Employee Motivation. Applied Research Methods


Human nature is important while considering employees’ motivation. Hence, the job of a manager in a reasonably big Multi-National Company (MNC) is to get things done through the employees as the tasks are multifaceted and involve different departments. For the above aspect, a manager needs to practice motivation of employees who touch several disciplines. According to an article in Accel-team.com (2010), the human nature is very simple as well as complex. Hence, understanding as well as appreciation is prerequisites for helpful employee motivation in workplace, which is the indication of effective management and leadership. Hence, the research on motivation theory and practice on different theories will include the practical aspects of motivation in the workplace and research. Hence, an altruistic approach of treating colleagues is necessary for human dignity that leads to motivation. The research on this topic takes into consideration that the motivated employees are productive and creative and vice versa. As a result, motivation can be considered as the key to performance improvement and it works in making people’s intentions directing towards the work. For that internal as well as external stimuli are necessary and the motivational activities from the side of management as well as the leadership work as external stimuli. Self motivated employees need no motivation but majority of employees may not be like that and need motivation. Hence, leaders as well as managers need that skill of motivating the employees that leads in survival as well as flourishing of the business. Though there is ability in the employees, it cannot be made fruitful without motivation as job performance is considered as the one that is a combination of ability and motivation. Ability improvement is a slow process and motivation is a speed process that is developed after the development of ability through education and experience. Hence, in this paper number of theories including Competitive strategy of Michael Porter and Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage by Jay Barney are explored deeply (Accel-team.com, 2010).

Literature Review

Regarding motivation the competition also plays a role as it is the core of the success or failure of the organisations. According to Michael Porter (1998, p.258), the activities of the firms contribute to the performance of the employees, which lead to achieve the goals. Hence, a competitive strategy is necessary for any organisation to have competent position in an industry. In this context porter (1998) explores the competitive strategy that aims at profitability as well as sustainability of an organisation. Hence to achieve this, the competitive strategy of the company should make profitability an inherent quality of a company. For the above aspect, a company should be attractive as well as profitable in nature. Though many industries may have inherent profitability, they may not be same in that aspect and probably differ from each other in the context of profitability though they are still competitive. However, the competitive position depends on entry of new competitors, threat of substitutes, the bargaining power of buyers, the bargaining power of suppliers and rivalry among the existing competitors. Hence, while framing a strategy the company should consider the above-mentioned five aspects and have to motivate the employees. In this context, Porter (1998, p.259) states that the strength of above-mentioned five competitive forces depends on structure of industry. Moreover, the economic as well as technical characteristics of an industry also play a role in deciding the strategies of company. Hence, the five forces depend on structural determinants of the company and as a result, it is necessary to have strong structural determinants to have a good competitive strategy that uses the strength of five competitive forces. In this context, Porter (1998) mentions importance of long term strategy and warns about the negative consequences if the short term benefits are ignored (Michael Porter, 1998, pp.258-259).

As per the long term strategy mentioned above, the resources of the firm and the sustainable competitive advantage that matches with resources are important. In this context, Jay Barney (1991, p.285), mentions about the firms obtaining the sustainable competitive advantage that focussed on opportunities and threats. In this context, Barney quotes about the research of Porter and his colleagues about the description of environmental conditions that favour high levels of firm performance through five forces model mentioned above. In this context when a firm belonging to a particular industry is considered, the resource heterogeneity that enables the competitive advantage of the firm may disappear in a short period and one of the resources that can be preserved for long time and can be enhanced for good performance is human resources. Hence, the competitive advantage that can be sustained by the firm over the time over the competitors is regarding human resources as the retention and attraction of talent depends on motivational and recruitment strategies of the management. Though the recruitment and motivational strategies can be duplicated, the execution also is important and the perfection in execution for any firm regarding motivational and recruitment strategies will help in sustaining competitive advantage. The human resources context is the one that can be discussed about the firms’ competitive strategies when they possess same resources. When two firms have same hierarchy and standards in their employees, the motivational strategies including those of retaining the talent helps a firm to overcome mobility barriers. However, resources of a firm can be a source of competitive advantage when they are valuable. Hence, it is important to make the human resources valuable by motivational strategies and firm attributes also help in that way. In the next step the resources should be made rare by value creating strategy and this is possible when the strategies are competitive as well as extraordinary. Hence, the competitive nature combined with idiosyncratic nature of motivational strategies will help the firms to compete with the competitors when they have equal and same standards of resources. As the firms are social entities, their ability to exploit the resources depends on time and space. Hence, firms need to develop the resources that are dependent on time and space and regarding human resources the above aspect is possible with recruitment strategies that attract the talent and followed by motivational strategies. Hence, to develop resources that are dependent on time and space repeatedly, the recruitment as well as motivational strategies are important in the context of human resources. The acquiring of human resources repeatedly in history in required form and quantity as well as quality enables the firm to maintain competitive advantage over the competitors and to sustain for a long time. Hence, the timely strategies followed by the companies help in removing causal ambiguity and avoid imitation by competitors. The important aspect of non-imitable nature of resources is change of them according to variations in time and space. Hence, the understanding about the competitive strategies and their extent of sustainability is important for any firm to avoid the duplication of their strategies by competitors. Hence, the recruitment and motivational strategies of firm should attract talent and motivate the employees according to the time and need. Hence, for the above aspect, the firms should follow a change in strategies regarding human resources that change with variation in time and space (Jay Barney, 1991).

