Motivation Role in Management


Motivation is the act of influencing someone to take an action to achieve a certain goal (Montana& Chanov, 2008). Motivation of employees depends on the nature of the job, the organization culture of the company and personal characteristics. In this case study, there are various theories that influence and show how employees can be motivated in the work place.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs theory

According to Maslow (1954), Maslow’s model of hierarchy is a motivation theory that explains human motivation and behavior. According to Abraham Maslow, motivation comes from unsatisfied needs. He came up with a model with needs arranged on a pyramid with the bottom having the most primitive and on top the mature needs. These needs have to be satisfied from the lowest level (basic needs) to the highest (self actualization).

The first level needs are the physiological needs that the human body requires to survive like food, water, sex and breathing. The second levels are the safety levels that include clothes, shelter, financial security and good health. The third level is love and belonging needs where one wants to form relationships, friendship and belonging. The fourth level comprises the esteem needs which is the need to feel respected, have confidence, achievement and self esteem.

The last order of needs is self actualization, where an individual has reached his full potential and is more concerned with personal growth and becoming the best one can be. After satisfying one level of needs, the next level comes in to replace lower level.

The needs in this hierarchy are both external and internal and the basic needs are the most compelling. In this case, Tom has no motivation at work, he has satisfied his basic and safety needs and management should seek to satisfy his esteem needs. This is through promotions and recognition of accomplishments. Once he satisfies the needs, it stops being a primary motivator.

Dick feels the need to belong, and this makes him an excellent team player but he is not that productive working alone. If self esteem needs are met, he will perform exemplary. Harry’s main motivation is money and his safety needs have not yet being met; therefore, he can be motivated through the provision of various compensation option and other non monetary benefits.

Herzberg’s two factor theory

This theory explains that satisfaction and dissatisfaction at the work place are caused by different factors which are independent of each other. Absence of the factor that causes satisfaction does not necessarily mean dissatisfaction of the worker. The theory focuses on outcomes that lead to high levels of motivation and satisfaction and those outcomes that prevent employee satisfaction.

The hygiene factors are extrinsically motivated to acquire material/social rewards and also avoid punishment. They form the physical/psychological context in which work is performed. Motivation factors are related to the job and how challenging it is. They are intrinsically motivated and determined by the workers’ will to work.

Tom has his hygiene needs met, since he has a good pay and job security, but for him to be totally motivated, the motivation has to be intrinsically motivation. In this way he is able to meet his motivation and hygiene factors to be productive. Motivation needs are met through the creation of interesting and challenging work. Redesigning Tom’s job description to have more responsibilities and be challenging will motivate them to work harder and he will not have to do bare minimum at work.

Dick also needs more motivation needs met, by increasing individual responsibility and job autonomy and he will learn to be productive on his own. His hygiene factors have been met through the compensations schemes in the company but he needs to be intrinsically motivated to work individually as well as in a team. Harry’s hygiene needs have not been met as he does have interest in the work he does but is more concerned about the pay.

A balance of meeting his hygiene factors through desired compensation schemes and motivation needs by provision of opportunities to grow is important. Harry will become a better and productive employee once he starts focusing on those needs related to work will making sure he is well compensated to avoid job dissatisfaction.

McClelland’s motivational Theory

This is a theory put forward by psychologist David McClelland that explains what motivates human beings. They are motivated by three things: the need for power, achievement and affiliation. These needs are learned and reinforced by society (Beck, 1999). We have all three but one will be more pronounced. Having needs for power and achievement are good motivators in management, while that of affiliation can be detrimental to management.

This can be caused by the lack of objectivity in management as one tries to subjective with the subordinates. A person shows needs for power by the urge to lead and impact people or situations. Having power over other people is also a characteristic of the need for power; however, institutional power is that which a person strives to lead his team/company.

The need for achievement is by the need to excel/ succeed and achieve. It is often characterized by the setting of high but realistic goals. A person with such needs works better alone or with other high achievers. The need for affiliation is the need to feel liked, respected and appreciated. People with such characteristics are very good team players and thrive in customer service oriented environments.

Tom has a strong desire for affiliation; he portrays this by how he always puts his family 1st and treats them as the center of his world. Since he is a warm and charming person, he can be given responsibilities that require people with good people skills like marketing. His need to create and maintain relationships makes him an effective negotiator/marketer.

Dick, like his colleague Tom, has a need for affiliation, this makes him an excellent team player, but he should be motivated to work alone. As a manager, I will try and find out what he excels at and create that needs to achieve in that particular field. Harry has a need for financial achievement and believes that he should be well compensated for his work and contribution to the company.

