Employee Motivation Theories

Employee Motivation

Employee motivation and motivation in general can be defined as a psychosomatic process that directs a person to behave and react in a way that helps them to satiate certain unfulfilled needs (Latham G., 2011). Motivation is what provides the stimuli and direction towards which employees can execute their duties (Lauby S., (2005). Motivation can be broken into three distinct categories that depend on each other for success. First of all, individual choices are driven by persistence, which reminds them of their unfulfilled needs. The choice taken will make an employee change their behavior in order to be in the right direction that would allow them to achieve those needs. Thirdly, there is the upholding of that behavior, which will go on until those needs and desires are achieved. Motivation however occurs differently in varying situations. Achieving a specific goal requires a particular motivational strategy and that same strategy cannot be used to achieve another goal.

Employee Motivation Theories

Need-Based Theories

According to Gary Latham (2011), employees draw their motivation from unfulfilled needs that they need to satisfy. Were it not for those deficiencies, then people would never have enjoyed work. The motivation to work therefore is directly equated to human needs. Once those needs are fulfilled, then the morale to work goes down. These theories were however opposed and criticized strongly by many researchers (Latham, 2011). They argued that individuals did not receive motivation to work due to fulfilling certain needs. Research conducted by these groups reveals that apart from just fulfilling their needs, many people engage themselves in jobs for enjoyment. An artist will not just draw a beautiful portrait of Zeus just to sell it and make money, but also to practice and enjoy what they do best (Latham, 2011). Examples of need-based theories include Maslow’s theory of needs, McClelland’s theory, ERG theory and Herzberg’s two factor theory. This review will only discuss the Maslow’s theory of needs and Herzberg’s two factor theory.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

This theory views motivation as a desire that changes over time and these shifts are governed by different levels of needs. These needs are the actual drivers of employees to work hard in order to achieve their goals by all means. According to Hiam Alexander (2003), these needs are organized into a certain hierarchical order that one must follow in order to reach the highest levels. While coming up with this theory, Maslow suggested that needs already satisfied can no longer motivate someone to work hard. Once they achieve their purposed needs, employees begin to drift towards fulfilling needs that are situated at a higher level in the hierarchy. This theory was however criticized strongly because one does not have to follow the order as put by Maslow in satisfying their needs. The order that Maslow proposed starts with biological and physiological needs at the base, followed by safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

As much as Maslow tied employee motivation to hierarchical needs, Hiam believes that recognition, involvement and participation are among some of the factors that motivate a worker at the workplace.

Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory

According to Crouse Norm (2005), factors such as involvement, achievement, autonomy, participation, delegation and recognition are what increases the motivation of employees towards achieving a certain goal. Apart from that, hygienic factors such as working conditions, salary, and policies also influence the motivation of employees. As Crouse (2005) further states, poor hygienic conditions and poorly managed administrative policies lowers the morale of workers in an organization.

This theory suggests that employers should play the role of motivating their employees and is key to employee motivation. They should strive to ensure that all the factors involving working conditions go in favor of the employees – considering these factors will improve performance and bring better results for any organization. Both the two factors proposed in this theory work alongside each other.

No factor is independent on its own. Once the hygienic factors are fulfilled, the motivational factors can also be satisfied. Trying to satisfy only one set may lead to the lowering of work morale among workers, though. After doing away with the dissatisfaction in hygienic factors, employers should look forward to involving their employees in participating and developing programs. This will influence how they will perceive themselves as a part of the organization, with their due respect and recognition. This will make them improve their performance in the workplace, for they will not only increase the returns but they will also make the working environment appear more healthy and active. The model below demonstrates how Herzberg’s two factor theory is carried out.

Employee Motivation and Motivators

Ego/EsteemJob Enrichment
Self ActualizationJob Enrichment
Hygiene FactorsJob Enrichment
SocialJob Enrichment
SafetyJob Security
PhysiologicalSalary
Employee Motivators

This theory was also criticized severely by Bruce Anne (2006), who argued that it did not serve the motivational needs of employees universally. Employees experience socioeconomic conditions differently and this makes them behave in variance. Herzberg’s theories assumed that the socioeconomic experiences of all employees are the same.

Process-Based Theories

Unlike need-based theories, these theories focus mainly on job aspects that motivate employees and change their behavior towards achieving their needs. According to Bruce (2006), these theories look at how employees fulfill their needs, while at the same time bargaining between behavioral choices that will suit their motivational patterns.

Cognitive Evaluation Theory

It is believed that extrinsic factors are independent from intrinsic factors in employee motivation. However, this belief does not work in contemporary organizations, because such intrinsic factors like participation and involvement are closely linked to extrinsic factors like financial incentives in the motivation of employees. This is where this theory comes handy, for it provides dependence between the external and internal factors and merges them also in the realization of an employee’s needs. Cognitive evaluation theory argues that satisfying internal factors first before proceeding to satisfy the external factors does not work. Both these factors are supposed to be satisfied at the same time for any improvement to occur in an organization.

