Employee Motivation: Theory and practice
The job of a manager in the workplace is to get things done through employees. To do this the manager should be able to motivate employees. But that's easier said than done! Motivation practice and theory are difficult subjects, touching on several disciplines. In spite of enormous research, basic as well as applied, the subject of motivation is not clearly understood and more often than not poorly practiced. To understand motivation one must understand human nature itself. And there lies the problem! Human nature can be very simple, yet very complex too. An understanding and appreciation of this is a prerequisite to effective employee motivation in the workplace and therefore effective management and leadership. These articles on motivation theory and practice concentrate on various theories regarding human nature in general and motivation in particular. Included are articles on the practical aspects of motivation in the workplace and the research that has been undertaken in this field, notably by Douglas McGregor (theory y), Frederick Herzberg (two factor motivation hygiene theory,) Abraham Maslow (theory z, hierarchy of needs), Elton Mayo (Hawthorne Experiments) Chris Argyris Rensis Likert and David McClelland (achievement motivation.) Why study and apply employee motivation principles? Quite apart from the benefit and moral value of an altruistic approach to treating colleagues as human beings and respecting human dignity in all its forms, research and observations show that well motivated employees are more productive and creative. The inverse also holds true. The schematic below indicates the potential contribution the practical application of the principles this paper has on reducing work content in the organization.

Motivation is the key to performance improvement There is an old saying you can take a horse to the water but you cannot force it to drink; it will drink only if it's thirsty - so with people. They will do what they want to do or otherwise motivated to do. Whether it is to excel on the workshop floor or in the 'ivory tower' they must be motivated or driven to it, either by themselves or through external stimulus. Are they born with the self-motivation or drive? Yes and no. If no, they can be motivated, for motivation is a skill which can and must be learnt. This is essential for any business to survive and succeed. Performance is considered to be a function of ability and motivation, thus:

Job performance =f(ability)(motivation)

Ability in turn depends on education, experience and training and its improvement is a slow and long process. On the other hand motivation can be improved quickly. There are many options and an uninitiated manager may not even know where to start. As a guideline, there are broadly seven strategies for motivation.

Positive reinforcement / high expectations

• • • • • •

Effective discipline and punishment Treating people fairly Satisfying employees needs Setting work related goals Restructuring jobs Base rewards on job performance

These are the basic strategies, though the mix in the final 'recipe' will vary from workplace situation to situation. Essentially, there is a gap between an individuals actual state and some desired state and the manager tries to reduce this gap. Motivation is, in effect, a means to reduce and manipulate this gap. It is inducing others in a specific way towards goals specifically stated by the motivator. Naturally, these goals as also the motivation system must conform to the corporate policy of the organization. The motivational system must be tailored to the situation and to the organization. In one of the most elaborate studies on employee motivation, involving 31,000 men and 13,000 women, the Minneapolis Gas Company sought to determine what their potential employees desire most from a job. This study was carried out during a 20 year period from 1945 to 1965 and was quite revealing. The ratings for the various factors differed only slightly between men and women, but both groups considered security as the highest rated factor. The next three factors were;
• • •

advancement type of work company - proud to work for

Surprisingly, factors such as pay, benefits and working conditions were given a low rating by both groups. So after all, and contrary to common belief, money is not the prime motivator. (Though this should not be regarded as a signal to reward employees poorly or unfairly.) Next | The theorists and their theories (1 of 2)

Home / Employee Motivation / Theory and Practice / Theorists 1
Employee motivation, the organizational environment and productivity

Motivation theorists and their theories (1 of 2)
Although the process of management is as old as history, scientific management as we know it today is basically a twentieth century phenomenon. Also, as in some other fields, practice has been far ahead of theory. This is still true in the field of management, contrary to the situation in some of the pure sciences. For instance, Albert Einstein, formulates a theory, which is later proved by decades of intensive research and experimentation. Not so in the field of management. In fact this field has been so devoid of real fundamental work so far, that Herbert A. Simon is the first management theoretician to win the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1978. His contribution itself gives a clue to the difficulty, bordering on impossibility, of real fundamental work in this field concerned with people. In order to arrive at a correct decision, the manager must have all the information necessary relevant to the various factors and all the time in the world to analyze the same. This is seldom, if ever, the case. Both the information available and the time at the managers disposal are limited, but he or she must make a decision. And the decision is, therefore, not the optimum one but a 'satisficing' one - in effect, a satisfactory compromise under the real conditions prevailing in the management 'arena'. Traditional theory 'X' This can best be ascribed to Sigmund Freud who was no lover of people, and was far from being optimistic. Theory X assumes that people are lazy; they hate work to the extent that they avoid it; they have no ambition, take no initiative and avoid taking any responsibility; all they want is security, and to get them to do any work, they must be rewarded, coerced, intimidated and punished. This is the so-called 'stick and carrot' philosophy of management. If this theory were valid, managers will have to constantly police their staff, whom they cannot trust and who will refuse to cooperate. In such an oppressive and frustrating atmosphere, both for the manager and the managed, there is no possibility of any achievement or any creative work. But fortunately, as we know, this is not the case. Theory 'Y' - Douglas McGregor This is in sharp contrast to theory 'X'. McGregor believed that people want to learn and that work is their natural activity to the extent that they develop self-discipline and selfdevelopment. They see their reward not so much in cash payments as in the freedom to do difficult and challenging work by themselves. The managers job is to 'dovetail' the human wish for self-development into the organizations need for maximum productive efficiency. The basic objectives of both are therefore met and with imagination and sincerity, the enormous potential can be tapped.

by a fellow psychologist. the basis of McGregor's theory 'Y' briefly described above. The leader does no longer hanker after power. The highest state of self-actualization is characterized by integrity. This is perhaps the essence of Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory. for when one need is satisfied he aspires for the next higher one. Abraham Maslow. although later they are gradually lost. Maslow's major works include the standard textbook (in collaboration with Mittlemann). responsibility. according to Maslow. love needs. by themselves. 'work banishes the three great evils -boredom. Eupsychian Management (pronounced yew-sigh-keyan) published in 1965.Does it sound too good to be true? It could be construed. simplicity and naturalness. 'A Theory of Human Motivation' (1943) and the book. open. are: • • • • • physiological needs (Lowest) safety needs. in fact. vice and poverty'. The basic human needs. that Theory 'Y' management is soft and slack. a seminal paper. by evil works evil. for it has already proved its worth in the USA and elsewhere. as it is more commonly know. at least. seen as an ongoing activity. Theory 'Z' . Maslow totally rejects the dark and dingy Freudian basement and takes us out into the fresh. Maslow's theory of human motivation is. magnanimity. Self-actualizers focus on problems external to . The great sage Yajnavalkya explains in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad that by good works a man becomes holy. and may even (it is hoped) enjoy watching the development and actualization of people. esteem needs. For best results. and most of all the organization. at birth. the persons must be carefully selected to form a homogeneous group. and self-actualization needs (Highest) Mans behavior is seen as dominated by his unsatisfied needs and he is a 'perpetually wanting animal'. by some. therefore.Abraham Maslow This is a refreshing change from the theory X of Freud. lets people develop freely. gains as a result. in which the man is totally absorbed in order to attain perfection through self-development. This is. as if. A good leader of such a group may conveniently 'absent' from group meetings so they can discuss the matters freely and help select and 'groom' a new leader. He is the main founder of the humanistic school or the third force which holds that all the good qualities are inherent in people. Everyone. sunny and cheerful atmosphere. This is not true and the proof is in the 'pudding'. Principles of Abnormal Psychology (1941). A mans personality is the sum total of his works and that only his works survive a man at death. Maslow's central theme revolves around the meaning and significance of human work and seems to epitomize Voltaire's observation in Candide.

