HRM Gender Influence Career Success

Gender Influence on Career Success

Melamed (1996) defines a career as someone’s progress in his occupation through his life. Within the scope of this essay, career success will be mainly defined as the opportunity for management positions and promotions. This is necessarily a restricted definition, but is a starting point to examine the influence of gender. There is a growing body of opinion that the so-called ‘glass ceiling’, where women’s prospects for career advancement are limited due to their gender, is a thing of the past. On the contrary, this essay will argue that gender continues to influence career success to quite a significant extent, first by examining the current situation of gender difference in management positions, then considering career aspirations and opportunities, attitudes towards the genders in terms of abilities, and finally touching on theories of gender difference in career success.

Women and Gender

First, women continue to be in a significant minority when it comes to occupying management positions. It is certainly true that women have gradually become a more and more important part of the global workforce since the middle of the last century. The new term “career woman” is getting popular. However, a large number of studies indicate that in the pursuit of career success, women have to overcome more difficulties than men, before they can reach the top of the hierarchy. A study by Glenice and Margaret (2001: 3) has shown evidence of ‘attitudinal, behavioural and structural barriers that are deterring women on their way to achieve career success. Such barriers seem to be more obvious in the senior management level. In spite of more and more women join the ‘paid workforce’ and taking up management roles, no more than 5 per cent of top management position is taken by women in the USA (Glenice and Margaret, 2001:1).

In UK the number is estimated to be 4 per cent or lower, while in Australia it is around 3 per cent. Early studies all prove that the phenomenon of the “glass ceiling” does exist in the top ‘management level’. In the past decade, evidence shows that women are beginning to break through the “glass ceiling” and managing to acquire their position in the top management group (Ryan and Haslam, 2005). On the other hand, Ryan and Haslam raise a concern that women’s ability to perform well in these positions is being undermined by the type of roles they are offered. They identify female executives being given roles in departments which are known to be in structural difficulties or failing financially: “women are particularly likely to be placed in positions of leadership in circumstances of general financial downturn and downturn in company performance”. This is just one study, however, and should not be used as a generalisation for the experience and career success of all women in management positions, or to prove that gender affects career success in recent times.

Gender Careers
Gender Careers

Although evidence shows that women are in a disadvantaged position in the labour market, it is a position that may actually be reinforced by women’s own perceptions. The career aspiration and expectation between different genders has been studied. Glenice and Margaret (2001) indicate that women are not very interested in pursuing a career. They found that women are more easily satisfied and therefore less likely to maximize their career aspirations. Hede and Ralston’s research (1993) also shows that female managers are less likely to pursuit a position in senior management level compared with male managers.

Their expectations of an executive position are also lower than men. Regarding equal opportunities, an interesting fact is that most women managers believe that they have fewer opportunities when there is a chance for promotion, and they are not actively encouraged to participate in career development activities (Glenice, & Margaret, 2001). In contrast, male managers believe the opposite. However, the research by Ryan and Haslam (2005) suggests there is a narrowing difference between men and women’s perceptions of their opportunities for promotion and therefore their aspirations are becoming more similar. However they found that both men and women believe that gender plays an important role in decisions in personnel selection regarding the type or area of a job. It seems that the barriers to promotion may exist partially in women’s attitudes or expectations.

Another possible barrier to female career advancement is the perception that men and women have different skills, with the former being more suited to senior roles. The possible difference in the types of jobs offered to women and men mentioned above requires further exploration. Researchers argue that men and women’s career progress are based not just on different attitudes but also on different attributes.

Tharenou et al (in Glenice and Margaret, 2001:3) argue that ‘women’s achievements are built on experience and performance while male employees are judged on their level of education’. This seems to be rather a controversial generalisation, but a more commonly argued point is that the different genders have different skills or qualities. Eagly (in Glenice, & Margaret, 2001:2) proposed that the expectation that ‘women will exhibit communal qualities and men agentic qualities’ has an effect. Glenice and Margaret (2001:3) describe communal tendencies as ‘interdependence and co-operation and enjoyment at working closely with others’, and agentic tendencies as ‘a desire for self-expansion and independent behaviour’ (Glenice and Margaret, 2001:3). Their study proved that these gender differences were commonly given as reasons for promotions. However, this research only proves that the belief that men and women have different skills is widespread. It does not prove that men and women have different abilities.

It could be argued that much of the evidence above for gender difference influencing career success is based on people’s (both men’s and women’s) perceptions and aspirations rather than a real difference between the genders in terms of ability. However, this does not negate the argument that gender is a major cause of difference in career success.

