“Managers and leaders in organizations should ensure that employees are motivated to increase their efficiency.”
Motivation refers to specific reasons that make people choose to do certain things and not others. Motivation is directly related to the production in an organization. The higher the staff morale the higher performance is likely to be achieved. In today’s modern management managers are forced to record high performance, drive the organization into its peak performance, and steer economic as well as strategic organizational prosperity. This can only be possible when there is appropriate personnel with the desired level of motivation to take the organization to where it should be. (Alpar, Losoncz, 2005)
However different organizations in different geographical areas have different cultural goals which affect performance in these organizations hence having different motivational factors. Work goals or what drives people to work differ across cultures for instance in Russia work goals or what motivates most people to work are based on extrinsic factors which include money, status, and position stability in the work environment.
In other parts of the world like the UK and Turkey, there are totally different factors associated with work goals. In the UK it is based on job-intrinsic as compared to extrinsic in Russia, these factors include variety, ability to get interesting tasks, and knowledge improvement in the job position on the other hand factors contributing much in Turkey are social aspects which include balancing of work and family matters, friendly superior, mutual aid and shared responsibility. (AllenWhittom, MarieChristineRoy, 2009)
This paper aims to build the reader’s knowledge of understanding the concept of motivation by looking at factors perceived as satisfiers as well as hygiene across different cultures. Drawing attention to the theories of management brought by different management scholars including Maslow, Herzberg as well as Mintzberg. The paper also tries to explain why motivation is an important management practice especially in the current economic environment where most economies including those of giant and small organizations are threatened by the world’s largest global economic and financial recession. Well, not every organization has the same motivational needs, whether service or product-oriented industry but the impact is felt all over. (Lucier, 2003)
Different schools of thought have emerged in an attempt to try and explain the reasons for dismal or spectacular performance as exhibited by different employees in the workplace regardless of the cultural context. While others tend to think that training level and professional and technical qualifications are the core contributing factors, other scholars’ base performance squarely on the level of morale. Conventional thinking cites the latter as the main reason for high performance. This exposes us to the intricacies corroborating the need for motivation as a key organizational tool in today’s management dispensation. In this context, we start by looking at motivational concepts. (Anne Canuto. Etal, 2006)
The incentive theory
Incentive theory refers to a situation where a reward tangible or intangible is presented to the employee after having done an action shown a particular behavior to cause that behavior to reoccur. Many scholars have repetitively argued that when an employee receives an immediate reward after performing a duty then the effect is likely to be so great. A reward can be either extrinsic or intrinsic. The former means that a reward that comes out of the employee i.e. money and praise, the latter refers to an internal reward e.g. satisfaction of a feeling of having achieved a certain goal or accomplishment.
Culture plays a great role in determining the kind of rewards that are offered in different organizations based in different countries. In the UK motivation is intrinsic with factors like availability of variety, interesting tasks, and whether the job will allow knowledge improvement while in Russia it is extrinsic with factors like the amount of money offered, the job position stability, and the status that the job gives you in the society. (Jennifer &Nanette, 2009)
Incentive reward dates back to the classical periods and remains the most common type of motivation in our modern management in the business environment. In practice, most organizations still use incentives to influence performance. This includes monetary rewards, tangible benefits that can be directly attributable to an employee’s performance. However, incentives at times may prove to be defective. Some studies have shown for example that a monetary reward can only be used to influence performance up to a certain level. (Anne Canuto. Etal, 2006)
Intrinsic motivation occurs when people engage in activities without the immediate expectation of incentives. In the workplace employees are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they can be able to base their performance results on internal factors like the amount of effort they put, they strongly believe that they can be effective agents in achieving their desired goals where luck does not feature anywhere, and finally where they are interested in understanding the techniques and responsibilities associated with carrying out certain job functions. This is the true position in the business today.