for they are truly happy and mentally healthy through work accomplishment.themselves. Next | The theorists and their theories (2 of 2 Home / Employee Motivation / Theory and Practice / Theorists 2 Employee motivation.self-actualization. people work first and foremost in their own self-enlightened interest. Maslow has had his share of critics. Freud . His prescription for human salvation is simple.esteem needs. Adler .economic and physical needs. the organizational environment and productivity Motivation theorists and their theories (2 of 2) Frederick Herzberg . but he has been able to achieve a refreshing synthesis of divergent and influential philosophies of: • • • • Marx . According to this theory. Peoples needs are of two types: Animal Needs (hygiene factors) • • • • Supervision Interpersonal relations Working conditions Salary Human Needs (motivators) • • • • Recognition Work Responsibility Advancement . or any important job that "calls for" doing'.Hygiene / Motivation Theory This is based on analysis of the interviews of 200 engineers and accountants in the Pittsburgh area in the USA. but not easy: 'Hard work and total commitment to doing well the job that fate or personal destiny calls you to do.physical and love needs. Goldstein .

which. clearly defined jobs. Herzberg regards these also as hygiene factors. their motivational effect is limited. if satisfactory. As an example. and decisions will be taken by small groups rather than by a single boss. Work should be restructured in order to enable individuals to develop to the fullest extent. the workers. There is complete trust within the group and the sense of participation leads to a high degree of motivation. The psychology of motivation is quite complex and Herzberg has exploded several myths about motivators such as: • • • • • shorter working week. benevolent-authoritative. rigid. Satisfaction in work will be more valued than material rewards. sensitivity / human relations training. fringe benefits. Fred Luthans Luthans advocates the so-called 'contingency approach' on the basis that certain practices work better than others for certain people and certain jobs. in particular their psychological energy. In some other cases just the opposite seems . As typical examples. communication. Major decisions are taken by groups themselves and this results in achieving high targets and excellent productivity.Unsatisfactory hygiene factors can act as de-motivators. At the same time work will become more meaningful and challenging through self-motivation. satisfy animal needs but not human needs. and telling them about the performance of the company may even antagonize them more. The participative system was found to be the most effective in that it satisfies the whole range of human needs. authoritative leadership and tight controls lead in some cases to high productivity and satisfaction among workers. organization needs to be redesigned for a fuller utilization of the most precious resource. The pyramidal structure will be relegated to the background. Rensis Likert Likert identified four different styles of management: • • • • exploitative-authoritative. participative. Chris Argyris According to Argyris. consultative. saying 'please' to shop-floor workers does not motivate them to work hard. but if satisfactory. increasing wages.

perhaps. one can see some 'glimpses' of the person and how. This is rewarding in itself. one individual may value a salary increase. the organizational environment and productivity . But. Next | Motivation theory into practice Home / Employee Motivation / Theory and Practice / Practice 1 Employee motivation. What does it all add up to? Back to 'square one'? Yes. instead. It is necessary. In some cases it appears best for the boss to decide and in others the group arrives at a consensus. Kurt Lewin . the thoughts of: • • • • • • Seebohm Rowntree . so let us now move to the practical side of management of human behavior and motivation in the workplace. An individual should also be rewarded with what he or she perceives as important rather than what the manager perceives.labor participation in management. practice has been ahead of theory in this field. indeed. In some of the theories and thoughts presented. he or she could be motivated. Elton Mayo . therefore. William Whyte .the human group. The leadership style should be 'tailored' to the particular situation and to the particular work. Victor Vroom Vroom's 'expectancy theory' is an extension of the 'contingency approach'. David McClelland . This theory contributes an insight into the study of employee motivation by explaining how individual goals influence individual performance. We have discussed above only a selection of the motivation theories and thoughts of the various proponents of the human behavior school of management.the Hawthorne Experiments. among others. value promotion. however. George Humans .the organization man. For example. the overall picture is certainly confusing. whereas another may. as noted earlier. This is not surprising. mathematical or otherwise. to adapt the leadership style to the particular group of workers and the specific job in hand. for the human nature and human mind defy a clear-cut model.achievement motivation. force field theory. Not included here dynamics.

the 'carrot' approach. leading to more productive work places and giving workers greater job satisfaction.Application of employee motivation theory to the workplace Management literature is replete with actual case histories of what does and what does not motivate people. The main tools in the manager's kitbag for motivating the team are: • • • • • • • approval. involving approval. At Western Electric there was a dramatic improvement in output after the supervisors and managers started taking greater interest in their employees. The manager should motivate his or her team. Let's look at a couple of examples taken from real life situations. systems.see outline team building program) job enrichment good communications financial incentives These are arranged in order of importance and it is interesting to note that cash is way down the ladder of motivators. given that it may be received removing organizational barriers that stand in the way of individual and group performance (smooth business processes. In contrast to this. praise and recognition trust. but it seems to work. Presented here is a tentative initial broad selection of the various practices that have been tried in order to draw lessons for the future. This may appear somewhat contradictory. praise and recognition of effort has markedly improved the work atmosphere. with and through those he or she is in charge of. methods and resources . Manager's motivation 'toolkit' The manager's main task is to develop a productive work place. both individually and collectively so that a productive work place is maintained and developed and at the same time employees derive satisfaction from their jobs. Kockums. but it has also left a mood of discontent amongst the "working class". . respect and high expectations loyalty. turned a 15 million dollar loss into a 100 million dollar profit in the course of ten years due entirely to a changed perception of the workforce brought about by better motivation. The Swedish shipbuilding company. 'Stick' or 'carrot' approach? The traditional Victorian style of strict discipline and punishment has not only failed to deliver the goods. Punishment appears to have produced negative rather than positive results and has increased the hostility between 'them' (the management) and 'us' (the workers).

whilst the latter quite effectively kills such qualities. and appeal to logic. an effortless achievement. Can these findings be used in actual work conditions? AT&T (The American Telephone and Telegraph Co.. whereby the message is transmitted below the level of awareness. Next | Motivation theory in to practice 2 Home / Employee Motivation / Theory and Practice / Practice 2 Employee motivation. initiative and motivation. just as the pen is mightier than the sword. These waves can be detected by an instrument. There has been a considerable amount of research into persuasion / motivation in the field of advertising and marketing. The Hidden Persuaders. Brain emits fast beta waves when a person is really interested in a particular presentation. gently and with the minimum of effort. Managers will need to adapt this persuasion / motivation technique to their own situation. play on the person's sentiments. the person is so motivated as to deliver the 'goods'.Don't coerce . It is. since it is remembered better. The former builds morale. Once convinced. which can and has been used to great practical advantage. More contemporary 'persuaders' used by advertising and marketing people include: • • • Faster talk is found to be more effective. The manager will have achieved the goal quietly. Some of the findings in this field were first published in the fifties in a book with the title. the organizational environment and productivity Application of employee motivation theory to the workplace Job satisfaction .is there a trend? . at one time succeeded in promoting long distance calls by use of the simple phrase: 'Reach out.persuade! Persuasion is far more powerful than coercion. The three basic components in persuasion are: • • • suggest.) recognizing the importance of hidden needs. Subliminal approach using short duration presentation. Managers have a much better chance of success if they use persuasion rather than coercion. reach out and touch someone'. which became a bestseller. in effect. The research is entirely of the applied type.

