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satisfaction in work organizations.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. Motivation can be defined as “the forces within a person that affect his or her direction, intensity and persistence of voluntary behaviour” (Bratton, 2010). It is of great interest for managers to know what motivates their employees and how they can motivate them. Content theories of motivation deal with what motivates, while process theories deal mostly with how. Intrinsic motivation is defined as that which motivates the individual to perform for no other reward that the work itself. Sources of motivation outside the individual are termed as extrinsic, in the form of tangible rewards (Bratton, 2010). Job satisfaction refers to how well the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards for performing a job satisfy the individual’s needs and desires (Wilson, 2004). Workers can uphold their motivation levels regardless of the external conditions if they are self-motivated, which results in better performance and job satisfaction. I will evaluate the strengths and weakness of content and process theories of motivation, comprising Maslow’s need hierarchy, Herzberg’s two-factor theory, Alderfer’s ERG theory and McClelland’s Achievement Need Theory, Equity Theory, Expectancy Theory and Goal-Setting Theory. I will also incorporate practical examples of how these theories have helped companies achieve their goals. Maslow (1963) arranges needs in a hierarchical fashion. He states people work up the hierarchy by satisfying each need in turn, starting from basic food and shelter and culminating with self-actualisation. This is defined as ‘the intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately what the organism is itself,’ i.e. the desire to ‘become more and more of what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming’ (Maslow, 1943). Maslow states not only must an individual fulfil the preceding needs of safety, love and esteem, but also operate under the ‘B-values’ of honesty, integrity, and morality in order to fulfil self-actualisation. A work environment where these values are encouraged, where feelings of respect, sharing and altruism are standard occurrences, makes it easier for people to grow towards their tendency to self-actualize, thereby motivating them to take responsibility of their work. Incorporating opportunities to self-actualize within job itself can have a positive impact. For example, setting varied and challenging tasks with regular and constructive feedback can help employees gain greater satisfaction from their work. Human contact is another important factor to consider here; workers respond much better to managerial goals if they feel they feel they are personally valued. (Reference) Maslow’s model cannot be applied directly as it was not intended to be a managerial tool (Bratton, 2010) and is aimed at individual development rather than general motivation. This theory also lacks empirical support (Wahba and Bridewell 1976). Alderfer (1972) adapted Maslow’s theory to the workplace, condensing the 5 levels into the 3 of relatedness, growth and existence needs. His frustration regression principle states that people can regress to a lower need if a higher need is frustrated. This means that a need can continue to be a motivator even after being satisfied. For example, Arnold and Boshoff suggest that even higher order needs can motivate front line workers by increasing their self-esteem. The model’s broad assertions, however, make it difficult to verify (Wilson, 2004).
In some cases. 1964). By recognizing their positive contributions. 88. 64. According to Lord and Hohenfeld (1979). 67. 85. 78. Individuals with a high need for achievement. They are intrinsic to the work and satisfy the person’s need for self-actualisation (Maslow. We can see it is important for managers to adopt as rewards system that responds to the needs of employees. Needs are learned (McClelland. Hygiene factors do not motivate but are the primary cause of job dissatisfaction. Employees felt they were making significant contributions rather than being singled out at their individual stations in the assembly line. 81. 83. 74. 98. In a study by Alf Nachemson. 90. 77. 93. Fineman (1977) found no correlation between results of the questionnaire and TAT results. workers were made to work in small groups. In a study of checkout staff at supermarkets (Adams. 84. McClellend’s need for achievement theory (1961) is perhaps of more potential value to managers attempting to understand motivation in the workplace (Brooks. 56. 59. Those with a need for power should be given an opportunity to manage others. 2010). Herzberg states that managers can motivate subordinates if they incorporate ‘motivators. 89. the rate of absenteeism from back pain was almost twice as much in those workers who felt they had no control over their work environment. 73. hygiene factors have found to be motivators as well. In the case of Volvo. Growth or motivator factors are the primary cause of job satisfaction. 1961). The dominating need will determine how employees respond to different types of work (Harrel and Strahl). while making sure hygiene factors are not a cause for distress. 1963) it cost approximately 27 percent more to operate the store in which the inequity was higher. 2004). (Banner and Gagne). 102. This worked towards improving social contact. 87. 66. 71. 94. managers can further motivate them to perform well. It can be a powerful method of retaining key employees (Wharton School of Business. 103. suggesting there was low predictive validity and reliability (Entwhistle 1972). 