In fact, it seems clear that two factors are strong influences in career success: the relatively unproven issue of actual difference between the genders, and the more commonly agreed-upon issue of belief in this difference. This belief creates external barriers to promotion for women in the workplace, as well as internal barriers, which are that women do not aspire to greater success but may be satisfied with positions lower than their actual abilities.

In conclusion, gender has significant influence on employees’ career success. First of all, the disadvantaged position of women is clear, especially in the top management level. The “glass ceiling” does exist in most countries. Secondly, evidence shows that men and women employees have different experiences in their careers. It is generally believed that men have higher promotion opportunities and career expectations than women, although this is not true in all studies. Thirdly, the career success of men and women are influenced by different factors, because of the different social roles they are expected to play. Men are expected to be agentic in their beliefs and behaviors, while women are expected to be communal. In other words, the traditional view is that women’s internal attributes do not fit the requirement of top management. It will take some time to eliminate such bias before more women can have the chance to prove their ability and reduce the influence of gender on career success.


Hede, A., & Ralston, D. (1993) Managerial career progression and aspiration: evidence of a “glass ceiling”? International Journal of Employment Studies, 1: 2, 253-282.

Melamend, T. (1995) Career Success: the moderating effect of gender. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 47, 35-60.

Melamend, T. (1996). Career Success: An assessment of a gender-specific model. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 69, 217-242.

Ryan, M. K., and Haslam, S. A. (2005) The Glass Cliff: Evidence that women are over-represented in precarious leadership positions. British Journal of Management, 16, 81-90.

Wood, G. F., and Lindorff, M. (2001) Gender differences in explanations for career progress. Women in Management Review, 16(4), 152-162.

Other Relevant Blog Posts

Barriers Women UK Construction

 Females Computing Industry

Feminist Movement

I do hope you enjoyed reading this post on gender influence and how it affects career success. 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.

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.

Click Here For HRM Dissertation Topics

HRM Employee Relations

Employee Relations

One of the most important factors in any workplace is the relationship between employees and employers. This relationship is sometimes termed as “Employee Relations”, referring to the relationship between employees and employers in an industrial setting. Employees have specified rights over their working conditions and over other matters regarding their pay, redundancy, overtime, promotion, and many other issues. These rights are specified by law and sometimes, also negotiated through trade unions or worker unions in order to influence the decision of employers.

Each country specifies the rights of its workforce differently and some countries give workers higher bounds of protection. In some countries, such as the United States and Great Britain, workers have fought for their own rights over different periods in history and have succeeded in gaining a considerable amount of influence. Great Britain has a minimum wage limit set for its workers and employers all over Great Britain are obligated to at least pay their workers this amount for work they have done. Other laws and statutes protect workers from being overworked, underpaid, or discriminated against for employment and promotional purposes. Laws also outline the type of working conditions and working environment that is essential for workers and the rules as to how/when and in which circumstances, workers can be laid off, fired, or made redundant (Rose, pg 94-111, 2004).

Other factors which also affect employee relations are factors such as pension plans, education plans, training, and disability and injury allowances. Hence, there are a number of factors that employers and employees must be conscious of in the setting of an employment contract (Lewis, pg 110, 2009). Moreover, with the growing influence of employees and with increasing bargaining power, employers must set strategies and approaches in order to effectively deal with the whims and concerns of their employees. No workplace can operate without the employees being properly motivated and satisfied with their work. Dissatisfied employees may mean large losses for the firm and in the case of Great Britain, some lawsuits as well (Rose, pg 98, 2004).

International and Regulatory System

The international system regarding employee welfare and employee relations lacks coercive power and is not able to effectively regulate the conditions offered to employees in various countries. International laws are difficult to implement as each country has their own policy and their own concerns regarding employee welfare. An example of an international law that is difficult to implement is the law against child labor, restricting the number of hours a child under a certain age can work. However, Third World countries are not able to implement this law effectively and child labor is heavily prevalent in such countries The United Kingdom has set a proper regulatory system for employer and employee relations and aims to ensure that both sides receive their fair share. It is alleged at times that employees receive a greater amount of leniency and have more say than the employer in the maintenance of this relationship. However, employees in the UK also have issues regarding the minimum wage, pension plans, and health benefits included in their pay (Lewis, pg. 114-184,2003).

