Introduction to the Concept of Motivation

Introduction to the concept of a€? Motivationa€™ According to Greenberg (1999) motivation is defined a€? as a process of arousing, directing and maintaining behaviour towards a goal. a€? Where a€? directinga€™ refers to the selection of a particular behaviour; and a€? maintenancea€™ refers to the inclination to behave with consistency in that manner until the desired outcome is met. Motivation is therefore the force that transforms and uplifts people to be productive and perform in their jobs.

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Maximising an employeea€™s motivation is necessary and vital to successfully accomplish the organisationa€™s objectives and targets. However this is a considerable challenge to any organisationa€™s managers, due to the complexity of motivation and the fact that there is no ready made solution or an answer to what motivates people to work well (Mullins, 2002). It is my intention in this essay to explore some issues around motivation and cite work based experiences to illustrate and substantiate any arguments or points of view. Main Body Mullins (2002) classifies motivation into Intrinsic and Extrinsic types.

Intrinsic motivation involves psychological rewards to enhance job satisfaction, such as the opportunity to use onea€™s ability, a sense of achievement, receiving appreciation and positive recognition or being treated in a considerate manner (Mullins, 2002:P490). Such methods ensure employees are constantly motivated while being engaged in activities that are enjoyable and rewarding. I was formerly employed by a supplier of automobile parts where in addition to using compensation as a means of motivation; they too were dedicated in ensuring their employees had maximum job satisfaction.

This was achieved by giving autonomy in their job functions and assigning significant responsibilities, which allowed them to be involved in the decision making for their area of expertise. Pleasant working conditions and annual recognition of the a€? Best salesman of the yeara€™ and a€? Best employee of the yeara€™, also enticed productivity and motivation. On the other hand a€? Extrinsica€™ motivation is related to tangible rewards such as salary, fringe benefits, job security, promotions and conditions of work. (Mullins, 2002:P490).

Therefore extrinsically motivated behaviours are those carried out to achieve some tangible rewards or compensation. Once again my employers excelled in designing an ideal incentive system, in their effort towards employee motivation. They already offered very competitive wages, of course on the belief that the more positive the reward the more likely the employee will be highly motivated and the better the performance (Vroom, 1964). They later introduced a perpetual cash bonus scheme for the junior staff, where every year instead of bonuses being paid out, they would be retained in the companya€™s employee fund.

A bonus was typically a third of their net salary and with every completed year of service their bonuses would grow. However if the employees engaged in activities detrimental to the organisations operations, such as pilfering, they would thus loose their accumulated bonus. This proved very effective in not only retaining employees but also motivating them to work towards and within the organisational parameters at maximum productivity. It also encouraged a sense of belonging and loyalty to the organisation.

Incentives in the form of issuing companya€™s shares was never considered or offered. Perhaps the directors were of the opinion that it may have the draw back of not being specific enough to truly motivate the employee to work hard, stay in the organisation and also comply with company practices (Larcker 1983). I think however it was more to do with their fear of relinquishing ownership and the thought that the employee would reap the benefits, from their own selfless efforts and personal sacrifices over the years, to increase their share value.

As for the senior executives various other schemes were introduced depending on their value to the company and length of service. Some benefited from receiving family membership to Medical Schemea€™s. This was a powerful retaining incentive as there was no free government health service in Kenya and often medical bills amounted to huge sums. Other senior executives had their childrena€™s private school fees paid or were gifted with family holidays. These decisions were made by the Directors and mostly based on what was mutually beneficial and also cost effective for the company.

The longest in service and the most valuable members, whose continued job satisfaction and productivity was necessary for the continued success of the organisation; such the Chief Accountant and General Manager, were honoured with family homes in light of their 25 and 30 years service respectively. Another theory that throws light on employeesa€™ motivation is the equity theory of Adam (1965). This theory states that people compare their rewards, relative to their contributions and to those of others.

When they perceive unfairness or inequity, they experience disharmony and de-motivation. Employees evaluate equity by a ratio of inputs to outcomes; where inputs are their efforts and outcomes are what they receive such as pay, recognition, benefits or promotion. The theory also predicts that individuals who perceive their raise to be inequitable are likely to loose their enthusiasm and zeal; changing their behaviour to work less, in order to bring inputs in line with the perceived outcomes.

They may also be prone to persistently expressing dissatisfaction and may eventually lead to resignation. I firmly believe from personal experiences and from observing my fellow colleagues at work that the Equity theory has been able to accurately determine the level of motivation and productivity. As such, every time my current employers make pay changes; we are on a€? high alerta€? for changes that might signal differences in how we are regarded by our employer, particularly in relation to our peers and accordingly we adjust our outputs.

Conclusion While this essay attempts to appraise some of the motivational theories in light of the authora€™s previous experiences, they may not be perfect for every situation. Each theory and notion boasts its own merits and limitations; and managers must judge its relevance and application to their own particular work situations. Even then the extent to which they may act as motivational factors may vary between organisations. The above methods described may have been effective for my organisation but not for another.

There are also other motivational theories that have not been discussed here, but which may be as effective in motivating employees. Therefore it is the paramount function of management to identify the appropriate solution in order to motivate its employees. In todaya€™s complex business environment; traditional approaches like monetary incentives are not the only prime motivators. In addition to expecting financial incentives for their performance, employeea€™s expectations are much more. Appreciation, recognition and opportunities for personal growth; must be catered for to harness maximum productivity.

Furthermore in an era where change is imperative for the organisationa€™s survival, highly motivated employees, represent flexibility and show willing to change; a vital component for the success of any organisation. References Greenberg, J. (1999) Managing behaviour in organisations, Prentice Hall. Mullins, L (2002) Management and organisational behaviour, Prentice Hall FT Benabou, R. & Tirole, J. (2003) a€? Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivationa€™, The Review of Economic Studies, vol. 70, pg. 489-520.

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