You are on page 1of 11

Motivational Theories & Current Trends of Motivating employees at workplace

March 2012

Varshish Shah
PGCHRM-13 SMS ID : 110407 Group No. 37 Center : Rajkot Faculty : Dr I S F Irudayaraj

From the very earliest of times people worked to endorse greater efficiency in the way things were done. Initially, this was mostly concerned with manual working methods. Improved methods, improved tools and incentives to the workforce were all part of the search for greater productivity. The world of work has changed enormously over time. Conditions, attitudes and expectations that prevailed in the ages before the Industrial Revolution were different from those that developed during this great period of social, technological and economic change. The same is now true as we in the Western world move from a post-industrial society into a technological age-an age where the difficulties, dilemmas and opportunities will be no less challenging than in previous times. There are many factors that affect the work style following few of them interrelated ones are: the motivation of people to be productive job design and work organization the importance of high leader expectations the HRM functions the contribution the application of ergonomics can make to employee motivation and productivity and the importance of communications in the workplace People work better when the environment, working methods, and the equipment have been designed to help them. If we add to this the natural motivation to do a good job-of-work for an appropriate reward, we can confidently anticipate improved productivity. Constantly improving productivity is something we all have a vested interest in, as it is the key factor that drives up living standards. High living standards are good for us, as those who enjoy a relative high standard of living tend to be healthier and tend to live longer. People consider Motivation to be a personal trait that is some have it some dont. In practice inexperienced managers often call people who lack motivation as sluggish. But it isnt true. What we know is that motivation is the result of the interaction of the individual and the situation. Individuals differ in their motivational drive. The level of motivation varies both between individuals and within individuals at different times. Employee motivation is the big challenge organizations are facing today. The fundamental question is: How exactly do we motivate our employees, or team members, to do their job the way it needs to be done and enjoy it, too?

Motivation is defined as the processes that account for an individuals intensity, direction, & persistence of effort towards attaining a goal. General motivation is considered with efforts towards any goal, but we narrow our focus on organizational goals. Intensity which is considered with how hard a person tries. This is the element most of us focus on when we talk about motivation. However, high-intensity is unlikely to lead to favorable job performance outcomes unless the effort is channeled in a direction that benefits the organization. Therefore, we have to consider the quality of efforts as well as its intensity. Effort that is directed towards and consistent with the organizations goals is the kind of effort that we should be seeking. Finally, motivation has a persistence dimension. This is a measure of how long a person can maintain their effort. Motivated individuals stay with a task long enough to achieve their goal. People are inherently lazy. This isnt true. All people are not innately lazy; and laziness is more a utility of the situation than an intrinsic individual character. If this statement is meant to imply that all people are inherently lazy, the evidence strongly indicates the contrary, many people today suffer from the opposite affliction-they are overly busy, overworked, and suffer from over exertion. Whether externally motivated or internally driven, a good portion of the labor force is anything but lazy. Managers frequently draw the conclusion that people are lazy from watching some of their employees, who may be lazy at work. But these same employees are often quite industrious in one or more activities off the job. Peoples need structures differ. Unfortunately, for employers, works often ranks low in its ability to satisfy individual needs. So the same employee who shirks responsibility on the job may work obsessively on the conditioning and antique car, maintaining an award-winning garden, perfecting bowling skills.


The following theories represent a foundation from which contemporary theories have grown, and practicing managers still regularly use these theories and their terminology in explaining employee motivation.

Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Its probably safe to say that the most well-known theory of motivation is Abraham Maslows hierarchy of needs. He hypothesized that within every human being there exists a hierarchy of five needs. These needs are:

1. Physiological: - Includes hunger, thirst, shelter, sex, and other bodily needs 2. Safety: - Includes security and protection from physical and emotional harm 3. Social: - Includes affection, belongingness, acceptance and friendship 4. Esteem: - Includes internal esteem factors such as self-respect, autonomy and achievement; and external esteem factors such as status, recognition, and attention 5. Self-actualization: - The drive to become what one is capable of becoming; includes growth, achieving ones potential, and self-fulfillment As each of these needs becomes substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant. In terms of the figure, the individual moves up the steps of the hierarchy. From the standpoint of motivation, the theory would say that although no need is fully gratified, a substantially satisfied need no longer motivates. So if a manager want to motivate someone, according to Maslow, one need to understand what level of the hierarchy that person is currently on and focus on satisfying the needs at or above that level. Maslow separated the five needs into higher and lower orders. Physiological and safety needs were described as lower-order and social, esteem, and self-actualization as higher-order needs. The differentiation between the two orders was made on the premise that higher-order needs are satisfied internally (within the person), whereas lower-order needs are predominantly satisfied externally (by things such as pay, union contracts, and tenure).

Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor proposed two distinct views of human beings: one basically negative, labeled Theory X, and the other basically positive, labeled Theory Y. After viewing the way the managers dealt with employees, McGregor concluded that a managers view of the nature of human beings is based on a certain grouping of assumptions and that he/she tends to mold his/her behavior toward employees according to these assumptions. Under Theory X, the four assumptions held by managers are: 1. Employees inherently dislike work and, whenever possible, will attempt to avoid it. 2. Since employees dislike work, they must be coerced, controlled or threatened with punishment to achieve goals. 3. Employees will avoid responsibilities and seek formal direction whenever possible. 4. Most workers place security above all other factors associated with work and will display little ambition. In contrast to these negative views about the nature of human beings, McGregor listed the four positive assumptions that he called Theory Y: 1. Employees can view work as being as natural as rest or play.

2. People will exercise self-direction and self-control if they are committed to the objectives. 3. The average person can learn to accept, even seek, responsibility. 4. The ability to make innovative decisions is widely dispersed throughout the population and is not necessarily the sole province of those in management positions. Theory X assumes the lower-order needs dominate individuals. Theory Y assumes that higher-order needs assume dominate individuals. McGregor himself held to the belief that Theory Y assumptions were more valid than Theory X. Therefore, he proposed ideas such as participative decision-making, responsible and challenging jobs, and good group relations as approaches that would maximize an employees job motivation.

Two-Factor Theory
The two-factor theory (sometimes also called as motivation-hygiene theory) was proposed by psychologist Frederick Hertzberg. In the belief that an individuals relation to work is basic and that ones attitude toward work can very well determine success or failure, Hertzberg investigated the question, What do people expect from their jobs? He asked people to describe, in detail, situations in which they felt extremely good or bad about their jobs. According to Hertzberg, the factors leading to job satisfaction are separate and distinct from those that lead to job dissatisfaction. Therefore, managers who seek to eliminate factors that can create job dissatisfaction may bring about peace but not necessarily motivation. They will be placating their workforce rather than motivating them. As a result, conditions surrounding the job such as quality of supervision, pay, company policies, physical working conditions, relations with others, and job security were characterized by Hertzberg as hygiene factors.


ERG theory
Clayton Alderfer has reworked Maslows need hierarchy to align it more closely with the empirical research. His revised need hierarchy is labeled ERG theory. Alderfer argues that there are three groups of core needs-Existence, Relatedness, and growthhence, the label ERG theory. The existence group is concerned with providing our basic material existence requirements. They include the items that Maslow considered to be physiological and safety needs. The second group of needs are those of relatednessthe desire we have for maintaining important interpersonal relationships. These social and status desires require interaction with others if they are to be satisfied, and they align with Maslows social need and the external component of Maslows esteem classification. Finally, Alderfer isolates growth needsan intrinsic component from Maslows esteem category and the characteristics included under self-actualization.

In contrast to hierarchy of needs theory, the ERG theory demonstrates that (1) more than one need may be operative at same time, and (2) if the satisfaction of a higher-level need is lenient, the desire to satisfy a lower-level need increases. ERG theory also contains a frustration-regression dimension. ERG theory counters by noting that when a higher order need level is frustrated, the individuals desire to increase a lower-level need takes place.

McClellands Theory of needs

McClellands theory of needs was developed by David McClelland and his associates. The theory focuses on three needs: achievements, power, and affiliation. They are defined as follows: Need for achievement: The drive to excel, to achieve in relation to a set of standards, to strive to succeed. Need for power: The need to make others behave in a way that they would not have behaved otherwise. Need for affiliation: The desire for friendly and close interpersonal relationships. Some people drive to succeed. They are striving for personal achievements rather than rewards of success as per work done. They have a desire to do something better or more efficiently than it has been done before. This drive is the achievement need. From research into the achievement need, McClelland found that high achievers differentiate themselves from others by their desire to do things better.

