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Published by: Sharman Mohd Shariff on Dec 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Name: Sharman Mohamed ShariffStudent ID No.CGS00421017Center of Graduate StudiesMPM Intake: May 2009
INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENTCase: The Container Store’s Motivating ExperienceSource: Certo, Samuel & Trevis (2009)
Modern Management 10e
, pp. 436-437Question 6aHow does the Container Store use behavior modification to motivate itsemployees
Behavior modification is a strategy used by managers to motivate organizationmembers. As stated by B.F. Skinner, the Harvard psychologist considered by many tobe the father of behavioral psychology, behavior modification focuses on encouragingappropriate behavior by controlling the consequences of that behavior. According to thelaw of effect, behavior that is rewarded tends to be repeated, while that which ispunished tends to be eliminated.Although behavior modification programs typically involve the administration of bothrewards and punishments, it is rewards that are generally emphasized because they aremore effective than punishments in influencing behavior. Obviously, the main theme of behavior modification is not new.Positive reinforcement is a reward that consists of a desirable consequence of behavior,and negative reinforcement is a reward that consists of the elimination of an undesirableconsequence of behavior. According to behavior modification theory, positivereinforcement and negative reinforcement are both rewards that increase the likelihoodthat a behavior will continue.Behavior modification programs have been applied both successfully andunsuccessfully in a number of organizations. Management at Emery Worldwide foundthat an effective feedback system is crucial to making a behavior modification programsuccessful. This feedback system should be aimed at keeping employees informed of the relationship between various behaviors and their consequences.
Other ingredients of successful behavior modification programs are the following:1.Giving different levels of rewards to different workers according to the quality of their performances2.Telling workers what they are doing wrong3.Punishing workers privately in order not to embarrass them in front of others4.Always giving out rewards and punishments that are earned to emphasize thatmanagement is serious about its behavior modification efforts.So, how does The Container Store use behavior modification to motivate itsemployees? The first and foremost actions taken by The Container Store as explainedby Kip Tindell, CEO and co-founder of the company are by educating and empoweringthe employees and providing them with the appropriate tools so that they could servicethe customers to the fullest. Behavior modification is also use to unite the employeesinto having a common goal. By providing top notch training, employees feel proud,respected and confident in carrying out their daily work.Communication of all type of information formerly regarded as ‘highly classified’ i.e.chain-wide goals, daily sales results, facts and figures which are usually available onlyto the most senior managers to the employees will make them (the employees) feel thatthey are part of the company, hence, whatever actions they took during their course of work would be carried out with the company’s goal at the top of their minds. As KipTindell was saying as he acknowledges that even if there are risks involved, “but wedecided a long time ago that the advantages of communicating information thatempowers our employees and strengthens their development and loyalty far outweighsthe disadvantages of that information falling into the hands of competitors.”The Container Store’s philosophy on employee development sets them apart from other retailers. The Container Store matches employees’ strengths with the needs of thecompany, focusing on talents rather than titles. By using the behavior modificationtechnique, they were able to achieve an annual turnover in full time employees of just8% and for part-timers, 20%, far below that of a typical retail firm.
Name: Sharman Mohamed ShariffStudent ID No.CGS00421017Center of Graduate StudiesMPM Intake: May 2009
Case: The Container Store’s Motivating ExperienceSource: Certo, Samuel & Trevis (2009)
Modern Management 10e
, pp. 436-437Question 6bDo you think the Container Store would be a successful if its managers appliedTheory X assumptions? Why?
In his 1960 book,
The Human Side of Enterprise,
Douglas McGregor proposed twotheories by which to view employee motivation. He avoided descriptive labels andsimply called the theories
Theory X
Theory Y
. Both of these theories begin withthe premise that management’s role is to assemble the factors of production, includingpeople, for the economic benefit of the firm. Beyond this point, the two theories of management diverge.
Theory X
Theory X assumes that the average person:
Dislikes work and attempts to avoid it.
Has no ambition, wants no responsibility, and would rather follow than lead.
Is self-centered and therefore does not care about organizational goals.
Resists change.
Is gullible and not particularly intelligent.Essentially, Theory X assumes that people work only for money and security. Drawingon Maslow’s hierarchy, McGregor argues that a satisfied need no longer motivates,Under Theory X the firm relies on money and benefits to satisfy employees’ lower needs, and once those needs are satisfied the source of motivation is lost. Theory Xmanagement styles in fact hinder the satisfaction of higher-level needs. Consequently,the only way that employees can attempt to satisfy their higher level needs in their workis by seeking more compensation, so it is quiet predictable that they will focus onmonetary rewards. While money may not be the most effective way to self-fulfillment, ina Theory X environment it may be the only way. Under Theory X, people use work tosatisfy their lower needs, and seek to satisfy their higher needs in their leisure time. Butit is in satisfying their higher needs that employees can be most productive.

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