Strategy Choice

After reviewing the ways and means of motivational strategies and sustainability of them, the strategy choice is important in terms of valuable resources. In the context of employee motivation, the motivational strategies are the ones that need implementation as long as the company’s activities continue. As the resources (employees) change with time, it is important to retain talent in the short term and recruit talented resources whenever necessary. The motivational strategies work while recruitment also. Hence, it is important to choose two types of motivational strategies; one being the motivational strategy in the course of recruitment and the other being the ones that motivates the employees. In the first type of motivational strategy the company should create an impression in the applicants that the organisation is safe for their career and the regular growth as well as stability in the activities of the firm will give it. In the next step the leaders at various stages in the company. The two types of strategies at two different stages will enable the absorption of valuable human resources and help in retaining them. Moreover, it is important to note that the resources are relevant along with the talented ones. Though the employees are talented, if they are not relevant to the requirement of the firm, the strategies do not work and hence it is important to attract and to have relevant human resources while recruiting for any MNC as it has activities in different geographical locations in the world. Hence, the resources of the firm should have four attributes. The value of the resources should be decided according to the capability of opportunities and the calibre of neutralising the threats in the firm’s environment. This is possible when the strategies and resources are rare among the firm’s potential activities. In the next step, they should not be prone to imitation and should minimise the opportunity of having strategic equivalent substitutes. Hence, the motivation strategies should encourage employees of a firm to exploit the opportunities the firm gets thus increasing profitability. Hence, the motivational strategies in the first step should attract rare and relevant human resources for a firm and the next step of strategies implemented by various stages of leadership in the company should retain them and this should happen over time for sustainability of resources (Jay Barney, 1991).

Research Question

It is believed that employee’s job satisfaction and motivation significantly impact on organization performance and efficiency. What are the ways a reasonably big private organisation can wish to adopt to improve employees’ motivation?

Research Objectives (3 objectives – conclude in 80 words or less)

Three research objectives are picked for this paper regarding employee motivation and recruitment. The first objective is the quality in the recruitment strategies and the stature of firm that adds a value to those strategies. The second objective should be about option of the strategies that are necessary for influencing both leaders at various levels as well as their team members. The next objective is to decide on the necessity of the strategies and changing them according to the variations in time and space.

Research Methodology

The research methodology in this paper is to take inputs from the authenticated researchers that draw analysis based on the responses of employees, leaders, managements as well as the performance indicators of different companies like Toyota. Hence, the analysis that comes from that will be useful in achieving the objectives.

Philosophy of Research

The philosophy of research is to verify and establish the importance of motivational strategies in recruitment and retention combined with the performance and growth indicators of the company.

Research Approach

The research approach is to review the competitive strategy of Michael Porter and Competitive advantage theory of Jay Barney and to achieve the objectives mentioned earlier.

Research Strategy

The strategy is to move forward from the points expressed in literature review by taking cues from authenticated researches so that the analysis of strategies as well as their necessity is possible along with discussion.

Data Collection Method and Procedure

The data collection is from peer reviewed articles as well as academic journals or books.

Semi – Structured Interview Question

The interview questions and answers, which are answered by the employees of company Philips, are as follows:

How well the motivational strategies in your company do help in administration activities to go smoothly?

  • Help excellently
  • moderately
  • Average
  • No effect

Is motivation of employees is helpful in productive work?

  • Yes
  • No

Does management take enough steps to motivate employees, so that they can develop coordination?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Occasionally
  • Never

Are the employees able to have inspiration from motivation at work place that do not need intervention of management?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Now and then

Does your leader have a personal touch that gives motivation through his/her interactions with the employees?

  • Yes
  • No

Does your leader encourage you to interact with him/her in the context of meetings and if so, does that motivate you?

  • Yes
  • No

Will your leader talk about frequently about the firm’s activities with you to increase coordination?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes but not so often
  • Yes but very often he/she is not available for employees.

Does your leader explain you about the way the organisation wants to achieve goals?

  • Yes
  • No

Does the company shares the task of the organisation with employees?

  • Yes
  • No

Ethics of leadership at various levels will motivate you?

  • Yes
  • No

Ethical issues

  1. The ethical issues in this paper is that the employees responded with their complete consent and there is no coercion or material benefit for them.
  2. They answered casually but not in the environment that feels them in facing a test.
  3. As the interviewer is part of the company, that person got answers from the employees when they are in their casual work mood.
  4. They do not know that they are responding to a research question paper.

