Motivational Theories and Factors
PSY 302 Industrial/Organizational Psychology
November 16, 2014
Motivational Theories and Factors
Motivation within the workplace is crucial in keeping employees happy and in keeping business’ running smoothly. To do this one has to be creative and use a variety of different motivational techniques as people are motivated in different ways. Motivation is defined as, a person who shows persistence when completing tasks despite challenges to complete a goal. A person that is considered to be highly motivated will possess three qualities, intensity or effort, persistence or being committed, and direction or a clear path to behaviors that lead to positive outcomes (Youssef & Noon, 2012). In addition to the apparent motivators, one must consider what is known as Negative Motivational Gravity described by Rundle-Gardiner & Carr, 2005, as metaphor for understanding attitudes and intentions towards individual achievement in organizations. Achievement Motivation has been linked to an individual being persistent or quitting a task where the expectations seem to be unrealistically high; either raising or lowering one’s threshold for tolerance. The acronym OCEAN stands for openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. These are the Big Five personality traits that can help in determining how an employee may react to motivation and their tolerance for negative motivation (Rundle-Gardiner & Carr, 2005). This paper we will share three ways to motivate others in the workplace, discuss creating a strategy to enhance motivation in the workplace, compare and contrast two motivational theories, and discuss the benefits and downfalls to offering financial incentives in the workplace (Youssef & Noon, 2012).
One way of motivating others is the Goal-Setting Theory, the most common and effective form of motivation. Having goals has a direct, positively influence on performance as long as they are designed properly. The Goal-Setting Theory indicates that if goals are specific rather than vague, greater performance can be expected. Therefore, having specific goals reduces stress about expected levels of performance and give employees a clear outlook, simplifying what they can work to achieve. One must believe they are capable of obtaining a goal or they may give up on it altogether. Goals are more beneficial when accompanied with feedback from managers or another outside source. “Goals are not really goals if people do not want to achieve them (Youssef & Noon, 2012 p. 11 para. 3).” With that said, when one commits to a goal, they are more likely to reach it. The perceived importance of the goal being set and the goal setters self-efficacy are two ways to increase goal commitments. Commitment publicly to a goal and monetary incentives also help one to become motivated reach that desired goals instead of facing failure. However, one must be careful of monetary rewards as they may result in lack of motivation. One having high self-efficacy and believing they can reach a goal is one of the biggest factors in whether or not they will reach their goals (Youssef & Noon, 2012). Personality plays a big part in self-efficacy and one’s threshold for negative gravity (Rundle-Gardiner & Carr, 2005).
The second way to motivate workers is to use the Equity and Organizational Justice Theory. This theory states that your motivation is a direct effect of how one feels they are treated in the work environment. For example, one may feel they are under-paid, leaving them to produce low quality work. Someone who is over-paid may feel guilty but not produce a higher quality work. People will compare their ratios or input and output to that of another person or group. If one perceives the situation to be unfair, they will seek to get a balance. If this does not happen one may have a perception of an imbalance...
References: Cerasoli, C.P., Nicklin, J. M., & Ford, M. T. (2014). Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic incentives
jointly predict performace: A 40-year meta-analysis
Rundle-Gardiner, A. C., & Carr, S. C. (2005). Quitting a Workplace that Discourages
Achievement Motivation: Do Individual Differences Matter?
Youssef, C. and Noon, A. (2012). Industrial/Organizational Psychology. San Diego, CA:
Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
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