The importance of managers

Intrinsic motivators are ‘psychological’ rewards, and extrinsic physical or tangible rewards. Non-financial rewards have been recognised in the last few decades as another method to motivation. In the past managers always gave cash incentives to motivate workers, but after work done by Maslow, Mayo and McGregor other intrinsic motivators have been introduced. It was felt that workers would be psychologically motivated by task variety, self-regulation, and principles of closure, interaction and co-operation with others. (Hall 1997, p358)

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Tangible rewards were seen as the key to motivation until the 1960’s and 70’s when dissatisfaction with this method reached its peak. There are a variety of physical rewards workers can earn: salary, fringe benefits, security, promotion, contract of service, the work environment and conditions within work. (Mullins 1999, p407)Abraham Maslow first published the table above in 1943; whose theory stated that -for individual’s basic needs must be met, before progression on to the next higher level. Once a certain need has been met it is no longer a strong motivator, to motivate the person the next level of needs must be offered.

(Turton 1992, p227) Therefore Maslow asserts that ‘a satisfied need is no longer a motivator’. It is suggested by the table that the hierarchy is a fixed order this is not the case. Individuals are unique and value different levels as more important than others. A common reversal is that self-esteem is more important than belonging needs. Individual circumstances can change what is important to the person, though Maslow claims that the hierarchy is relatively universal among different cultures. (Mullins 1999, p417)

The problem with the hierarchy for managers is that not all the stages can be fulfilled within the work context. For example a worker with problems at home is unlikely to feel as motivated to work as normal, even if all other needs are met. Therefore a manager can never guarantee they are fulfilling all their workers needs. Managers will want to do everything they can to help motivate their workers this can be done in a variety of ways some of the most popular methods are; job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment. Theory in Practice

The most common ways to try and motivate workers without financial incentives are by differing the way a given task is generally done. Job enlargement gives employees a chance to do a number of small-related tasks as appose to just one repetitively. For example they might be able to construct the whole bicycle, not just the handlebars. This is meant to reduce boredom as the employees have a wider variety of tasks to do and encourage satisfaction with a sense of closure. However in contrast it is argued that it reduces efficiency because of a fall in productivity from carrying out a greater number of tasks.

Many workers also resent this because they prefer doing a singularly boring repetitive job so they do not need to concentrate as much. Job enlargement works better within a group situation, where each worker has specific jobs and job rotation can take place. (Hall 1997, p358) Job rotation involves workers changing jobs from time to time. This could mean moving down a production line or from one department to another. This should reduce boredom and give the employee a wider variety of skills and understanding of the business.

An employer will also gain from a more widely trained staff, as it allows for staff being ill and having trained employees who can take over. Although rotation might keep the worker interested, the time spent for the worker to learn new skills in each department would counter balance the gains in productivity. In addition moving workers from one boring job to another equally repetitive is unlikely to motivate them. Therefore this style of motivation has seen a reduction in use in the last decade. (Hall 1997, p359) Job enrichment is designed to give individuals a greater freedom and feeling of responsibility.

It focuses on intrinsic satisfaction; by giving employees authority over planning and execution of a task they should gain a greater sense of achievement upon completing the task. It is a more complex and challenging job that should develop their unused skills and encourage them to be more productive. Job enrichment isn’t without its problems though, workers who feel they are unable to complete the required tasks will not react positively to it feeling they have been forced in to it. Also not all employees will react in the same way feeling they should be paid more for the extra responsibility.

(Mullins 1999, p642)(Hall 1997, p359) Does motivation lead to greater productivity? Motivated workers should have job satisfaction. To gain higher levels of motivation as seen in Maslow’s hierarchy it is necessary to have job satisfaction. Herzberg’s theory suggests a relationship between job satisfaction and greater output from workers. However this is not always the case, employee’s can have job satisfaction and still not be motivated. If it is a job they enjoy and find easy, they have job satisfaction, but are not motivated enough to try and increase their performance.

All managers try to give their employee’s job satisfaction in the belief that a satisfied worker is a productive worker. However although there is a relationship, studies tend to suggest it is very limited, there is a slight linkage. Despite this managers must make sure that they cover the basic needs of employee’s as in Maslows hierarchy or else dissatisfaction will set in. This tends to lead to high staff turnover and absenteeism; Herzberg said that basic needs had to be fulfilled before it was possible to motivate workers. (Mullins 1999, p630)