Employee Relations
Employee Relations

Developed countries such as the UK, Australia, USA, and Canada have regulatory systems which aim to moderate the relationship between employees and employers (mature employee relations). Laws govern the contracts upheld by both parties and the clauses are testable by law. Hence, if one party fails to acknowledge or fulfill a clause mentioned in the contract, that party is liable to punishment by law. However, not all countries have a regulatory system. Most Third World Countries do not have a minimum wage nor an obligation to provide employees with any other benefits. Discrimination and unnecessary redundancy is strongly prevalent in such countries. No system exists to properly assist labor in standing up for their rights. Cheap labor is readily available in less developed countries and developed countries are often found exploiting this situation. Since their own countries have a strong system regulating employer and employee relationship, they avail cheaper labor without any hassles in less developed countries (Lewis, pg 189,2009).

However, the international system and regulatory power for employer and employee relations details issues such as age requirements for work, health benefit plans, job security,  minimum wage, and retirement plans. There are several agencies working to aim to secure such benefits for employees all over the world (Hollingshead, pg 24-32, 2010).

Trade unions and worker associations also do not have full acknowledgement and recognition under the laws of many countries. Hence, workers are unable to negotiate terms and conditions with their companies on a large scale or engage in “collective bargaining”. Mainly, in Third World countries it is the blue collared workers or labor class who lack education and awareness of their rights. These people also lack opportunities and hence are exploited by their employers by being offered low wages and practically no-benefits (Rose, pg 156-230, 2004) this will have an adverse effect on employee relations.

White collar workers or skilled labor is more informed regarding international law; hence usually such workers do engage in proper contracts and receive competitive salaries, according to their qualifications. They also receive benefits, health insurance, and retirement plans. Most Third World countries also implement international law upon their own government employees.

Government employees are given proper employee benefits and adequate pays with pay raises whenever adequate. They are treated according to international standards of employer and employee relations (Lewis, pg 89-105, 2003).

However, only one side of the story should not be accounted for as employees also have an obligation to fulfill their duties during the period of employment. International law states that employees may be fired if they fail to perform all their duties. Hence, it is mandatory for employees to also not over emphasize their power. There is also a maximum limit to the pay raises and extra benefits that employees can negotiate and any violent or defaming behavior can lead to arrest and conviction. Unnecessary union formations and illicit use of power is strongly condemned (Jenard & Judge, pg 161, 2005).

International regulations mainly aim to ensure that all employees are given fair opportunities and are not exploited. They aim to prevent discrimination on the basis of age, gender, ethnicity, and background. They also aim to ensure that all employers are protected against illicit employee action and employee strikes. However, all of these regulations are made by separate international organizations. It is difficult for these organizations to implement their policies in all countries or convince governments to adopt their policies. They must convince governments to sign deals and contracts for the adoption of these policies, yet this is a very difficult task. These organizations lack coercive power. They cannot force other countries to adopt these policies if they do not find them beneficial. The act against child labor was upheld by the UN, but lacks serious implementation (Hollingshead, pg 121, 2005).

These countries still have children working long laborious hours in dangerous situations and being paid very little for their efforts. Hence, international regulations have very little influence and power in the global world. They are mostly ineffective and of no practical use. However, they do raise awareness and raise a voice for some potential concerns regarding the work place.

Mostly, these international laws affect workplaces in Great Britain, USA, and other developed countries, where employees are educated and well-informed. Employees raise a voice in sequence with these laws themselves and demand to be given equal rights and opportunities as people in other developed countries receive. This can be exemplified in the new Pension increase movement in Great Britain (Coats, pg 1, 2010).

However, people in less developed countries seldom have many opportunities and are happy with what they receive as payment for their work. They cannot afford to demand more as they will be in danger of losing their job, instead of being given what they deserve. Employers in these countries also lack resources to be able to give their employees such extravagant benefits. International regulations can only help in raising awareness among the educated class and then enabling the workers to fight for their rights themselves. Moreover, despite such strong efforts, discrepancies prevail in countries like the UK and the USA, where opportunities for men and women are still not identical. Women do receive less pay in many professions such as doctors, lawyers, actresses, and many others. Biases do exist and there is still a prevalence of unjust behavior in these places as well, tending to make it even more difficult to uphold a system in countries which lack resources for implementation (Jenard & Judge, pg 113, 2005).

Employee Relations Approaches

There are two main approaches to employee relations, which include the individualistic approach and the collective approach. Employers choose their management style according to what they find most suitable and what is preferred.

The individualistic approach outlines the way employers prefer to keep separate management styles and negotiations open with individual employees and collective negotiating means dealing with the full work force at large (Blyton, pg 94-102, 2004).

