The issue of motivation is a corner stone of organisational functioning, development, competitiveness and, yet, effectiveness. Over the past decades, the way in which people are managed, promoted and stimulated at workplaces has become a primary key to assess and improve organisational efficiency and marketability and became a part of a general organisational strategy. In terms of globalisation and rapidly changing business environment, as well as growing competitiveness on the market, modern companies increasingly need to rely rather more on their skilled and motivated personnel than on pure technologies and products.
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Steve Jobs, CEO of legendary Apple Computers states that in terms when technologies may be stolen and products may be easily duplicated by competitors the only way for a company to achieve and sustain its competitive advantage is to invest in its personnel (Miner, 2005). At the same time, both phenomenon and process of motivation are not as simple as they may appear to be. In terms of complex human nature there is literally no single and universal key that may motivate all people well enough without exceptions.
A good illustration to this idea is a number of theories of motivation that have been developing in organisational science and organisational psychology since early XX century. In this assignment I will assess key theories of employees’ motivation and examine factors and processes that may affect successful motivation. Early theories of motivation: The first tentative ideas of motivation based on scientific principles date back to the early XX century. These ideas are associated with American schools of management, particularly with F. Taylor’s “scientific management” and E.
Mayo’s “school of human relations”. Frederick Taylor was the first who underlay business practice with significant theoretical findings. Taylor assumed that material side is not the major motivation of the employees. Instead, people need to be motivated in order to work more effectively. Taylor suggested the policy of stick and carrot based on the principles of punishments for poor performance and appraisals for better working efficiency. Besides, Taylor was the first to identify the needs of the employees and hire nurse and psychologists to his company (Miner, 2005).
However, Taylor’s ideas were good enough for people with poor knowledge (Taylor employed his findings to motivate workers), his principles of motivation soon became outdated. Elton Mayo, who represents alternative school of motivation, reconsidered Taylor’s ideas significantly. During his longitudinal Hawthorne experiments Mayo found in addition that salary is not the best motivation for people. Instead, he found out that people are sociable by their nature and they work effectively if they receive a positive feedback from administration.
Other key findings of Mayo were (i) people’s need for communication, (ii) existence of informal groups and (iii) group moral (Gillespie et al, 1993). Present research would be incomplete without an analysis of two broad types of motivational theories that dominate in modern organisational science. Traditionally, researchers subdivide two general types of motivational theories, i. e. content and process ones. These theories identify different factors and processes that underline human motivation (McShane and Von Glinow, 2001).
Content theories suggest that people have certain needs and desires that are internalised. It means that while growing up people have learned that these are the things they want. This group of theories tries to identify these needs and find the ways to realise them. This demonstrates that the major factor that determines people’s motivation is their needs. The most well-known content theories are Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, D. McGregor’s theory of motivation; D. McClelland’s three needs approach, and F. Herzberg two-factor theory (McShane and Von Glinow, 2001)
Process theories on the contrary do not focus on the needs themselves, but rather on complex cognitive processes, i. e. : what people think when they decide whether or not to put effort into a particular activity. The classic process theories are J. S. Adams and V. Vroom’s theories of motivation (McShane and Von Glinow, 2001). Maslow’s theory of motivation: a revolution in organisational science During 1950s the diverse human relations and human factors approaches were united into a broad organisational approach.
This period was the heyday of organisational science as during that time major concepts that motivation were developed. The most important of such theories is obviously Abraham Maslow’s (1954) theory of motivation. Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” provided a framework for analysis why people work and how they may be motivated in the best way (McShane and Von Glinow, 2001). Abraham Maslow defined five general needs of people: basic needs, safety needs, social needs, need of affiliation, and need of self-actualisation.
These needs, according to Maslow, may be presented in the form of triangle where basic needs serve the fundamental needs and need of self-actualisation is the top. Observing Maslow (1998) people can not “climb” the motivational stairs without realisation of their early needs. The processes and factors that affect motivation according to Maslow’s theory may be identified the following way: Basal needs – people need to have decent material reward and feel sure in their future in the company
Social needs and needs for affiliation – employees need to feel respect (affiliation) from the major executives and CEOs, as well as have enough “personal space” for communication in the company Supreme needs – employees should see perspectives and opportunities of self-actualisation in the company. Modern theories of motivation: analysis of factors and processes that influence motivation at work Maslow’s idea brought to life a number of studies on motivation (Price, 2000).
The key of them to be mentioned are D. McGregor’s “X and Y theory of management”, D.McClelland’s theory of three needs, F. Herzberg motivation-hygiene theory. S. Adams’ equity theory, V. Vroom’s expectancy model, etc. David McGregor’s theory of motivation is now considered nonetheless important than Maslow’s classic hierarchy of needs. In his model which is much based on Maslow’s theory, Douglas McGregor looked in depth of human nature. Observing Taylor’s and Mayo’s approaches and analysing his own business experience McGregor decided that all people may be subdivided on two types and each of them requires brand different motivational strategies (McShane and Von Glinow, 2001).
In defining these subtypes of employees McGregor subdivided Maslow’s hierarchy into the lower order (X Theory) and higher order (Y Theory). Thus, he achieved two following types of people: X-type employees are lazy and not willing to work. They are pessimists and are not willing to accept the responsibility. Therewith, the managers need to adopt more authoritarian style of motivation (more stick than carrot) to make such people work Y-type employees, reversely, are self-motivated, willing to work and eager to accept greater responsibility.
According to McGregor, such people require only slight “motivational push” and need more appraisals than punishments (Miner, 2005; McShane and Von Glinow, 2001). Thus, summarising McGregor’s findings and fitting them into the objectives of present project I need to underline that major factors affecting the process of motivation lie in the nature of an employee. Thus, it is an employee’s type of personality that requires certain type of motivation. D. McClelland’s theory of three needs was another milestone in development of modern organisational science and examining what factors and processes affect the process of motivation.
While McGregor believed in the inborn traits of people that further shape their personal types, David McClelland stated that employee’s specific needs are acquired over time and are shaped by unique life experiences. Motivation of people is influenced by three of these needs, i. e. : achievement, affiliation and power (Miner, 2005; McShane and Von Glinow, 2001). People with a high need for achievement try to avoid both low-risk and high-risk situations. They need a regular feedback and appraisals from managers. High achievers should be given challenging projects with reachable goals (McClelland, 1975).
People with a high need for affiliation need harmonious relationships with other people and need to feel accepted by their social environment. They easily conform to the social norms and group pressure. Such people are best motivated in teams and through informal leadership (McClelland, 1975). Employees with high need for power subdivide on two types – personal and institutional. Those needing personal power want to direct others, which is often undesirable. Persons who need institutional power (or social power) need to organise and direct their efforts on further goals of organisation.
The working way to motivate both types of people is to provide such “power seekers” with the opportunity to manage others (McClelland, 1975). Thus, McClelland’s theory of three needs as well focuses on personal traits of the people and the factors and processes that affect motivation should be identified in human personality. The factors that affect motivation in the given case are wrong identification of people’s types (1), misinterpretation of their needs (2), and mistaken motivational approaches to each type of people (3).
F. Herzberg motivation-hygiene theory proposed the two-factor theory of motivation in the workplace. According to his theory people are influenced by two key factors, i. e. : hygiene factors and motivational factors (Miner, 2005; McShane and Von Glinow, 2001). Hygiene factors, observing Frederick Herzberg, are very important though they are not true motivators. Instead, they rather provide general “working atmosphere” through providing acceptable physical environment, payments, benefits, relationships with co-workers, etc.