Motivating Employees in an Organization
Motivation: Concepts and Theories
The word "motivation" comes from the Latin word movere - "to move." And managers often view motivation in exactly those terms ("I need to get my people moving!"). Motivation is the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action. General motivation is concerned with effort towards any goal, whereas effort towards Organizational goals reflects work-related behavior. Many contemporary authors have also defined the concept of motivation. Motivation has been defined as: the psychological process that gives behavior purpose and direction (Kreitner, 1995); a predisposition to behave in a purposive manner to achieve specific, unmet needs (Buford, Bedeian, & Lindner, 1995); an internal drive to satisfy an unsatisfied need (Higgins, 1994); and the will to achieve (Bedeian, 1993). For this paper, motivation is operationally defined as the inner force that drives individuals to accomplish personal and organizational goals. We mainly deal with the motivating employees in an organization towards the organizational goal for the benefit of both the organization and the employee. Understanding what motivates employees and how they are motivated was the focus of many researchers following the publication of the Hawthorne Study results (Terpstra, 1979).
Motivation Theories and concepts
While there are many theories on motivation, the seven major approaches that have led to our understanding of motivation are the following: • According to Maslow, employees have five levels of needs (Maslow, 1943): physiological, safety, social, ego, and self- actualizing. Maslow argued that lower level needs had to be satisfied before the next higher level need would motivate employees. • Herzberg's work categorized motivation into two factors: motivators and hygiene (Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959). Motivator or intrinsic factors, such as achievement and recognition, produce job satisfaction. Hygiene or extrinsic factors, such as pay and job security, produce job dissatisfaction. • McClelland’s Theory of Needs which focuses on three needs, namely need for Achievement, Need for power, Need for affiliation. These three important needs are the main factors for motivation according to this theory. • Vroom's theory is based on the belief that employee effort will lead to performance and performance will lead to rewards (Vroom, 1964). Rewards may be either positive or negative. The more positive the reward the more likely the employee will be highly motivated. Conversely, the more negative the reward the less likely the employee will be motivated. • Adams' theory states that employees strive for equity between themselves and other workers. Equity is achieved when the ratio of employee outcomes over inputs is equal to other employee outcomes over inputs (Adams, 1965). • Skinner's theory simply states those employees' behaviors that lead to positive outcomes will be repeated and behaviors that lead to negative outcomes will not be repeated (Skinner, 1953). Managers should positively reinforce employee behaviors that lead to positive outcomes. Managers should negatively reinforce employee behavior that leads to negative outcomes. • Goal-Setting Theory: Dr Edwin Locke's pioneered a research on goal setting and motivation in the late 1960s. In his 1968 article "Toward a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentives," he stated that employees were motivated by clear goals and appropriate feedback. Locke went on to say that working toward a goal provided a major source of motivation to actually reach the goal - which, in turn, improved performance.
The Role of Motivation
Why do we need motivated employees? The answer is survival. Motivated employees are needed in our rapidly...
References: • Dayton Business Journal - by Dean Mcfarlin
• Journal of Extension June 1998 // Volume 36 // Number 3 // Research in Brief // 3RIB3
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• Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 1, 20-27 (1995)
From the Literature review and the case studies it is clear from the fact that there are discrepancies in the results according to different theories. These discrepancies prove the fact that motivation factors of employees differs according to the context or the environment that he/she works in.
In most of the cases it could be seen that interesting work is rated as the best motivator in an organization and the pay factor comes into play only after this motivator. Hence a person-job fit becomes the key task of the managers in an organization to improve the productivity of the employees. Thus in an organization it is essential to take stock of the skill variety of the employees, corresponding task identification and its significance to ensure maximum productivity as a result of the ‘interesting work’ motivating factor. The feedback process from the employees and the self setting of goals are also techniques through which an organization can ensure highly motivated employees.
Introducing job rotation so that the employees do not get bored of their jobs and increasing employee involvement in management activities where they are also involved in active decision making increases the ownership of the employees and hence the motivation. Introducing variable pay according to the performance of the employee also pays in majority of the cases as long as the goal is challenging and achievable.
Due importance must be given to the personal life of the employees i.e. it is very essential for the organization to ensure the work life balance of its employees, so that the motivation levels achieved can be sustained in the long run.
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