Giving employees financial incentives and denying them an opportunity to participate and involve themselves in organizational matters such as decision-making will not motivate them fully towards achieving the goals and objectives of that organization (Latham, 2011). Some of the internal factors to be considered in employee motivation include appreciation of self-worth, employee autonomy and rewards for the achievements made. Organizations should consider such factors before coming up with job designs. The model below demonstrates various reward aspects.

Importance of Aspects of Reward

 ControllingInformational
Proposition 1Locus Of CausalityFeelings Of Competence
Proposition 2External/InternalSelf Determination
Intrinsically Motivated Task Behavior

Model adapted from Latham, 2011

Cognitive evaluation theory can help organizations to attract talented employees because of the commendable pay and the participation of employees in decision-making.

Goal Setting Theory

This theory was proposed by Edwin Locke and Latham in 1968. They viewed goal setting as a major basis and foundation of employee’s motivation. According to Latham (2011), the intention and objectives of an employee in a workplace is innate and that is what drives motivation. The more complex the goals become, the harder the employees work, thus improving performance. Organizations are therefore supposed to set more challenging goals for their employees in order to improve productivity. Motivation is the process that controls a person’s behavior in realizing and achieving certain goals and objectives.

As Latham further states, this theory only looks at the increasing complexity of goals with other factors remaining constant. In case there is an interruption in other contributory factors, then the challenge to achieve those goals becomes void. Apart from that, employees are supposed to accept the challenge of achieving their needs as presented to them by the goals set. Failure to accept those challenges will instead reduce the motivation towards performance.

Leaving the employees to set their own goals and objectives will result in better performance than when they are set for them by their organizations. According to Purcell John (2003), that autonomy makes employees believe in themselves and set goals that will be achieved more readily than if the goals had been set for them by others. Purcell (2003) further suggests that an employee who is restricted too much is less likely to get motivated than one that is left to participate in goal setting and decision-making processes. Contemporary organizations are supposed to therefore understand the needs of their employees before setting goals.

The Relationship between Managers and Employees

According to Ritter Joseph and Anker Richard (2002), the relationship between managers and their employees greatly affects motivation. Managers are supposed to come up with strategies that will ensure that employees remain motivated all the time. One related strategy is formulating a plan where the employee can have live forums with their supervisors and managers on a regular basis. Through those forums, managers are also supposed to recognize the behavioral patterns of their employees. Every employee has their own distinct behavior that cannot be compared to another. By understanding and appreciating the behavioral patterns of their employees, managers will be able to know which incentives and techniques to use to increase employee motivation.

Better communication between managers and their employees is also another factor that strengthens the relationship between them. Managers who rarely communicate with their employees suffer a blow when it comes to the overall outcomes of the organization. Ritter & Anker (2002) further point out that the closer the managers are to their employees, the more motivated the latter become. Regular communication between the two also makes managers understand the needs of each personal employee, thus knowing which technique to use to motivate them. According to Bruce (2006), most managers generalize the needs of their employees. This generalization is what leads to dismal performances in most organizations.

A study carried out by Sdrolias Maria, Terzidis Konstantinos and Vounatsou Maria (2005) shows that active, friendly and less strict managers are more inclined to motivate their employees towards achieving the organization’s goals and objectives. The study was conducted on eight employees of the Tech Organization in Canada. All the eight employees admitted that their manager was close to them and that he understood the individual needs of each of them.

Three employees said that they were more motivated by intrinsic factors than extrinsic ones, while the remaining five revealed that extrinsic factors carried the weight in their motivation. However, both extrinsic and intrinsic factors mattered in motivating these employees. If asked whether their manager understood them completely, all of them responded that he was a man who understood all their individual needs without generalizing.

Training as a Motivational Factor

Employee training is also another component that keeps employees motivated. According to Latham (2011), employees are supposed be trained on a more regular basis concerning the new technologies introduced in an organization. Most organizations introduce fresh changes in order to remain relevant in the market. Although such steps are taken to improve the performance of the organization, a issue arises when the employees fail to incorporate those technologies in their working systems. Many organizations will carry out a short-term internal training for their employees. According to Bruce (2006), this training technique discourages most employees because they are not given enough time to master new technologies. Instead, both internal and external training are supposed to be done. Employees should be sent out to a plethora of seminars and conferences that deal with the technology particular to the company.

This will not only give them exposure, but they will also see themselves as important players in the organization. The criteria used by some organizations to only send out only their supervisors and managers for further studies is never taken well by the employees. They see themselves as less important and this lowers their morale towards job performance thus reducing employee motivation.