80. It states that workers compare their effort to their results and of those in similar positions to them. Herzberg’s two-factor analysis (1968) argues that factors involved in producing job satisfaction and motivation are separate and distinct from the factors that lead to job dissatisfaction (Wilson. or skills involved in doing the job (Wilson. 53. 1963) ‘explains how people develop perceptions of fairness in the distribution and exchange of resources’ (Bratton. 2004) may temporarily readjust inequity. 99. 68. If they feel the outcomes to be inadequate they can be said to experience inequity. 60.’ into job design. 75. 1953). 2004). 62. 72. 63. 97. 2009) to foster greater employee satisfaction. 65. 91. Hollinger and Clark (1983) found vandalism to be another reaction. for example. This two-factor approach is well supported by research (Brooks. and thus exerting more effort than the minimum required by the employment contract. McClelland identifies three basic needs for all individuals: power. 70. 69. 58. while those with a need for affiliation should be given the chance to work in a team (Long. have a strong desire for feedback about their performance (McClelland et al. but may be an oversimplification for something so complex as motivation (Vroom. 2008). 61. 57. 82. 2003). Equity theory (Adams. 76. workers lower their performance in order to make up for the perceived inequity. 55. completing a full assembly procedure rather than repeating the same individual task. but is unlikely to work in . 95. 1964). affiliation and achievement. 79. adding variety to the work. Redefining their reference group.51. 96. 101. The testing system for needs is easy to use. 100. so manager’s can place individuals in specific training programs where they will be motivated to find their niche in certain skills needed in the organization. 54. and includes either a questionnaire or the Thematic Apperception Test. 86. Pleasant working conditions can lead to employees identifying with the firm. 92. 52. and making it challenging.
119. 105. 144. 122. 155. 115. 148.S. 109. possibly because they have the foresight to predict how employees will respond to wage cuts. 128. and it is unlikely they will carry out all the complicated calculations implied by this model (Wilson. the link between effort and performance. increasing the attractiveness of the outcome through motivators such as social recognition could boost the employee’s perceived valance (Bratton. 151. managers must take account of this for their rewards system to be effective. 2010). 139. 142. 130.104. 154. Expectancy Theory builds on Equity Theory to give a more thorough and detailed explanation for motivational behaviour. In my opinion. 114. therefore. John Lewis has ranked within the top five last year of the recession survivability index published by the Guardian. and are encouraged to . on-site doctor. and how elements of work motivation relate to one another in the motivation process (Bratton. Finally. so will be the overall motivation. 138. 117. Vroom’s initial work (1964) states that effort is a function of expectancy. 149. insurance policies. 123. 153. 131. 135. Porter and Lawler (1968) developed this model to show the importance of informal learning and social comparisons. 121. childcare. 146. motivators have been directed at the personal interests of the employee (John Lewis Partnership Handbook). 2010). Goal setting theory does not cover the complexity and depth of employee motivation as do the other theories. 145. I can attest to this from personal experience: my mental focus will be dissipated if I’m not clear about my goal. instrumentality. financial planning assistance. In this case. 143. 111. 140. the decision making process in an individual is based on many complex psychological factors. Performanceoutcome expectancy could be improved by making chances of promotion seem more probable with better performance. 120. 137. and valence. 113. 2004). 152. If just one of these variables is low. 110. 141. 118. Using personality tests. The John Lewis partnership idea has seemed to work effectively for reducing perceived inequity. Fortune ‘100 Best Companies to Work For” and place heavy importance on employee satisfaction. So what exactly do they implement in practice to achieve such high-levels of employee retention? It might be the fact that there are high levels of both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. 132. 136. 112. 107. such as the Cattel 16PF. so as to cognitively justify their performing for lower wages. 127. Managers may improve effort-performance expectancy through additional training. Employees are given great autonomy with their work. 116. and ever harder to implement a rewards system that takes this into account. 134. It is in the employees’ own interest to do the job right as they are each given a stake in the business. to judge just when and how people will react to inequity. may give more clarity to the prediction process. 125. 129. It is difficult. 108. and therefore it could be more effective if implemented as an accompaniment to other practices. the probability that performance will lead to valued outcomes. the desirability of these outcomes. However. the long run. Free food. is a good example of a high-performing company. 106. 133. 124. transport and a substantial salary are all included in employee benefits package. Goal-setting theory’s relative simplicity to other theories makes it convenient. Lepper and Greene (1978) found some underpaid workers to be motivated to perceive their tasks in a more positive light. Different working cultures will tend to put different values on the various outcomes. Expectancy theory is straightforward and easy to implement. They are placed fourth on the U. Google Inc. 147. Locke and Latham (2006) showed that setting challenging and specific goals accompanied with feedback and employee participation leads to higher performance levels. 156. 150. It provides a more complex understanding of motivation. 126.
