Factors Influencing Motivation in Organizations

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Motivation is an important aspect in our daily life, whether at school or at work. The theory on cycle of motivation posits that people engage in activities which they will excel in and excel in things they will enjoy participating in. While increased motivation contributes to successful and increased performance of organizations, it may be difficult to achieve because it occurs after a consideration of more than one factor. Therefore, supervisors and managers need understand not only the importance of motivation but also the factors that influence motivation, so as to be able to instill high motivation in employees.

Good and positive motivation can help the organization achieve its goals and objectives more easily and quickly because the employees will not have to be pushed to do their part. Because diversity exists within the organizations, and among organizations, understanding the various specific factors that apply to a specific organization or employees is important. Different employees (for example at different levels or ranks) will be motivated differently by different things in the same organization (McNamara, 2008).

In fact, the initiative to motivate employees can have better and positive outcomes if there is an identification of the things that motivate various individuals, because then, the organization will not be engaging in a trial-and-error. The organization needs identify the opportunities available to increase motivation for the employees while closing the gaps that could lead to low motivation. Moreover, the importance of closely monitoring these factors towards motivation exists in that organizations change overtime and new factors may come into play to influence employee motivation. This paper will give and examine various factors that influence motivation in organizations.


Organizations are complex in nature and individuals are diverse. While various organizations have specific needs for motivation depending on the nature of business among other things, different people are better motivated with different things and conditions.

Motivation has been linked to job performance. In addition, better employee participation at various tasks can be improved with increased motivation. Employers who are not concerned about employee motivation may lose because the situation compromises on reaching high limit of employees’ performance, i.e. employees may participate but do not give as much as they would have given in the context of increased motivation. Motivation can be achieved through a wide range of factors and conditions, but must be linked to achieving the organization’s objectives and aims.

Studies have been conducted in the past concerning motivation in an organization and how it can be improved. McNamara theorizes some of the myths held within organization that may hinder the whole process or temper with the issue of employee motivation. These myths include the following; the first myth is that people can only be motivated and empowered by their leader. Leaders must know that people can empower and motivate themselves and what might be necessary is to know how to, and creating and maintaining the necessary for each employee to empower themselves; the second one is the myth that money is a good motivation.

The fact is certain things, for example job security and better office may also prevent people from becoming less motivated although they may not improve the employee motivation; the third is the conception that fear is a great motivator. The fact is that it only works for a short time; the other one is the conception that what motivates one individual is what motivates the rest. The problem with this misconception is that different people are motivated by different thins even within the same organization.

There is also the misconception that increased job satisfaction means increased job performance. The reality is that the employees’ mission and activities need be aligned with the goals and objectives of the organization. Research reveals that the aforementioned misconception is not always true.

The author posits that there are basic principles one may remember while dealing with the subject of motivation. Leaders must be able to motivate themselves before learning how to motivate others. Enthusiasm at work place need be started by the leaders and that it will spread to other people. In this respect, leaders must also understand the need to improve things that will encourage self-motivation.

This accompanies the analysis or the careful look into factors or things that influence motivation of leaders and the need to improve on these factors. Leaders who are able to effectively identify the things that motivate them are also able to identify the things that motivate other people. In addition, leadership is an important aspect of and greatly influences the general flow of an organization. Leaders need configure the job to improve self-motivators such as connection and amount of time spent with the family, learning, service and recognition.

Whatever the factors contribute to the motivation of the employees, the organization must ensure that the results after motivation are linked with the goals of the organization. This means that the leaders must determine the results desired after motivation. McNamara theorizes that the organization or leaders need “ensure that employees have a strong input to identifying their goals and that these goals are aligned with the goals of the organization” when considering the steps to motivating employees (2008).

The leaders interested in increasing or working out employee motivation need identify and learn what motivates each employee through asking them, listening and observing them as they carry out the duties. According to the aforementioned author, it is important to consider that it is a process to sustain an environment where each employee can motivate themselves. This process is ongoing. It is important to make sure that employee motivation is supported and enhanced by organizational system in addition to the established interpersonal relationships because the latter can change for example during times of stress. These organizational systems include organizational policies and procedures, employee compensation and employee performance.

Research Question

This paper will seek to highlight and discuss the following research question; what factors influence motivation in organizations? In answering the question, the paper will analyze the related theory to factors that influence motivation. Some of these factors will be expected to be correlated.

Literature Review

This paper will seek to answer the aforementioned research question based exclusively on the available journal and other literature. The paper will analyze the related theory on motivation and factors affecting it. The paper considers material that theorizes on team activities in addition to activities at work.

