business administration (hrm)

Executive Summary

I am pleased to present this assessment as part of my academic module of Research Methods. Time has brought a huge change with broader invention, new techniques of implication and human feelings and willingness.

Therefore we need to find approaches to efficient and successful HRM. Motivation is such an approach needs to be prioritised. Because, I personally believe, de-motivational factors are exploited now a days to rule the employee performance ignoring pleasant uses of motivational influences. I would like to focus on retail industry and use Marks & Spencer Simply Food as an instance. So the found results will be directly applicable to retail industry and to all other industries with some extents of variability.

Chapter 1


Alignment of aims, purpose and values between staff, teams and organisation is the most fundamental aspect of motivation. There is an old saying you can take a horse to the water but you can not force it to drink, it will drink only if it's thirsty - so with people. They will do what they want to do or otherwise motivated to do. In relation to Motivation Albert Einstein said as: "We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them" (

Over the past two decades, the pace of change within companies has grown even faster and global competitive pressures have become more acute. Companies emphasise that 'employees are our greatest asset' and are increasingly taking initiatives to enhance motivation as a pragmatic tool of involvement, empowerment and success.

The challenge of motivating employees has long been recognised as an integral part of managing organisations. According to Edington, Hundson and Lankford (2001), motivation plays an exceedingly important role in moving an organisation towards excellence. Moorhead and Griffin (1998) have suggested that employee performance is a joint function of ability and motivation. Therefore, motivating employees to perform to the best of their ability is seen as one of the key tasks of the manager.

Yet despite the agreement over the significance of 'work' motivation, there is considerable controversy over which factors motivate employees to work. The complexity of motivation at work is evident in the interaction of the forces among individuals, the job and the work environment that account for the level, direction and persistence of the effort expended at work (Steers & Porter, 1991).

Different people are motivated by different factors. Some people derive motivation from the tasks they perform, while some are moved by opportunities to succeed and advance. Motivation assessment helps to determine the factors at work to define a purpose and a sense of direction. Over the centuries, Human Resource Management has gained popularity and companies have understood the importance of carrying out research and analysis on how to increase employee productivity and help them perform to optimum level.

I believe that motivation of employees plays a crucial role in the successful attainment of an organisation's goals and its sustainability. I am therefore interested in this topic and want to undertake research to identify factors that motivate employees at their work place. I hope that my findings will contribute to some extent to help organisations identify and apply employee motivational factors that determine its success.

In this modern and most innovative period of time people are interested in direct effect issues in both of their personal life and organisational framework. Employee motivation is a small term to define but with very large multi-layers impact in both from personal and organisational perspectives. It leads personal willingness towards achieving organisational goal transforming de-motivation to satisfaction.

At present, the competitiveness exists within the industry is at highest possible extent and the individual organisational achievement of goals and success became more compromised, conditional and shared. So employee role in performing for desired outputs became more as significant as never thought before. In this case, motivation is a pragmatic tool works in a tailored framework invisibly to arouse strong willingness and belongingness among the employees and management and between them to work more consistently. As a result, it is now very important to explore motivation from new possible angles with a visionary objective of knowing the changes in factors of motivation and their ways of act.

In addition to examining existing literature, I would like to validate my research with primary research carried out within the context of the London Bridge branch of Marks and Spencer Simply Food. Based on this I would like to identify the key indicators that motivate employees.

Brief Company Profile: Marks & Spencer (M&S)

Michael Marks opened a stall at Leeds Kirkgate Market on 1884. In 1894 Michael formed a partnership with Tom Spencer. It became a Marks & Spencer Limited (M&S) (Public Company) in 1926. The company operates 600 stores through out the UK. In addition the company has 240 stores worldwide, including over 219 franchise businesses operating in 34 countries. 65,000 employees are working in UK only. M&S regards people as their key asset. They therefore provide quality training and development and reward schemes to all their employees.

Aims and objectives of the Research

I hope that my research will contribute to enrich the knowledge generated by other organisations with regard to motivational factors in a work place. By this research and analysis I want to:

  • Explore the importance of Motivation as perceived by the people for increasing the level of employee performance in Human Resource Management within the context of M&S.
  • Identify motivational factors in M&S as in the retail industry and the type of motivation take place in the industry with ranking by the employees.
  • Outline the Job Evaluation and Incentives process in inspiring employees towards better performance.
  • Gather information from primary and secondary resources along with other sources to establish my findings.
  • Present statistical data and first hand information in order to present and validate my findings, which I hope, will be applicable to other organisations in the retail industry as well.
  • Make suggestions and recommendations based on above findings for further progress.

Chapter 2

Literature review

Why Motivation

Ivancevich and Matteson (1987) identified employee performance as a combination of three factors:

  • Capacity to perform - relevant skills, abilities, knowledge and experiences that a person possesses.
  • Opportunity to perform - the infrastructure needed to perform must be in place.
  • Willingness to perform - how much effort a person is willing to exert to achieve relevant and useful performance.

No combination of capacity and opportunity will result in high performance in the absence of the willingness to perform. Good employee performance is important because the business environment is very dynamic and competitive and the lines of differentiation between one company and another could be very fine.

Consideration of different types of Motivation as a comparative study in the research:

(Will be elaborately used in research)

A motive is a reason for doing something. Motivation is concerned with factors that influence people to behave in creative ways. The three components of motivation, as listed by Arnold et al (1991) are:

  • Direction - what a person is trying to do
  • Effort - how hard a person is trying
  • Persistence - how long a person keeps on trying.

A motivated person is involved in goal-directed behaviour. Motivation takes place when people expect a course of action to lead to the attainment of a goal - a valued reward that satisfies their particular needs. Armstrong (2002) suggests two types of motivation as follows.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is where the reason for the task is to perform the activity itself i.e. by seeking, finding and doing work, which helps them acquire and accomplish the cause for which they are actually working. The motivators include responsibility, where they feel the work is important and challenging and which has the scope to develop their skills and opportunities for advancement.

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation occurs when a person performs an activity for any external reward they will receive or experience once the task has been completed. The rewards include praise, promotion, increased pay, self-development, training, and appraisal for exhibiting good work. These often have a more powerful and immediate effect albeit short term.

Job evaluation (Will be elaborated research)

Job evaluation is a process followed by employers for a number of reasons. The results of job evaluation can be used to provide a useful classification as the basis to distinguish rewards and introduce a pay structure. Furthermore in cases of new recruits, the introduction of a new role or changes in an existing role, pay structures can be used to define the rewards for the new entry. The existence of a straightforward reward management system also allows the comparison of rates between organisations.

Incentives Analysis

Incentives are provided by organisations to increase motivation and performance output of their employees. Incentives may have a number of different forms and it is difficult to identify the incentive method that is more widely spread as well as if there is a tendency in organisations to move towards or away from the provision of incentives.

Evolving theories of Motivation (Will be elaborately used in the research)

For centuries, theorists have assumed that human behaviour is guided by reason and free will. Yet, research led psychologists to conclude that not all human behaviour is guided by reason and therefore they began studying other motivational factors.

Different theories of motivation rely on different theories of human behaviour. Whilst some theories are based upon human satisfaction theories, others are based on human incentive theories.

Although there are many theories that can be linked with motivational factors at work, I would like to briefly describe about those theories and models I shall use elaborately in my research.

Herzberg's Theory of Motivation

Frederick Herzberg analysed the job attitudes of 200 accountants and engineers who were asked to recall when they had felt positive or negative at work and he suggested a two-step approach to understanding employee motivation and satisfaction.


Motivators are the elements of the job that make it satisfying and are hence intrinsic. If they are improved, they can lead to motivation, else they would lead to dissatisfaction.

Motivators include:

  • Recognition - feedback and praise on successful work
  • Responsibility - accountability for oneself and others
  • Achievement - completing challenging jobs and solving problems
  • Advancement - promotion.

Hygiene Factors

  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Company policies and administration
  • Job security
  • Working conditions
  • Status
  • Supervision received
  • Salary

If these factors are absent or negative, dissatisfaction occurs, but at the same time presence of these factors, by themselves does not lead to satisfaction.

Chapter 3



The literature review provides the foundation on which I can start my analysis but it leaves several questions unanswered; for example, which factors are generally considered to be the most important ones in driving forward an employee's motivation? Which factors are not commonly listed but considered important by some? Like these lots of issues are important to work with to prove the facts and influences. This is why I have planned to adopt both primary and secondary researches to stronghold my analysis.

Hence, in order to provide answers to those questions, I designed my research based on key issues of motivation for employees of M&S Simply Food that will form the basis of my primary and secondary research.

Primary research:

The primary research will include individual interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, analysis of the data, and discussion of findings with M&S Simply Foods.

Individual interviews

Individual interviews need to be conducted to better familiarize with the organization, its employees and current levels of motivation. After a few preliminary exploratory interviews, the researcher will develop an interview guideline for the rest of the interviews. It would be necessary to interview people from different levels in diverse departments to get a good feel for the organization.

The questions included in the questionnaire are such that can elicit responses that are generally representative of the overall working population in terms of feelings and perceptions. Questionnaires can be effective if correct samples are used since the responses can be used to make generalisations. However, they need to be written suitably and consideration must be given to the little room for error in perceiving different questions by different people. To avoid this, the questions are kept precise, simple and straightforward and are generally those with a multiple choice with a rating scale in relation to the level of importance or satisfaction. It also includes questions about what the employees want to change about their work place and space was provided for them to write down their thoughts and express their opinions as to which factors motivate them to what extent and what their highest priority is. This style of questioning is informative and it is easy to conduct an analysis of figures by counting number of sample members falling in a particular category and how many rank the same factor as most important, or even to conduct an analysis by age, sex or hierarchy.

In order to maintain gender equality, the questionnaires will be given out to 10 male and 10 female employees out of 70 employees (management and non-management) of Marks and Spencer Simply Food of London Bridge Station. This phase will also provide the basis for development of a facilitation guideline for the focus groups to follow.

Focus groups

Focus group discussions with homogeneous groups of employees will give the researcher a forum to explore different ideas and suggestions. Every focus group will have people from about the same level and age group as possible to ensure that the issues raised and discussed are of equal interest and concern to all participants.

Questionnaires Development and pilot testing

A sample questionnaire is developed as given below and will be finalized based on following steps:

  • Identify the conditions under which M&S employees perform at their best and how often such conditions are perceived by them to be satisfied;
  • Identify the conditions under which they do not perform well as well as frequency of occurrence of such conditions; and
  • Establish correlation between critical conditions/ factors and performance, both positive and negative.
  • Identify managerial views on how best to motivate employees, and what is seen to work in M&S-UK; and
  • Identify managerial views on what appears to block or hinder sustained high performance

Questionnaire survey

The questionnaire will be given to various junior and management level employees in different and random manner in order to compare and contrast of responses from employees Marks & Spencer Simply Foods and to identify what differs between the perspectives of one from another. The questionnaires will be distributed to a number of employees and managers to ensure that the sample size of response is statistically valid. The exact mode of distribution and collection will be decided closer to this phase and based on discussions with relevant management.

Secondary research:

Secondary research in terms of data is the Human Resource Department (HRD) at the London Bridge branch, e.g., statistical figures on employee turnover, absenteeism, unpermitted sick leaves, number of years in service, number of leavers, average establishment figure and reasons why employees change jobs. Some of the above analysis will be done by age.

I shall also refer to The Corporate Social Responsibility Report for M&S for the year 2005-2006 and search information on the Internet regarding employee motivation and refer to different books and Journals on HR management and motivation of employees.

Data Analysis

The questionnaire will be analyzed and studied to identify patterns, correlation, etc.

Discussion of the findings

The tentative findings will be discussed with the supervisor and an agreement reached on the validity and limitations of findings. It is hoped to discuss some recommendations and implications as well at this stage.

Final writing up of the dissertation

After the findings are discussed with the supervisor and expected data being collected, I shall start my final writing up of my dissertation.

Draft dissertation submission for discussion

The first draft will be uploaded for forum discussion and supervisors comment.

Final dissertation uploading

The final step of my work is to upload the piece of analysis for judgement.

Limitations of methodology

With most surveys and experiments, there are limitations, concerning the sample, environment, confidentiality, availability of target sample group, disclosure of information and other such factors. This research is not beyond critics and limitations due to time and resource constraints. Though the sample has been carefully considered to include people of various age groups and an equal number of males and females and the proportion of partners at various hierarchical levels, like all other samples this is indicative of the total population but does not guarantee that other employees not part of this exercise and the accuracy will not compromise. The rate of accuracy may vary from that of expectation, which will be used in generating final results of the whole analysis.

Measures I shall take to minimise the above limitation

The limitations highlight a number of gaps regarding the methodology being proposed to be used in research but can be minimised negotiating time and recourse constrains. If I get enough time to conduct the research I shall the questionnaire to ask more questions with in-depth questions. Questions concerning marital status of the sample members and work status can be added as an optional choice question to get better comparative results. For example, if the sample member has a family to support, they may rank particular factors higher than others may. I shall increase the sample size if possible, which will include a larger number of people depending upon the availability and time. I shall try to carry out my research on employees from various geographical areas and ethnic backgrounds, which will allow me to analyse how such differences impact my findings and research picture out a better statistical scenario.

Final Words

The motivational factors and influence of motivation are long studied issues and have been evolving for many years and will continue to be analysed as a managerial organism from different angles due to change constant. I hope my research, regardless limitations, will contribute to resolve many conflicts and dilemmas of HRM improving employee performance through latest managerial compromise.

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