e. Enough help and resources E. and the best form of leadership is designated as SAL. Enough Authority J. Friendly.See results of own work I. one is never surprised or shocked. Enough information C. In this style of leadership. 'Tailoring' the policy to the needs of each individual is difficult but is far more effective and can pay handsome dividends. Interesting work A. Opportunities for development B.This is the title of a study carried out by the US Department of Labor among 1500 workers. 'The one-minute manager' A contemporary bestseller (Blanchard & Johnson (1983)) aimed at managers who seek to make star performers of their subordinates. who were asked to rate the job factors. but it ranked as the least important for white-collar workers. from a list of 23. Job Satisfaction Findings White-collar workers Blue-collar workers A. Enough help and resources C. It is significant that good pay was considered as the most important factor by the blue-collar workers. Enough authority D. it is the leadership quality which leads to the success of a company through team building and motivating its people. To start with. Good pay B. Job security D. Interesting work F. Their findings (Sanzotta (1977)) are contained in the table below. helpful coworkers F. Ultimately. decisiveness. Individualize motivation policies It is well known that individual behavior is intensely personal and unique. yet companies seek to use the same policies to motivate everyone. . Enough information E. which they considered important starting from the most important factor. leadership must begin with the chief executive and it is more a matter of adaptation than of imparting knowledge. Leadership is considered synonymous (Tack (1979)) with motivation.Clearly defined responsibilities H. Competent supervision H. the manager sets a goal. although with different rankings. See results of own efforts G. yet with the exception of two items (white-collar workers' choice (B) and blue-collar workers' choice (C)) groups selected the same top ten factors. Good pay J. Friendly. helpful co-workers G.g. This is mainly for convenience and ease compared to catering for individual oddities (Lindstone (1978)). Fairness. situation adaptable leadership. Competent supervision It is interesting that out of the 23 job factors listed for the survey. giving praise and constructive criticism can be more effective than money in the matter of motivation. Clearly defined responsibilities I.

these must be given (a) promptly. but money alone is not enough. and it is seen to be achieved by 'one minute' of praising or reprimand as the case may be. Everyone is considered a winner. job security. undoubtedly. but also the most difficult to manage. Excellence can only be achieved through excellent performance of every person. But to be effective. rather than the person. their success being ascribed to: • • • productivity through people. Several criteria. (b) in specific terms. If the leaders in an organization can create and sustain an environment in which all employees are motivated. though it does help. . the human resource is clearly the most significant. treating people decently. although the book seeks to 'dramatize' it. were used to pick 14 'model excellent companies' out of an initial sample of 62 companies. 'Lessons from America's Best-run Companies' Another bestseller. We have discussed some of the pertinent theories bearing on human motivation and this is balanced by some of the practical factors which can lead to excellence. In Search of Excellence (Peters & Waterman (1982)). should be praised or reprimanded. The next section deals with an important mode of motivation. And motivation is. namely financial aspects of rewarding employees. the crux. though some people are disguised as losers. the overall performance is bound to be good. Can money motivate? Yes. 'One minute' praising is seen to be the motivating force. The concept is basic and it makes page read in one minute. As expected. including analysis of annual reports and in-depth interviews. Personnel function and in particular leadership were considered the most critical components. most of the action in high-performing companies revolved around its people. extraordinary performance from ordinary employees. Of all the resources available. and the manager is extolled not to be fooled by such appearances. and involvement. Human resource remains the focal point and leadership the critical component. The three essentials for creating such an environment are: • • • fairness. and the behavior. Conclusion There is no simple answer to the question of how to motivate people. and motivation has to be 'tailored' to each individual. rather than by the high-pitched performance of a few individuals.

but there is no clear cut answer to the question of how to motivate. Money is important! This is. Employee reward systems are discussed in general and later in specifics in terms of payment by results.Next | Employee rewards Home / Employee Motivation / Employee Rewards Introduction The previous section dealt with motivation theory and practice. for a perusal of the previous section may give the impression to the contrary. This we know is not correct. economic incentives should have lost all their force. Money is a factor in motivating people and this section concentrates on this. saying the obvious. at least judging from Maslow's concept. if the theory was completely valid then. . But it still needs to be said. Refreshing as it is. at least in affluent countries. There is no doubt that motivation is the crux for good performance. perhaps. The previous pages gave a glimpse of the answer through various theories and practices. Various schemes for financial motivation are also described.

' There is no doubt that we live in a money-motivated world. Has the sense of values changed with time? But we are not concerned here with the philosophical angle. This is probably more due to differing value system of the two. In particular. Even dedicated footballers do not think of playing for England. Self-motivation can go only so far and it needs to be constantly reinforced by rewards.. It is no different in the industrial world. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Employee rewards Motivating executives We discuss this subject separately. All this despite the claim of psychologists that security is the prime need of a person. if it is to be encouraged and sustained. motivating them to give of their best efforts.' In fact. 'Economic incentives are becoming rights rather than rewards.According to Peter Drucker (1974) 'there is not one shred of evidence for the alleged turning away from material rewards. the financial rewards of playing for their clubs far exceed those recieved from playing from their country . Strikes for better salary and rewards do still occur. but with hard facts of life in a commercial world. Next | Rewarding executives Home / Employee Motivation / Employee Rewards / Motivating Executives Employee Motivation.. Insufficient monetary reward cannot be compensated by good human relations. since there is an indication from various surveys (see previous section) that the blue-collar and white-collar workers do not attach the same importance to financial incentives. merit must be measured and rewarded regularly. they are taken so much for granted that their denial may act as a demotivator. as indicated in the previous section.Cricketers and rugby players no longer play for their own country but opt for the 'highest bidder'. because the rewards were not attractive.. rather than the importance each attaches to the money per se. the 'Mecca' of lawn tennis. The 'gold banana' in Foxboro has its origin in just an ordinary banana which one of the pioneers could muster on the spur of the moment when he discovered extraordinary performance by one of the employees (see next section. . Any amount of human relations cannot compensate for a lack of monetary reward. Antimaterialism is a myth. good human relations will give that extra zest to a team. they merely pay 'lip service' to it. Professional tennis players have refused to play at Wimbledon. If the reward is right. no matter how much it is extolled.

the reward should be 'tailored' to each individual. A decision once announced is difficult to modify. Correcting one inequity may lead to yet another. Flexibility. long-term incentives. size of pay rewards for high performance.Properly used. An arithmetic increase in the number of people involved results in a geometric increase in the time required to reach agreement. but only as part of the total compensation concept. however much. It is essential (Moore (1968)) to develop an overall program within which each compensation package must be individualized. Many pay plans fail because of either not being suited to the particular situation or because of poor implementation. but its implementation is not easy. Appearance of a reward as important a factor as the reward itself. but not at the expense of discretion. but little money may have no effect (Crystal (1970)). To achieve motivation of executives. equitable and acceptable means of performance. short-term incentives. However. Motivating for high performance can cost a lot of money. Executive compensation elements There is also need for constant search of new ideas in this respect. The five basic elements (Ellig (1982)) of executive compensation are: • • • • • salary. It is essential to consider the following aspects before designing a pay plan to motivate performance: • • preference of individual employees. . Not everyone can be motivated by money alone. employee benefits and perquisites. At times it is difficult to develop a valid. money can be a motivating factor. The essentials of an effective company-wide executive compensation scheme are: sound salary-base structure. several fundamental compensation devices and considerable flexibility in its application. Any plan for executives should take into account the following factors: • • • • • • • Executives perceive others as working less and paid more. therefore: • • reward should be meaningful. The concept is simple. the job is well worth trying. and reward should vary with performance. such as conflict and grievance. Incentive pay plans should be designed (Ivancevich (1983)) not only to reward good performance but also to minimize the negative sideeffects. To be effective. Performance rating should support the pay action.