From this I can infer that the nature of job design plays a vital role in employee motivation (Hackman and Oldham). I do not feel any one theory appeals to me in particular. 168. and there is therefore no universal agreement about whether job satisfaction leads to higher productivity. There are mixed findings in research about the causal relationship between job satisfaction and productivity. 2010. perform in whichever way that suits them. most theories have underscored the effectiveness of intrinsic motivators rather than extrinsic ones. 167. but rather a combination of the different points addressed in them. for example with clear goals. rather than just learning it off by heart. On another front. For example. most organisations are interested in improving both performance and job satisfactions. satisfying their need for selfactualisation (Maslow). 10. 170. and with two different sources (Bratton. fostering an environment where people can easily share ideas wand innovate. or later on. 2004). about job satisfaction. Bratton’s (2010) definition talks about voluntary behaviour. Indeed it is the idea of ‘discretionary behaviour’.” If you break down a definition and discuss it – you will show me that you have understood it. and this is the challenge for managers: how to understand the forces within their workers that leads them to be motivated to doing certain actions and not others. 1-17 Good introduction covering the main terms. 160. Bratton’s (2010) definition also addresses ‘forces within a person’. 158. and lastly persistence in their efforts. reducing perceived inequity (Google website). 166. 169. Weekly meetings with the co-founders give them a chance to express their opinions and there are very few solo offices. Good definition. However. that is behaviour that goes beyond the behaviour that can be policed by the manager. Combining this with pleasant working conditions and personal involvement with the employees may lead to improvements in employee satisfaction and performance.157. 1990). This could have been elaborated on either as part of a first paragraph. For example: “Each of these three elements of motivation are important for managers: workers that have a sense of direction and focus. In this way. 162. and Wilson. employees and chief executives all have access to the same resources in the workplace. which is so valuable to management. 163. motivation relates also to the second part of the question. intensity of effort is also something that managers will want. or whether productivity leads to higher job satisfaction. are shown to be more productive (Locke and Latham. 164. 159. and in how motivation theory might assist them with this. In conclusion. . 161. Nice point made about self-motivation. rather than starting well and then faltering. Comments with reference to particular lines: 1. 165.
you do not need to go into a lot of detail about each individual theory. The essay could have been a lot clearer about this. Therefore. the company’s image. then workers will describe themselves as experiencing higher job satisfaction. Weaknesses will include that there is no explanation of how different contents work. and the process theories I will draw on are Vroom’s expectancy theory and Locke and Latham’s (1990) Goal-setting Theory.strengths and weaknesses of content theories in relationship to job satisfaction.” The essay asks you to evaluate the ways in which content and process theories of motivation can help to improve performance and job satisfaction in work organisations. In doing so. Showing what needs to be taken account of to get higher levels of performance… e. I would tend to major on goal-setting theory here – explain the . be: Content theories: (but don’t use a heading in the essay . This has implications for how they talk about their employer. Paragraph 2 . Good to state that you will evaluate strengths and weaknesses of content and process theories.g.12. A more helpful structure would. therefore. It would be even better to state which of these theories are which. This is not an essay question about explaining different theories of motivation. Maslow’s self-actualisation – useful concept for some jobs maybe – is it applicable or possible in all jobs? Herzberg specifically talks about job satisfaction as one of his ‘satisfiers’. Rather. 19. For example: (line 12) “I will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of content and process theories of motivation.this is just to highlight the structure) Paragraph 1 – strengths and weaknesses of content theories in relationship to job performance. Herzberg’s two-factor theory. the focus of the question has already been a bit lost here…. Good to highlight that practical examples will be given. lower turnover…. it asks you to group these theories into two – content and process – and to evaluate these two groupings. Alderfer’s modified hierarchy model and McClelland’s (1961) achievement motivation theory. Good to give a year for Maslow … and clearly focused paragraph – however. ability to recruit. Maslow’s lower level needs have to be addressed before higher levels become relevant. the content theories that I will refer to are Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Herzberg’s satisfiers are essential to achieve higher levels of performance … Weaknesses: see the slide on ‘problems with needs theories’ in the motivation slides. Instead. you need to draw out the elements of content and process theories that you can relate to performance improvement and job satisfaction. You could here talk about content of work being intrinsically motivating – advantages for work organisations are that if the work itself is motivating. Process theories Para 1: strengths and weaknesses of process theories in relationship to work performance. 16. This relates to how happy people are in their job.