Goal-Setting theory
Gene Broadwater coach of the Hamilton high school cross-country team gave his squad these last words before they approached the line for the league championship race: each one of you is physically ready. Now, get out there and do your best. No one can ever ask more of you than that. In late 1960s, Edwin Locke proposed that intentions to work toward a goal are a major source of work motivation. That is, goal tells an employee what needs to be done and how much effort need to be expended. The evidence strongly supports the value of goals. More to the point, we can say that specific goals increase performance; that difficult goals, when accepted, result in higher performance than do easy goals; and that feedback leads to higher performance than does no feedback.

Goal-setting theory presupposes that an individual is committed to the goal; that is, is determined not to lower or abandon the goal. This is most likely to occur when goals are made public, when the individual has an internal locus of control, and when the goals are self-set rather than assigned.

Expectancy Theory:
Currently, one of the most widely accepted explanations of motivation is victor vroom's Expectancy Theory. "The strength of a tendency to act in a certain way depends on the strength of an expectation that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual". In more practical terms, expectancy theory says that an employee will be motivated to accept a high level of pressure when he or she believes that effort will lead to a good performance appraisal; which will lead to good org rewards such as bonus, a salary increase, or a promotion; and that the rewards will satisfy the employee's personal goals. The theory, therefore focuses on three relationship: 1. Effort performance relationship. 2. Performance-reward relationship. 3. Rewards-personal goals relationship. The key to expectancy theory is the understanding of an individual's goals and the linkage b/w effort and performance, between performance and rewards and, finally, between the rewards and individual goal satisfaction. As a contingency model, expectancy theory recognizes that there is no universal principle for explaining everyone's motivation. In addition, just because we understand what needs a person seeks to satisfy does not ensure that the individual perceives high performance as necessarily leading to the satisfaction to these needs.

Current leanings to motivate professionals

Provide them with ongoing challenges projects. Give them autonomy to follow their interests and allow them to structure their work in ways they find productive. Provide them with lateral moves that allow them to broaden their experiences. Reward them with educational opportunities training, workshops, and attending conferences that allow them to keep current in their field. In addition reward them with recognition. And consider creating alternative career paths that allow them to earn more money and status, without assuming managerial responsibilities.

Manager as motivators Latest way

The theories which we have discussed so far address different outcomes variables. The theories also differ in predictive strengths. 1) Need Theory : Four theories focused on needs. These were Maslows hierarchy, two factor, ERG, and McClellands needs theories. The strongest is the McClellands needs theory, which is regarding the relationship between achievement and productivity. 2) Goal-setting theory : The evidence leads to conclude that goal-setting theory provides one of the more powerful explanations of this dependent variable. 3) Reinforcement theory : This theory has an impressive record for predicting factors like quality and quantity of work, persistence of effort, absenteeism, tardiness, and accident rates. It does not offer much insight into employee satisfaction or the decision to quit. 4) Job design theory : This theory addresses productivity, satisfaction, absenteeism, and turnover variables. But it may be limited to employees who place a high importance on finding meaningfulness in their jobs and who seek control over the key elements in their work. 5) Equity theory : This theory also deals with productivity, satisfaction, absence, and turnover variables. However, it is the strongest when predicting absence and turnover behaviors and weak when predicting differences in employee productivity. 6) Expectancy theory : This theory focused on performance variables. It has proved to offer a relatively powerful explanation of employee productivity, absenteeism and turnover. But expectancy theory assumes that employees have few constraints on their decision discretion. It makes many of the same assumptions that the rational model makes about individual decision-making.