a very apt and fitting reward.a caution However. Home / Employee Motivation / Employee Rewards / Performance Related Pay Employee Motivation. The example of Foxboro has been quoted. so measurable or so controllable. however. the higher the pay. There should be a direct correlation. the reward must be prompt and immediate. all he could find was a banana and this had to suffice. in terms of turnover or number of employees. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Employee rewards Performance related pay Reward can act as the 'catalyst' for improved performance and better productivity. In its early days. Late one evening (Peters & Waterman (1982)) a scientist walked into the president's office with a working prototype. Of course. then define what managers are expected to contribute towards the objectives and finally ensure that financial reward is linked to managerial performance.• • method of motivating individual job performance. But in using financial motivation. but no connection between executive pay and improvement in profitability . Thomas Watson Snr. it is difficult to correlate any two isolated factors. Likewise. . But reward. Executive pay . Let us. subjective We have pointed out earlier that for effective and sustained motivation. is not enough and in any case it is not a substitute for good management. of which money is one. such as executive pay and overall company efficiency. we must introduce a note of caution. There is a connection (White (1973)) between executive pay and company size. reiterate that individual executives have different senses of values. but efficiency is not necessarily higher. with the large number of variables involved. but perhaps the yardsticks available for this purpose are inadequate to establish it. The higher salary is probably because of a larger number of levels in big companies. No reward other than money is so flexible. This was the forerunner of the 'gold banana' concept. Rummaging through the drawers of his desk.the bigger the company. the company's very survival depended on technical innovation. as such. had made a practice of writing out a check on the spot for any unusual achievement that he observed. The president was dumbfounded by the elegance of the solution and sought to reward him immediately and on the spot. and an important one at that. the companies must be clear on what they wish to achieve.

it may have a definitely negative effect as a motivator. Certain basic criteria are essential for rewards to be effective. financial motivation plays a major role. and merit rating. One can even go as far to say that productivity is the only reason for the existence of the manager. job evaluation. For rewards to be effective. If the reward plan is seen to be unfair and unrealistic. The manager. Reward should be compatible with job measurement. Reward systems The financial rewards are basically of three types: • • • profit sharing. Thus. for example promotion on the basis of seniority or favoritism. But each incentive or reward system is likely to have value under certain conditions only. Productivity is usually but erroneously associated only with the workshop floor. understandable. in that he or she does not contribute directly to the production. Reward should be significant. There is no magic formula for all situations and at all times. and attainable. they have to be generous and significant as noted above. Individually the manager may be considered nonproductive. Reward must be distinctly and directly related to performance. plays a vital role in the productivity of the workers and team. But total productivity which ultimately determines the profitability of the entire organization is the sum total of the productivity at various levels right up to the CEO. hence they must be structured to attain a proper balance of motivating people to purpose and at optimum effort. This is nearly twice as much as that attained by goal-setting or jobredesign. Reward should be irrevocable. a manager can increase productivity indirectly by aiding to produce more. but is responsible for integrating the work of his or her team into a total productivity effort. therefore. Profit sharing . Rewards are generally reckoned to improve productivity by somewhere of the order of 20 to 30 per cent. Hence to be effective. the rewards must be 'tailored' and changed to suit the specific conditions. it is a part of management.Rather. These include: • • • • • • Reward should be quick. The goals and rewards must be. and here too. For if the workers are not given the right materials at the right place and at the right time. known. their productivity will suffer due to no fault of theirs.

unfortunately. knowledge. intelligence. good. On a macro level. Each employee is rated. tends to be carried out purely mechanically and it carries a heavy bias of the rater who may be too lenient. in respect of the following abilities: • • • • • communication. representing.Profit sharing could be on a macro basis or on a micro basis. training and experience. human relations. The former relates to the entire company as a whole and the latter to a particular section or group dealing with a particular activity and/or product. This is easier said than done. This is possible on a micro level by treating the particular activity as a cost and profit center by itself. A typical. it would be difficult to identify and reward outstanding performance. The total rating for each job then forms the basis of wage structure. The cost allocation in such cases is somewhat arbitrary and the profit will therefore not be a true reflection of the performance of that particular group or activity. may not be objective and may also have favorites or otherwise in the group being rated. the 'minimum wage'. In case of managers. the various component factors have to be isolated and evaluated for purposes of inter-job comparison. The rating. though somewhat broad. the factors are: • • • responsibility. list of job factors is as follows: • • • • • working environment. depending on the nature of work and the geographical area. mental characteristics. However. average or poor. in effect. human relations. Merit rating Merit rating has been used as an indicator of performance. In some cases and in some countries these are stipulated by law. extent of responsibility. physical characteristics. including leadership and motivation. typically as excellent. Job evaluation In case of job evaluation. there must be a base level. expertise. Each factor is assigned a rating on the basis of a scale agreed beforehand by the union and the management joint committee. judgment. since overheads and other common services have to be charged and this cannot be done completely objectively. .

This was a unique experiment. once people get a job. machine operator. The Glacier Metal Company (UK) was the largest manufacturer of plain bearings in Europe employing some 4500 persons in six factories. Task Approach Concept The project began in 1948 with the assistance of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations and it sought to provide novel answers to baffling problems in industrial organizations. The Glacier model is . supervisor and engineer. These elements determine the extent of responsibility and are the basis of the theory of equitable payment developed by the renowned psychoanalyst. for example. According to this. under which the task is carefully analyzed and roles clearly defined in order to provide scope for peoples effective participation in the fulfilment of companies objective. The latter is more difficult of the two. The Glacier project used the task approach concept. allotment of work and development of his or her department. commercially successful and probably without a parallel. Work is seen to have two components: • • prescribed. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Employee rewards The Glacier Project This relates to a major scientific investigation in a real life situation.Next | The Glacier Project Home / Employee Motivation / Employee Rewards / Glacier Project Employee Motivation. hate their firm and soon organize themselves in order to pressurize the firm for higher wages. Elliott Jaques. Jaques developed a technique for measuring the time-span for discretion for different types of work and formulated a scale of equitable earnings for a laborer. they begin to lose interest in the work. has the discretion in matters of priorities. A supervisor. Simply stated. and discretionary. wages should be related to the responsibility involved and this in turn depends on the discretionary elements.

was on the brink of extinction. added value. Next | Payment by results Home / Employee Motivation / Employee Rewards / Payment by Results Employee Motivation. But the concept is sound. The savings and surplus resulting from implementation of the suggestions of the group are shared. For equitable distribution. as a result of the depression. 30 were reported to be successful. daily work measurement. . productivity index. and the group cohesion and motivation are increased in anticipation of the reward. Development of the concept of payment by results As a result the plan has not always been successful. a committee has to administer the plan and the company has to disclose (McBeath (1974)) a considerable amount of financial data and be also prepared to share profits. but for our present purpose the quantification of wage differential serves as a motivator for better performance. The aim of the plan was to reduce waste and increase efficiency with consequent increase of productivity and profits. In a survey (Gruneberg & Oborne (1982)) of 44 cases. piecework. The plan gives the participants a real sense of participation and self-esteem. Other methods of payment by results include: • • • • • time saved.far more comprehensive. Joseph Scanlon was a union officer in the Penn Steel Mill which. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Employee rewards Payment by results One of the earliest and best examples of this is the Rucker and Scanlon plans introduced in the USA in the depression of the 1930s. Thus success has been achieved in some companies and in some situations.

In this case individuals do not get rewarded as a result of their own effort and it is the group performance which counts. Both have their pros and cons and an ideal system may well be a combination of the two. The system must be properly formulated and after full and frank discussion with the concerned people tried out on a 'mini' scale and refined in the light of the experience gained. hence new schemes for payment by results have to be tried and implemented. On the other hand certain benefits result only from a group action and therefore must be shared among the entire group or even across the entire company. and maintenance over a sustained period. In the long run. Implementation of any scheme is the most important phase and it should not be rushed through. the savings or increased production are quantified in monetary terms and sought to be shared amongst the concerned people. The micro versus macro aspect has been briefly touched on earlier in this section. This requires a change of attitude of the workers. if found effective. Earlier schemes were based on individual effort which could be appropriately rewarded. such an open attitude will benefit both. Also important is the history and culture of the organisation concerned. both sides should be willing to modify the scheme in the light of the experience gained. It is advisable also not to introduce drastic changes suddenly. as also of the management. It will require full cooperation and complete honesty. The main factors involved in selection of a suitable scheme are: • • • micro versus macro level. However. It is good to reward individual performance since it could act as an instant motivator. Which scheme is best? There is no such scheme! Each situation must be studied in depth and a suitable scheme 'tailored' for the specific situation. At this stage all problems that may arise during implementation stage cannot be foreseen. problems of implementation. the management needs to be prepared to discuss openly with the workers / unions the real change / improvement in the relevant indices and this requires disclosure of otherwise confidential financial and production data. modern technology and production methods are quite often based on a team approach. Sufficient time should be allowed for discussion and suggestions from the concerned group. Anything radically different and without active participation of all concerned is bound to fail. . Like the Scanlon plan. but some of the obvious ones certainly can be anticipated. Once implemented. There should be no hesitation to refine the scheme until found completely satisfactory.In each case.

