During these trying times, it is really a challenge for managers to keep employee motivation at its peak… The same holds true for our organization… Studies have attested that employees who are highly motivated give their optimal performance in their jobs. In consideration of their findings, managers should always be in the know as far as motivation theories are concerned… Below is a short refresher article discussing Maslow, Alderfer and Herzberg’s motivation theories…
What is motivation?
· According to Buchanan, motivation is a decision making process. The individual chooses the desired outcomes and sets in motion the behavior that is appropriate to achieve the desired outcomes.
· The psychological forces that determine the direction of a person’s behavior in an organization, a person’s level of effort, and a person’s level of persistence.
Why is Motivation important in businesses?
An organization’s employees are its greatest assets. No matter how efficient your technology and equipment may be, it is no match for the effectiveness and efficiency of your staff.
Organizations with highly motivated employees enjoy the following advantages:
· Results to higher productivity
· Promotes better quality of work with less wastage
· Develops a greater sense of urgency
· Encourages more employee feedback and suggestion (motivated workers take more ownership of their work)
· Demands greater feedback from supervisors and management
THEORIES OF MOTIVATION
These theories specify the needs that people have and the way these needs contribute to motivation and job performance. These needs may be psychological and physiological in nature.
Needs Hierarchy Theory of Motivation
- Abraham Maslow
· Abraham Maslow was dubbed as the Father of Humanist Psychology
· He based his theory on the idea that individuals work to satisfy human needs, such as food and complex psychological needs such as self-esteem. He coined the term Hierarchy of Needs to account for the roots of human motivation.
· According to Maslow, a fulfilled need did little to motivate an employee. For example, a person who has sufficient food to eat cannot be enticed to do something for a reward of food. In contrast, a person with an unfulfilled need can be persuaded to work to satisfy that need. Thus, a hungry person might work hard for food. Maslow called this the Deficit Principle.
· It is a person’s unsatisfied needs that influence his behavior
· The unsatisfied need becomes a focal motivator.
· The satisfied need no longer influences an individual’s behavior.
· Managers should be alert for unmet needs and then create rewards to satisfy them.
· Higher order needs are not active motivators until lower order needs are fulfilled.
· Unfulfilled lower order needs take precedence over higher level needs. For example, for a person who is hungry, his need for food will far outweigh his need for self respect.
* Physiological Needs – needs required to sustain life such as: air, water, food, and sleep. According to this theory, if these needs are not satisfied, then an individual will surely be motivated to satisfy them. Higher order needs will not be recognized not unless one satisfies the needs that are basic to existence.
* Safety and Security – Once physiological needs are met, one’s attention turns to safety and security in order to be free from the threat of physical and emotional harm. Such needs maybe fulfilled by: living in a safe area, medical insurance, job security, and financial reserves.
* Social Needs – Once lower level needs are met, higher level motivators awaken. The first of which are social needs. Social needs are those related to interaction with others and may include: friendship, belonging to a group, and giving and receiving love.
* Esteem Needs – After a person feels that he or she belongs, the urge to attain a degree of importance emerges. Esteem needs can be categorized as external motivators and internal motivators. Internally motivating esteem needs are those such as self-esteem, accomplishment, and self-respect. External esteem needs are those such as reputation, social status, and recognition.
* In later models, Maslow added another layer in between esteem and self-actualization needs: Need for Aesthetics and Knowledge
* Self-Actualization – is the summit of Maslow’s motivation theory. It is about the quest for reaching one’s full potential as a person. Self-actualized people tend to have motivators such as: truth, justice, wisdom, and meaning. They are said to have frequent occurrences of peak experiences, which are energized moments of profound happiness and harmony. According to Maslow, only a small percentage of the population reaches the level of self-actualization.
Applying Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy – Business Management Implications
If Maslow’s theory holds, there are some important implications for management. Managers have varied opportunities to motivate employees through management style, job designs, company events, and compensation packages. To pattern after Maslow’s theory, management can do the following:
· Physiological Motivation: Provide ample breaks for lunch and recuperation. Devise a salary scheme that would allow your workers to buy life’s essentials.
· Safety Needs: Employees cannot reach maximum effectiveness or efficiency when they feel the need to constantly check their backs and scan their surroundings for fear of potential threats. Physical threats in the work environment can be alleviated by security guards, cameras, and responsive management personnel. Managers should also provide relative job security, retirement benefits, and the like.
· Social Needs: Generate a feeling of acceptance, belonging, and community by reinforcing team dynamics, planning team-based projects and social events.
· Esteem Motivators: Recognize achievements, assign important projects, and provide status to make employees feel valued and appreciated.
· Self-Actualization: Offer challenging and meaningful work assignments which enable innovation, creativity, and progress according to long-term goals. Provide opportunities that would allow your employees to reach their full career potential.
*Remember, everyone is not motivated by the same needs. At various points in their lives and careers, various employees will be motivated by completely different needs. It is imperative that you recognize each employee’s needs that are currently being pursued.
Maslow’s Theory – Limitations and Criticism
Though Maslow’s hierarchy makes sense intuitively, little evidence supports its strict hierarchy. Actually, recent research challenges the order imposed by Maslow’s pyramid. As an example, in some cultures, social needs are regarded higher than any others. Further, Maslow’s hierarchy fails to explain the “starving artist” scenario, in which the need for aesthetic supersedes physical needs. Additionally, little evidence suggests that people satisfy exclusively one motivating need at a time.
While scientific support fails to reinforce Maslow’s hierarchy, his theory is very popular, being the introductory motivation theory for many students and managers, worldwide.
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ERG Theory of Motivation
- Clayton Alderfer
In 1969, Clayton Alderfer’s revision of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, called the ERG Theory appeared in The Psychological Review in an article titled “An Empirical Test of a New Theory of Human Need.” Alderfer’s contribution to organizational behavior was dubbed the ERG theory, and was created to align Maslow’s motivation theory more closely with empirical research.
Alderfer distinguishes three categories of human needs that influence worker’s behavior. These are existence, relatedness and growth.
· Existence Needs: physiological and safety needs such as hunger, thirst and sex.
· Relatedness Needs: social and external esteem involvement with family, friends, co-workers and employers.
· Growth Needs: internal esteem and self actualization the desire to be creative, productive and to complete meaningful tasks.
The ERG theory does not believe in levels of needs. A lower level need does not have to be gratified. This theory accounts for a variety of individual differences, which would cause a worker to satisfy their need at hand, whether or not a previous need has been satisfied. Hence, needs in the different ERG areas can be felt simultaneously.
ERG Theory recognizes that the importance of the three categories may vary for each individual. Managers must recognize that an employee has multiple needs that must be satisfied simultaneously. According to the ERG theory, if you focus exclusively on one need at a time, this will not effectively motivate.
The frustration-regression principle
In addition, the ERG theory acknowledges that if a higher level need remains unfulfilled, the person may regress towards lower level needs, which appear easier to satisfy. This is known as: the frustration-regression principle.
The two major motivational premises that the ERG theory gives are: the more lower-level needs are gratified, the more higher-level need satisfaction is desired; the less higher-level needs are gratified, the more lower-level need satisfaction is desired.
Applying Alderfer’s ERG Theory – Business Management Implications
According to Alderfer, the frustration-regression principle has an impact on workplace motivation. For example, if growth opportunities are not offered to the employees, they may regress towards relatedness needs, and socialize more with co-workers. If management can recognize these conditions early, steps can be taken to satisfy the frustrated needs until the employees are able to pursue growth again.
- Frederick Herzberg
· Frederick Herzberg’s theory of motivation is a content theory of motivation. His theory attempts to explain the factors that motivate individuals by identifying and satisfying their individual needs, desires and the aims pursued to satisfy those desires.
· This motivation theory is referred to as a two factor theory because of the belief that motivators can be categorized as either hygiene factors or motivating factors.
· Hygiene factors are also often referred to as ‘dissatisfiers’. They are concerned with factors associated with the job itself but are not directly a part of it. Typically, this is salary, although other factors which will often act as dissatisfiers include:
1. perceived differences with others
2. job security
3. working conditions
4. the quality of management
5. organizational policy
7. interpersonal relations.
· Motivators (sometimes called ‘satisfiers’) are those factors directly concerned with the satisfaction gained from a job, such as:
1. the sense of achievement and the intrinsic value obtained from the job itself
2. the level of recognition by both colleagues and management
3. the level of responsibility
4. opportunities for advancement and
5. the status provided.
Applying Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory – Business Management Implications
The most important part of this theory of motivation is that the main motivating factors are not in the environment but in the intrinsic value and satisfaction gained from the job itself. It follows therefore that to motivate an individual, a job itself must be challenging, have scope for enrichment and be of interest to the jobholder. From this concept, Herzberg shaped his ideas about Job Enrichment, Job Enlargement, and Job Rotation.
As early as 1950 in the USA job rotation and job enlargement were being both advocated and tested as means for overcoming boredom at work.
For example, IBM introduced changes to machine operators’ jobs to include machine setting and inspection. In addition they introduced other wide-ranging changes in both the production system and the role of foremen and supervisors.
It is less than clear just how successful changes of this type have been in practice. Often, workers expect higher payment to compensate for learning these other jobs and for agreeing to changes in working practices. The new jobs are often only a marginal improvement in terms of the degree of repetition, the skill demands and the level of responsibility; as a result workers have not always responded positively to such change. Job enlargement schemes may not be entirely feasible in some circumstances.
The concepts of both job rotation and enlargement do not have their basis in any psychological theory. However, the next generation of attempts to redesign jobs developed from the researches of Herzberg.
From his theory Herzberg, itemized a set of principles for the enrichment of jobs:
* removing some controls while retaining accountability;
* increasing personal accountability for work;
* assigning each worker a complete unit of work with a clear start and end point;
* granting additional authority and freedom to workers;
* making periodic reports directly available to workers rather than to supervisors only;
* the introduction of new and more difficult tasks into the job;
* encouraging the development of expertise by assigning individuals to specialized tasks.
Herzberg’s other major contribution to the development of ideas in the area of job design was his checklist for implementation. This is a prescription for those seeking success in the enrichment of jobs:
* select those jobs where technical changes are possible without major expense;
* job satisfaction is low;
* performance improvement is likely with increases in motivation;
* hygiene is expensive;
* examine the jobs selected with the conviction that changes can be introduced;
* ‘green light’ or ‘brainstorm’ a list of possible changes;
* screen the list (red lighting) for hygiene suggestions and retain only ideas classed as motivators;
* remove the generalities from the list retaining only specific motivators;
* avoid employee involvement in the design process;
* set up a controlled experiment to measure the effects of the changes;
* anticipate an early decline in performance as workers get used to their new jobs.
Job enrichment, then, aims to create greater opportunities for individual achievement and recognition by expanding the task to increase not only variety but also responsibility and accountability. This can also include greater worker autonomy, increased task identity and greater direct contact with workers performing servicing tasks.
Herzberg’s Theory – Limitations and Criticism
The focus of the approach is the individual job and only limited consideration is given to the wider context in which the job is carried out, particularly social groupings.