Managers are spending sleepless nights trying to make discoveries into how they can be able to instill this kind of motivation into their employees. Intrinsic motivation is rated as the best type of motivation worldwide and is mainly practiced in the UK among other nations. (Jennifer &Nanette, 2009)
This is a type of motivation that comes out of the performer. Extrinsic motivation is organizationally biased and the desire is usually determined by the organization. Extrinsic motivation involves using monetary reward and authority. As has been discussed a monetary reward can only be used to influence performers up to a certain level for example where people are driven by achievement money may be irrelevant. On the other side, authority and control will depend on the organizational structure. Business entities that are built on the premise of rigid and turgid structures may become unpopular among a particular group of employees. This type of motivation is highly practiced in Russia among other nations because of the cultural factors in that area. (Amabile, etal, 1994)
Self-control is one of the factors under social factors and contributes much to individual motivation depending on the culture in the given place. Self-motivation is triggered by drives and desires pinned on the emotional intelligence of an employee. In this theory, both drive and desire are treated as a deficiency or need that activates behavior that is directed to achieving a goal or an incentive. These feelings are identical within an individual and are likely not to require a stimulus to influence the behavior. In an employee, a drive could be sparked by the ability of the job to enable him/her to balance work and family matters, friendly superior, mutual aid, and ability to achieve shared responsibility. (Akerlof& Kranton, 2000)
Theories of motivation
Just as is described above there are several theories of management as put down by different scholars. This chapter tries to look into some of these theories and goes ahead to analyze their relevance to contemporary management practices. Many of these are laid down in literary works and form part of the archives contributing to the development of academic research. (Amabile, etal, 1994)
The drive theory
This is a theory that human beings have certain biological needs like hunger. The strength of this need increases with time. Once satisfied by fulfilling its desire, i.e. eating, the drive’s strength reduces. This theory has come under fierce criticism questioning its authenticity. It fails to explain how secondary reinforcements may reduce the drive. It is widely recognized that money does not satisfy any biological need but may reduce its drive regularly through making payments, etc.
It’s also difficult to explain how a hungry man cooks a meal without eating the food before it is ready. In this situation, the human restraint contrasts with the drive. Human beings can restrain from certain acts despite being under pressure by drive. This eliminates the need for a drive and therefore the drive theory may fail to hold much weight in this sense. (Akerlof& Kranton, 2000)
The cognitive dissonance theory
This is experienced when one finds him/herself in a tight situation where he has to make a decision. The decision made is likely to contradict the behavior. It is like an opportunity cost. For example, when one decides to be prosperous in the future yet he is lazy. Another example is where one wishes to be holy yet he is ever drunk or stealing. (Amabile, etal, 1994)
Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of needs theory
This is the most interesting theory of motivation that has attracted a large following in an attempt to understand the concept of motivation. The theory just like other motivational theories is affected by culture since based on different cultures the hierarchy of needs appears different. What makes this theory to be the most desired by every management researcher is that Abraham asserts that human needs are insatiable i.e. they can never be fulfilled at once and will keep on recurring now and again. The satisfaction of one need ignites another need to resurface and so on. (Jennifer &Nanette, 2009)
This theory operates as follows; the behavior of human beings is influenced by their wants and desires and that only unmet needs strongly influence the behavior, human wants are satisfied in order of priority. The most essential ones become the priority as the least follow. As the hierarchy progresses the more individuality and humanness and psychological health an individual will portray. Maslow’s theory has not escaped the wrath of critics who have argued that the diagram may be difficult to explain and that human needs could be explained by more than the hierarchy diagram. Maslow classifies human needs into five main categories i.e. psychological, safety, belongingness, self-esteem, and self-actualization. (Amabile, etal, 1994)
Herzberg’s theory of motivation
Fredrick Herzberg gives two categories of motivation factors; satisfiers and hygiene. Satisfiers refer to factors that give positive satisfaction and include recognition, responsibility, and challenging work. Hygiene refers to factors that do not necessarily motivate but may be serious dissatisfactions in absence. These include; salaries, fringe benefits, job security, and job status. Herzberg’s theory remains the most relevant in our contemporary management.
A critical look reveals that for any effective products to be realized employees must be motivated through either improving the content of hygiene or by constantly reviewing the satisfiers. In a practical situation, whatever kind of motivation must encompass the elements brought by Fredrick Herzberg. Similar sentiments are shared by other management scholars including the drive and cognitive theories respectively. (Jennifer &Nanette, 2009)
His theory is built on the belief that human beings are purposeful and can set and achieve their goals. The ability to reach a goal is precipitated by an urge and drive which in most cases is a reward. For any goal to be efficient, it should be affected by; proximity, difficulty, and specificity. A realistic goal should present a circumstance where the time between the initiation of behavior and the end state is close. In a real-life situation, many unsuccessful people are the ones who set unrealistic goals. An effective platform for performance is where reality is achieved. This theory explains the importance of setting achievable goals as a drive for increased performance. (Akerlof& Kranton, 2000)
According to Maslow, psychoanalysis has often demonstrated that the relationship between a conscious desire and the ultimate unconscious aim that underlies it need not be at all direct. (Amabile, etal, 1994)Psychotherapists have also pointed out that certain behaviors are so obvious that the reasons for them are actually absent in the individual’s subconscious mind. Generally, unconscious motives add to the hazards of interpreting human behavior and the fact that they are available complicates the manager’s work.