The novel Glacier project and the Scanlon plan are briefly described. a result of such motivation. yet it was not performing well. and part of the increased profits must be circulated back to the workforce responsible for it. at least to some extent. It must be formulated and 'tailored' to each specific case. and the group had the training and experience to meet expectations. Success of companies such as of Microsoft. Some of the schemes for reward systems and payment by results have are briefly discussed. There are. What was wrong? And what could he do to correct the situation? . There is no such thing as the 'best scheme'. The equipment was operating properly. other factors particularly job satisfaction as shown in the previous section.Conclusions Money is certainly a motivator and a major one at that. he had tried virtually everything to get his work group to come up to production standard. Rewarding employees financially does improve levels of employee motivation and thus improves productivity. Next | Informal group dynamics \Home / Employee Motivation / Informal Group Dynamics Introduction Jeff Lane was at his wits end. of course. As a newly appointed production manager. IBM and other such tech companies is certainly. which ultimately shows up in the 'bottom line'.

What Jeff Lane and other managers/ supervisors sometimes fail to realize is that within every organization there are often informal group pressures that influence and regulate individual behavior. Informal groups have a powerful influence on the effectiveness of an organization. and neutral. So the informal group can make the formal organization more effective. Dynamics of informal groups Informal groups almost always arise if opportunities exist. The final effect of his actions might have been positive or negative. If Jeff had been aware of group dynamics. That is. that norm would have been more potent than any attempt by Jeff to coerce compliance with the standard. or have no effect on the aims of the larger organization. Informal groups formulate an implicit code of ethics or an unspoken set of standards establishing acceptable behavior In Jeff's department. He should have been sensitive to the informal groups within his area and he should have cultivated their goodwill and cooperation and made use of the informal group leadership. The reason is simple. A norm is an implied agreement among the group's membership regarding how members in the group should behave. For example.Managers and supervisors frequently face such a dilemma-standards that should be met but aren't for what seems like no apparent reason. In other words. he should have wooed the leadership of the informal group and enlisted the support of its membership to achieve the formal organization's aims. But the informal group's role is not limited to resistance. Often. norms either support. attempting to counteract the coercive tendencies in an organization. it the informal group in Jeff's shop set a norm supporting high output. depending upon the agreement or lack of it between the informal group and himself. The norm is of the group members own making. There is a big motivational difference between being told what to do and being anxious to do it. If management prescribes production norms that the group considers unfair. too. . obstruct. The impact of the informal group upon the larger formal group depends on the norms that the informal group sets. negative. subtly exercising control over its members regarding the amount of output. and is not one imposed upon them. and can even subvert its formal goals. he might have realized that informal groups can be either his best friend or his worst enemy. for instance. From the perspective of the formal group. norms generally fall into three categories-positive. the group's recourse is to adopt less demanding norms and to use its ingenuity to discover ways in which it can sabotage management's imposed standards. yet profound. these groups serve a counter organizational function. the informal group may have established a norm below that set by the organization.

The requirements include: • • an understanding of group dynamics and. to feel a part of something.Harnessing the power of informal groups is no easy task. Although the whole person joins an organization. Sense of belonging Several major functions are served by informal groups. social. For example. and psychological needs. managers and supervisors should at least be aware of the reasons behind informal group formation and the properties and characteristics of these groups. People need to belong. attention is usually focused on the partial person. informal groups develop to fill certain emotional. Next | Formation of informal work groups Home / Employee Motivation / Informal Group Dynamics / Formation Employee Motivation. Identity and self esteem . it has a tool of its own to coerce compliance with its norms. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Informal Group Dynamics Formation of informal work groups Individuals are employed by an organization to perform specific functions. the part of the individual doing the job. to be liked. Because the informal group can withhold this attractive reward. an ability to bring about changes in informal group norms that positively reinforce the formal organization's goals. the group serves as a means of satisfying the affiliation needs of its members for friendship and support. As a starting point. The degree to which a group satisfies its members needs determines the limits within which individual members of the group will allow their behavior to be controlled by the group. Because people have needs that extend beyond the work itself.

less anxious. One attribute of informal groups is rotational leadership. The long assembly line or endless rows of desks reinforce a feeling of depersonalization. For instance. the nature of some jobs-their technology and environment-precludes this from happening. others are unique. one for all Finally. Next | Leadership of informal workgroups Home / Employee Motivation / Informal Group Dynamics / Leadership Employee Motivation. as the needs . Joining forces in a small group makes the members feel stronger. As long as needs exist that are not served by the formal organization. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Informal Group Dynamics Leadership of informal work groups Informal groups possess certain characteristics that. enhancing. Although many organizations attempt to recognize these higher needs. All for one. The informal leader emerges as the individual possessing qualities that the other members perceive as critical to the satisfaction of their specific needs at the moment. if understood. Stress reduction Another function of groups is to serve as an agent for establishing and testing social reality. the informal group serves as a defense mechanism against forces that group members could not resist on their own. and less insecure in the face of a perceived threat.Groups also provide a means of developing. it influences member behavior. several individuals may share the feeling that their supervisor is a slave driver or that their working conditions are inadequate. group members are able to reduce the anxiety associated with their jobs. informal groups will form to fill the gap. Since the group fills many important needs for its members. and confirming a person's sense of identity and self-esteem. By developing a consensus about these feelings. can be used to advantage. While many of these characteristics are similar to those of formal organizations.

The informal group's judgment of its leaders tends to be quicker and more cold-blooded than that of most formal groups. There are problems with this approach. One quick and sure method of changing a group is to cause the leader to change one or more of his or her characteristics. A less Machiavellian approach is for the supervisor to be alert to leaders sympathetic to the supervisor's objectives and to use them toward the betterment of the formal group's effectiveness.change so does the leader. Still another method is to attempt to 'co-opt' informal leaders by absorbing them into the leadership or the decision-making structure of the formal group. he or she is deposed and replaced by another. a leader may emerge who has aims similar to the formal goals of the organization. Only rarely does a single individual possess all of the leadership characteristics needed to fill the various needs of the group. and group members will most likely select another leader. Besides the practical difficulties of this. the informal leader does not possess formal power. a leader may lose favor with the group because of this association with management. Remember. Considering the rotational nature of leadership. Next | Communication in informal workgroups Home / Employee Motivation / Informal Group Dynamics / Communications Employee Motivation. One common ploy is to systematically rotate out of the group its leaders and its key members. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Informal Group Dynamics . Co-opting the informal leader often serves as a means of averting threats to the stability of the formal organization. Another is to replace the leader with another person. Unlike the formally appointed leader who has a defined position from which to influence others. however. though. Supervisory strategies The supervisor can use several strategies to affect the leadership and harness the power of informal groups. this strategy is blunted by the fact that group norms often persist long after the leader has left the group. If the informal leader fails to meet the group's expectations.