Porter and Lawler’s expectancy model

This theory borrows some parts of Victor Vroom’s theory that explains how motivation of behavior selection is determined by the desirability of the outcome. It focuses on the input, performance and the outcome. High motivation is when employees’ reasoning that high efforts into a task result in high performance, which is rewarded with desired rewards. According to Koontz & Weirich (2010), motivation is the product of anticipated worth a person places on a goal and the chances he/she sees of achieving that goal.

Porter and Lawler’s expectancy theory states that the value of the reward, nature of the task, effort required to complete that task, ability to perform that task and the probability of the effort yield a reward determines that the level of effort that an employee puts in a task. The rewards have to be desired and deserved, for them to be a motivating factor (Porter & Lawler, 1968).

Tom is more motivated by a reward that has a direct impact on the family. He puts in just enough effort to remain at his job and earn a salary to meet the family’s needs. He can be motivated with a reward system probably of a family vacation after meeting several targets. This is likely to motivate him since he desires and deserves the reward. Dick can be motivated by a reward that makes him stand out from the rest of the employees.

This will boost his confidence, so when faced with a similar task in the future, he will put more effort, since he has the confidence to do it and get the desired reward of recognition. In Harry’s case, I would try and increase intrinsic rewards that motivate him to work harder by recognizing and rewarding his hard work. He could do well with clearly defined duties, so that he can measure his achievements as against set goals.

Empowerment as a motivational tool and goal setting participation

Goal setting theory by Edwin Locke & Gary Latham proposes that a manager can increases motivation and enhance productivity by setting specific challenging goals (Daft &Lane, 2010).

Clear goals motivate employees, especially if they are involved in the goal setting and managers help them stay on track and receive feedback. Goal setting motivates people by giving them direction, towards which to focus their effort and energy to achieve the goals (Goldstein, 1994). The goals energize behavior and employees are able to devote their efforts to important tasks, and are able to prioritize. All these lead to high satisfaction and morale, which results in motivation.

Empowering the employees leads to higher motivation and increased effectiveness as they seek the best ways to accomplish tasks and creativity in handling issues. Empowerment is power sharing, delegation of authority to subordinates in an organization. The staff is empowered through the provision of information that helps them operate functionally in the company. Proper training equips them with skills to enable to perform their best.

They have access to substantive power that allows them to make decisions concerning their work. Empowerment gives autonomy to the employees, Dick would respond positively to empowerment and it would give him a chance to take up tasks on his own. The fact that there is always someone telling what to do, he does not take the initiative to do things individually. The empowerment gives him the power to decide the best way to do things will make him more responsible and dependable.

Tom and Harry would benefit from participating in goal setting. They are able what the company expects from them and they will work towards achieving that. With clear, specific and attainable goals that the employees have participated in crafting they will feel a sense of ownership and be able to own the productivity process.

Hersey & Blanchard’s situational leadership model

Leadership style depends on the maturity level of the group or individual (Mackay & Alexander, 2007). The leadership styles range from telling, selling, participation and delegation. None of the leadership style can be used on alone; a good leader must be flexible to meet the needs of his organization. Successful leaders adjust their style according to task maturity/readiness off the followers. These styles should be adjusted over time as the followers mature.

Tom is skilled but unwilling to work, so as a manager, I would use the Selling management style with him. This is done by providing direction, two ways communication combined with telling style on some tasks that he may be reluctant to take on. Dick is very skilled and works well under supervision, so to enable him develop the ability to work alone I would use participation and delegation leadership style. Harry is very assertive and does his job well, therefore, he would respond well to participation and delegation.

Transformational leadership vs. Transactional leadership

Transformational leadership is where the leaderships challenge the employee and organization set up and seeks to transform them. These leaders motivate people to do more than they originally intended or even thought possible. Such a leadership enhances morale, motivation and performance. The leader comes up with vision and mentors the employees, so they feel part of the mission and have a collective Identity.

The leaders are mentors to the followers, and this leadership is characterized by the change of values, expectation and motivation. The leaders share the vision with the followers and inspire them to sacrifice self interest for the sake of the group. This emphasizes employee motivation and performance, and by mentoring the followers they are able to achieve their full potential.

In transformational leadership, the leader provides individualizes consideration to the employees, also mentors them to improve and become leaders. Employees or followers are able to tap into their leader’s inspiration, learn from him and be inspired to be better. The leader communicates the goal and the team in turn finds the way forward together. This leadership assumes that people will follow a person that inspires them, and is a role model.

Transactional leadership is based on the interaction between the leader and the employer. It is based on the assumption that people are motivated by reward or punishment. It involves the management having a clear cut structure that defines the roles of the subordinates and the expected reward/ punishment. The chain of command is strictly followed. Transformational leadership is more effective as it increases commitment, loyalty and satisfied followers. All these increase employee effectiveness.

Transactional leadership emphasizes on the exchange and the influence is based on personal interest (Bass, 2006). Tom would find the transactional leadership more appealing, because is not very motivated in his work and this would make him want to work hard for the rewards. Dick would respond well to transformation leadership where he can be mentored to reach his full potential.

