition and Importance of Motivation
Before delving into the topics of motivational theories, the affects of motivation, and motivational tools, etc., it is important to first define motivation and explain why the subject of motivation is so important in the organizational setting today. Motivation Defined
The topic of motivation is not something new. For decades, scholars, researchers, theorists, psychologists, and organizational leaders have studied this phenomenon which has produced (quite possibly) hundreds of definitions of motivation. The following three definitions are cited to provide insight into the meaning of motivation. • Motivation is how behavior gets started, is energized, is sustained, is directed, is stopped, and what kind of subjective reaction is present in the organism while all this is going on (Jones, 1955) - (Lawler, 1973, p. 3).
• Motivation has to do with a set of independent/dependent variable relationships that explain the direction, amplitude, and persistence of an individual’s behavior, holding constant the effects of aptitude, skill, and understanding of the task, and the constraints operating in the environment (Campbell & Pritchard, 1976) - (Steers, 1991, p. 5).
• Work motivation is a set of energetic forces that originate both within as well as beyond an individual’s being, to initiate work-related behavior, and to determine its form, direction, intensity, and duration (Pinder, 2008, p. 11).
There are two important points to be made when considering the definition of motivation and organizational behavior as it pertains to this paper. First, motivation can come from within an individual (intrinsic motivators) and from the environment around them (extrinsic motivators) (Lawler, 1973, p. 201). Second, there are three characteristics of motivation that organizations should be particularly concerned with when trying to stimulate employees toward behavior of participation and production: 1) what energizes human behavior, 2) what directs or channels such behavior, and 3) how this is maintained or sustained (Steers, 1991, pp. 5-6). The Importance of Motivation
In the last 30 years, the role of the common employee has changed dramatically due to increased competitiveness, globalization, technological innovations, etc. The workforce has gone from that of compliance (with assigned and regulated duties and responsibilities from upper and middle managers) to employees who are required to be engaged, knowledgeable, committed, proactive, innovative, leaders, and self-managers (Thomas, 2000, pp. 4-5). As the workforce has changed, the concept of motivation has become more and more important for organizations to be efficient and achieve/maintain competitive advantage. There are five main reasons why motivation is important in organizations today. 1. Organizations must be able to motivate employees to participate and produce in a efficient and dependable manner.
2. There is a growing need to understand the effects of motivation on factors (such as leadership style, job redesign, salary levels) and the relationship that motivation has on employee performance, satisfaction, etc.
3. Because of increased government regulations and increased market competitiveness due to globalization, there is an increased need to utilize motivational tools to increase or maintain organizational effectiveness.
4. Motivational tools are necessary to help ensure employees are willing and able to utilize advanced technology to achieve organizational objectives.
5. Organizations view employees as long-term resources more now than ever before. As a result, it has become increasingly important to motivate talented workers to join an organization, develop new job skills and requirements, and stay with an organization (Steers, 1991, pp. 3-4).
Part II. Motivational Theories