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Workplace Motivation and Productivity

Essay by review  •  December 21, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  1,040 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,171 Views

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Workplace Motivation and Productivity

Management today, tends to be obsessed with employee motivation toward increased motivation and productivity. Companies have adopted numerous motivation philosophies over the last few decades, and many find the same productivity issues exist post-implementation. Psychologists have discovered that productivity in the workplace can be affected positively or negatively with the utilization of various motivational theories available today, dependent

on how they are introduced. This paper will analyze workplace motivation and productivity within Ontario Power Generation (OPG), and discusses the impact of two motivation theories, the self-actualization theory, and achievement motivation, on employees and managers within the workplace.

Motivation and Productivity at OPG

Ontario Power Generation has its fair share of employee motivation and productivity concerns. The company has made many glorious attempts to improve productivity, including re-organizational efforts, the implementation of extrinsic monetary rewards, and job redesign. The problems remain intact. They tried a recognition program and wellness programs in attempt to engage staff and coerce them towards increased production. Of course, when there is a culture of distrust and disrespect progress is not an easy task. Any effort that management made to implement change seemed to trigger employee resistance and reduce productivity.

Employees are not resisting change, they truly want positive change, they yearn for change, growth, and a brighter outlook. What they are resisting is being forced to change. If employees do not understand the reasons for change, if they are not involved in the change and identify potential improvements to their own lives, and if they fail to realize that company success is dependent

on its sustainability, they tend to resist the change efforts and failure occurs. There are many reasons for this failure, but the key problem is the current motivation philosophy held by management.

The motivation philosophy continues to reflect Maslow's needs hierarchy for survival and security. The company seems to hold tight to extrinsic rewards, where money is the root motivator. They are in the habit of throwing money at the union, to settle the labor contract, because past practice was always 'throw money at them and they stop whining'. The employees are much older now, and many have progressed past basic survival and security towards esteem and actualization. The company's motivation theory needs to evolve with its employees.

Self-Actualization Theory

Abraham Maslow's self-actualization is situated at the peak of his hierarchy of needs chart, see "(Figure 1)". The needs pyramid begins with basic life needs such as food and water, and then safety needs like security and stability, progressing to the aesthetic or self-esteem needs of learning, respect, and mastery.

Self-Actualization can be defined as "... the process of developing in a way that leaves behind infantile heteronomy--dependence on others--defensiveness, cruelty, and timidity and moves toward autonomous self-regulation, realistic appraisals, compassion towards others, and the courage to create and to explore" (Reeve, J. 2001, p. 340). The self-actualized individual has a number of wonderful traits, a few examples are; realistic, accepting of self and the world, interested in continual growth, and has a strong focus on problem solving. When the company supports and encourages the employee's journey toward self-actualization there are many personal and workplace benefits.

An individual striving for self-actualization is moving towards a more fulfilled and whole person that is working toward ones potential. The benefits to the workplace are immense. These individuals can be identified as:

* efficient and accurate in perceiving reality

* are accepting of themselves, of other people and of nature

* are problem-centered

* are independent and autonomous

* identify with all of humanity and are democratic and respectful of others

* appreciate for its own sake the process of doing things

* have a childlike and fresh creativity and inventiveness (Neill, J. 2003).

There is a powerful potential for self-actualization for every employee. This company,

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