Effective implication Essence to Successful upshots

Communicate responsibly and effectively any information employees need to perform their jobs most effectively. Employees want to be members of the in-crowd, people who know what is happening at work as soon as other employees know. They want the information necessary to do their jobs. Employees find interaction and communication with and attention from senior and executive managers motivational. Provide the opportunity for employees to develop their skills and abilities. Employees want to continue to develop their knowledge and skills. Employees do not want jobs that they perceive as no-brain drudge work. Employees gain a lot of motivation from the nature of and the work itself. Employees seek autonomy and independence in decision making and in how they approach accomplishing their work and job. Elicit and address employee concerns and complaints before they make an employee or workplace dysfunctional. Listening to employee complaints and keeping the employee informed about how you are addressing the complaint are critical to producing a motivating work environment. Recognition of employee performance is high on the list of employee needs for motivation. Many supervisors equate reward and recognition with monetary gifts. While employees appreciate money, they also appreciate praise, a verbal or written thank you, out-of-the-ordinary job content opportunities, and attention from their supervisor. Employees appreciate a responsive and involved relationship with their immediate supervisor. We at our organization follow many such theories with effective solicitations deriving fruitful results. The ratio for Gen Y being 70:30 in comparison to older generation, it becomes more important to keep them engaged their way on our terms. From my two years of experience as a lead campus recruiter and induction process owner, it is perceptible that Gen Y dislikes authority. The best way to get things done from them is listening them, appreciating them, and being friends with them. They definitely like recognition for their contribution especially when appreciated in mass in presence of their colleagues which motivates them. The most successful managers today are those who have learnt the mere art of being people savvy. This new generation wants to be listened to; they want to be part of critical decision makings and want to be recognized in front of their peers. Our organizations engagement levels have improved significantly in last couple of years wherein we have tried our level best to keep the associates in way of organizations success. We have been following various practices to keep people engaged and motivated with communication meets, reward

and recognition, Learning & Development, Coffee with CEO etc. Thus providing numerous platforms for associates to share their concerns, thoughts, ideas, knowledge which are being heard of making each associate feel as a team player and not a mere spectator. Every person is motivated. Whether that motivation revolves around work, a hobby, the family, the spiritual side of life, or food, each person has some items or issues about which he or she feels motivated to take action in his or her life. You cant motivate another person. You can only provide an environment at work that is conducive to and supportive of employees choosing to become motivated about issues related to work. Your actions in the workplace either encourage motivated behavior or they discourage employee motivation. In some workplaces, company policies and management behavior actually crush motivation. Much of the workplace environment that encourages employee motivation involves management time and commitment: genuine interest and caring, employee-oriented policies and procedures, and attention from both senior managers and line managers are all appreciated and valued. Motivation is prevalent in workplaces where people are treated as valued human beings. Trust, respect, civil conversation, and listening prevail in a workplace that fosters employee motivation. Clear direction plays a serious role in motivating employees. When I run polls about what supervisory behavior makes a manager a bad boss, the lack of clear direction ranks first consistently. Employees want to know exactly what you expect from them. When they have the reassurance of clear direction, motivating employees becomes easier because you and they have created a framework for their expected performance. Employee motivation is a constant challenge. What motivates one employee is not motivating for another. Research indicates that while treating employees nicely is a factor in motivation and happy employees are also a factor in employee motivation, more is needed for a successful organization. After all, a workplace of happy employees is great, but it doesnt guarantee quality products delivered on time, delighted customers, or profitability all essential to providing those happy employees with jobs. Factors such as demanding goals, success measurements, and critical feedback ensure the organizations success. Motivation at work is a choice employees make. No matter how hard managers try or how supportive company policies are, there is a bottom line for motivating employees. Employees choose to exhibit motivated behavior at work, Manager can try and know various ways of motivating employees, but employees are ultimately in charge of motivating themselves. In short, employee motivation is the vital ingredient to achieving performance, progress and realizing enterprise goals.

List of References

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. 18 Feb. 2012. Alessandra, Tony, and Rick Barrera. "Motivating to Excellence." Security Management Nov. 1992: 20+. Questia. 20 Feb. 2012. Burton, James P., Thomas W. Lee, and Brooks C. Holtom. "The Influence of Motivation to Attend, Ability to Attend and Organizational Commitment on Different Types of Absence Behaviors." Journal of Managerial Issues 14.2 (2002): 181+. Questia. 20 Feb. 2012 Chris Argyris. 20 Feb. 2012. Cottringer, William, and Jeff Kirby. "Light Their Fires: Find out How to Improve Employee Motivation and Increase Overall Company Productivity." Security Management June 2005: 90+. Questia. 4 Mar. 2012 0trends%20in%20organizational%20design.pdf Wheatley, Margaret J., Finding Our Way, Leadership for an uncertain time, BerrettKoehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco, 2005 My Organisation Essar Power Ltd.