The informal group has communications processes that are smoother and less cumbersome than those of the formal organization. This not only enhances the stature of this individual perhaps elevating him or her to a leadership position but also provides an efficient means of distributing information. In the informal group. • • size of the group dependence of members upon the group . By winning the cooperation of informal group leaders the supervisor will most likely experience fewer grievances and better relationships. Knowing about informal group communication the supervisor can provide a strategically placed individual with information needed by the group. Next | Cohesion in informal workgroups Home / Employee Motivation / Informal Group Dynamics / Cohesiveness Employee Motivation. Also. the centrally located person in the group is in the best position to facilitate the smooth flow of information among group members. Providing relevant information to the group will also help foster harmony between the supervisor and the informal group. Group cohesiveness varies widely based on numerous factors-including the. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Informal Group Dynamics Group cohesiveness A third characteristic of informal groups is group cohesiveness-the force that holds a group together. a person who possesses information vital to the group's functioning or well-being is frequently afforded leadership status by its members.Communications network The Grapevine Another characteristic of the informal group is its communications network. Thus its procedures are easily changed to meet the communication needs of the group.

With the passing of the threat the group tends to lose its cohesiveness. Perhaps paradoxically the most dangerous time for group cohesion is when things are going well. For example group cohesiveness increases strongly whenever the membership perceives a threat from the outside. If the supervisor presses the group to conform to a new organizational norm that Is viewed as a threat to the security needs of group members The group will become more unified in order to withstand the perceived threat. If this gambit is carefully controlled the solidarity that results may bring a higher level of performance. Supervisors can use the factors that affect group cohesiveness to increase their own effectiveness. This threat produces the high anxiety that strong group cohesiveness can help reduce. The ploy could backfire bringing competition and dissension within the group. Input from group members will not only reduce their feeling of alienation but also improve communication between the supervisor and subordinates thereby reducing potential conflict. Where group participation in decision making is not practical the supervisor should carefully explain the reasons to play down what might be seen as a threat to the group. The danger of this strategy is that the supervisor may be unable to control the reaction of the group. the Organizational Environment and Productivity . In some cases the supervisor may want to increase the groups cohesiveness deliberately devising situations that put one group into competition with another. Decision making process involvement For instance a supervisor can involve the informal group members in the decision-making process. Next | Norms of Informal groups Home / Employee Motivation / Informal Group Dynamics / Norms or Values Employee Motivation.• • • achievement of goals status of the group and management demands and pressures. Thus management can limit its own effectiveness by helping to increase the group's cohesiveness.

Norms are particularly potent because without knowing it members would not even think of acting otherwise-norms are that ingrained into their behavior pattern. As we discussed earlier. Two points are important to note about the norms of informal groups. • • First. The latter action is unlikely. The members must either conform or sever their group affiliation. where both formal and informal norms exist. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Informal Group Dynamics .Informal Group Dynamics Informal group norms or values Unspoken rules The final characteristic of informal groups is the establishment of the groups norms (values). organizational effectiveness suffers. Norms are of great importance to the informal group in controlling behavior and measuring the performance of members. members of an informal group may be unaware that the norms of the group influence their behavior. At moments when norms conflict with organizational objectives. especially if the individual values group membership to satisfy certain needs. Because norm (values) violations threaten a group's existence. norms keep a group functioning as a system instead of a collection of individuals. Next | How to change informal group norms Home / Employee Motivation / Informal Group Dynamics / Changing Norms Employee Motivation. Second. the informal norms transcend the formal. departures from the norm usually carry severe sanctions.

) as follows. the informal group/ team will direct its energies toward desired goals. But norms change frequently because the group / team must be responsive to changes in its environment for self-protection. Awareness of employees of their roles and actions to the organizations 'bottom line'. • • • • • Organizational / Personal Pride. . eases.Changing group norms A supervisor should attempt to encourage norms that positively affect the formal organization's goals. The style of management / supervision in engaging employees to deliver willingly their best efforts towards organizational goals. Teamwork / Communication. or changes its norms. Performance / Excellence. First Stage The first stage involves determining what the group/ team/ norms are. and to alter those that are negative. Leadership / Supervision. How can a supervisor bring about a positive change in a group / team's norms? Once a group / team has developed its norms. The organization has effectively shared its' vision or sense of purpose so that all employees can articulate and subscribe to. The perception that organizational goals and objectives are communicated to and shared by members of the group. or asking the group/ team to identify its own norms. A suggested way is to use our Team Building . they are strictly enforced until changed. This can often be accomplished by observing the behavior patterns of the group / team. it tightens. and then getting group/ team members to recognize their existence and influence. people frequently respect and follow norms unconsciously. This includes setting personal standards when none are set/ defined. Profitability / Cost Effectiveness. Manner or quality of functioning when striving to meet or beat standards of performance.Informal Group Organizational Norms Employee Survey (available for purchase by clicking here. When a perceived change occurs in the environment that affects the group / team. If this is accomplished.) This instrument has ten predetermined dimensions. As noted earlier. Satisfaction or pleasure taken in attaining personal or organizational achievements. There are three stages to fostering group / team / team norms that are congenial to the organization. interviewing group / team members. these are (together with definitions.

other departments in the case of service departments) and external suppliers and customers. groups and the organization as a whole. Innovation / Creativity. Using the Team Building . they commonly reject them and seek alternative modes of behavior." These gaps provide the starting point for determining where changes should occur. . Helping define norms is useful because it assists the group / team in clarifying its thinking and frees members from behavior patterns that they may not really wish to follow in the first place. respect for the diverse backgrounds and experiences of members.• • • • • Colleague / Associate Relations. the absence of 'competition over territory' and the agreement of goals and levels of performance/ quality. the need to be competitive and the need to retain customer loyalty and confidence. related to the 10 dimensions. The opportunities within the organization and the climate set that promote personal growth and development. Candor / Openness. procedure or the organization's business model in terms of the need flowing from constant changes in the external environment. appreciate the need for and strive for new ways of performing a function. each team member is posed a set of questions. both internal (i. To be aware of. This includes the sharing of information. the next stage is to measure the norms and establish a norm profile. As shown in the 'Group Norms Profile' graphic. honest and direct dialog by all employees at all levels on issues that affect individuals. Customer / Client Relations. Personal and group attitude towards clients. Personal connections or dealings between or among individuals and groups. Training / Development. The difference between where the group / team is versus where the desired norms of the group should be. denotes the normative "gap. The willingness to promote open. Second Stage Having identified the team's norms.Informal Group Organizational Norms Employee Survey instrument. the responses can be averaged and plotted in order to obtain a norm profile for the group under review.e. process. When group / team members actually become aware of negative norms. And the supervisor can't begin to change negative norms to positive ones until group / team members first become aware of their existence.

Third Stage The final stage is to bring about normative change. A systematic change process consists of six steps: • • • Demonstrate the importance of norms in achieving organizational and group/ team effectiveness. . Establish normative change priorities. Create positive norm goals through cooperative effort.

