Developments In Business Simulation & Experiential Learning, Volume 24, 1997
THE APPLICATION OF ORGANIZATIONAL MOTIVATION PRINCIPLES:THE EXPERIENTIAL BUSINESS SIMULATION MOTUS MANUFACTURING
Gregory H. Patton, University of Southern California
This experiential simulation allows businessstudents to engage in planning and manufacturingactivities while working under conditions calledforth by different motivational theories. Identicaltasks are used with variable work factors,expectancies, and rewards in order to highlightkey factors of basic motivational theory found inintroductory management texts. This paper discusses this motivation based experientialexercise, reviews motivational theories and howthey are operationalized within the activity, andthen provides an assessment of the exercise basedon student evaluations.
The motivation of employees is a challenge thatmanagers are continually confronted with in theworkplace. In today’s business environment“employee motivation is perhaps the ultimatemanagement challenge” (Arnold & Krapels, 1996. p.9). Within the business school, theunderstanding of motivation is seen as central tounderstanding and managing organizational behavior. (George & Jones, 1996). Businessstudents who have experienced the application of motivational theories will be better prepared tocomprehend the behavior of their organization, toconfront these workplace challenges, and to position their organizations for long term success.Currently a degree of disparity exists between thecontents of organizational behavior text books,and the motivation based experiential exercisesthat are available to faculty who use these texts inintroductory upper division management courses.The management texts are exposing students to awide range of motivational theories (see George &Jones, 1996, Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn,1995). Yet activities in experiential OB texts have been more tightly focused (see KoIb, Osland &Rubin, 1995, Marcic, 1995). Activities like ringtoss that have been designed to accentuateMcClelland’s exploration of affiliation areeffective, but the focus remains on an individual’sconception of motivation. For a survey course inmanagement, it is unrealistic to assume thatclasses would be able to devote the time necessaryto individually focus on each theorist inmotivation research from an experientialstandpoint.A business simulation that allows participants toactively engage in planning and manufacturingactivities while working under conditions calledforth by different motivational theories wouldallow faculty in introductory management coursesto effectively expose their students to motivationalconcepts in an experiential activity. To addressthis need, Motus Manufacturing was created. Thisexperiential activity simulates four organizationsengaged in identical tasks with variable work factors, expectancies, and perceptions in order tohighlight key factors of different motivationaltheories. This paper will briefly review themotivational theories and how they areoperationalized, explain the facilitation of MotusManufacturing, and then discuss the results of conducting the exercise based on the student datathat has been collected.
MOTIVATIONAL THEORIES IN THEMARKETPLACE
Workplace motivation has been extensivelystudied, and there are a variety of theoriesintroduced in basic texts. The goal of thisexperiential activity is to expose participants to basic approaches that will create a coreunderstanding on which students can build. After discussion and trials, four approaches werechosen: Herzberg’s Dual-Factor