The success of a business partly depends on the efficiency of staff. The importance of satisfying the needs for these individuals are important to boosts the quality and the quantity of work. Although good salary is important in motivating people at work place, it is inadequate in some circumstances because it cannot satisfy all needs. In addition, various people are motivated by various things. Wide research has been carried out on the subject of motivation even beyond 19th Century.

Hertzberg has developed a motivational theory also referred to as Hertzberg’s two factor theory. Hertzberg came out with a number of factors that motivated people at work place and those that prevented job dissatisfaction, from interview carried out in 1966. Motivator factors increased job satisfaction, and increased their efficiency while the factors preventing job dissatisfaction did not raise satisfaction but removed unhappiness out of work. The latter had the potential of reducing employee efficiency if they were not removed. The factors that led to motivation of employees include achievement, recognition, the nature of the work, and responsibility.

Those that led to job dissatisfaction included supervision, pay, employee working conditions, and how the business was run (ROK Connect Limited, 2008). Hertzberg’s position has been doubted by research findings which have proved that job factors like money and inter-personal relationship lead to satisfaction or dissatisfaction. His position is that the motivator and hygiene factors cannot operate in the same fashion as held by Hertzberg.

One of the criticizers of the Herzberg theorized the valency-expectation theory of motivation where “the strength (or force) of the motivation to act or to behave is a function of the algebraic sum of the products of valences multiplied by expectancies or probabilities (SViPi). An individual may have positive, negative and zero valence (refers to the feelings of the individuals). This theory supports individual differences. The organizational climate was supposed to ignite and incite the generators (Li, n.d.).

Achievement is attached to motivation in that individuals who achieve better results will be motivated to perform better than those who achieve poor results. In order to ensure that employees acquire achievement motivation, there is the need to clearly defined and achievable task objectives. Group tasks must be interlinked and clearly defined in addition to the establishment of the responsibilities of individuals.

The importance of setting clear, accurate, specific, open and proper objectives and tasks is to ensure that the performance of an individual is able to evaluate. Recognition of employees may be in terms of words, prizes, or other tangible rewards that may be offered to the employee after a specified level of performance. The level of achievement need be attainable. Employees find the motivation to continue performing well if they are recognized.

The rewards must be accessible because employees may not reach for them if they perceive that the rewards are not attainable. The leadership must work on the probability for reaching and achieving the performance to attain the specified rewards. Systems for reporting performance need also be established. The management need be able to identify necessary means of rewarding the individual and the group.

Mission and purpose of the organization also influences the motivation of employees or team players. Employees get motivated when they find that these missions and purposes are aligned to their personal wants and needs (Starkey, 2009). The challenge does not remain whether to analyze the employee wants and needs and align the organization goals and purposes, because it is common sense that an organization exists to accomplish specific goals and purposes which override and may automatically precede the individual wants and needs.

In fact, organization goals and purposes cannot be tailored in respect to the individual wants and needs because this would not only take much time, but is impossibility. A challenge where the employees’ interests and needs will be interlinked with the organizational goals and purpose is therefore identified. The solution to such a challenge is the tailoring of the conditions that favor interlink between the two. More over, minor differences that exist within and amongst groups must be identified and sorted out. The organization may still perform poorly when its purposes and goals are aligned to the interests and needs of a few people or groups while neglecting a few others.

Aligning the different needs and wants for different individuals to the few goals and purposes of an organization may be as challenging. While it is impossible to evaluate and sort out all of the differences, harmonization of these differences may be important. One approach is the identification of the conditions that are necessary to improve the motivation of the workers specializing in a particular group e.g. electrician, engineers, doctors, and the tailoring of existing conditions to achieve the proposed ones.

The importance of leadership in motivation can be and has been thought of. The management style impact on motivation has been focused by McGregor and Likert with the view that employee participation and democratic leadership would be provided where the leader or manager adopts behaviors in the management practices based on Theory Y or system 4 management. In this case, the employees would feel more responsible for the goals of the organization, and the leadership style motivates the subordinates to achieve job objectives leading to improved productivity and job satisfaction.

Leaders need empower people to make them responsible at work place so that they can feel involved in the running of the organization. Responsibility offers an opportunity for the employees to participate in running the organization. This makes them feel as a valued part in the organization and gives them increased motivation if it is accompanied with success in the responsibilities held. Members of an organization need to be made to contribute in terms of decision-making and procedural activities as resources not to be used to only work but to enhance the running of the organization. Leadership responsibilities makes members feel highly rated and respected and would rather contribute to the success as leaders of a certain group of people.


Making known to employees the specific goals they need to achieve and reinforcing their achievement of these goals makes them develop interest in what they do as long as their interests and wants is catered for. The organizational goals must be made clear and split into work objectives that specific workers must achieve. When the organizational goals and purposes are aligned to the needs and wants of individuals, it is both of them that benefit and not one of them.