Apart from technological training, organizations are also supposed to train their employees in special skills that will help them overcome difficulties and stress at the workplace. According to Bruce (2006), stress and other psychological issues like depression reduce the motivation of an employee drastically. Specialists are supposed to be brought and teach employees how they can reduce and manage their stress levels. It is difficult to realize the obstacles employees are going through unless managers develop a closer relationship with them.

A study conducted by Salmela Katariina & Numi Jari-Erik (2004) at Stanford University revealed that the non-teaching staff is motivated to work by the regular training they receive in their areas of expertise. One of the employees in the kitchen said that she strove to make the best food and serve her customers jovially. This, she said, was attributed to the program introduced by their manager to carry out a training that ran for 4 days for all the employees every month. She revealed that this not only helped her to improve her cooking styles, but it also encouraged her to be friendly and courteous to the people she served.

Teamwork as a Motivating Factor

According to Hiam (2003), teamwork is also one of the major components that determine the degree of motivation. In most companies and organizations, sales are achieved through teamwork. What determines motivation in a team is the type of task assigned and its expected outcomes. Once members gather together to fulfill a certain task, the bond and relationship among them heavily determines how that task will be accomplished. Team members are supposed to encourage one another and act as an example to others. Managers and supervisors on the other hand are supposed to evaluate and understand each team separately.

According to Latham (2011), every team in an organization has its own motivational factors which might be different from those of another team. To achieve their desired goals, managers should break down the assigned tasks into smaller and measurable units that will enable team members to easily assess the information on how they have performed. This will greatly help them in determining the amount of effort they are supposed to exert in order to complete remaining tasks. The selection and formation of teams should be done on the basis of compatibility. This step requires managers and supervisors to understand their employees well and how they can perform and react in certain situations. Even though it is useful to understand an employee on an individual basis, some employees are understood best in their various teams (Hiam, 2003).

The empirical research conducted by Latham (2011) shows that teamwork is actually one of the factors that contribute towards employee motivation. The study was conducted on employees of a bank in India. According to Latham (2011), banks are among the institutions that are generally believed to be dependent on individual efforts. This study, however, shows that bank employees feel more motivated when they work as a team and not on an individual basis. Ten bankers were interviewed and all of them agreed that consulting each other while on the job encourages one to work harder in order to achieve the set goals and objectives.

One of the respondents admitted that a career in banking is full of challenges and difficult moments. He cited some of the challenges which included serving fraudulent customers, attending to customers who had not fully complied with all the rules and even attending to clients whose money had been withdrawn by conmen. Due to these challenges, he argued that they should be given freedom to consult their workmates in order to be successful on the job. All the respondents said that their bank manager was strict and he rarely allowed them to communicate to each other, but they found themselves breaking that rule in order to seek help from their team members. All the respondents agreed that they would be more motivated to perform better if their manager allowed them to freely consult with each other while in the course of duty.

Employee-Motivation-Theories
Employee-Motivation-Theories

Employee Motivation – A Summary Showing the Relationship between Motivation and Job Satisfaction

Purcell (2003) points out that motivation is the key factor in determining the success of a worker. As observed from the above cases, motivated employees are more likely to meet the demands of a job than those who are not. Motivation is an innate aspect that drives one’s behavior towards achieving certain goals and objectives. Managers are supposed to understand the psychological needs of their employees before drawing work plans. Such psychological disturbances like stress and depression are likely to reduce the motivation of an employee in carrying out their duties. Employers are supposed to understand the behavior of their employees before delegating duties to them. Both the need-based and process-based theories discussed above reveal that intrinsic and extrinsic factors are supposed to be satisfied concurrently for better performance. Motivating an employee by financial incentives alone is not enough, for they will need to be recognized and appreciated as an important person in that organization.

Appreciating an employee can be done through many acts, including training and educating them on the rising issues in the organization. Employee motivation should therefore be considered as a key aspect of job satisfaction.

References

Bruce, A. (2006). How to Motivate Employees: 24 Proven Tactics to Spark Productivity in the Workplace. NY, McGraw Hill Professional.

Crouse, N. (2005). Motivation is an Inside Job: How to Really Get Your Employees to Deliver the Results You Need. Oxford, iUniverse.

Hiam, A. (2003). Motivational Management: Inspiring Your People for Maximum Performance. NY, AMACOM.

Latham, G. (2011).Work Motivation: History, Theory, Research and Practice. NJ, SAGE.

Lauby, S. (2005). Motivating Employees: Career Planning & Talent Management. Washington DC, American Society for Training and Development.

Purcell, J. (2003). Understanding the People and Performance Link: Unlocking the Black Box. NY, CIPD Publishers – Employee Motivation.

Ritter, J. & Anker, R. (2002). Good Jobs, Bad Jobs: Workers’ Evaluations in Five Countries. International Labor Review, 141(4), 331 – 358.

