According to Mullins (2002), motivation is the driving force within individuals by which they attempt to achieve some goals in order to fulfil some need or expectation. Another view of motivation according to Fullop and Linstead (1999) suggest that needs emerge and are constituted in social activities and experiences that shape our identities or the social self – that needs are socially structured and negotiated within the context of different knowledge and power relations.
BMW motivates its employees through rewards & compensation; quality leadership, easy flow of communication, exchange of knowledge, flexible working hours, empowerment to self organise, empowerment to make decisions, separating human and machines, provision of worker with great understanding of how the company operates and a succession plan to fill vacancies that may emerge, safer working environment, value-oriented staff policy and a host of others.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model, when a lower-level need is satisfied it ceases to be a motivator. The focus is then on a higher-level need on the hierarchy to motivate. Therefore to provide motivation for a change in behavior attention must be directed towards the next higher-level need that seeks satisfaction (Guirdham, 1996; Fullop and Linstead, 1999; Mullins, 2002). From the above analysis, it is evident that workers of BMW are highly motivated.
Work relationships are first brought about by the formal system of work, but are elaborated in several ways by formal contacts of different kinds. As Guirdham put it, “it is essential for social relationships to develop if cooperation at work is to succeed (1996). A team is described as a group of people with a common goal and purpose and which has cohesiveness and share common values and tends to develop norms (Procter and Mueller, 2000).
A workgroup according to Adair (1986) as cited in Mullins (2002) is a collection of people with definable membership, group consciousness, sense of shared purpose, interdependence, interaction and the ability to act in a unitary manner. BMW is structured around teams. The teams are empowered to self organise and manage, decides how tasks are rotated within the team and across team product, trained to move smoothly from working under supervision to working in self managing groups, make their own decisions and carry out responsibility for quality assurance, logistics, production and maintenance which had previously been the responsibility of various departments external to the teams. Teams, workgroups and quality circles are very important in an organisation when very well managed. Teamwork improves productivity, quality and encourages innovation; it improves employee motivation and commitment and takes advantage of the opportunities provided by technological advancement (Procter and Mueller, 2000; Mullins, 2002; Piccoli et al, 2004).
Experience from my former employment as an Accounts Relationship Manager in a bank in Ghana, in relation to leadership, motivation and teamwork is discussed below. Leadership in the bank is quite different from what is been seen in the BMW Group. Although there is some degree of trust and confidence in the worker, however, little or no autonomy is given for the worker to make decisions or to use personal judgment in dealing with customers.
All decisions are made by the manager or the leader and the worker is supposed to accept the decision made although no consultation was made with reference to the worker whom that decision affects. Thus there is one way flow of communication and is very much seen in autocratic style of leadership (Mullins, 2002; Guirdham, 1996; Fullop and Linstead, 1999). The leadership at my former place of work also has some elements and traces of democratic leadership. Conflict management and resolution is solely the responsibility of the first-hand managers (i.e. managers with the same status and rank as me). Delegation is also a feature of the leadership style of my bank and the leadership also encourages innovative ideas in confidence.
In relation to motivation the bank does it through the provision of safer working environment. Since we work with money the management has taken every necessary security measure to make the premises safe for banking business. Good reward and compensation plan has also been instituted to motivate workers. Management in a desperate attempt to let workers know that they are doing their best to motivate them bought a comprehensive life assurance plan for every worker. Acknowledgement of achievement by management also goes a long way to motivate workers. The bank also sends workers on refresher courses and training programmes for them to upgrade their skills and workers are also given study leave with and without pay to get further education. What the management of the bank fails to realise is that all workers cannot be motivated in the same way. They tend to forget that motivation is intrinsic and extrinsic (Rudolph and Kleiner, 1989). Some things that motivate one might not motivate another, for that matter there must be a balance blend in terms of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators (Robertson et al, 1992).
Teamwork in my bank was the expected and the ideal way for us to be efficient and to solving problems that relates to our work. Although teams were formed and were supposed to be working together, it wasn’t because it had been reduced to a white-elephant due to communication gap. This communication gap made the whole teamwork broke down. It is believed that teamwork can only thrive on cohesiveness and free flow of information and communication (Ulloa and Adams, 2004; Procter and Mueller, 2000).this has been proven in my bank as the teams broke down because of communication gap.
The evolution of organisations is a necessary evil? To a greater extent, it is good for efficiency and faster development of business organisations. However, the pace at which organisations are evolving if care is not taken a lot of jobs will be lost as businesses are becoming smaller and smaller (Piccoli et al, 2004). Self organising teams an ends or a means? Can businesses risk it given the level of autonomy that they wield? I think in as much as some degree of autonomy is given some fair amount of control must also be exercise over their activities to bring some checks and balances and sanity.
Motivation is in two folds, intrinsic and extrinsic. However there has been a focus on only extrinsic motivators and forgetting about intrinsic motivators. Are all workers motivated by the same things? Obviously not, for one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Then individual workers must be motivated by what motivate them. Some leadership styles fit very well in different organisations. However the fact that a particular style of leadership has been successful in one business does not mean that it will be successful in other companies when it is introduced there. The question then is why can’t it be applicable to any business? Because there is no one best way of leading and managing people (Mullins, 2002). For that matter businesses should be flexible in the way people are led and must be always ready to adapt to the changing trend.
To succeed, organisations have to become a complex adaptive system, operating through core principles that nurture flexibility and innovation (Guirdham, 1996). Learning and leadership Innovation has become an essential ingredient for a successful career. We need to be more like children, with thriving curiosity, forever exploring, asking questions, and trying things out. “The concept of an organisation itself learning transforms the basis of what leadership is about. Leading people in predetermined ways restricts development to that predetermined way. Getting them to broaden their own horizons broadens the horizons of the organisation too.
More self-development means they have more to giveback” (Bagshaw and Bagshaw, 1999). Innovation is the constant requirement for the twenty-first century. This comes first from individuals, but must permeate throughout the organisation. Knowledge must be shared freely to give it fuel for that growth. The status traditionally given to people who know a lot needs to be shifted to people who share a lot. This has been the backbone of the BMW group and from my own point of view the group has been very successful in their endeavours.