Theory of Motivation

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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.

View HRM Dissertation Here

Published by

Steve Jones

My name is Steve Jones and I’m the creator and administrator of the dissertation topics blog. I’m a senior writer at study-aids.co.uk and hold a BA (hons) Business degree and MBA, I live in Birmingham (just moved here from London), I’m a keen writer, always glued to a book and have an interest in economics theory.

One thought on “Theory of Motivation”

  1. Terrific post but I was wanting to know if you could write more on the theory of motivation. I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Many thanks!

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