He would learn to be more confident and able to communicate effectively with his fellow workers and clients. Harry would find transformational leadership more appealing since the employees have role models and individualized attention. He is able to discover his potential and work on improving himself.

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership achieves more by giving priority to the employees needs than any other type of leadership style. Managers that value and respect their employees enjoy improved performances of their organization. This management philosophy implies a comprehensive view of the quality of people, work and community (Greenleaf, 1977).

When employees are treated extremely well by the leadership, they in turn treat the customers very well and the company prospers. The employees develop a corporate culture and this fosters team work. This type of leadership encourages strong employees’ relations while boosting morale and a greater sense of commitment among them.

The subordinates would all respond differently to this type of leadership and the impact is different. It is hard to figure out Tom, but a servant leader can be able to figure him out through listening. Servant leaders are intend on listening to others to identify the will of the group. According to Greenleaf (1977), all employees have some intrinsic value to the company beyond their tangible contributions as workers. Dick can be coached by the leader to grow his confidence and me more assertive, becoming a very productive employee.


According to Mumford (2010), power is the capacity of one person to influence behavior or attitudes of others. French & Raven (1959) classify power in leadership in five categories: legitimate, expert, coercive, reward and referent power. Coercive power involves the follower avoiding punishment from the leader and does not encourage performance it just discourages bad behavior. Reward power is the power that involves the employee seeking rewards provided by the person in power.

The employees desires are the rewards and this influence their behavior and motivation. These rewards come in various forms such as pay/bonuses, status, praise and promotions. Expert power is power that involves followers’ beliefs that the person in power has the knowledge and expertise. Referent powers are when followers admire/like the person in power and try to identify with him. The people chose to follow the person in power. Legitimate power is that which comes from the title or position in the organization.

Tom and Dick would respond well to Coercive power as they are both not assertive and will only do something when they are told to do it. They do not go out of their way to think and do something that they think should be done. Tom does the bare minimum just to get by, while Dick is not dependable to work on his own. Harry would respond positively to reward power, since his is highly motivated by money. If he knows that doing a certain task will result in a reward, he will be highly motivated to do it.

I have assumed a leadership role in Ace systems and from the information I have gathered, there are many issues in the management of the company. Some of the issues raised relate to leadership, motivation and management of the company. The first problem is the low motivation levels of employees. The employees are also not so productive on their own and lack the creativity and assertiveness to sell their departments to top managements or to their colleagues.

Another issue is the compensation schemes in place do not seem to be working as well for all employees. There seems to be a communication problem between employees and management and the employees, like in the case of Harry who keeps harassing the management concerning pay rise and compensation and is viewed as a nuisance. There is a need for changes in the following areas of management: motivation, planning and goal setting, performance appraisal, compensation schemes and leadership style (Kreitner, 2007).


As the leader, it is paramount to identify what drives the employees, and what motivates them. Discover the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators that are important to them. In this scenario, the best motivation strategy involves empowering employees, an effective reward system, work place flexibility and redesigning of the jobs (Mackay & Alexander, 2007). Empowering employees involves giving them autonomy, trust and authority to perform certain tasks.

Through corporate entrepreneurship, employees are encouraged to embrace new ideas and autonomy to carry them out as long as they are not contrary to the company’s objectives. Another effective tool of empowering employees is equipping them with information and skills to be more productive on their own, without constant supervision. The learning process should be continuous through trainings and on the job teaching (Banks, 1997).

According to Murrel & Meredith (2000), to empower employees the manager needs to enable talent and capability, foster accomplishment, build effective relationships. I should also be a leader, coach and a mentor to the employees. Reward system should focus on positive reinforcement (encourages desired behavior) as people expect an outcome out of doing something. The reward system should be specific, meaningful, achievable, reliable and timely.

The objectives of the reward system are to attract and retain most valuable employees. Research shows that those companies with a high level reward system attract and retain most people in the recruitment process (Milkovich & Wigdor, 1991). Rewards should be based on performance so that the most hardworking and valuable performance are satisfied and continue being more productive. Reward system can also be tailored to reduce absenteeism and promote productivity by maximizing satisfaction.

Another objective of the reward system is to motivate performance when employees associate important rewards with performance they will be motivated to work harder. The system should also equate effort and performance expectancy. The amount of effort or energy put into a certain task should be correlated with the improved performance that is tied to a reward. The system should also consider the different preferred outcomes by the employees.

Every employee is unique and what one considers an attractive or desired reward may not be the same with another employee. The base of the reward system is very important since it determines what behavior it to be rewarded and reinforced. This is important because the employees will tend to portray the behavior that is rewarded and ignore that which is not desired.

