Comparative Review Paper
Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
______________________________________________________________________________ AVM 300 Introduction to Aviation Management Research
2214 Orange Grove Place
Escondido, CA 92027
For purposes of study and identification, Motivational Theorists can be divided into three categories: Classical (1800’s to early 1900’s), Behavioral, and Contemporary. For this overview, the theories of Elton Mayo – “Behavioral” and Victor Vroom – “Contemporary” (the ability to co-exist with other examples) will be compared. From either a Managers or Workers point of view, these theories have proven to be effective in the workplace and have helped shape many companies of today.
Motivational Theories have provided companies with systems that allow Managers and Workers to develop methods or tactics to be effective in the workplace. Managers may develop behavioral methods based on established systems, a system currently utilized by a boss, or a system that is forced by the workers. Most workers wait to be motivated, which is not necessarily the best way to get what they want. Because most workers have a direct interest in being motivated to work, they should not only participate in the process, but should take the lead.
Early ideas about management were proposed at a time when organizations were thought of as machines requiring efficient systems to enable them to function effectively. The emphasis, accordingly, was on the efficient use of resources, especially human resources, in the employment of a systematic model of organizations. Later theorists modified this approach by taking account of social and environmental as well as technical factors in the workplace. Their emphasis was as much on employee satisfaction as on organizational effectiveness. Behavioral Management began with the interpretations of the Hawthorne studies by Elton Mayo. Mayo and a team of researchers studied the productivity of workers under changing conditions in temperature, humidity, and illumination. Conventional wisdom at the time was that external working conditions were directly responsible for worker productivity. This principle, known as scientific management, was championed by Fredrick Taylor in 1911 and is still a powerful reference for modern managers. The general conclusion Mayo came to was that there is more to work than just the work. People work to satisfy a number of needs, not just the need for money. Motivation can be achieved through means other than wages and benefits, and satisfaction is affected by more than just compensation (Shah, 2000). Mayo also identified a fundamental that seems obvious today, that workplaces are social environments and within them, people are motivated by much more than economic self-interest. The behavioral theory did not, however, answer all the questions regarding motivation and humans at work. For one, money affects people differently, especially when salaries are low. The need for money can also vary with a person's lifestyle. When first beginning a career, money may be the main reason for working. Another reason that behavioral management's motivational techniques were not perfect was that some manager’s attempts at using behavioral techniques were so transparent that they were seen as being manipulative, and the attempts failed. As Mayo's conclusions became known, others contributed their ideas, and the behavioral school of management thought was born (DuPage, 1998). Mayo was further able to prove that employees did react better when they had good relationships with the management that they worked with. If management would treat the employees with respect and give them the attention at the work place that they needed, then the workers would be more willing to work harder for the employer. The real solution was to have management get more involved with the workers. On the basis of the Hawthorne Experiments, Elton Mayo drew the conclusions that motivation was a very complex subject. It was not only about pay, work condition and morale but also included psychological and social factors. Developed by Victor Vroom, the Expectancy Theory is rather complex in its original form. The theory basically describes an individual’s perception of the relationship between efforts required, expected level of performance and the expected level of rewards. Essentially, in order for anyone to be motivational, the person to be motivated must want what is being offered and must believe he or she has a chance to earn what is being offered. What the person believes is important. A manager can be perfectly fair and equitable in these matters, but if the worker believes he or she is not capable of earning the reward, then it will not be motivational. If a worker further believes that there is too much competition from their co-workers for the reward or that their coworkers are better qualified, this incentive will fail to motivate them. Only if the reward is something the worker wants and something they believe they have a chance of receiving will it motivate them (Yetton, 1973). Vroom also emphasized that performance is affected by factors other than motivation, such as individual abilities, traits, and role perceptions. He also linked the concept of satisfaction into his model, maintaining that high performance leads to high rewards, which in turn lead to high levels of satisfaction. Vroom's work is acknowledged as a valuable contribution in the fields of both management and psychology. His models have been tested and extended, and remain important landmarks in the discipline of industrial psychology. The expectancy theory can be used in conjunction with any other motivational theories. Whether it is money offered by a classical manager, or recognition offered by a behavioral manager, the expectancy theory still applies (Lawler, 1968). Motivation theories are intended to explain one ingredient in the determination of individual performance. Performance is viewed as a function of motivation, ability, role perceptions and resources. Motivation theories explain the amount of efforts and the direction of that effort exhibited by organizational members. Some motivation theories are really offering the same conceptual explanation using a slightly different approach or terminology. Recently, the focus has been on the relationship between active management and greater employee involvement in organizational decision-making. There is a growing recognition amongst managers that a high productivity / high wage economy requires new labor-management relationships, including ways to share gain and organize work that more fully develop and utilize the skills, knowledge, and motivation of the workforce. Vroom’s Expectancy theory argues that an employee can be motivated to perform better when there is a belief that better performance will lead to a good performance appraisal and that this shall result in a personal goal in the form of some reward. Similar theories suggest that decisions could be made more rapidly when power is moved to the lowest possible level and that workers, especially knowledge workers, were empowered and motivated by these changes. Creating an active organization, either through design or transition, requires rethinking the entire structure and management of the organization, including how individuals interact, roles are defined, and practices implemented. While the theory of one individual expert differs from another, each of the more popular theories has one main characteristic in common-that is, the recognition of the positive and the negative aspects of employee ambition, motivation and performance.
Shah, K. (2000). Being a Motivating Manager. Retrieved October 13, 2010, from www.laynetworks.com/being-motivating-manager
Dupage. (1998, May 27). Center for Independent Learning. Retrieved October 13, 2010, from http://www.cod.edu/course/Mgt100/MgtMotiv
Yetton, P. (1973). Leadership and Decision Making. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh.
Lawler, E. (1968). Managerial Attitudes and Performance. R.D. Irwin Publishing, Homewood, Ill.