Job Design and Motivation

Topics: Motivation, Employment, Management Pages: 8 (2773 words) Published: February 9, 2012
There have been sufficient changes regarding job design over the past decades, including the rising popularity of new practices such as employee involvement (Maxwell, Richard & Sandra 2008). With new induction of theories, an analysis to illustrate the similarities and differences was made between the content and process theories; chosen theories being the two-factor theory and equity theory respectively. Implications of integrating various theories like the Job Characteristics Model (JCM) by Herzberg and Oldham (1980) and the four major approaches to job design will be discussed, focusing on how they influence motivation in practice. 1.0: Content and Process Theories

Content theories focus more on the intrinsic factors that affect behaviors of people. Users of these theories concern themselves with the factors and needs that drive individuals. Process theories aim to comprehend the different variables that influence a person’s behavior. They seek to understand how thought processes lead to certain actions, influencing the way people act to attain the rewards (Wood et al. 2010). 1.1: The Two-Factor Theory

One of the main content theories to have surfaced in the last century is Herzberg et al’s (1959) two-factor theory, which identified hygiene and motivators as factors that affect an individual’s job satisfaction. Hygiene factors are mainly extrinsic to the work itself (examples include work conditions, salary and security) whereas motivators are mostly intrinsic (achievement, growth and recognition). Herzberg stated that motivators and hygiene factors are two distinct entities, thus elimination of hygiene factors does not necessarily warrant motivation. He also suggested that associating intrinsic outcomes such as opportunities for personal growth and recognition with work would trigger motivation (Robbins 2001). Potter and Lawler’s investigation in 1968 (cited in Gallagher & Einhorn 1976) also led to the hypothesis that when compared to external rewards, there is a closer connection to the individual involving intrinsic rewards as they are self-administered. A survey conducted in 2003 shows that Americans rate meaningful work as the most important job feature, above extrinsic rewards such as job security, income and promotions (Cascio 2003, cited in Grant 2007); an example illustrating intrinsic rewards drive people more than extrinsic motivators (in which Herzberg categorized as hygiene factors). 1.2: The Equity Theory

Adams’ (1963) equity theory bases itself on social comparison by individuals, and that motivation is achieved by perception (Wood et al. 2010). Employees perceive what they get from an outcome with the effort put in and compare this outcome-input ratio against others (Robbins 2001). If there is a shortcoming, motivating states of either felt negative or positive inequities trigger a response within the individual. Felt negative inequity occurs when an individual perceives rewards received as lesser than their input and the opposite results in felt positive inequity. Possible reactions by individuals who perceive an inequity include changing their level of inputs (exerting less effort), changing perceptions (thinking differently), comparing themselves to another (someone who is worse off than them), distorting perceptions of others (thinking that the other’s inputs are worse than initially perceived), changing the outcomes (in terms of working harder to achieve higher pay for workers paid on a commission basis), distorting perceptions of self (by thinking that they are working harder than they thought) or by quitting (Robbins 2001; Wood et al. 2010). Perceived fairness of the quantity of rewards and the process of allocation (distributive and procedural justice) also influence felt inequities, satisfaction and motivation (Robbins 2001). 2.0: The Similarities

Both theories strive to understand an individual’s priorities and motivating factors, regardless of intrinsic or extrinsic forms. Both...

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