Perhaps the single most important technique for motivating the people you supervise is to treat them the same way you wish to be treated: as responsible professionals. It sounds simple; just strike the right balance of respect, dignity, fairness, incentive, and guidance, and you will create a motivated, productive, satisfying, and secure work environment. Unfortunately, as soon as the complexities of our evolving workforce mix with human relationships, even the best-intentioned supervisors can find the management side of their jobs deteriorating into chaos.
As corporations strive to boost earnings in an increasingly competitive environment, they inevitably turn their attention to the issue of employee productivity and motivation. When employees are unsatisfied with their current work situation, productivity decreases, tension builds in the workplace, and morale becomes very low. Companies have known historically that morale affects productivity, yet management has struggled to come to terms with the factors that can create positive morale and an environment that attracts and retains workers and encourages them to produce. For this reason, many companies look for training and practices that aim to achieve a higher level of employee motivation.
Maslow¡¦s & Herzberg¡¦s
For many years various motivation theories have made assumptions and offered explanations regarding human nature. However, no single motivation theory has proven to be the end all - be all - of motivation. In order to understand the various underlying themes related to motivation the following three theories have been identified - content, process and reinforcement. Content theories are primarily concerned with what arouses behavior or particular attributes that motivate individuals. The most prominent content theory of motivation is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg¡¦s Motivational-Hygiene Theory. Maslow offered that human beings have their needs arranged in a hierarchy such that they are motivated to seek satisfaction of the lower levels of need first. Once that level of need is satisfied it is no longer a motivator, and the person is motivated by the next level up the hierarchy.
From a managerial perspective money, status, achievement, working conditions, friendly supervisors and co-workers can satisfy these individual needs. Herzberg used this theory as a base to build his motivation-hygiene theory which ties Maslow¡¦s needs to on the job achievement. The hygiene elements relate to low needs (physiological, safety, and social). For an individual, hygiene conditions include company policy and administration, supervision, relationships with peers and supervisors, work conditions, salary, status, and security. These, according to Herzberg account for 69% of the factors which cause employee dissatisfaction or lack of motivation. The motivation conditions, which include achievement, the job itself, recognition, responsibilities, and personal growth, accounted for 81% of the factors which contributed to job satisfaction. The hygiene conditions are extrinsic factors while the motivation conditions are intrinsic factors, and the only way to sustain motivation toward organizational goals is through the achievement of intrinsic outcomes.
X, Y, Z Theories
An additional theory on human behavior, motivation, and management was developed in the late 1950¡¦s by McGregor. His theories X and Y and were based on assumptions made regarding the "system" and individuals. In short, in Theory X management organizes all elements of production, motivates and controls employee behavior to fit the needs of the organization, and without this intervention, employees would be indifferent to changing organizational needs. McGregor further assumes that managers believe that the average employee is by nature indolent and lazy, lacks ambition, is self-centered, and resistant to change6....
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