Work Based Proposal “To what extent does the X’s Benefit Package motivate X’s staff”

Table of Contents
Table of Contents...................................................................................................2 Background............................................................................................................ 3 Defining the Research Topic...............................................................................4 Critical Review....................................................................................................... 5 Motivation Defined............................................................................................. 5 Motivation Theories............................................................................................5 Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory............................................................................7 Vroom vs Porter Law...........................................................................................7 Conclusions.........................................................................................................8 Methodology........................................................................................................ 10 Data Collection.................................................................................................... 12 Appendix 1...........................................................................................................13 Appendix 2...........................................................................................................14 References and Bibliography...............................................................................15

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Background
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Defining the Research Topic
Various researches have been conducted in the field of motivation and its link to employee performance and productivity. This was an area that had given interest to the author of this report throughout her Foundation Degree studies.

In November a Research Methods assignment was undertaken, to analyse “the relevance of motivation theories within the current organisational settings”. The assignment reviewed already published literature about main motivational theories and motivation reward theories. One of the conclusions was that the theories need to be more practically applied to the author’s organisation, in order to fully establish their relevance.

X has introduced an innovative staff benefits package called “Flex”, where the company’s employees can pick and choose various benefit options to design their own package suitable for individual needs. Examples of this include: buying or selling annual leave days, opting for one benefit instead of another etc. This was a considered a great practical example of a motivational tool applied to the organisation.

The aim of this research is to investigate the orgnisation’s benefits package ”Flex” as a motivational tool, and determine whether it has an effect on X’s employee motivation.

I have therefore decided to undertake a research project, using the question: “The extend of the effect of the staff benefit package on employee motivation in the current organisational setting”

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Critical Review
Motivation Defined
In psychology, motivation refers to the initiation, direction, intensity and persistence of behaviour (Hackman & Oldham, 2000). Argyris (1957) defines motivation as a concept used when forces acting on or within an individual to initiate and direct behaviour are described. For the purpose of this research, motivation means the desire and willingness to achieve personal and organisational goals.

Motivation Theories
The purpose of motivation theories is to help explain the “why” of human behaviour (Kanfer & Ackerman, 1989). The objective of these theories is to create an environment for individuals and work groups to function efficiently.

Extant research in social as well as consumer psychology has examined the mechanics of motivation through a variety of lenses including rewards and incentives (Deci 1971; Kivetz 2005), drive reduction theory (Hull 1951; Mowrer 1960) and hedonic versus utilitarian motives (Shiv and Fedorikhin 1999; Dhar and Wertenbroch 2000; Kivetz and Simonson 2002). The basic concept of motivation refers to internal factors that impel action and to external factors that can act as inducements to action (Troetschel, 2001). The three aspects of action that motivation can affect are direction (choice), intensity (effort), and duration (persistence). Motivation can not only affect the acquisition of people’s skills and abilities but also how and to what extent they utilize their skills and abilities (Kivetz, 2005). The level of motivation an individual and/or team applies can affect all aspects of organizational results, Knowing this, it is in the manager’s best interest to understand the reason for de-motivation in order to achieve project success through the creation and maintenance of a motivating environment for all members of the team (Donaldson, 2000).

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Maslow’s Five Needs
One of the first behavioral approaches to management was proposed by Maslow in 1943 (this was preceded by the scientific management principles proposed by Taylor and Weber in the 19th century). The objective of the behavioral approach was to identify the different factors that motivated people to make them more productive. Maslow (1943) put forward the “Hierarchy of Needs Theory” which saw human needs in the form of a hierarchy, ascending from lowest to the highest. He argued that needs must be satisfied in priority order and stated that the lower level needs should be satisfied before the higher level needs and once the lower level needs are satisfied, they no longer serve as a motivator. Maslow’s Five Needs can be broken down into:

Physiological needs – Maslow defined these as the most basic needs important for sustenance. The needs included basic needs such as food, water, warmth, shelter, sleep. It was argued that these needs have to be satisfied before others.

Safety or Security needs – These were another set of basic needs which included freedom from physical and emotional harm. These needs related to fear of losing a job, property, insecurity and instability in day to day events.

Social Needs – By social needs, Maslow pointed to the need for affection and belongingness. Maslow’s belief was that the most basic need for a social acceptance needed to be satisfied before other needs, such as esteem and self-actualisation.

Esteem – By esteem, Maslow referred to reputational needs of each individual. These needs included internal esteem factors like self-respect, autonomy, achievements and external esteem factors such as recognition and attention as well as personal sense of competence (Richer et al., 2002).

Self actualization – Once all of the above needs were satisfied, the need for growth and success and to make the most of one’s abilities was required to motivate individuals. Maslow referred to these needs as the need for self-fulfillment by achieving one’s potential to accomplish what one is capable of.