Coordinating and managing employer and employee relationships become more difficult and complicated year by year. It is essential to manage the concerns of employees regarding issues such relocation of industry, harassment, redundancy, compensation, and violent behavior. Hence, it is important for each employee to have a progressive attitude towards the relationship between employee and employer. If this relationship becomes weak, the company suffers at large (Blyton, pg 230-234, 2004) this will hinder employee relations on a large scale.

As mentioned before, there are two ways of managing this relationship, which are a collective approach or an individual approach. The individual approach involves contact of an individual employee with the employer. The employer negotiates the terms and conditions of the contract with the individual employee, pertaining to that employee only (Lewis, pg 208-215,2003).

There are advantages with using the individualistic approach which include that there are only one person’s interests involved and hence, there is no conflict between parties. Sometimes, when the opinion of multiple employees is taken, various employees have differing views and differing interests. Hence, it is difficult to serve the interests of all employees and a trade-off must be made in order to serve the interests of the majority, which might leave some employees unhappy. An example to illustrate this is, one employee may feel that the wage rate is too low, while another may feel that more fringe benefits should be provided to employees. Another employee’s concern may be the health insurance plan and another employee may be worried about the new downsizing operation that the company has begun. It would be extremely difficult for the employer to serve all needs simultaneously; hence some employees will be left unattended in this regard. With individual bargaining, individual needs are catered to in the employment contract, hence there is no conflict.

I Love
I Love

Moreover, since the whims and needs of one person are included in individual bargaining, the employee relations does not have to compromise significantly as to the attendance of his/ her needs. The employee and employer can easily come upon a one-on-one settlement (.Edwards, pg 110, 2003) However, this approach also holds disadvantages which include that one person’s concerns may not be enough to restructure company policies or change procedures. One person may not have enough influence or coercive power to negotiate a great deal and hence the manager may not uphold the concerns of that individual employee. Hence, usually individual bargaining tends to have a much lesser impact upon company procedures and policies at large. There is a very low tendency of compliance by the employer hindering effective employee relations.

The second approach to employee relations is collective bargaining. This entails negotiating issues with representatives from trade unions and other employee representatives in order to solve the issues of employees collectively, on a large scale. This method aims to eliminate or reduce conflict as employees decide upon their demands on a collective scale and choose representatives to convey their demands to the employer. This enables all issues to be addressed quickly instead of individual employees coming to the employer with individual demands. Hence, it is a quicker and more effective process (Blyton, pg 12-36, 2004) and essential for good employee relations.

Through collective bargaining, the employees exert a lot of influence upon the employer and are able to get what they desire quickly and more effectively. As it is said that there is power in numbers, hence the more employees that are involved in the trade union, the better the result. The method of collective bargaining also has some down sides and some disadvantages. It causes the individual worker to be overshadowed by the interests of the whole group. An individual may have some private concerns which may not be the majority opinion. However, these concerns are not catered to when things are being dealt with on a collective scale. Hence, some employees may be left feeling deprived and unhappy (Edwards, pg 76-89, 2003) again, hindering effective employee relations.

There are other methods of employer and employee relations which depend upon the nature of work of the employee and whether the employee is a part-time or a full-time employee. Full time employees benefit the employer in many ways which include a sense of loyalty and belonging in the company which enables the employee to focus their best efforts upon the business. The employers also have a greater amount of control on the employee and his/her activities. The employer senses a feeling of security and trust which leaves him satisfied that there is other permanent staff available to assist him in hard times, this needs to be overcome in order to promote effective employee relations.

However, employers are also faced with a greater burden of full-time employees. They may be required to pay for vacations and must also pay payroll taxes. It is quite difficult to hire and maintain such a dedicated workforce, and employers will constantly need to provide benefits and other sources of motivation to their employees (Taylor, pg 245-246, 2008) this will promote healthy effective employee relations.

According to UK’s internal revenue code, part time employees are defined as those who work for a period less than 1,000 hours in a year. Part-time employees have some advantages for employers which include flexibility in working hours and a potentially economical option which is extremely viable for smaller and newly developed ventures. Moreover, part time employees can be availed when needed; hence full time costs can be saved to a large extent. Moreover, part time employees need not be given extra benefits such as paid vacations and health insurance. Just as full-time employees, part time employees also have their disadvantages. It is difficult to compete on the basis of loyalty and time with the other employers of part-time employees. When part time employees are offered other options and full time work, they may resign and this may result in a shortage in staff. These are the basic approaches that are used by employees and employers for employee relations. The approaches are used according to the suitability, custom, and preference of the employee and employer, this is essential to build good employee relations.