In contrast, any knowledge that unconscious motives exist in a workplace becomes subsequently instrumental in evaluating behavior problems. This theory is sometimes called the power of the conscious mind although many psychologists argue that the particular behavior is only exhibited when an individual is under stress or anxiety. (Akerlof& Kranton, 2000)
Why motivation is important in an organization
Motivated employees will make the organization to be more innovative by looking for better ways of doing work. This means that firms will be in a good position to meet customer requirements through the introduction of new product versions, designs and extraordinary ideas. (Jennifer &Nanette, 2009)
Highly motivated Employees are more productive. They will always be working to meet the organization’s target. When this happens production is enhanced and the firm can meet its long-term as well as short-term objectives. (Amabile, etal, 1994)
Where staffs are self-motivated, they need less supervision since each employee will be working to achieve his/her target. This will enable the management to dedicate time to some of its strategic activities. The organization will also be efficient as part of the money that could have been paid to an additional supervisor is channeled to another investment portfolio. (Jennifer &Nanette, 2009)
Motivation will ensure that employees are qualitative. Motivated staffs are quality-oriented. Most customers around the world look for quality products and services. With the current competitive climate, organizations are increasingly looking for avenues for which they can satisfy their customers and thus increase their market shares. This is only possible when there is competent personnel with the necessary motives to warrant such performances. (Akerlof& Kranton, 2000)
Typical motivational agents within an organization
Leadership style shown by the management can either be motivating or demoralizing. Authoritarian, autocratic, and bureaucratic aspects of leadership represent a scenario where employees believe that they are slaves. Some employees would not want to work under supervision. This is because they always believe that the boss is likely to pinpoint their mistakes. In this situation, only dismal performance will be recorded. Most employees feel free when they are left alone and therefore, they can be able to perform more. Organizations should therefore be reviewing their leadership style regularly to determine whether it has a problem. (Jennifer &Nanette, 2009)
Delegation refers to the process of transferring appropriate and relevant authority to an employee and thus making him responsible in an organization. Most employees feel high esteemed when they are given certain portfolios to hold in an organization. They also feel more recognized when occupying those positions. Organizations should have a policy of identifying certain employees meeting specific criteria to be considered for upward mobility. This adds staff morale and therefore they will ever be working hard to meet such criteria as set by the management. (Akerlof& Kranton, 2000)
A reward is an incentive given to employees to influence their performance. Rewards are used widely across the world. They may be in the form of money, praise, fringe benefits, etc. where an employee has reached the organizational target the reward should be given by the policy of the organization. Care should be taken especially when dealing with monetary rewards as they can either lead to motivation or demotivation. (Amabile, etal, 1994)
Working conditions refer to the general working atmosphere. In certain organizations, preset rules and regulations are governing the actions and behavior of every employee. The working conditions include employee’s protection, job security, safety standards, culture, leadership style, etc. most employees like working in an environment where they define their responsibilities through their own relationships as opposed to being defined by the organization’s structure. Where staffs are free to intermingle with their colleagues in a sociable manner they can perform more and at times surpass the organization’s target. (Jennifer &Nanette, 2009)
Rotating employees has the element of providing a challenge. Given the fact that new environments come with new features requiring the employee to sharpen his/her skills is a satisfier. When certain staffs feel that they are challenged, they will need to work more to discover better ways of tackling such tasks. This culture is highly practiced in audit firms. While other scholars argue that rotation carries an element of psychological disruption, most studies show that the practice increases staff morale. People who have been doing the same job for a long time become bored. Where there is boredom people tend to relax and therefore only dismal performance can be achieved. (Amabile, etal, 1994)
The focus of management should be geared toward ensuring that employees are working at their most efficient levels of production. Within a working environment, an employee will exhibit different psychological and emotional characters, a good manager should be able to manage all these characters to ensure maximum performance. Most importantly is that the management should be able to create an atmosphere that can allow growth in work and look for solutions independently. From the study, it is clear that motivation drives employee satisfaction and efficiency in an organization though not all theories support this.
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