The process also improves team communications and trust.• • • Determine a plan of action to bring about change. reducing the anxiety sometimes created by perceived threats from management. Next | How leader perceptions influence performance. they can negate the interests of an organization many times the group / team's size. The self-fulling prophecy Home / Employee Motivation / Leader Perceptions Better Management by Perception . The process of change is a tool by which a supervisor can deal with the informal group/ team stresses that exist within the organization and that tend to de-motivate employees. This process emphasizes the creation of positive norms through cooperative effort that benefits both the supervisor and the group/ team. a supervisor can harness the power of informal groups and release the energies of such groups to work together as a team to achieve desired goals. Implement and monitor the change strategy. Positive group/ team norms -increase the effectiveness of the supervisor while providing an environment in which group/ team members can satisfy their own needs. Review the effectiveness of the strategy periodically and modify where necessary. If the informal group / team's norms are negative. By fostering positive group norms.

once an expectation is set.." In other words. as if by magic. In 'Teachers and the Learning Process' (Prentice-Hall.. unwittingly. As Ovid told the story in the tenth book . Hans could not answer it either. In a 1957 work called 'Social Theory and Social Structure'. but they all had to be cued by their trainers. Surprisingly often. Similarly. Hans would stop tapping he found that even the raising of his eyebrows was sufficient. the notion of the self-fulfilling prophecy was conceptualized by Robert Merton a professor of sociology at Columbia University.. if the questioner did not himself know the answer to the question. even if it isn't accurate. Hans was not clever at all. spell and solve problems involving musical harmony. "Among the first discoveries made was that if the horse could not see the questioner. divide. multiply. Robert Strom describes what Stumpt and Pfungst learned.. comes true.The Self-fulfilling Prophecy or Pygmalion Effect In 1911 two researchers with the unlikely names of Stumpt and Pfungst began an investigation of an even more unlikely horse named Clever Hans. Even the dilation of the questioner's nostrils was a cue for Hans to stop tapping. 1971). The unlikely thing about Hans was that he could add. He was clever only when people expected him to be! A management concept As it is known and taught today in management and education circles. A forward inclination of the head of the questioner would start Hans tapping. Von Osten swore he was mystified by the whole thing. people were giving the horse the correct answers by communicating their expectations to him via physical signals. we tend to act in ways that are consistent with that expectation. An ancient myth Magic certainly was involved in the ancient myth from which the idea of the selffulfilling prophecy takes its other common name. the result is that the expectation. Hans was able to pick up on those signals even subtle ones. Merton said the phenomenon occurs when "a false definition of the situation evokes a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true. Pfungst observed. Any number of animals had been taught to perform such tricks before." In other words. The horse would answer questions for anyone. was not present. The really clever thing about Clever Hans was that he could run through his repertoire even when his owner a German mathematician named Von Osten. as the experimenter straightened up. subtract.

but how she's treated. the sculptor Pygmalion. The result which he named Galatea. And people pick up on those cues. Venus granted his prayer and the couple lived happily ever after. Next | Key principles Home / Employee Motivation / Leader Perceptions / Key Principles Employee Motivation. was so beautiful that Pygmalion fell desperately in love with his own creation. He succeeds. to Higgins' friend Pickering: "You see. but most are much more obvious. really and truly. sought to create an ivory statue of the ideal woman. Eliza Doolittle. but I know I can be a lady to you because you always treat me as a lady. pass her off as a duchess. A modern update That's where the name originated but a better illustration of the "Pygmalion Effect" is George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. some as subtle as the tilting of heads. But a key point lies in a comment by the trainee.of Metamorphoses. and always will." The bottom line? Consciously or not we tip people off as to what our expectations are. because he always treats me as a flower girl. the raising of eye brows or the dilation of nostrils. I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins. the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves. a prince of Cyprus. and always will. with some vigorous training. He prayed to the goddess Venus to bring Galatea to life. apart from the things anyone can pick up (the dressing and the proper way of speaking and so on). We exhibit thousands of cues. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Better Management by Perception Key Principles The concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy can be summarized in these four key principles: • We form certain expectations of people or events . in which Professor Henry Higgins insists that he can take a Cockney flower girl and.

telling half of the students that they had the new "maze-bright" rats and the other half that they got "maze-dull" rats. The "dull" rats refused to budge from the starting point 29% of the time. Does it work? A convincing body of behavioral research says it does. The rats believed to be bright improved daily in running the maze they ran faster and more accurately. This experiment illustrates the first of a number of corollaries to our four basic principles. He then passed out perfectly normal rats at random. described an experiment in which he told a group of students that he had developed a strain of superintelligent rats that could run mazes quickly.• • • We communicate those expectations with various cues People tend to respond to these cues by adjusting their behavior to match them The result is that the original expectation becomes true This creates a circle of self-fulfilling prophecies. while the "bright" rats refused only 11% of the time. a professor of social psychology at Harvard. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Better Management by Perception Corollary 1 • • Rosenthal concluded that some students unknowingly communicated high expectations to the supposedly bright rats. "Those who believed they were working with intelligent animals liked them better and found them more pleasant. In 1971 Robert Rosenthal. But this study went a step further. . According to Rosenthal. The other students communicated low expectations to the supposedly dull ones. Next | Corollaries 1 & 2 Home / Employee Motivation / Leader Perceptions / Corollaries 1 & 2 Employee Motivation.

" There was no difference in the amount of time the teachers spent with the students. affectionate or well-adjusted. Some students gained in IQ even though they had not been designated as "bloomers. 1968).Such students said they felt more relaxed with the animals. Rinehart and Winston. Rosenthal replies: "To summarize our speculations. by how and when she said it. They randomly chose 20% of the children from each room and told the teachers they were "intellectual bloomers." Corollary 2 • • Better performance resulting from high expectations leads us to like someone more Lower performance resulting from low expectations leads us to like someone less Rats not good enough for you? In another classic experiment. the bloomers had done what was expected of them and the teachers were comfortable with them. The experimental children showed average IQ gains of two points in verbal ability. the teacher may have communicated to the children of the experimental group that she expected improved intellectual performance. they did the unexpected and the teachers were not as comfortable with them. The "intellectual bloomers" really did bloom! How can this possibly work? In 'Pygmalion in the Classroom' (Holt. Apparently. The teachers also found the "bloomers" to be more appealing. Evidently there was a difference in the quality of the interactions." but they were not regarded to be as appealing. his expectations of his own behavior. The other students who did well surprised the teachers. It may be that they were thought of as overstepping their bounds or labeled as troublemakers. Such communication together with possible changes in teaching techniques may have helped the child learn by changing his self concept. postures and perhaps by her touch. Next | Corollaries 3 & 4 . Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson worked with elementary school children from 18 classrooms. and his motivation. we may say that by what she said. as well as his cognitive style and skills. seven points in reasoning and four points in over all IQ. they treated them more gently and were more enthusiastic about the experiment than the students who thought they had dull rats to work with. more affectionate and better adjusted." They explained that these children could be expected to show remarkable gains during the year. by her actual facial expressions.

that he's worthless. We like to think we know what's going to happen before it happens. we form them in a thousand ways. As for our expectations of what will happen or how someone will behave. You transmit those expectations to him and he'll begin to reflect the image you've created for him. The impulse has given rise to religion. which says we can manipulate events with secret powers. and science. magic. We tend not to be comfortable with people who don't meet our expectations. whether they are high or low. which says we can understand the logic behind events and use it to predict similar events. Corollary 4 • Forming expectations is natural and unavoidable The simple truth is that almost all of us behave pretty much according to the way we're treated. Next | Corollaries 5 & 6 . he'll also tend to respond accordingly. he'll probably respond accordingly. we 'prejudge' either positively or negatively. for example. whether they're high or low. We all are prejudiced in the literal sense of the word. which says we can influence the gods with prayer. If you keep telling him (sincerely) that he's important to you that you have every confidence in his judgment as to what?s right or wrong and that you're sure he's going to be successful in whatever he decides to do. many preconceived. has no sense of right or wrong and isn't going to amount to anything. and we don't like to be proven wrong. We want to feel that we can control things. If you keep telling a teenager.Corollary 3 • • We tend to be comfortable with people who meet our expectations.