UK Employee Relations System

Although UK’s employment system is one the most highly protected and established system in the world, it is currently facing a lot of controversy and issues. Workers in the UK are most informed about their rights and have the highest amount of power now as opposed to the power they had in the post war period. However, they still find the system to be a complete turmoil. Employers are currently facing problems with high levels of employee regulations and low productivity and motivation in employees. The rate of motivation has decreased substantially over the years and even though 2005-2008 marked a period of Workers’ Rights Awareness and this rapidly increased the awareness workers have of their rights, workers were far less motivated than employers wanted. Workers tend to feel that there is an unlimited amount of unfairness in the system and it needs substantial improvement (Coats, pg 1, 2010)

The UK’s employment relation system is fairly simple and does not over emphasize certain issues. It gives employers fair liberty to hire and fire employees at their own will and it also prevents the formation of unions. Employees today find this quite unfair and are striving to find a collective voice and to be heard by the government and employers of the UK (Coats, pg 1, 2010).

Employees are not quite aware of the fact that unions are very much prevalent in the UK and they do have a right to a collective voice. However, that voice is subdued in the United Kingdom and employees are not made aware of the opportunities and rights that exist for them. Therefore, increasing employee relations is a must.

Union strikes and action is prohibited in the UK, which makes employees feel that they are at a loss for voicing their opinion. Miss Margaret Thatcher imposed this law upon the kingdom as a way to protect employers from unjust violence and threats from employees looking to impose unfair demands upon employers. However, this system has caused the employees to feel that they are at a loss and is causing more frequent and larger amounts of litigation made against employers. Hence, employee tribunals are active at full speed, dealing with a large number of lawsuits. It is found that employees who are not a part of a union tend to look towards employee tribunals for proper acknowledgement of their demands and to convey their whims, concerns, and other matters. This has currently put UK in an uproar and is affecting the economy at large (Coats, pg 1, 2010).

UK, in the post war period, was more or less the same as it is today. However, the predecessors of this government, in the post-war period understood that there was a need for a platform to voice the opinions of other parties and reasonably argue over alternatives. However, the current system of capitalism does not seem to be working well for the UK presently. This may call for a new system or model of capitalism to be designed and implemented (Rose, pg 220, 2004).

The government may be looking for full dialogue on the issue of improving the employee relations system and must make several reforms to the current prevailing system. These reforms may consist of adequate arrangements to deal with employee concerns on a collective scale and find alternate methods to dispute resolution. Implementation and more focused awareness of employee rights would be an advancing step, especially in areas where employees are least informed and most exploited. Companies who are listed on the Stock Exchange should be asked to also publish information regarding their personnel relations policies and other matters such as accident occurrence, labor turnover, and other human resource related issues.

Hence, opposed to the post war period, some regulations were imposed upon UK”s employee relations system which included the setting of anti-union laws. Some allowances were also made such as extra rights for working parents, minimum wage, and other worker friendly policies. However, these movements were disregarded as in the postwar period, little regulation controlled employee relations. It was left up to the employee and employer and the State only controlled major and serious issues regarding safety and other important concerns. Collective bargaining was majorly encouraged and trade unions were recognized as a means of reducing conflict (Coats, pg 1, 2010). Workers today feel deprived of the rights of collective bargaining and the post-war period system began crumbling with the on set on Miss Thatcher’s governance. The system is currently a wreck and needs new reforms or a new model to follow. It is alleged that other developed countries have developed and implemented their employee relations systems better than the UK and workers in the UK claim that the quality of jobs in the UK is below satisfactory and needs major improvement.


Blyton,P. & Turnbull,P.2004.The Dynamics of Employee Relations. Basingstoke,Palgrave

Coats, David. 2010. Time for a Re-think: A New Employment Relations System for the UK.

Cook, M. 2009. Personnel Selection. Chichester Wiley

Edwards, P. 2003. Industrial Relations and Employee Relations; Theory and Practice in Britain.Oxford Blackwell

Jenard, J. & Judge, G.2005.Employee Relations. London CIPD

Hollingshead, G.2010. International and Comparative Human Resource Management Employee Relations. London; McGraw Hill Higher Education.

Lewis,D. & Sergeant, M.2009. Essentials of Employment Law – Employee Relations. London, CIPD

Lewis,P et al. 2003.Employee Relations: Understanding the Employee Relationship. Prentice Hall

Rose,E. 2004. Employment Relations. Pearson Education

Taylor,S.2008. People Resourcing and Employee Relations. CIPD

View HRM Dissertation Topics Here

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 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.



No Control





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.


  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.


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.


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