If the organizational goals are not aligned with the needs and wants of the workers and the motivation is improved, the organization will loose because the results may not positively contribute to the goals and purposes of the organization. The differences between managers and leaders have been identified. Kalvar posits that managers make known to people the expected results and the means of measurement (2006). On the contrary, leaders give a general direction on what to be done and the measurement. The functions of the managers include the planning, controlling, directing, and organizing according to Erven.

In addition to the many external factors that influence motivation, organizations need have internal strengths that will make it handle issues of motivation. One such internal strength is the availability of influential leadership and management that does not only champion the accomplishment of organizational goals and purposes, but also that identifies the importance and means of developing channels that achieve the ends.

Mitzberg grouped managerial functions as decisional, informational and interpersonal. The latter entailed the role of motivating employees. Motivation therefore falls as a function of the manager. Leadership is one of the factors that influence motivation among people at the workplace. The style of leadership and management will determine not only the performance of employees and the organization per se, but also the need to improve the existing conditions to improve motivation.

In the execution of their roles which includes organizing, giving orders, coordination and controlling (according to Fayol; qtd. in Classification of Managerial Role (n.d.)), managers will be required to consider the importance of motivation in an organization.

A good leader does not only champion the meeting of the goals and purposes of the organization without the means to achieving these ends. A good leader seeks to establish channels that link the organizational goals and the purposes with the needs and wants of the workers. In consideration of the Fayol’s position that certain roles would help managers to accomplish certain functions, and that these roles will be carried out through direct interaction with people, managers and leaders must be good at interacting with people to be able to identify the needs and wants.

For example, in successful accomplishing of the function of planning, the leader need be able to accomplish certain roles like liaison, disseminating, and negotiation. Leaders who are innovative will identify ways through which organizational goals are to be linked with the individual needs and wants. In consideration of the Mitzberg’s position, leaders need be people who are diverse, in that they are able to link motivational skills with other skills that help them accomplish other functions or duties. There exist the needs to identify and develop channels that are able to sustain motivation for a long time even when the leadership is terminated.

The high-level staff need identify capability in the employees to hold certain responsibilities and develop leadership skills. It can also be perceived that these people will become future leaders, and how best they are developed may influence future performance of the organization. The leaders need train people on motivation, rather than view them as not concerned or supposed to.


This paper seeks to answer the question on the factors influencing motivation in organization. Motivation is linked to the success in performance or increased performance, and is important in our life at school or work. The theory on cycle of motivation posits that people engage in activities which they will excel in and excel in things they will enjoy participating in. the subject of motivation has been widely studied.

In the organization set-up, increased motivation may be achieved by considering more than one factor. Differences exist in an organization and therefore different groups of people or different individuals may be motivated by different things. This calls for the need to analyze the various things that motivate people and groups.

Hertzberg posited that there existed two factors, namely, hygiene factors and motivator factors, where the latter involved factors which improved motivation. These included achievement, recognition, the nature of the work, and responsibility.

Those that led to job dissatisfaction included supervision, pay, employee working conditions, and how the business was run. This position has been doubted in that job factors like money and inter-personal relationship may also influence satisfaction. Leadership and management hold a crucial role in identifying and improving personal capability, and responsibility in people, as well as making sure that the organizational goals and purposes are linked with the people’s wants and needs in order that the organization benefits from the improved results after motivation.


Further research need to answer a number of questions relating to motivation. These include the following;

  • To what extent does motivation contribute to improved performance, job satisfaction or dissatisfaction?
  • What linkage do the hygiene factors have with motivators in influencing motivation?

References and bibliography

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Douglas McGregor. (1960). The Human Side of Enterprises, McGraw-Hill, pp. 47-49.

Ford Robert. Job Enrichment Lessons from AT & T. (1973). Harvard Business Review Li Lamp. Human Motivation in the work organization: Theories and implications. Web.

McNamara Carter. (2008). Basics about employee motivation (Including steps you can take). Web.

Mintzberg, H. (1994). The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning. Harvard Business Review. Pp.107-114.

Paul, Robertson and Herzberg, Job Enrichment Pays Off. (1969). Harvard Business Review Rensis Likert, The Human Organization, McGraw-Hill.

ROK Connect Limited. (2008). Motivation in the workplace. Web.

Starkey Bob. (2009). Factors that influence team motivation. Web.

The Ten Management Roles of a Manager identified by Mintzberg. Web.

Warren Bennis. (1966). Changing Organizations., McGraw-Hill. G.H. Litwin and R.A. Stringer, Jr. (1968). Motivation and Organizational Climate. Harvard Business School.

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William Reif and Fred Luthans. (1975). Does Job Enrichment Really Pays Off? California Management Review, 1972 Richard J. Is Job Enrichment Just a Fad? Harvard Business Review.

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