Salmela-Aro, K., Nurmi, J. (2004). Employees’ Motivational Orientation and Well-Being at Work. Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 17 No 5, pp. 471-489.

Sdrolias, M., Terzidis, K. and Vounatsou, M. (2005), Significance, Defining Factors and Consequences of Mental Alienation of Enterprises Personnel from their Work Environment in Organizational Culture, Corporate Governance and Competitiveness. Selected Proceedings of the First International Conference on Business, Management and Economics, 16-19 June, Izmir, Turkey,Vol.2, pp.27-41.

Relevant Links

HRM Dissertation Topics

HR Performance Motivation

Theory of Motivation

Did you find any useful knowledge relating to employee motivation in this post? What are the key facts that grabbed your attention? Let us know in the comments. Thank you.

HR Performance Motivation

HR Performance Issues and Motivation

“Do not discipline employees who are unable to perform a task. Discipline those who are able to perform a task, but are unwilling or unmotivated to succeed” – SANS Leadership and Management Competencies course book in HR performance.

Understanding HR performance and the motivations of employees in order to identify and correct performance issues is fundamental to effective Human Resource management. Because of this, there is a wealth of research related to understanding the underlying causes and effects of good and bad employee performance.  The goal is to figure out where the problem originates and to develop ways to correct those problems.

HR performance and Motivation theories are abundant but all originate from the experts considered to be fathers of motivation theory; Maslow and Herzberg.  Early motivation theorists like Abraham Maslow and Frederick Hertzberg, laid the foundation upon which modern motivation theory is built.  Their work has guided research in this area of study since the late 1950’s and early 60’s (Hendriks, 1999).

Yet as the workplace has evolved and diversified over the last several decades, so have the perspectives on motivation theory.  The foundation has remained the same, but the perspectives are changing and elaborating what was original hypothesized by Maslow and Herzberg.

Take for instance Maslow’s need hierarchy theory. Maslow theorized that human motivation is driven by five needs: the need for shelter or safety, food and water, love and respect, recognition and fulfillment. These needs are organized in a hierarchy based on basic needs and “higher-order” needs; food and shelter are basic needs, recognition, love, fulfillment and respect are higher-order needs (Hendriks, 1999).

Hertzberg, on the other hand, proposes just two categories in his motivational theory.  Herzberg concludes that people are motivated by either extrinsic or intrinsic motives (Gagne’ & Deci, 2005).  Mainly, this theory says that either a person is motivated because they like what they are doing, or, they are motivated based on the expectation that they will be rewarded in some way for the work they are doing, this is key to promote good HR performance.

Both theories suggest that employee satisfaction is important to motivation and that in order to keep employees motivated, their needs must continue to be satisfied. Maslow’s theory falls short of prescriptive answers to questions of employee motivation, whereas Hertzberg suggests that employers can maintain employee satisfaction by considering the intrinsic and extrinsic motives of their employees when adopting rewards incentives and HR performance (Davoren, n.d.).

While Maslow and Herzberg’s theories in their broader applications have become less applicable as the workforce and workplace has changed, the fundamental basis of these theories is still sound and relevant to current motivational and HR performance theory.

Among some of the more recent expansions on motivation theory include the Commitment and Necessary Effort (CANE) motivation Model, Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and the Cognitive Evaluation Theory (CET).  Motivation theory has been applied to understanding motivation in many different areas, including in sports, academic achievement and business.  These theories applied in business can help solve HR performance issues and improve employee motivation.

The CANE motivation model tries to incorporate the many different aspects of motivation theory.  It takes the best approaches of modern research, and combines them into one all-encompassing theory that can be used to understand the motivations of professionals with knowledge based jobs (Clark, 1998).  These types of jobs, white collar jobs that require some expertise and professional knowledge, usually involve incentives for attracting highly educated professionals.  Understanding the interaction of rewards systems and motivators that guide those professionals is very important for HR recruitment.

Clark argues that some strategies in the area of organizational development overestimate the effect that employee incentives like contests and performance recognition have on employee motivation (Clark, 1998).  These strategies are widely used as a means to increase worker productivity.  However, some research studies have suggested that studies that show that these strategies work to improve motivation are “fatally flawed” and that these strategies may not have as much power to influence employee behavior as previously thought (Clark, 1998).

The CANE Model says that motivation and HR performance is two-pronged and intertwined.  First, motivation is based on commitment to a goal.  The second is the amount of effort that goes into achieving that goal (Clark, 1998).  If an employee is motivated by a commitment to achieving their goal, he or she will remain focused on that goal even if they are tempted to focus on other less important goals. Once that level of commitment is achieved, the effort needed to achieve the goal, or the “Necessary Effort”, will sustain the motivation to complete the task.  If the task is perceived as important, then the necessary effort to complete the task is tied to its importance.

