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Organizational Behavior – Motivation

MGMT 2008 – Organisational Behaviour Motivation Theory Throughout the Caribbean, managers are continually challenged to motivate a workforce to do two things: work towards helping the organization achieve its goals, and to work towards achieving their own personal goals. In order to successfully do this, they must first properly understand the concept of motivation. The Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines a motive as “something (a need or desire) that causes a person to act. Motivation, in turn, is defined as the act or process of providing a motive that causes a person to take some action. In most cases motivation comes from some need that leads to behavior that results in some type of reward when the need is fulfilled. Thus, managers have the responsibility of making employees willing to exert high levels of effort, sufficient to achieve their personal needs as well as the organisation’s goals. Psychologists have studied human motivation extensively and have derived a variety of theories about what motivates people.

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These include theories that focus on motivation being a function of 1) employee needs of various types, 2) extrinsic factors, and 3) intrinsic factors. One major needs-based theory was that of Abraham Maslow which focused on satisfying the needs of employees to keep them motivated. Maslow (1954) proposed a hierarchy of needs that progresses from the lowest, subsistence-level needs to the highest level of self- actualization. Once each level has been met, the theory is that an individual will be motivated by and strive to progress to satisfy the next higher level of need.

Basically this hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs. This hierarchy is most often isplayed as a pyramid with the most basic needs at the lowest levels of the pyramid, while the more complex needs are located at the top. Those needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic physical requirements including the need for food, water, sleep, and warmth. Once these lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs, which are for safety and security.

As people progress up the pyramid, needs become increasingly psychological and social. Soon, the need for love, friendship, and intimacy become important. Further up the pyramid, the eed for personal esteem and feelings of accomplishment take priority. Maslow emphasized the importance of self-actualization, which is a process of growing and developing as a person in order to achieve individual potential, located at the tip of the pyramid. Maslow believed that these needs are similar to instincts and play a major role in motivating behavior.

Physiological, security, social, and esteem needs are referred to as deficiency needs (also known as D-needs), meaning that these needs arise due to deprivation. Satisfying these lower-level needs is important in order to avoid unpleasant feelings or consequences. The highest-level of the pyramid was termed as growth needs (also known as being-needs or a-needs). Growth needs do not stem from a lack of something, but rather from a desire to grow as a person.

Frederick Herzberg (2003) and his ‘Two Factor Theory further modified MasloWs needs theory and consolidated down to two areas of needs that motivated that deal with Job context and lead to Job dissatisfaction (company policy and administration, supervision, interpersonal relationships, working conditions, salary, status, and security); while motivators are those factors that deal with Job content nd lead to Job satisfaction (achievement, recognition for achievement, the work itself, responsibility and growth or advancement).

Herzberg’s findings revealed that certain characteristics of a Job are consistently related to Job satisfaction, while different factors are associated with Job dissatisfaction. The conclusion he drew is that Job satisfaction and Job dissatisfaction are not opposites. The opposite of satisfaction is no satisfaction and the opposite of dissatisfaction is no dissatisfaction. Remedying the causes of dissatisfaction will not create satisfaction.

Nor will adding the factors of Job satisfaction eliminate Job dissatisfaction. In order to adequately motivate employees, managers must first removed the sources of Job dissatisfaction and subsequently and those of satisfaction. The search for needs- based motivation theories also leads to McClelland’s Acquired Needs Theory, which surrounds the idea that needs are acquired throughout life. That is, needs are not genetic, but are learned or developed as a result of one’s life experiences (McClelland, 1985).

This theory stipulates that there are three major types of needs, hich are the need for achievement (which emphasizes the desires for success, for mastering tasks, and for attaining goals); the need for affiliation (which focuses on the desire for relationships and associations with others); and, the need for power (which relates to the desires for responsibility for, control of, and authority over others). All of these theories approach needs from a somewhat different perspective and are helpful in understanding employee motivation on the basis of needs.

However, other theories of motivation also have been posited and require consideration by managers in compiling motivational strategies. Another approach to understanding motivation focuses on external factors and their role in understanding employee motivation. Best known for this is B. F. Skinner’s (1953) Reinforcement Theory which studied human behavior and proposed that individuals are motivated when their behaviors are reinforced. His theory is comprised of four types of reinforcement. The first two are associated with achieving desirable behaviors, while the last two address undesirable behaviors. Positive reinforcement’ relates to taking action that rewards positive behaviors; ‘avoidance learning’ occurs hen actions are taken to reward behaviors that avoid undesirable or negative behaviors. This is sometimes referred to as negative reinforcement. ‘Punishment’ includes actions designed to reduce undesirable behaviors by creating negative consequences for the individual; and, ‘extinction’ represents the removal of positive rewards for undesirable behaviors. Theories that are based on intrinsic factors focus on internal thought processes and perceptions about motivation.