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Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
Maslow’s motivation theory has been widely accepted within industry circles. His theory was followed by Frederick Herzberg’s (1959, cited in Terpstra, 2005) Two-Factor theory. Herzberg and colleagues (Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959) focused primarily on sources of work satisfaction and, within that domain, mainly on ways in which the job could be designed to make the work itself enriching and challenging. Herzberg believed that people needed to be given a good job for them to do a good job. The basis of the theory was the difference between satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Herzberg believed that the presence of “Hygiene Factors" (which included factors such as, security, status, relationship with subordinates) did not lead to motivation; however their absence lead to de-motivation. There are contrasting views on Herzberg’s theory. Proponents argue that in the current competitive environment, the theory can be made to good use and has the potential of delivering favourable results.

Vroom vs Porter Law
Other motivation theories were proposed by Vroom (1964) and Porter-Lawler. The argument of Vroom’s expectancy theory was that motivation was based on values and beliefs of individuals. Both Vroom and Porter-Lawler examined motives through the perception of what a person’s belief are and based on the belief that employee effort leads to performance and performance leads to rewards (Vroom, 1964). The theory paid much emphasis on ‘reward’ and its association with motivation.

Porter-Lawler believed that individuals can be motivated if they believed there was a positive correlation between the efforts they put in and their performance, and when that favourable performance led to a reward (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Expectancy theory has been applauded within HR circles but critics believe that it lays too much emphasis on extrinsic awards. Questions have also been raised about the validity of the motivation equation as a product of expectancy, instrumentality

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and valence. Other researchers like Elton Mayo (through “Hawthorne Experiments”) believed motivation to be a complex subject.

Theorists like Skinner stressed on the importance of external environment and its role in motivating employees. He emphasized re-designing the external environment by making positive changes to encourage motivation and stated that suitable work environment should be made suitable to the individuals to keep them motivated (Bedeian, 2003). While Vroom and Porter-Lawler theory focused more on behaviour choices, Skinner’s Reinforcement Theory focused on the consequences of those choices (Terpstra, 2005). There are other motivational theories proposed by Adams (Theory of Equity) and Douglas McGregor (Theory X and Theory Y).

While every theorist has their version of motivation, there is considerable overlap among these theories. E.g. every theory, directly or indirectly, concentrates on the basic human needs first. Maslow’s needs hierarchy demonstrates the importance of these needs in more detail. Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory brings out the distinction between motivation and de-motivation and depicts the difference between the two. Vroom and Porter-Lawler’s theory is more of a quantitative nature and gives theorists a way to quantify the different motivational variables.

Conclusions
The results from the secondary research suggested that no one motivation theory can be categorically said to be more effective than the other. Although Maslow’s theory is the most widely adapted, the applicability of motivation theories depends on organisational settings. Different work environment require different ways to motivate people. In environments where employees are involved in a monotonous role like assembly line workers or contact centre employees, Herzberg’s two-factor theory might be more effective than Vroom’s expectancy theory. Vroom stressed the importance of reward in encouraging motivation but reward would seize to be a motivator for employees where the job role remains static. Employees doing a monotonous role would get better motivation from jobredesign and training. Herzberg’s theory of ‘if you want employees to do a good job, give them a 8

good job to do’ is more applicable in such circumstances. Similarly, Skinner’s motivation theory might be more appropriate in the current economic climate as motivation might be more related to the external environment. With the economic and financial crisis and recession looming large on most economies, motivation is more dependent on external circumstances rather than internal. McGregor’s theory was found to be more effective under project management settings. A project manager using a Theory X motivational approach will have to create an authoritative and controlling work environment. The role assumed by project team members within a Theory X environment is to evade added responsibility and do as minimal amount of work as possible to achieve the project goals without punishment (Fishbach et al., 2005). On the other hand, Theory Y motivation naturally creates a participative environment with strong manager-employee relations. Within the project manager role of a Theory Y environment, the project manager will seek input and assistance from the project team to obtain the best possible alternative for project implementation (Kerzner, 2003, pp. 194–195).

Motivation remains a challenge for organisations today and they need to evolve into more sophisticated, customer responsive business units. The rapid pace of the changing competitive and organisational landscape has meant that the solutions to motivation problems have become even more complex. To keep employees motivated and for motivation to have a direct effect on performance, organisations like X have to understand the process, theories, and fundamental components of motivation. The need for belongingness was found to improve motivation and is better satisfied in a company with a strong organisational culture, where people accept and support each other and form teams to work harmoniously (Judge et al., 2001).

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Methodology
The philosophy adopted for the purpose of this research is Interpretivisim using Phenomenology as the study tries to assess the effectiveness of motivation theories and determine its practical use within the X organisation. This would entail reliance on drawing inferences from the data collected, therefore, the approach adopted for most of this study is Inductive and the data collected will mostly Qualitative in nature.