Though Maslow and Herzberg’s theories are becoming outdated, the CANE Model falls short of unifying motivation theory into one model because of its limitations in broad application.  It is too broad to explain the nuance effects that culture and diversity have on individual definitions of commitment, effectiveness and control (Clark, 1998).  Not to mention that broad solutions to problems of motivation in the workplace can only be identified by this model; applying those solutions to specific job  performances is more difficult and requires more specialized solutions.

Self-Determination Theory has evolved not only through theoretical analysis but has also held up in empirical studies.  SDT relies heavily on needs based theory, but the needs are more psychological in nature.  Satisfying these psychological needs, according to Self-Determination Theory, motivates behavior and also elucidates the processes that direct action (Gagne’ & Deci, 2005).

In this theory, by determining underlying psychological needs, employers can appeal to the intrinsic motivations of employees to correct performance issues and to increase motivation.  Intrinsic motivation is driven by internal satisfaction.  This involves the motivation that comes from being engaged in an activity that brings personal satisfaction.  It is unrelated to any material reward.  An employee is motivated by a psychological need to be challenged or to feel a sense of accomplishment (Ryan & Deci, 2000).

Since all behaviors are at their core driven psychologically, research in the area of Self-Determination Theory has tried to discern which of these psychological needs are being fulfilled by intrinsic motivation.   What has been concluded is that intrinsic motivation can be encouraged and facilitated by environment since intrinsic motivation is not caused but rather “catalyzed” into action when the conditions are right (Ryan & Deci, 2000).”

HR Performance
HR Performance

Lastly, Cognitive Evaluation Theory (CET) which is one aspect of Self-Determination Theory finds that intrinsic motivation can be produced by offering encouragement and feedback that satisfies a sense of accomplishment and competence in employees (Ryan & Deci, 2000).  This can be done using rewards for achievement; a bonus for timely turnaround or for reaching a sales goal.  But employees can also be intrinsically motivated by words of encouragement that satisfy the same psychological need for feeling competent; a pat on the back or a ‘good job’ goes a long way.

Work performance is directly affected by job satisfaction and motivation.  The work performance is the outcome.  When working from the intrinsic motivation model, appealing to the internal psychological needs of employees can increase job satisfaction, which in turn sparks motivation and finally produces an improved work performance.  Understanding the means to increase job satisfaction is the crux of resolving performance issues and positively motivating employees.

Solutions to performance issues should be evaluated at all levels.  Just because an employee is not performing satisfactorily doesn’t mean that the problem lies with the employee.  Sometimes, the problem is in management style or a lack of resources to do the job right.  These things can exacerbate poor performances when the employee feels that they are not being given the proper tools to complete their job or receiving the necessary feedback to do the job correctly (Lister, n.d.).  By simply rewarding exceptional behavior or providing constructive feedback for poor performance, an employer can improve job satisfaction and thereby resolve performance issues.

Therefore, assessing the needs of the group can allow employers to predict how those assessments will effect “job satisfaction and work outcome” (Gagne’ & Deci, 2005).  Also, evaluating the types of needs that are being satisfied can affect job satisfaction and outcome.  Herzberg presents two different factors in employee motivation.  There are hygiene factors, the more superficial needs, and the motivation factors, which include more intrinsic motives.

Among hygiene factors that Herzberg identified are things like salary and work conditions.  Motivation factors on the other hand, include things like personal achievement, opportunities for promotion, and a sense of responsibility (Hendriks, 1999).  These factors have a direct and indirect effect on job satisfaction and performance.  Hygiene factors according to Herzberg’s theory mostly affect motivation in a negative way; by the very absence of things like good working conditions and status, job satisfaction is decreased (Hendriks, 1999).

Consider a garbage man whose job performance has gone down.  His work has slowed and he seems clearly dissatisfied with his job.  Upon evaluation, HR has discovered that the employee is dissatisfied with his salary.  He has been on the job for several years without promotion and without pay increases.  According to both Maslow and Herzberg’s theories of motivation, his job dissatisfaction is rooted in one of his intrinsic and basic needs not being met; salary, food and shelter.

But further analysis supports Herzberg’s theory that there is a second prong to this employee’s dissatisfaction and poor HR performance.  He has not received a promotion, which is more than mere dissatisfaction with his salary; it implies that he is dissatisfied because he is not receiving the recognition that he feels that he deserves for the time and commitment he has given to his employer.  By not relating to the psychological need for recognition, which has its own intrinsic reward for the employee, the employer is partly to blame for the performance issue and lack of motivation.

To resolve any HR performance problem, the employer must first identify the causes of the problem and then seek to improve job satisfaction through proper motivation.  In this scenario, showing that management cares about his input and recognizes his many years of contribution by giving him a raise or a new promotion or job title, can help to resolve those performance issues by appealing to the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of the employee.