Ditto . Nice to compare McClelland with the other theories – by saying that it is perhaps of more potential value to managers.g.. There are two main weaknesses of Maslow’s theory: firstly. the move to process theories is not signalled … there needs to be a clear statement about which theories are content. Good point on human contact … Herzberg could be your reference here 35. For Maslow. And secondly… 38. which are two of Herzberg’s satisfiers. This could be given as a weakness of Herzberg’s theory. Evidence of own reading . Evidence of extra reading – in describing Maslow’s ideas about ‘B-values’ and good description of this…. provide examples…. not sure I understand the ‘singled out’ bit … maybe what is meant here is” rather than being left to work on isolated and individual tasks on the assembly line”? 80. Signal this more. Good link back to satisfaction – maybe even repeat the phrase ‘greater job satisfaction’. e.component parts of the theory. Good practical example of incorporating self-actualising opportunities within the job. 30. good 46.e. completing a full assembly procedure. and that Herzberg’s theory does not actually account for situations where improved working conditions appear to result in higher performance. I would always include a drawing of the hierarchy of needs. that the organisation into small groups. 88. e. how they decide whether they might realistically expect that their efforts will lead to particular outcomes. Evidence of own reading – regression principle … 45. Vroom’s Expectancy Theory would be an opportunity to talk about the difficulties in clarifying what people really value.g. 49. 33. and which are process 92. Weaknesses might include that this requires more concentrated thought. Good to give reference of weakness in this theory 42. allowed for recognition and responsibility. 24. The weakness is highlighted by the use of ‘however’ – this is good. Para 2: strengths and weaknesses of process theories in relationship to job satisfaction. 33. 49-65 Good explanation of McClelland – and good focus on strengths and weaknesses – however the link back to the question needs to be made more clearly – 75 Good inclusion of Volvo … but needs to be linked back into Herzberg’s theory more. …. Good example with reference 94. 79. that it is not always as easy to differentiate between dissatisfiers and satisfiers. i. Good weaknesses identified.
However. 4 theories would be ample Keep returning to the question The writing is really very good. . introduction and overall structure Suggested improvements Break down the question – and structure the essay in response to the question (here it is about content and process theories) Use theories to provide examples in response to the actual question – for this question. using “however”. Once again specify that a process theory is being used here – and evaluate the usefulness of process theories. are also provided.” 156 Good to refer to Maslow … and it would be good to bring in other theories when relevant. try linking sentences together more. 141 Good use of personal experience. Good to start “in conclusion”…. “therefore”. to do this only a little. sufficiently focus on the issues about content and process theories and the differences between these two approaches…. it would be even better if there was more argument about why managers must take account of different cultures … 138 Nice sentence. Intrinsic rewards such as greater autonomy. And it is in this conclusion that the main weakness of this essay is shown up. The conclusion should be where you return to the actual question. especially for the first semester in a degree. 147 Good use of Google … rather than list the different rewards (lines 151-153). 162.109 Good to use John Lewis – and good to link it with equity theory…. This is done sometimes.. For example. “One way of doing this. categorise them more … That is. To improve further. Nor does it differentiate between the issues of performance and job satisfaction (although it does address both and does do this well – it is just that extra bit about contrasting between them) Overall comments: Excellent evidence of own reading and thinking Methodical explanations of theory Good use of examples Excellent use of references Overall good writing style Good definitions.” “In contrast” “On the other hand” …. continue from the preceding sentence and state “Extrinsic rewards such as …. and it does really work well when such phrases are used in this essay. 117 Using a formula can sometimes help explain expectancy theory 128 It is fine to use “in my opinion” … and as here. are all included in the employee benefits package. The whole essay is an excellent response to a question like “Evaluate the ways different theories of motivation can help to improve performance and job satisfaction in work organisations” … it does not however. opportunities for selfmanagement.
And of course. it would be unlikely that anyone would write this much – so it becomes even more important that you focus your answer on the exact wording of the question.As for mark … probably 2.1 – high because of the excellent points as listed above – but not a first because of not quite nailing the answer to the question. within an exam. .
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