Employees Motivation Theories in Business

Overview

Effective teams in the workplace are created and perform due to an effective means of communication and the ability to put personal preferences aside to work on a common goal. Human resource is the most important resource for any organization. The success of any organization depends upon the motivation of its employees towards their goals. It is the job of the manager to keep his employees motivated towards the work.

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To keep the employees motivated, the manager must be clear about the needs of his employees because employees will take more interest in the work if they are sure that the organization they are working for will take care of their needs. If an organization ignores its employees, then employees will ignore the work, which will eventually result in minimum output (DuBrin, 1990).

I presume that most employees fall somewhere between X and Y, depending on the type of employment and the firm they are working in. These facets will help determine the type of employee. If the management style is dominant and doesn’t ask for employee input, the employee will then determine if the salary is enough compensation for the work that is asked for (Bittel, 1989).

The employee may decide that the salary does not include the benefit of suggestions or ideas for better job performance. The employee will not support the company and its goals, but the company will support the employee. If, on the other hand, the company follows the team management style of supervision, the feeling of inclusion with the company will supplement the monetary compensation, and typically, the employee will offer suggestions for better production. People who seek employment in this type of company are generally more project/company orientated instead of single skill focused. (DuBrin, 1990)

Introduction

McGregor associated the management approaches to the extent to which the employee is motivated. A worker’s attitude can be divided into three categories.

  1. Theory X
  2. Theory Y
  3. Theory Z

The workers who fall under the heading of Theory X are thought to be very unmotivated, lethargic, and they only worked when they were extremely forced to do so, otherwise, they would not bother to work. On the other hand, the workers who fall under the heading of Theory Y are very motivated to work (Bittel, 1989).

Their main aim is to work harder and produce good quality in whatever they are doing. According to McGregor, the way a worker will perform his or her job highly depends on the management style that is leading them in the first place (Goldman, 1983).

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McGregor clarified his point by further suggesting that in order to manage people efficiently, there are two basic techniques that must be followed. Managers who tend to follow the footsteps in the direction of theory X will most probably get unfortunate results, and managers who tend to follow the footsteps in the direction of Y, often good exhilarated results and give a higher chance to workers to experience growth and development on a faster pace.

Theory X

People who fall under the category of Theory X often do not like working and tend to keep away from any kind of work. As observed by McGregor, these assumptions then determine the behavior of managers towards their employees. Theory X assumes that people are naturally lazy and will avoid work and responsibilities if possible.

Theory X holds the assumption that employees are mostly worried about their job security above everything else. With these assumptions in mind, Theory X states that in order for managers to motivate their employees, they must use coercion and punishment to ensure that they achieve the goals of the organization.

Most workers have to be compelled to complete their tasks in order to get them working, or if that does not work, they are then threatened that if they did not work and complete the tasks within the given time, they would be punished by working overtime or any other possible punishment which fall under the category of professionalism.

Most of the theory X workers would not like to do work on their own; they would rather be guided throughout the process of working. The manager in this management style has to pressure the workers so that the employees do not misbehave and take advantage of the leniency of the manager (DuBrin, 1990).

Theory Y

Theory Y is a softer picture of Theory X. It does not believe in threatening the employees in any possible way. Additionally, theory Y believes that external control can not make employees forcefully work and only causes the workers to rebel and work in an inefficient manner (Bittel, 1989).

According to Theory Y, if an employee is punished or forced to work, the man will never work with quality. Instead, self-commitment, goals, and aims of the employee towards the organization are what matters most.

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If the employee is showing dedication and commitment towards the organization and yearns to prove himself to be a better employee in order to grow and develop in the organization, he is likely to show hard work and creativity. Secondly, if the job satisfies the employee’s requirements, for example, if the environment is comfortable or if the pay is sufficient enough to satisfy the employee, he will feel more committed to the organization (DuBrin, 1990).

Management authority that follows theory Y does not rely on authority; rather, it relies on the fact that an employee’s motivation will be the mere desire for him to perform. Theory Y believes in giving each employee the right toward the success of the business or organization. According to Theory Y, the management’s main goal is to help the employee to develop and show his or her potential towards the universal goals of the organization (Goldman, 1983).