Works Cited

Bong, K. (n.d. ).  HR Performance Management Laboratory.

Clark, R. E. (1998). Motivating HR Performance – Diagnosing and Solving Motivation Problems. Performance Improvement. Los Angeles: University of Southern California.

Davoren, J. (n.d.). What Types of Rewards Would Motivate Workers in an Organization?

Gagne’, M., & Deci, E. L. (2005). Self-determination theory and work. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 331-362.

Hendriks, P. (1999). Why Share Knowledge and HR Performance? The Influence of ICT on the Motivation for Knowledge Sharing. Knowledge and Process Management , 91-100.

Lister, J. (n.d.). Examples of a Motivational and HR Performance Issues in an Organization.

Pintrich, P. R. (2000). An Achievement Goal Theory Perspective on Issues in HR Performance and Motivation Terminology, Theory, and Research. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 92-104.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions of HR Performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 54-67.

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Theory of Motivation

Analysis of Motivation in Today’s Workforce and Recommendations for the First Bank of Kamloops

The blog post will discuss the theory of motivation as a concept, as a behavior and as a management tool and important concepts that are associated with motivation, given its prime role in life. Also, I have taken a case study related to a bank, and examined how the HRD has identified, and evolved a plan to increase motivational assets. This HRM Essay will discuss the theory of motivation.

Motivation

Motivation is a practice of extracting, controlling and sustaining certain behavior.  There are many approaches to motivation – physiological, behavioral, cognitive, and social. Motivation is usually a group effect, but not limited to it; it affects the behavior of individuals on different levels, and as a result, the product in any workplace can directly be correlated to the motivational levels or on practical terms, the spirit of the work force. Motivation plays a vital role in setting and attaining goals, and the factor of motivation is intertwined with certain philosophical and psychological concepts – altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Work place motivation can either intrinsic or extrinsic; intrinsic motivation refers to the drive or thirst due to the interest in the work, and this kind of motivation exists within the individual, not forced by any external pressure. Psychologists see intrinsic motivation as more effective than extrinsic because it helps in engaging on a task on one’s own will. Intrinsic Motivation is based on taking pleasure in an activity rather than working towards an external reward

Intrinsic motivation usually empowers in the following ways;

  1. Autonomy  – helps in grooming leaders
  2. Effective agent in reaching desired goals in technical perspective
  3. Creates specialist in professional world
  4. Enriches the skill set

Extrinsic motivation is the opposite of intrinsic motivation, and the engagement in a task is inspired by an external reward. This sort of motivation is a function of two variables – activation based on motivation and target behavior. Extrinsic motivation is very common in any work place; usually the rewards are monetary benefits and promotions. Self-determination theory proposes that extrinsic motivation can be converted to internal motivation if the task assigned fits with the values and beliefs of the individual, and therefore helps to fulfill their basic psychological needs.

Incentive Theory

Employees in a company are usually motivated to do things due to external rewards such us monetary benefits and promotions. Also, people are motivated to go to work each day for the monetary reward of being paid. Association and reinforcement play a major role in this theory of motivation.

Drive Theory

According to this theory, certain actions are taken to reduce the internal tension that is caused by unmet needs. For example, you might be motivated to work on night shifts in order gain more bonuses. This theory is usually associated to strong biological components. The problem with the drive theory of motivation is that these behaviors are not always motivated purely by physiological needs.

Arousal Theory of Motivation

Arousal theory depends on certain actions taken either to decrease or increase levels of arousal. As per this theory, we are motivated to maintain an optimal level of arousal, although this level can vary based on the individual or the situation. Thus, employee often maintains the work life in a balanced manner, rather than operating in volatile moods.

Humanistic Theory

Humanistic theory is based on the idea that there is strong cognitive reason for every action performed by a human. This theory was strongly proposed by Abraham Maslow; people are initially motivated to seek basic needs such as food, home and health, as well as emotional values such as love and respect. Once, the basic needs are met, people get motivated to perform fullest to their potential.

Cognitive (Attribution) Theory

The cognitive approach is attribution theory by Heider and Weiner. It proposes that every individual tries to explain the factors of success and failure by offering some explanations and attributions. These attributions are either internal or external and are either under control or not under control. The following chart shows the four different attributions, which result from a combination of internal or external locus of control and whether or not control is possible.

Internal

External

No Control

Ability

Luck

Control

Effort

Task Difficulty

The second cognitive approach is expectancy theory. (Vroom, 1964) According to this theory, Motivation = Perceived Probability of Success (Expectancy) * Connection of Success and Reward (Instrumentality) * Value of Obtaining Goal (Valance, Value) All the values should be existent for motivation to exist. From the perspective of this theory, all three variables must be high in order for motivation and the resulting behavior to be high.