Data Analysis

Out of the total 25 employees of various departments eight of them team leaders, 80 percent of interviewed employees responded to first question that the motivational strategies help excellently in making the administration activities go smooth. 10 percent of them said they play an average role and 10 percent answered that they do not know about it. Hence, the answer considered by the researcher was ‘help excellently’. As the company selected is having enough financial strength, the strategies they follow are working successfully and the management is using the two types of motivational strategies at recruitment level and retention level successfully. This means the company is successful in turning the benefits for employees into success of the organisation. Hence, the company remains competitive in labour pool and one of the resources (human resource) are used acquired and retained successfully (Joseph Spina and & H. Kleiner, 1997, p.31).

For the second question 75 percent of employees answered yes and 10 percent employees are not that much sure. However, 15 percent employees said that they do not know about it. Hence, the answers taken is ‘yes’ and it denotes the way the company operates with its motivational strategies to improve the productivity in all the departments. The company is having HR, marketing, finance, accounting, travel, distribution, training, central collections, a central customer service centre and several other departments in the headquarters. It had branches in strategic locations all over the globe and as a result, the positive response 2nd question indicates the coordination between different branches of the company. As a continuation of 2nd question the 3rd question also establishes the same but this time the answer is about the implementation of motivational strategies of management. The respondents mentioned that the each department is made of work teams that rely on each other and that ensure coordination. The fourth question can be considered as a continuation for the third question as the researcher posed it to know about the workplace environment. That environment motivates 85 percent of employees and 10 percent are neutral and 5percent do not know the effect. Hence, the answer considered was ‘yes’. The responses of employees also revealed that the management recruits the employees according to the customers and the stakeholders so that their culture matches thus resulting in good interaction between employees and stakeholders as well as the customers. As the company is keen on healthy environment as part of implementation of motivational strategies, the analysis is that the employees are drawing motivation without direct intervention of the management. When the management is not intervening directly and still the employees are motivated, the leadership at various levels should be effective and the fifth question is in that way. Here also 80 percent of employees responded positively and the interaction with them revealed that the team leaders, middle management and the top leaders have human touch in their conversations with the subordinates and the company also behaves in the same manner with flexible work policy, flexible employee lease plans, health insurance, disability compensations and encouraging them with vacations (Joseph Spina & H. Kleiner, 1997, p.32-33).

For the sixth question the response is a little bit low, but still the answer can be considered as yes. It is because 65 percent of employees are satisfied with the way the management and leaders give them opportunity to talk. However, 15 percent of employees are not able to present a good point in those conversations and remaining 20 percent did not a chance. However, as 80 percent of them got a chance the answer is taken as ‘yes’. In this context, the employees revealed that the interaction with the leaders as well as the quality control department is enabling the company to implement total quality control instead of routine quality check. Hence, the company is going on to adopt new manufacturing systems due to the ideas expressed during the conversations with managers and leaders. That means the conveyance of ideas from bottom to top and vice versa is making the company to motivate the employees by implementing their ideas if useful. In a continuation to sixth question the employees answered favourably to third question as ‘yes but not frequently’. That means the discussion of firm’s activities is being done across the hierarchy and the employees are directly not involved for the sake of saving the working hours of the employees. This helps in leaders at different levels conveying the messages to employees, which are usual and in case of special cases; one can converse with leaders and management. The next question asked also is in tandem with the previous question and 84 percent of employees said yes. Hence, the management is flexible in adoption of new manufacturing techniques and is preparing employees accordingly as they know about the mission of the organisation from their leadership but not as a written communication, though it will be served later. The employees are satisfied that the company is sharing information regarding goals with them and this indicates that the management is taking into consideration the capacity, calibre and intentions of employees while implementing new strategies and is preparing them to achieve new goals. Moreover, overwhelmingly 85 percent answering ‘yes’ for tenth question of ethics states that the leadership at various levels of the company is motivating the employees.


According to the discussion in the paper it is clear that the employee motivation is an essential condition for job productivity. Hence, any company needs to concentrate on development and discussion to achieve high motivation. However, it is important to note that motivation can become extreme thus leading to dysfunctional actions. Hence, the level of motivation for a particular level of employee is important as some of the employees responded for the questions are not able to answer to the concept in the question (Philip Grant, 1980, p.20).7


Accel-team.com. (2010). Employee motivation, the organizational environment and productivity. Web.

Ian Winfield & Máire Kerrin. (1996). Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Europe: lessons for management development. Journal of Management. 15.4. pp.49-56.

Jay Barney. (1991). Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. Journal of Management. 17.1. pp. 99-120

Joseph Spina & H. Kleiner. (1997). Practices of Excellent Companies in the American Automotive Finance Industry. Management Research News. 20.9. pp.31-38.

Michael Porter. (1998). Competitive Strategy. California Management Review. 33.3. pp.258-257.

Philip Grant. (1980). How much Employee Motivation is Desirable? Industrial Management & Data Systems. 80.6: p.20-23.

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