Saunders et al (2006; pg 43) define qualitative data as: “non-numerical data, or data that have not been quantified”. The quantitative technique, on the other hand, involves collecting and analysing the numerical data by using statistical techniques (Gordon & Langmaid 2006; pg 71). Primary data is collected in different forms. Some of the most common forms of primary data collections are Questionnaires and Surveys, Focus Groups, Interviews, Observation and Experiments.

Before embarking on a definitive research methodology, the purpose was taken into consideration separately and an analysis was done for each data collection approach against each objective. A rationale was established behind each research method before going ahead. It was ensured that the data collection methods were more or less interdependent so that each method filled the hole or covered the areas which could not be covered by the other.

For the fulfillment of Objectives, interviews will be conducted to reveal different aspects of motivation. The objectives of the interviews were to try gather organisational viewpoint and perception.

For the purpose of this research, the researcher believed it is best to have some sort of structure to the interview to guide the course of it. It was decided to have a pre-set list of questions before the start of the interview. Saunders et al., (2007) point out that “the purpose of semi-structured interviewing is not 10

to put things in someone’s mind...but to access the perspective of the person being interviewed”. Questions were devised only after sufficient information was collected from secondary research.

Other data collection techniques were not considered because the objective of this study is to probe the respondent to get closer to the findings. In-depth face-to-face interviews are going to give more opportunities to probe the respondent than any other qualitative data collection methodology. Also, the researcher knew people through her network; it will not be difficult to convince people to spare some time for the interview. Focus groups will also be taken into consideration.

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Data Collection

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Appendix 1
Conceptual Framework

Flexible Benefits Context Characteristics

Employees Context Behaviour Characteristics

Motivation Effects on Motivation

Employers Context Behaviour Characteristics

Results Review Consultation

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Appendix 2
Gantt Chart

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References and Bibliography

1. Amabile, T. 2000. Stimulate creativity by fueling passion. In E. Locke (Ed.), Handbook of principles of organizational behavior: 331–341. Oxford (UK): Blackwell.

2. Argyris, C. (1957). Personality and organization. London: HarperCollins.

3. Bedeian, A. G. (1993). Management (3rd edition). New York: Dryden Press.

4. Beer, M. (2000) Lead organizational change by creating dissatisfaction and realigning the organization with new competitive realities. In E. Locke (Ed.), Handbook of principles of organizational behavior: 370–386. Oxford (UK): Blackwell.

5. Deci, Edward, Richard Koestner, Richard M. Ryan (1999), “A Meta-Analytic Review of Experiments Examining the Effects of Extrinsic Rewards on Intrinsic Motivation,” Psychological Bulletin, 125, 627-668.

6. Donaldson, L. (2000) Design structure to fit strategy. In E. Locke (Ed.), Handbook of principles of organizational behavior: 291–303. Oxford (UK): Blackwell.

7. www.X.com (accessed on 12/12/2008).

8. Fishbach, Ayelet and Ravi Dhar (2005), “Goals as Excuses or Guides: The Liberating Effect of Perceived Goal Progress on Choice,” Journal of Consumer Research, 32, 370–377.

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9. Hackman, J.R. and Oldham, G.R. (1976) ‘Motivation Through the Design of Work: Test of a Theory’, Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 16: 250–79.

10. Judge, T., Thoreson, C., Bono, J., & Patton, G. (2001) The job satisfaction-job performance relationship: A qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 127: 376–407.

11. Kanfer, R., & Ackerman, P. L. (1989) Motivation and cognitive abilities: An integrative/aptitude treatment interaction approach to skill acquisition. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74: 657–690.

12.Kerzner, H. (2003) Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling (8th edition). New Jersey: Wiley.

13. Kingston University (Annan-Diab, F. editor) (2008) Foundation Degree in Business and Professional Administration: Research Methods (Students’ Handbook) Surrey: Kingston Business School.

14. Kivetz, Ran (2005), “Promotion Reactance: The Role of Effort- Reward Congruity,” Journal of Consumer Research, 31(4), 725-736.

15.Kreitner, R. (2005). Management (6th edition). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

16. Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, July 1943. 370396.

17. Richer, S.F., Blanchard, C. and Vallerand, R.J. (2002) ‘A Motivational Model of Work Turnover’, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(10): 2089–113.

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18. Ryan, R. and Deci, E. (2000) ‘Self-determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-being’, American Psychologist, 55: 68–78.

19.Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2003) Reasearch Methods for Business Students (3rd edition). London: Pitman Publishing.

20. Terpstra, D. E. (2005). Theories of motivation: borrowing the best. Personnel Journal, 58. 376.

21. Troetschel, R. (2001) The automated will: Nonconscious activation and pursuit of behavioral goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81: 1014–1027.

22. Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York: Wiley.

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