Psychoanalytic Theories

In this theory, we are focused on variety of fundamental influences. Freud (1990) said that all actions of humans come as an effect of internal, biological instincts that are classified into two categories: life and death. Many disagreed on Freud’s approach, his student like Erikson (1993) and Sullivan (1968) proposed that interpersonal and social relationships are fundamental, Adler (1989) proposed power, while Jung (1953, 1997) proposed temperament and search for soul or personal meaningfulness.

Adam’s Equity Theory

According to John Stacey Adams, behavioral psychologist presented his equity theory on job motivation in 1963. Until then, work place psychology was limited to variable factors such as individual’s assessment and perception of their relationship with their work, and thereby their employer. The Adams’ Equity Theory for the first time extended beyond the individual analysis, and incorporated the influence and comparison of other people’s situations.

Adams represented personal efforts, give, take and rewards as only two variable namely, ‘inputs’ and ‘outputs’.  Inputs are what we give to work, and outputs are what work gives us. It includes all the factors such as working hours, and that what people receive from their work includes many things aside from money. Also, the pivotal part is Adam used several references and reference point with whom we compare our situation.

In practice, equity model proposed by Adam helps us resolve why people are strongly affected by situations. People are continuously expecting sense of fairness or equity in their work situations. When we feel the inputs go well with the reward that we reap as outputs, then we are happy about it and continuously inputting at the same level for benefits. Also, we stay happier and contented in the work place. On the contrary, if the input is not benefited by output than the ratio enjoyed by referent others, then we become demotivated in relation to our job and employer. Thus we have adequately discussed all the approaches pertaining to motivation in the psychological perspective.

Purpose of the Report

The purposes of this report is identify the problems of the employees, identify the consequences a company endured with unmotivated employees, identifying techniques, the  organizations can use to motivate their employees, and lastly, show the positive consequences a company enjoys with motivated employees. Nine professional and scholarly journals were used for the report, while preparing this report.  As part of the study, the bank deployed several sources, and identified the problems associated with de-motivated employees. Before going on to them, lets study the practical factors associated with motivation.

Nelson (1996) said it is not wise to rely on money to motivate the employees because money can act the otherwise too. This is the basic reason why people are not motivated in the work force. Employers are still not aware that money alone is not enough to motivate workers in today’s work environment (pp. 65-66).

Motivation Theory
Motivation Theory

Often, employees are not aware of what is happening in a company. According to scholars, it is one of the cheapest ways to motivate an employee, and show them how they form the core part of the profit company earns. Employee feels like a business partner, he or she will feel a sense of belonging to that particular company. Usually, managers withhold key information from reaching their employees to maintain power in their company. This will seriously undermine employee morale, and ultimately motivation suffers.

Also, Nelson reported those employees are not motivated when they are not acknowledged for their performance. When employees are not given full or even limited recognition and praise, they will not put in the extra effort to do their jobs well. Praise and recognition can increase workers’ performance and self-esteem significantly.

Nelson (1996) also reported that employees will not be motivated to do their jobs if managers or supervisors do not acknowledge workers’ performance. When employees are not given full or even limited recognition and praise, employees are not ready to increase their effort.  As a result, there is a chance Workers’ performance and self-esteem to go down significantly.

Other factors that cause employees de-motivation are environment where employees are bored or mismanaged furthermore, when employees are not given a chance to learn new skills or grow within the organization, low morale will be the likely result.

Consequences – de-motivation

Martinez (1997) reported that de-motivated workforce can create negativity throughout the workplace in very short span of time; this can even be considered like an epidemic that spreads diseases.

Beavers (1996) seriously warn that one de-motivator can offend the whole spirit of the organization; the de-motivated persons can be held on displays of violent or aggressive behavior on the job. Also, the important consequence of possessing unmotivated employees directly reflects in the production scale. When production drops, it’s natural that profit goes down within.

Nelson (1996) pointed out that when firms are not willing to motivate their employees, turnover rates increase. Thus, no companies like to see a rention drop of employees. The process of human resource development is expensive. Moreover, new employees are not immediately productive, which again drains a company’s resources.

Ten techniques to motivate

  1. Thank employee when they perform well, and make it timely. When thanks offered in writing, employee morale is boosted.
  2. Take the time to talk with employees. The best means of communication is face-to-face conversation.
  3. Give specific feedback about work performance directly to employees.
  4. Create an environment where employees can work creatively, and share their thoughts on the process.
  5. Show employees how the organization loses and makes money.
  6. Taking employee into decision-making processes, especially when a decision will affect that particular employee.
  7. Allow employees to feel a sense of ownership or secure in their jobs and in the work that they do.
  8. Make rewards, promotions, and recognition based solely on employee performance.
  9. Encourage employees to grow and learn new skills to be used in the company.
  10. Celebrate an employee’s performance when he or she is successful. Let employees know that their hard work is valued and appreciated.

