Why is the study of different theories of motivation important to managers? (References provided as numbers wherever needed and referenced at the end of the essay) Introduction
A couple of decades ago, the topic of motivation were just another term in the books of managers trying to implement behavioural techniques on their employees. Give perks, give monetary benefits, performance rewards and employees are bound to be motivated – as simple as that. But gradually as the years passed by, as people began to move out of the shackles of monotonous, menial work environments, there was a radical shift on how management studies began to view motivation. There were debates, lectures, psychological-social experiments and theories which suddenly threw the old concepts aside and brought in new ones. The topic became a cynosure of all management, scientific and economic studies – a topic which was deemed simple suddenly became a complex monster without which, the workplace culture was poised to be threatened. Employees, after all, are the biggest assets of organizations – and motivation is what keeps them going. This paper will explore why the different motivational theories are important and break away from the usual old age concept of motivation and show it as the world is viewing motivation nowadays. The idea is to generate a certain amount of interest and debate in the topic (otherwise relative) so as to obtain a clear understanding as to what might be the underlying reasons for employee motivation. Motivation Theories
Assuming that the reader already knows what motivation is, have known about the various popular motivation theories and can distinguish between the various motivational theories and the literature surrounding them; it has been observed how the traditional motivational theories of Maslow have almost vanished from the experiments and recent research papers, whilst laying emphasis on job environments and social evaluations. As the global market moves through recurring waves of economic slowdown and instability, more organizational changes have occurred leading to fluctuations in employee satisfaction and the way workers view their jobs. Motivation, clearly, has been a challenge. Leaving aside the various theories, basic motivational factors such as compensation rewards, innovative performance evaluation methods, the nature of work, organizational changes and socio-political structure have been evolving over the past few years and that has a direct impact on motivation. Among all the theories, the one which stands out (and is probably relevant) is Herzberg’s motivator –hygiene theory, which divides the concept into two parts – the motivator factors and the hygiene factors. While job satisfaction and work autonomy contribute to the ‘motivator’ factors, ‘hygiene’ factors constituted of pay and performance. Herzberg deduced that the insufficient hygiene factors lead to de-motivation and the motivator factors like job enrichment contribute to motivation. This is in compliance with the Hackman and Oldham’s theory of job enrichment which talks about increasing motivation stemming from skill identity, autonomy, task significance and job purpose. Deci & Ryan’s model talk about the similar aspects, giving rise to the notion that extrinsic motivational factors (factors outside work like pay, performance compensations, rewards) directly oppose the intrinsic factors (job satisfaction, challenging tasks, etcetera). While it is completely baseless to say that monetary rewards, i.e. extrinsic factors do not work, it has been observed that insufficiency of such factors lead to extreme de motivation. On the flip side, intrinsic motivational factors work only if the work is challenging enough to engage the interest of an individual wherein the job has a psychological impact on the skills of the employee. New Theories and Experiments
As we usher into newer business environments, new theories and experiments have...
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