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Understanding What Motivates Workers Is a Key Task for Management

Essay by   •  May 19, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,096 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,615 Views

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Principles of Management Assignment:

Report Title: "Understanding what motivates workers is a key task for management"

Index

Introduction.............................................. 2

Motivations and Assumptions about People......... 4

Behavioral Sciences.................................... 7

Major Motivation Theories.............................. 9

Motivation in Practice............................ 15

Other Strategies..................................... 16

Conclusion .......................................... 17

Learning Outcomes................................. 17

Acknowledgements................................. 17

References........................................... 18

Introduction

If we stand back and recall to ourselves the true and simplistic meaning of the word motivation, "The set of forces that cause people to behave in certain ways"(Griffin, R.W. 2004), we can see the task every company must face. Motivation is a key factor in the workforce efficiency and can be extremely profitable to a company. There has been much research done and theories evaluated on the topic and this report shall explore some of these theories. Some of the most well known theories in "understanding what motivates workers" include:

 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

 Alderfer's ERG Theory

 Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory

 McClelland's Needs Theory

Problems arrive however when deciding when deciding which theory is more suitable to your company as each one is different. Throughout this process there is also the objection, that most of the research done would have come from observation of a workforce, and not every workforce will be the same and people will behave differently under observation. Also companies must be careful with regard to generalizing their workforce. Motivation links in with many other factors that companies must deal with such as leadership, work design and cultures. To take cultures for an example a company must decide how to interact with people of different cultures without generalizing or offending. A more scientific definition of motivation is an internal psychological state that stimulates a person to engage in a particular behavior and is central to the explanation of individuals' conscious choices among different alternatives (Brown and Peterson 1994; Spector 2000).

Motivation theories are critical for understanding job performance, as it is a human behaviour. Psychologists have studied the link between job performance and motivation for more than a century, and it has been stated that motivation is the energizer of human behaviour and is a critical determinant of job performance. Motivation is seen as a major management function whereby employees are encouraged to achieve expected results in their profession and furthermore accomplish organizational goals. Behaviour can be broken down into two segments;

- Intrinsically motivated: involves engaging in an activity for the pleasure and satisfaction derived from it.

- Extrinsically motivated: occurs when the behavior is engaged as a means

to an end, rather than for its own sake.

It has been made clear from numerous conducted studies that motivation is critical in organizational success due to its effect on a person's attitudes, behavioral intentions and performance. With this clear indication of employee motivation being key to the performance equation it thus constitutes as a strategic asset for competing. (Jaramillo, Fernando; 2007).

Motivation and Assumptions about people

Most marketers believe that the higher a persons motivation the greater the effort, resulting performance and satisfaction. This thinking is based on several assumptions.

Managers play a big role in motivation as:

 Managers must be able to convince the workforce that they can sell more by working harder or by being trained to work smarter.

 Managers must be able to convince the workforce that the rewards for better performance are worth the extra effort.

Motivation is often increased by the reinforcement of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards of all types. After much research a common list was formed of different rewards in order of value to the workforce. The results were as follows:

1. Pay

2. Promotion

3. Personal growth

4. Sense of accomplishment

The least valued rewards were respect, security and recognition; it is not very surprising that the workforce is most appreciative of money. The study also revealed demographic characteristics: older, longer tenured people and those who had large families mostly valued financial rewards. Whereas non-monetary rewards (e.g. recognition) were more valued by young people who were unmarried or had small families and usually more formal education. This type of study could be extremely important to companies as it could get greater performance from the workforce with greater profits.

The quota system is

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