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Explain the process of motivation?

By Vandana1 Jul 19, 2004 1225 Words
There are many ways in which to motivate a employee in the work place. Motivation means getting the employee to focus and put his/her efforts all into the work they do. It sets the employee in the same direction as management and gets everyone working for the business goals. Our motivation is what derives us to achieve success in all aspects of our lives. Motivation is an internal state that arouses directs and maintains behaviour.

In today's large corporation world motivation plays an important role in boasting a persons morale, efficiency and increase in his/her productivity.

The work motivation theories are categorized into two they are content theory i.e. what motivates us? And process theories i.e. how we become motivated.

I will begin first by explaining the process theories and then reviewing some traditional process theories of work motivation.

Process Theories

Process theories attempt to explain the thought processes concerning the 'why' and 'how' people choose one action over another and get motivated.

Following are some of the process theories of work motivation

Traditional Process Theories of Work Motivation.

Expectancy Theory

The basic premise of Victor Vroom's Expectancy theory is that motivation is based on the strength with which individuals want something and how likely individuals think they will get it. Wood refers to expectancy theory as the argument "that work motivation is determined by individual beliefs about effort-performance relationships and the desirability's of various work outcomes from different performance levels".

The framework of expectancy theory states that motivation to behave or perform depends on the following variables:

Expectancy refers to the effort-performance relationship - It represents the strength of one's belief that the effort put into a task will result in a similar level of performance outcome. Expectancy is equal to one if an individual is certain that the performance could be achieved.

Instrumentality refers to the performance- reward relationship - It is the strength of one's belief that a performance will lead to reward. Instrumentality is equal to one if an individual is certain that the reward will be received.

Valence refers to the attractiveness or utility of the reward to the individual - The scale for valence ranges from -1 (an undesirable reward) to +1 (a desirable reward). Rewards can be either intrinsic, that is, concerned with

Vroom suggests that "motivation to work results from expectancy multiplied by instrumentality multiplied by valence". Hence the equation is as follows:

Motivation (M) =Expectancy (E) X Instrumentality (I) X Valence (V)

Some suggestion on how managers can apply the basic ideas of expectancy theory:

· Managers should first determine the rewards anticipated by employees.

· Managers should decide what kinds and levels of performance are needed to meet organizational goals, ensure that the desired levels of performance are attainable.

· Managers need to ensure that desired outcomes and desired performance are linked.

· Rewards need to be large enough, and the total system needs to be equitable.

· Equity Theory

Stacy Adams' Equity theory suggests that individuals compare their work inputs and outcomes to what they perceive others performing similar jobs are receiving (or what they received when they were performing a similar job). As noted by Wood, "inequities exist whenever people feel that the rewards or inducements they receive for their work inputs or contributions are unequal to the rewards other people appear to have received for their inputs".

Felt inequities can be either negative or positive, a negative felt inequity occurs when individuals feel that their outcomes are less for the same inputs, or that outcomes are the same for greater inputs, compared to their peer/s, and vice versa.

Equity theory predicts that when individuals feel under-rewarded or over-rewarded, they will try to reduce the inequity. Examples of this are to change their inputs or outcomes, change the person they are comparing themselves to, change the inputs or outcomes of the person they are comparing themselves to, and so forth.

The most important implication for managers in using this theory is not only do employees must feel they are being rewarded equitably, if rewards are to motivate employees, they must be perceived as being equitable and fair. Rowland suggests that it is important to recognize that employees see rewards in a relative, rather than absolute fashion". Therefore, it is not the actual outcome that is important, rather the comparison to others who are performing similar tasks.

Attribution Theory

The attribution theory is concerned with the way in which individuals attempt to determine the causes of behaviour. External attributions are those that are made when the observer (self or other) of a behavioural pattern believes that the actor is responding to situational forces, such as the expectation of a bonus. Internal attributions are made when the observer believes that the behaviour is the result of some disposition of the actor such as a personality trait or internal value. Since the self-concept is comprised of self-perceptions of traits, competencies, and values, how the individual and others assess these attributes is important in the maintenance of these self-perceptions.

In this process, the individual attempts to have others attribute certain traits, competencies and value to him/herself. The traits, competencies and values, which the individual wishes to have attributed to him/her, are those traits, competencies and values, which are valued by the reference group to which the individual aspires. In order to achieve internal attribution, individuals must behave consistently across situations and across time. For example, with respect to competencies, individuals must establish control over task/project outcomes in order to generate the type of task/social feedback, which is consistent with their self-perceptions. In order for success to be attributed to the competencies of oneself, the other-directed individual seeks this control so that others attribute the outcomes of the task/project to him/herself. On the other hand, inner-directed individuals seek control of the

task/project outcomes for their own satisfaction.

Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor came up with 2 theories on how managers look at their workforce. Theory X and theory Y. Theory X was to do with the more traditional manager who thought that he was better than his subordinates. He thought that employees did not like to be at work. They didn't want responsibility and had to be forced to work constantly. They don't value the workers opinion and have no say in the work that they do. They think that workers just come with the job. These types of managers were normally very autocratic in their management style. In turn this de-motivates the workers and makes them feel more like a machine than an employee.

A theory Y manager is more democratic in their management style. They allow their workforce a bit of space and freedom so they can unlock the creativity in the workers mind. This manager will try to relate to their workforce and try to share ideas on how the work should be carried out and how it should be improved. The manager values the workers opinion. This will in turn lead to high motivation and better manager - worker relations. These type of manager's lead by example and inspire their workforce. Theory Y is what every manager should try to emulate when trying to motivate his or her workforce.

So to conclude motivational theories have come along way. From being just money related i.e. piecework to looking more at the human factors at work. Motivation is a key aspect that a manager must obtain if they are to get the most out of their workforce and progress as a unit to become a profitable business.

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