Motivating Employees

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Abraham Maslow Pages: 38 (10759 words) Published: May 4, 2013
Overview of the Chapter

This chapter describes what motivation is, the psychological forces that encourage it, and why managers need to promote high levels of it for an organization to be effective and achieve its goals. It examines several theories of motivation: expectancy theory, needs theories, equity theory, goal setting theory, and learning theory. Each of these theories provides managers with insight concerning the motivation of organizational members. The theories are complementary, since each focus approaches the topic from a different perspective. Only by considering all of the theories together can managers gain a thorough understanding of the many issues involved in achieving high levels of motivation throughout an organization. Finally, the chapter considers the use of pay as a motivation tool.

Learning Objectives

1. Explain what motivation is and why managers need to be concerned about it. 2. Describe from the perspectives of expectancy theory and equity theory what managers should do to have a highly motivated workforce. 3. Explain how goals and needs motivate people and what kinds of goals are especially likely to result in high performance. 4. Identify the motivation lessons that managers can learn from operant conditioning theory and social learning theory. 5. Explain why and how managers can use pay as a major motivation tool.


The SAS Institute was ranked number two on Fortune Magazine’s list of Best Places to Work in 2001. SAS is the world’s largest privately owned software company with 8,000 employees worldwide and about $1.1 billion in sales. SAS employees are highly motivated. They work 35 hours per week in jobs that are intrinsically motivating and provide economic security. The work environment is pleasant, benefits are generous, and the company is very family-oriented. Amenities include an on-site day care center, unlimited sick days, high chairs in the cafeteria some that employees can have lunch with their children, and 200 acres that surround the company headquarters for family walks and picnics. The CEO believes that his employees should be treated as he would like to be.


1. How can expectancy theory be used to explain why SAS employees are so highly motivated?

SAS has created a work environment that fosters high levels of high levels of instrumentality and valence within employees. For example, managers at SAS realize that the need for work-life balance is a top priority for many employees and therefore seek to satisfy that need in a variety of ways. Therefore, employees can be confident that strong performance will result in the attainment of outcomes that they desire.

2. How can the various need theories be used to explain why SAS employees are so highly motivated?

According to Herzberg’s Motivator-Hygiene Theory, outcomes such as interesting work, autonomy, responsibility, and being able to grow and develop on the job lead to high levels of motivation. SAS ensures that such outcomes are available to employees. The company has also taken steps to ensure that the security needs identified by Maslow are met by compensating employees adequately and providing them with job security.

Lecture Outline


Motivation may be defined as psychological forces that determine the direction of a person’s behavior in an organization. Motivation is central to management because it explains why people behave the way they do.

• The direction of a person’s behavior refers to the many possible behaviors that people actually engage in.

• Effort refers to how hard people work.

• Persistence refers to whether people keep trying or give up when faced with roadblocks.

Motivation can come from intrinsic or extrinsic sources.

• Intrinsically motivated behavior is behavior that is performed for its own sake....
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