Theory Z

Theory Z became popular throughout the Asian economic boom that occurred in the 1980s. This is also called “Japanese Management.” According to Ouchi, Theory Z emphasizes employee loyalty shown towards the company both on and off the job by enhancing their lifestyle. This provides the employees with a permanent chance to stay at work for a long period of time. This, in return, increases the productivity of the employees and consequently expands their job satisfaction, morale and makes them feel appreciated and secure when they are at their workplace.

Evaluation

In the industry, what is the current state of McGregor’s theory X and Y.? Do most employees fall within X? Y? Is there any other theory that can provide any other alternative about the nature of employees?

I believe that Theory Y is the most predominately used method of management. This theory has gone through a few transformations since McGregor first wrote about his X and Y theories in the early ’60s. I think that companies have realized that managing people like robots do not promote a sense of ownership among employees and eventually diminishes work production. The employees in an X theory employment situation work only for the salary and pray that no problems become evident on their shift. If a problem does become obvious, it becomes the management’s problem, and the employee will offer few or no suggestions for its solution. (Bittel, 1989)

I believe that Theory Y is the most predominately used method of management. This theory has gone through a few transformations since McGregor first wrote about his X and Y theories in the early ’60s. I think that companies have realized that managing people like robots do not promote a sense of ownership among employees and eventually diminishes work production. The employees in an X theory employment situation work only for the salary and pray that no problems become evident on their shift. If a problem does become obvious, it becomes the management’s problem, and the employee will offer few or no suggestions for its solution.

People at the workplace tend to assume on the basis of the employee’s relationship with the management (DuBrin, 1990). Theory X shows that employees are unlikely to participate in work and are not encouraged to work. Instead, they have to be forced into completing tasks. On the other hand, McGregor’s Theory Y shows a healthy relationships between employees and managers in an organization. At the same time, Ouchi’s Theory Z supports the view that managers should be supportive and should trust the employees in order to see good performance from the employees. Therefore, in order to understand the attitude and behavior of different employees and to see a more productive atmosphere in the organization, it may be important to understand the functions of different theories (Bittel, 1989).

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The x and y managers have a better leadership style if we compare them with Ouchi’s approach. Regarding specialization and performing a specific tasks, the managers who follow McGregor’s leadership style regard their workers with different perceptions, although, on the other hand, in both the circumstances, the perceptions of the jobs done stay the same. Despite this, according to Theory Y, workers become proficient at their specific tasks because there is an a chance of improvement concerning processes and suggestions. Whereas workers following theory Z are observed to be changing their jobs on a more regular basis, consequently gaining more knowledge about the workings of the company (Goldman, 1983).

There are many similarities found between the two theorists; for instance, the relationships between managers and workers are similar, managers being like coaches, encouraging workers to increase their participation and production. Although a few differences have also been found, for example, Theory Y and Z workers are self-motivated whereas Theory X workers need constant encouragement.

Conclusion

All the theories mentioned above discuss how to increase the motivation among the employee. The manager should be very clear on how to keep the good work that is possible when all the employees put their best towards their goals (DuBrin, 1990). If we take a brief look at all the theories, it is quite obvious that the hierarchy of need theory specifies the basic needs of a person. If those needs are satisfied, then employees are more willing to work and to achieve organizational goals as well as their own. While on the other hand, the assumption made by theory X does not show the real picture; rather, it is the duty of the manager to provide a healthy environment for employees to work (Bittel, 1989).

All the theories describe how to keep the employees motivated; now, it is the duty of the manager to provide a conducive environment to keep employees motivated. But the most important factor is the manager must be fully aware of the needs of his employee because if an organization takes care of its employees, the employee will remain motivated. In the end, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs plays a vital role because employees will deliver their best when their needs are fulfilled.

In the end, I just want to add that motivation is not the advanced form of managerial control over employees. It is more than that as disused Human Resources and to be précised employees are the most precious asset any organization has so without having motivated employees firm will stand nowhere so an organization needs to have fully motivated employees so that they can perform unto their level best (DuBrin, 1990).

References

Bittel, Lester R. The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Management Course. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989. Return

DuBrin, Andrew J. Essentials of Management. Cincinnati: South-Western, 1990. Return

Goldman, Jeri J. “The Supervisor’s Beliefs About People and the Supervisory Plan: McGregor’s ‘Theory X’ and ‘Theory Y’ in the Schools.” The Clearing House March 1983: 306(4). Return

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