Examples of these kinds of theories include Adam’s Equity Theory which proposes that individuals are otivated when they perceive that they are treated equitably in comparison to others within the organization (Adams, 1963); Vroom’s Expectancy Theory which addresses the expectations of individuals and hypothesizes that they are motivated by performance and the expected outcomes of their own behaviors (Vroom, 1964); and, Locke’s Goal Setting Theory which hypothesizes that by establishing goals individuals each of these theories deals with a particular aspect of motivation, studies have found it unrealistic to address them in isolation, since these factors often do come nto play in and are important to employee motivation at one time or another. Other approaches to motivation are driven by aspects of management, such as productivity, human resources, and other considerations.

The most famous theory in this regard is McGregor’s Theory X and Theory. Created by Douglas McGregor, this approach again draws upon the work of Herzberg and develops a human resources management approach to motivation. This theory first classifies managers into one of two groups. Theory X managers adopt an authoritarian style and generally believe that the verage person dislikes work and will avoid it he/she can; therefore most people must be forced with the threat of punishment to work towards organisational objectives; and the average person prefers to be directed, to avoid responsibility, is relatively unambitious, and wants security above all else.

Theory Y managers, on the other hand, take a participative management approach and believe that effort in work is as natural as work and play; people will apply self-control and self-direction in the pursuit of organisational objectives, without external control or the threat of unishment; commitment to objectives is a function of rewards associated with their achievement; and people usually accept and often seek responsibility. Altogether, whilst all of the aforementioned theories are helpful in understanding management and motivation from a conceptual perspective, it is important to recognize that most managers draw upon a combination of needs, extrinsic factors, and intrinsic factors in an effort to help motivate employees, to help employees meet their own personal needs and goals, and ultimately to achieve effectiveness and balance within the rganization.

Managers should take into account most of the aspects upon which these theories focus, namely expectancy, goal setting, performance, feedback, equity, satisfaction, and commitment for example, when they are developing a motivational strategy for their employees. The literature which surrounds motivation theory suggest a wide range of strategies for managers to implement in seeking to help motivate employees. First off, managers should expect the best from their employees as persons tend to live up to the expectations they and others have of them. (Manton, 2005, p. 292). They should also seek to reward desired behaviours and ensure that rewards are not given for undesirable behaviors and be sure to use many different types of rewards to achieve the desired outcomes (Manton, 2005, p. 295). Allowing subordinates to take responsibility for their own motivation is another strategy.

This can be achieved by managers taking steps to deal with problem employees, to understand employees’ needs, to determine what motivates their employees, to engage employees in the problem-solving process, and to really work hard at resolving, rather than ignoring, difficult employee problems (Nicholson, 2003). Additionally managers show seek to play to the employees’ strengths, promote high performance, and focus on how they learn. This requires them to know what their employees’ strengths and weaknesses are, to find out what will be required to get specific employees to perform, and to understand how to capitalize on the ways those employees learn as an alternative method of encouraging and motivating them (Buckingham, 2005). Motivating an employee is a delicate task.

Caribbean managers effectively put them in practice. Should these managers place more focus on roviding their employees with sufficient extrinsic rewards for desired performances, there is an increased likelihood that said employees will become motivated. However, creating an environment which facilitates employees’ satisfaction of intrinsic needs, is equally as important in motivating employees and keeping them motivated. References The Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary Herzberg, F. (2003, January). One more time: how do you motivate employees? Harvard Business Review. Locke, E. A. , & Latham, G. P. (1990). A theory of goal setting and task performance.

Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Maslow, A. H. 1954). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Row. McClelland, D. C. (1985). Human motivation. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman. Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: Macmillan. Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York: Wiley. Adams, J. S. (1963, November). Towards an understanding of inequity. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. Manton, J. (2005). From management to leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Nicholson, N. (2003, January). How to motivate your problem people. Harvard Business Review. Buckingham, M. (2005, March). What great managers do. Harvard Business Review.

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