The reward system should be based on the company’s objective since the management gets what it pays for. The reward system can be based on the job, skills or performance based. When its performance based the criteria can be group or individual merits (Jenkins et al., 1992)

Redesigning jobs increases employee motivation through Job rotation, enlargement and enrichment. This is because the same routine causes monotony and boredom which results in loss of morale. Job enlargement is done by increasing the variety of tasks for the employee. It may reduce the monotony but does not increase the challenge in the job. Talented employees become de-motivated and have low morale if the job is too simple and unchallenging (Ghuman, 2010).

Job rotation is when employees are assigned different jobs on a temporary basis. This brings new enthusiasm and renewed interest as they learn new thing at different capacities in an organization. This develops a versatile worker who can work in any department in the company.

Tom, my subordinate can benefit from this type of redesigning off his job, since he is really bored and this is characterized by his obvious lack of motivation and absenteeism. Job enrichment is also known as vertical loading where the employee gets more responsibility and variety of tasks. This improves performance and morale and works well with employees seeking more challenging work. The company might incur costs in the retraining of the employees to enable them to perform well.

Flexible work places allow employees to set and control their work hours to accommodate the workers needs. This is through flexi time, telecommuting, compressed work hours and other seasonal schedules. Flex time allows the employee to choose the hours they want to work centered on core time. Core time is when all employees should be available in the office and they have the option of modifying the starting time and quitting time.

Compressed workweek allows work to be completed in less than the standard 40hours per a five day week. The common one is forty hours in a 4 day week. This results in decreased absenteeism and improved performance. The other option is job sharing or twinning where a job is split between two or more people with similar qualifications. This type of arrangement gives the company an opportunity to get talented workers who they cannot have on full time basis (Dunnette & Hough, 1998).

The employees are also able to strike a balance between work and their families. Telecommuting is also another option that allows workers to have part of the work done outside the office for example work-at –home plan. The flexi place plan increases productivity and most employees report less distractions and are more disciplined in their work. These flexi work place practices reduce burn out, increase morale and job satisfaction

Conflicts that can cripple the organization

The conflicts affecting the organization are personality, communication and are mainly caused by generational problems. Generational problems are as a result of the generation gaps between various employees and management. Each generation has its own beliefs and different major events that shaped their lives. Lack of a working relationship between the different generations in the work place strains communication and effective functioning of the company.

As the new manager I need to understand first what each generations view are and see how there can be a harmonious coexistence in the work place. The oldest generation is the veterans; those born before 1945.They were shaped by the depression and the Second World War. They are very conservative, follow rules, obedient and have great respect for authority.

The baby boomers generation is those born after the war between 1946 and 1964. They are team oriented, with a fresh perspective, very optimistic and overly sensitive about feedback. They form the highest number of top executives in the world and have workaholic tendencies. This generation was followed by generation Xs who were born between 1965-1980. They are the first generation to try and achieve life/ work balance and only work as hard as needed. They are optimistic, entrepreneurial and creative lot.

It is believed that they are not very loyal to their employees and constantly question authority. They are followed by generation Y of those born between 1980-1999, who are extremely comfortable with technology and have the notion that they should be valued by the company. They need constant and continuous feedback and are very result focused.

With this information, the management can now understand different behavior from different employees and is able to reinforce the desired behavior and tap into their strengths. They have different concepts in regards to attitudes towards work, team work, loyalty towards the employer, communication, training styles and needs.

Effective management of the generational conflict

The first management task is accommodating employee differences, by learning their unique needs and meeting them accordingly. This could explain Tom’s behavior, he believes in the culture of the hippie period in the baby boomers generation The hippies did not value the importance of work and it was viewed as a means to earn a living only and a burden. I will have to choose a mix of several management styles to be able to deal with each employee.

Communication and respect are also effective in management of this conflict. According to Tolbize (2008), conflicts are likely to arise from error of attribution and perception rather than individual differences. The most appropriate communication is aggressive communication that brings out the new perspectives from the younger generation and wisdom from the older generation. It is important to understand that asking questions/ questioning authority are not a sign of disrespect or wanting to cause trouble.

Harry in the case scenario is an employee who questions authority and asks many questions. It is good to avoid making decisions made on assumptions before finding out the motives behind a certain kind of behavior. I should also be careful how I handle the feedback and communication with the younger generation, they always want to be in the know and appreciate fast feedback on email, text or Instant Messaging.

Training also takes different modes with different generations. The older generation may prefer classroom instruction, the younger would prefer technology based training and learning. All generations respond well to team work, discussion groups and peer interactions. The younger generation prefers leadership training while the older generation would rather have skills training in the area of their expertise.

Another effective way of managing this conflict is by retaining of employees right from selection and recruitment. As the leader of Ace Systems need to start treating employees as valued members of the organization, this way they will want to stay in the company. As long as employees feel valued, recognized, supported and appreciated they will want to stay in the company despite their generation.


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