To what extent can theories of motivation help managers manage employees in a modern knowledge-based organisation? Justify your answer. Purpose of this Essay: The purpose of writing this essay is to know and understand the need of motivation theories and relate them with the modern knowledge1-based organization in order to understand their effectiveness in the industry. The view of motivation was not common in the early days, but later after researches it became an important aspect for every industry and is a focal point for managers in this fast growing industry as its plays a vital role in order to progress a business successfully.
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Introduction to Motivation: Motivation can be operationally defined as: “The inner force that drives individuals to accomplish personal and organizational goals. ” – (Lindner, 1998) In the early time, employees in the industry are deemed for as just an input machine for manufacturing goods and services. Later after researches for employees behavior, referred as Hawthorne Studies conducted by Elton Mayo from 1924 to 1932 (Dickson, 1973), changed the perception and took it in a new direction which initiated the image that money is not key for motivating employees, its their behavior which links their attitudes (Dickson, 1973).
It is through the Hawthorne Studies that leads the needs and motivation of employees as the prime focus of managers (Bedeian, 1993). The Role of Motivation Before moving forward, we must know why do we need motivated employees? The answer to this is simply for survival (Smith, 1994). Today in these rapidly varying workplaces, motivated employees are needed. It means that motivated employees help organizations to survive as they are more productive. Managers in order to make the employees most effective give attention to what motivates them in respect of their roles within the industry which is the most complex role for managers.
This is due, in part, to the fact that what motivates employees changes constantly (Bowen & Radhakrishna, 1991). For example, research suggests that as employees’ income increases, money becomes less of a motivator (Kovach, 1987). Also, as employees get older, interesting work becomes more of a motivator. Motivation Theories Considering what motivated employees and how they were motivated was the focus of many researchers following the publication of the Hawthorne Study results (Terpstra, 1979).
There are many different motivation theories out of which five major approaches that have led to understanding of motivation are Maslow’s need-hierarchy theory, Herzberg’s two- factor theory, Vroom’s expectancy theory, Adams’ equity theory, and Skinner’s reinforcement theory which can be categorized among content theories and the process theories. – Content Theories2: These are those theories that explain why human needs change with time. Maslow’s need-hierarchy theory, Herzberg’s two- factor theory comes under this category since they attempted to explain why human needs change, but not how they change.
– Process Theories3: It attempts to explain the mechanism by which human needs changes. Some of the theories that falls in this category are Vroom’s expectancy theory, Adams’ equity theory, and Skinner’s reinforcement theory. Content Theories: Maslow’s need-hierarchy theory (1943): Maslow presented employee’s needs into five different levels. These are physiological, safety, social, ego, and self- actualizing. He argued that these needs are in a flow of hierarchy and that lower level needs had to be satisfied before the next higher level need would motivate employees.
To understand each level of hierarchy we should focus what each of the level means: Physiological Needs: These are the basic needs such as hunger, thirst, sleep, etc. These basic needs if remains unsatisfied results in sickness, irritation, pain, discomfort etc. These feelings results in motivation for their alleviation in order to establish homeostasis. Alleviation of these takes us to a higher level of needs. Safety Needs: These needs are mostly psychological in nature and deals in achieving stability and consistency in this hectic world for the safety of home and family.
Social Needs: Human desires to belong to groups like clubs, work groups, religious groups, family etc. We want to feel to be loved and accepted by others. Like performing artists are appreciated through applause, we actually need it to be needed. Esteem Needs: There are two esteem needs; one is self-esteem which results from proficiency of tasks, while other is the appreciation that comes from others. Self-Actualization Needs: This is the top level need which is the desire to become more and more what one is, and to become everything that one is proficient to become.
People who have everything can maximize their potential by seeking knowledge, peace, esthetic experiences, self-fulfillment, oneness with God etc. Implications for Management: Maslow theory of needs have some very vital implications for management in this present world of knowledge which can help the managers for motivating their employees through management style, job design, company events and compensation packages, some examples of which follow: Physiological Needs: If lunch breaks, rest breaks, and wages are provided, they can be sufficient to purchase the essentials of life.
Safety Needs: Can be fulfilled by providing safe working environment, retirement benefits and job security. Social Needs: By having teamed based projects and social events, a sense of community can be created for the employees. Esteem Needs: Appreciating and valuing employees by recognizing there achievements and by conveying the importance of positions through job title offers. Self-Actualization Needs: Challenging employees and providing challenges to reach their full career potential.
Each of us in the world are motivated by needs, and its part human nature that if the acquired needs seems to be fulfilled makes one more and more towards it. The hierarchy justifies managerial power, while at the same time absolving managers of accountability for ineffective motivational practices. The hierarchy seems to describe what the average employee seeks; it gives management a simple and quick means of understanding differences or changes in employee motivation (Huczynski, 1993: 24).
Salvation is also available to the masses since proper management of the ways in which people work and earn their living “can improve them and improve the world and in this sense be a utopian or revolutionary technique” (Maslow, 1965: 1). In this time of economic growth and plentiful jobs, when employees are easily able to leave one organization for another, Maslow’s hierarchy helps managers to treat those employees considerately, in order to ensure that they remain in the organization. The practical implementation of Maslow Theory was seen in Non-Linear Systems (NLS), a high-tech company based in California.
Its owner-entrepreneur Andy Kay organized the work environment around the principles of Maslow Theory. Employee creativity, cooperation and self-direction were encouraged as much as possible. There was a strong emphasis on employee training and growth on the job. Teams of line workers helped determine daily work schedules and activities. There was even a “vice president for innovation. ” It produced results: Absenteeism and turnover plummeted, while productivity and profits soared. NLS was demonstrating that the company’s and the employees’ interests could converge through what Maslow called “enlightened management. ” (Hoffman, 1988)