Issues with Bank’s motivational factor

After the interviews with banks’ Lonny Cooper, Jon Wenzel, and Reza Rich, the following conclusions were drawn,

  1. Money does not motivate employees in today’s workforce.
  2. Employees become unmotivated when there is a communication gap between management and subordinates and when performance is not recognized or praised.
  3. Unmotivated employees cause negativity throughout the workplace. Carelessness, absenteeism, resource waste, and turnover rates increase when employees become unmotivated.
  4. Employees are motivated in different ways as each individual possesses different values.
  5. Specialized system on effective communication, incentive programs, and praise in the workplace has proven to be successful strategies or techniques a company can use to motivate its employees.
  6. When a company has motivated employees, production and sales rates increase, customer relations improve, the work environment becomes safer, morale increases, and turnover rates decrease.

Recommendations

  1. Reward bank tellers for effectively balancing the cash drawers for one month, and continue to reward tellers for every perfect month thereafter.
  2. Have meetings once a month with each branch to recognize, praise, and congratulate employees for successful performance. Specific names and achievements should be discussed during these meetings.
  3. Encourage main office executives to visit the five branches on a weekly basis to ensure that the main office has not forgotten about them.
  4. Give employees a choice as to whether they want extra pay or time off when extra hours are put in each week.
  5. Let each employee know who he or she can talk to when there is a problem or when help is needed.
  6. Designate someone to ask employees how they wish to be rewarded so that when rewards are given, employees value and appreciate the rewards.
  7. Allow current employees of First Bank of Kamloops first choice when an opening occurs rather than posting the job opening in the newspaper.
  8. Send memos to every employee showing how each branch is making profits. Specifically, list how much profit each branch makes on a monthly basis. In the memos also recognize successful performance and outstanding employees. Let employees know what areas need improvements and how they can help management meet its goals.

Conclusion

To sum up, I have borrowed Thomas Jefferson words – “do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you”.  It is important for companies to motivate not just to grow, but to have a happier world. Every man needs to be motivated, and groomed as efficient as possible. This will certainly remove all the ills of modern management, and make the organizations grow more as a unit, or like that of a sports team.

References

Braverman, R. (n.d.). Motivating employees at First Bank of Kamloops

Cherry, K. (2012). Theories of Motivation

Leonard, N., Beauvais, L., & Scholl, R. (1999). Work motivation: The incorporation of self-concept-based processes. Human Relations, 52(8), 969-997

Maslow, A. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.

Mathes, E. (1981, Fall). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a guide for living. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 21, 69-72.

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Workforce Diversity

Managing Workforce Diversity – An Examination of McDonald’s Workplace Diversity Strategy

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This dissertation is focused on evaluating how workforce diversity within the workplace can be effectively managed in order to achieve desired level of performance. Managing diversity can be defined as formulating and implementing the systems that can be helpful in managing the people in a way that potential advantages of diversity are maximized and potential disadvantages are minimized. Workplaces nowadays are becoming increasingly diverse with employees from different cultures, genders, races and ethnic backgrounds are working together in order to achieve the common goals and objectives. This increases the importance of formulating and implementing effective strategies in order to manage workforce diversity at the workplace. Existing research highlights the importance of managing diverse workforce has been significantly increased because due to the increasing trend of globalization, the organizations are establishing their business operations in different countries of the world which requires them to recruit the employees who belong to different cultures and backgrounds, encouraging diversity is helpful for the businesses to grow and achieve the strategic competitive advantage. Academics believes a diversified workforce is helpful in strengthening the organization which results in increased growth and improved business profitability. It is a fact that when recruiting employees from different backgrounds it provides an opportunity to the firm to understand the perspective of different types of customers. The workforce quality can also be improved with the help of an effective diversity policy because it enables the organization to reach a larger pool of candidates who have desired skills and capabilities which are essential to fulfill the business needs.

Workforce Diversity
Workforce Diversity

Research Objectives

  • To identify the role of managing workforce diversity in achieving high level of business performance
  • To discuss the role of effective human resource management practices in managing diversity at the workplace
  • To evaluate that how the diversity related issues can affect the motivation and satisfaction level of the employees at the workplace
  • To identify that how the management of workforce diversity can be helpful in improving the coordination among the employees at the workplace?

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I do hope you enjoyed reading this post on managing employee diversity in the workplace. There are many other titles available in the HRM dissertation collection that should be of interest to human resource management students and CIPD professionals. There are many dissertation titles that relate to other aspects of HRM such as employee engagement, HRM Theory, absenteeism, training and development to name a few. It took a lot of effort to write this post and I would be grateful if you could share this post via Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. Thank you.