is helping to determine the young woman's future performance. Brophy list a dozen ways in which teachers and managers may behave differently toward students and workers. Take the case of a bright." what will happen? She will tend to be even more abrasive. Others. Most managers underestimate its importance. required to assign her to a performance category. would call her "average. you can see that any of these ratings could be justified. she can produce excellent results. However." Still others. 1980). She will also probably be more creative. In 'Educational Sociology: a realistic approach (Holt. for good or ill. . would call her "excellent" They're impressed by her strengths. disruptive and disrespectful at times. focusing on her weaknesses. aggressive employee. hard-working and full of enthusiasm. Corollary 6 • • Good managers produce employees who perform well and feel good about themselves. enthusiastic and hard-working. Jere E. Certainly the review is used as a report card. But what these managers are doing probably unknowingly. If she's rated "excellent. Much more importantly.Better Management by Perception Corollary 5 • Once formed expectations about ourselves tend to be self-sustaining Exactly how do we communicate the expectations responsible for the Pygmalion Effect? The process works in very similar ways with people as it did with Clever Hans. Good. Bad managers produce employees who perform poorly and feel badly about themselves Self-fulfilling prophecy in action One of the critical tools a manager uses to influence employees is the performance review. would call her "poor. She will do more of what she believes her manager wants. Let's assume she is abrasive. disruptive and disrespectful. though. as a means of calculating the size of raises. Some managers. They offer a good example of how self-fulfilling prophecies work. as a way to introduce areas needing improvement and as a permanent record of what someone has accomplished. she can also be creative. young." Even with the scant information you have. reviews influence future performance. Thomas L. Given proper channeling. weighing the pluses and minuses. Rinehart and Winston.

feed back information. managers nod their heads. etc.What if she's rated "poor" She will likely be less abrasive. criticism. prolong or shorten eye contact. As with observers communicating to Clever Hans and teachers communicating to students. Some managers refuse to admit they communicate negative expectations: "I never said anything negative to him. develop and motivate people. but the way they behave. The manager. more nod their heads approvingly and look into . but she will also be less creative and enthusiastic. They smile." (As if that doesn't send a powerful message. Suppose she's rated "average" Depending on what her manager says about the rating and why she got it. The same categories suggest ways by which managers can influence the success of subordinates. express themselves in a certain tone of voice. Next | Corollaries 7 & 8 Corollary 7 • Performance ratings don't just summarize the past. they communicate high expectations to others. The variable here is the manager's rating. prejudices and feelings. therefore.) The key is not what managers say. plays a highly significant role in the success or failure of an employee. I hardly spoke to him at all. The various ways in which teachers communicate expectations to students can be broken down into four general categories. Corollary 8 • The best managers have confidence in themselves and in their ability to hire. she may adjust her behavior slightly. • Climate Managers create a warmer social and emotional mood for high-expectation employees. etc. largely because of the self-confidence. they help determine future performance A manager cannot avoid communicating low expectations because the messages are often non-verbal and unintentional. Most employees will take the cues and alter their future behavior accordingly. A manager increases or decreases initiative by the frequent or infrequent use of praise. It is based on the manager's values.

) Calling on lows less often to answer questions or to make public demonstrations Waiting less time for lows to answer questions Not staying with lows in failure situations (e g. But if he is skilful and has high expectations of his subordinates. They pay closer attention to their responses. these assignments are more challenging and afford higher visibility. Feedback Managers give more positive reinforcement to high expectation employees. etc. cuts deeply into their self-esteem and distorts their image of themselves as human beings. They praise them more for good work and criticize them less for making mistakes." Next | Self-fulfilling prophecy / pygmalion effect examples Employee Motivation. he leaves scars on the careers of the young men (and women). providing fewer clues. accepting and encouraging Input More assignments and projects are given to high-expectation employees. their capabilities will develop and their productivity will be high More often than he realizes. confidence grows. the manager is Pygmalion. In addition. Consequently. maintaining less eye contact. To quote Livingston once more. the manager has a profound impact on the success or failure of the subordinate. Output Managers give high-expectation employees more opportunities to speak at meetings. and give them more assistance or encouragement in generating solutions to problems. They are generally more supportive. the Organizational Environment and Productivity Better Management by Perception How teachers communicate expectations • • • • • • • Seating low expectation students far from the teacher and/or seating them in a group Paying less attention to lows in academic situations (smiling less often. Like the teacher with the student and the trainer with the trainee. their self-confidence will grow.• • • • subordinates eyes more often. asking fewer follow-up questions) Criticizing lows more frequently than highs for incorrect responses Praising lows less frequently than highs after successful responses . "If he is unskilled. to offer their opinions or to disagree with the manager?s opinions. friendly.

providing less help or giving less advice when subordinates really need it) Criticizing lows more frequently than highs for making mistakes Praising lows less frequently than highs after successful efforts Praising lows more frequently than highs for marginal or inadequate effort Providing lows with less accurate and less detailed feedback on job performance than highs Failing to provide lows with feedback about their job performance as often as highs Demanding less work and effort from lows than from highs Interrupting lows more frequently than highs Next | Job design and work organization Job Design Open systems approach The approaches to the design of jobs considered to this point have taken as their focus the individual job. particularly in Europe and Scandinavia. Giving them less information about what's going on in the department. or give presentations Waiting less time for lows to state their opinions Not staying with lows in failure situations (i. We have already identified some of the weaknesses of this type of approach. on the development of the socio-technical systems approach where the focus of attention is at .• • • • • Praising lows more frequently than highs for marginal or inadequate responses Providing lows with less accurate and less detailed feedback than highs Failing to provide lows with feedback about their responses as often as highs Demanding less work and effort from lows than from highs Interrupting lows more frequently than highs How managers communicate expectations • • • • • • • • • • • • • Seating low-expectation employees in low-prestige office areas far from the manager Paying less attention to lows in business situations (smiling less often and maintaining less eye contact). Calling on lows less often to work on special projects. At the same time that job redesign techniques were being developed and implemented in the USA progress was being made. state their opinions.e.

The design should allow for a high quality of working life. and quantity of output. The environment through competition. The changing economic situation. output rate. the influence of suppliers. and many other factors demand adaptation within the organization if it is to survive. Employees must be actively involved in designing the structure of the organization. Organizations can be compared to other living systems such as biological cells in that they are engaged in active transactions with the environment Raw materials or customers form the input to the organizational system and finished goods or services form the output. quality. Control of variances in production or service must be undertaken as close to their source as possible.the group's acceptance of responsibility for the production cycle. adaptability. Organization as an open system This approach is based upon the concept of the organization as an open system with the primary work group as a subsystem of the total organization. and customers and government legislation will all exert pressure on the organization to comply with certain rules and organize in certain ways. new alternative products or services. Motivation Factors It has been suggested that four categories of job characteristic are significant in terms of motivation and performance: • • responsible autonomy. Subsystems must be designed around relatively self-contained and recognizable units of work. Since these factors have an impact on the internal design and functioning of an organization it is important that the organization be aware of environmental changes when seeking an optimal design of its social and technical systems. Support systems must fit in with the design of the organization. . Changes should continue to be made as necessary to meet the changing environmental pressures.the level of the working group and the aim is to develop a match between the needs of the group and the organization in relation to the technology. Guiding Principles A sociotechnical systems approach to designing organizations is based upon a set of guiding propositions: • • • • • • • The design of the organization must fit its goals. changing values in society.

autonomous group working does not seem to have widespread appeal. Movement of personnel between work groups with high levels of autonomy may be difficult. • • • • • • Certainly the roles of both supervision and specialist advisers are considerably affected and in some cases eliminated. Whilst many advantages can result from focusing on the work group rather than the individuals and their jobs. and participation in goal setting. .• • variety. participation. critical self-evaluation of work group performance. Alternative ways of organizing work are not always apparent where existing technology has to be employed. Difficulties are often experienced in implementation in existing work situations. hence removing some of management's flexibility. self-adjustment to cope with changes. Limitations The socio-technical systems approach is not without its limitations. Management are often not prepared to take the risk of introducing radically different approaches to organizing work alongside other changes which already have a high element of disruption and associated risk. A participative design process is not acceptable in many organizations and can be very time-consuming. Autonomous behavior includes the self-regulation by the group of work content.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful