Theory of Motivation

QUESTION:

Money is the most important factor motivating workers today. Discuss this statement with reference to motivational theories you are aware of.

The word motivation according to Richard Romando is gotten from the Latin phrase "movere", which means to move. Motivation is defined as an inner drive that activates performance and gives it direction. The term motivation theory is concerned with the process that explains why and how human behaviour is stimulated and directed. It is considered as one of the most significant areas of learning in the field of organizational behaviour.

Motivation according to Jim Riley is defined as the determination to work; this comes from the pleasure of the work itself and from the aspiration to achieve certain goals for example earn more money or achieve promotion.

Motivation can be seen as the bed rock for effective performance of workers on any assigned task or job in an organisation, these is the reason why people wants to work hard and work effectively for the business. In other words, motivation can easily be defined as those forces that incite or encourage a person to perform better or give his or her best. Motivation energises workers towards the assigned task in an organisation. Therefore for a worker to perform and work towards accomplishing goals for the organisation, he must be motivated.

Several motivational theories have been put together by management experts to support the need for effective motivation in an organisation. The most generally held analysis or presumptions are enumerated below. Though the following theories do not all arrive at the same conclusions; some of these theories are as follows;

Þ Abraham Maslow – Hierarchy of Needs.

Þ Douglas McGregor - Theory X And Y

Þ Fredrick Herzberg – Two Factor Theory

Þ Elton Mayor - Human Relation School of thought

Þ Fredrick Winslow Taylor - Theory of Scientific Management

Money as said is an important factor in motivating workers today, more so as the saying goes “money answers all things”. Going by economic terms money is simply defined as an official medium of exchange for goods and services, Money according to Cliffnotes is defined as “any good that is generally used and acknowledged in trade connecting the transfer of goods and services from one person to another”, it is therefore glaring that human would demand for pay for services rendered in an organisation.

According to Fredrick W Taylor in his theory of Scientific Management, Fredrick argued that, workers should be paid fairly for a fairly days job. Fredrick however suggested the initiative that workers are motivated mostly by pay. Fredrick who was concerned about they pay attitude of management towards workers argued that workers do not obviously take pleasure in work and so need close direction, as a result managers should split down production into a series of tiny tasks, workers should then be given proper training and working equipments to enable them work as resourcefully as Possible on one set duty.

Workers are then paid in line with the amount manufactured goods they able to produce in a set period of timepiece rate pay. Taylor reasoned that workers can only put in their best if they are well paid (monetary reward).

Taylor discovered from his findings that management uses workers as a tool and at the end of the day pay them peanuts. This forced the workers to be unproductive and highly unmotivated on their job.

Furthermore Taylor stated that management should not only be about surplus and high productivity but also be concerned about the welfare of the workers because if the workers are well motivated they would work harder to increase productivity and any surplus arising therefore can be shared between management and workers.

Organisational management in the day of Taylor disbelieved this theory and as such they could not employ the ideas of Taylor on time, however they came to realise the importance of Taylor ideas and as such embraced it.

According to Jim Riley, Taylor's ideas in general were adopted as industries saw the profit of improved production levels and lesser unit costs. According to Jim one of the few people who adopted this method was Henry Ford, thus through the adoption of this theory Henry was able to design the first ever production line, which is making of ford cars. This as stated by Jim was the beginning of the era of mass production.

From the above, it is evident that money is a very important factor in motivating workers; nevertheless there are other imperative factors that have been argued to motivate a worker more than money and this factor have been supported by different theories, these theories are discussed below;

One of these theories that argue in opposition to the scrutiny that money is the most important factor in motivating workers is the hierarchy of needs by Abraham Maslow. Maslow who was a psychologist postulated the hierarchy of needs; Maslow divided human needs in line into five classes. The needs can be represented hierarchically (as shown below).

The needs are prepotency, prepotency here means in the order of importance in life.

Physiological needs: this are needs which according to Abraham, consist of the basic need of life such as food, shelter, clothing, rest, water. They are the first level of needs for human in life, without which it would be difficult for man to live. Thus failure to satisfy this need will make an individual locked up in that level, but ability to satisfy this need will make an individual move to the next level of needs which is safety and security.

Safety and security: These needs according to Abraham are security from physical attacks, protection from danger. Basically they are the need to know that you are physically protected and your job is secured. According to Abraham once this needs are satisfied they no longer motivate you instead the next level of need keeps motivating the individual.

Social needs: it is the need to interact and mix up freely with people and have a warmly relationship with people, it also include the need to belong to an organization. After this according to Abraham the next motivating need is esteem needs.

Esteem need: this need is egoistic in nature, it consist of needs such as prestige, status and achievements. That is, it is a need where people want to be recognised wherever they are. They are basically needs for self respect and being valued by others. After this the next is level of needs which continues to motivate the individual is self actualisation.

Self actualisation: this is similar to becoming what one wishes to become in life, this is a feeling of satisfaction, and it is a feeling that you have done a good job and totally achieved your objectives positively. This however is a difficult stage to achieve; even so Abraham argued that everybody is capable of attaining self actualisation.

From this analysis above it is glaring that money does not motivate but the satisfaction of the lower level needs of individuals pushes them to the top, therefore considering the views and augment under Abraham Maslow level of needs money does not motivate.

An additional important motivation theory is the two factor theory by Fredrick Herzberg; Fredrick believed that certain things or factors that if businesses introduce, it could directly motivate an employee and that there were also factors that can make a worker de-motivated if not present. Herzberg put forward hygiene factors, which are factors that the job is surrounded by rather than the job itself. Herzberg alleged that businesses should motivate workers by acclimatizing democratic approach to management. Below are some of the methods suggested by Herzberg that managers could use to motivate workers:

Þ Job enlargement: making work interesting by giving workers variety of responsibilities to execute.

Þ Job enrichment:

Þ Empowerment: handing over additional power to workers to make their own choices over areas of their working lives.

However it is important to note that Herzberg examined pay or money as a hygiene factor which is in accordance with Fredrick Taylor's earlier assertion.

Another presumption which contradicts the view that money is the most important motivating factor is the human relation school of thought which was coined by Elton Mayo.

Mayo approved to the fact that although money can motivate a worker; however he believed workers are not just interested or inspired by money but could be better motivated by ensuring their social requirements are met while at work.

After Mayo carried out some sequences of experiments on the workers at the workshop of the western electric company in Chicago, from the research Mayo resolved that workers are highly motivated by improved communication involving managers and workers and in addition working in groups or teams improved productivity.

From this assertion, it is important to point out that although Elton mayo agrees to the importance of money as a motivational factor but disagrees to the motion that money is the most important factor in motivating workers and that there are other factors which are more effective and important in motivating a worker than money. Factors like good working conditions and efficient communication between workers and management.

Another gainsaying theory to the assertion that money is the most important factor in motivating workers is the theory proposed by Douglas McGregor; theory X and theory Y.

In this theory Douglas attempted to apply the application of Maslow, Taylor and Mayo's theory to business. He gives different reason why people work and coined it the theory X and theory Y.

McGregor asserts that theory X workers are lazy and motivated mainly by money and would only work if coerced by management. While theory Y assumes that workers are motivated by many different factors and are responsible and committed, in addition that theory Y workers enjoy work, and therefore it is important for businesses to be able to know where their workers fall into.

These claims by McGregor about theory X workers who is motivated mainly through money however correspond with the above fact that money is a main motivator. While theory Y workers do not correspond, theory Y workers in McGregor's assertion are always ready to work and are responsible and committed without money.

Nevertheless, from the above considered diverse views, it is quite evident that although there are other important factors that contribute to the effective motivation of individual, money is also a very important motivating factor. Therefore having measured the motivational theories, managers should identify with the various techniques of motivating workers either through monetary or non monetary rewards, because a well-motivated workforce can provide better productivity, lesser levels of absenteeism, and lower levels of staff turnover (the amount of workers leaving the company).

References

! Robin stuart kotze (ND) [online] Motivation theory: a reassessment of literature available at: http://www.managenmentlearning.com (assessed February 15th).

! Ken shah and prof J. shah (ND) [online] Theories of motivation: a reassessment of literature available at: http://www.laynetworks .com/theories-of-motivation. (assessed February 13th)

! Joseph E Gawel (1999) [online] Herzberg's theory of motivation and Maslow hierarchy of needs: a reassessment of literature available at: http://www.pareonline.net/getvn?v=11 (assessed February 13th)

! Shameena Silva: (2009) [online] Motivational theories; understanding the content theories of motivation: a reassessment of literature available at: http://www.articlesbase.com/human.resources-article. (assessed February 13th)

! vittel1: (2008) [online] Different theories of motivation: a assessment of literature available at: http://www.oppapers.com (assessed February 13th)

! Richard Romando: (2007) [online] Motivation theory: a reassessment of literature available at: http://www.articleslash.net/self-immprovement/18690_motivation-theory.html(assessed February 13th)

! Ricky Ortan: (2009) [online] Theory of Motivation: a reassessment of literature available at: http://www.associatedcontent.com/articles/1911252/theory_of_motivation.htm (assessed February 14th)

Books

Dave. H, Jones R, Rafo. C, Andertain. A. business studies (2009) person education, Edinburgh England.

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