Motivation Of Employees: The Pros And Cons Of What Works And Doesn’t

Posted by Denny Bagus

Abstract
Many methods of employee motivation have been developed over the years. The study of employee work motivation has focused on how to motivate the employee as well as the manager. Motivation theories are important to supervisors attempting to be effective leaders, in gaining loyalty and productivity from worker. Motivation has two primary approaches: content and process. Words like: needs, goals, values, culture, management and incentives are all related to motive or motivation. (Mathis & Jackson, 1991, p.80). There are numerous theorists who have put forth diverse theories about motivation, through differing angles and perspectives. The paper’s main focus is to discuss those differing views from the perspective of needs, goals, culture, leadership, and, incentives, as well as to examine models currently used.
Keywords
Motivation, Employee Needs Base, Goal Theory, Incentive Rewards, Performance Appraisals

INTRODUCTION

I am of the realization the motivating employees is a management and leadership issue, often linked to policies, procedures, as well as the structure and cultures of an organization. It begins with human resource management and knowing what the employee is hired to perform. But what is motivation? Why is it important? How can we motivate people, specifically employees? Motivation is the art of getting things done in a manner that meets or surpasses expected standards of performance. It is defined as "an emotion or desire within a person causing a person to act." In essence, people typically act in order to achieve a goal. No organization can achieve anything without people (Drucker, 1999). An Organization is, after all, a body of persons arranged for a specific purpose. Because Management is the efficient and effective utilization of resources, we must think of personnel as the Human Resource - thus, HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT. Management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant. This is what organization is all about, and it is the reason that management is the critical, determining factor. The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that results exist only on the outside. The result of a business is a satisfied customer. The result of a hospital is a healed patient. The result of a school is a student who has learned something and puts it to work ten years later. Inside an enterprise, there are only costs." (Drucker,1996, pg.31-32).

Since motivation influences productivity, supervisors need to understand what motivates
employees to reach peak performance. It is not an easy task to increase employee motivation because employees respond in different ways to their jobs and their organization's practices. Motivation is the set of processes that moves a person toward a goal. Thus, motivated behaviors are voluntary choices controlled by the individual employee. The supervisor (motivator) wants to influence the factors that motivate employees to higher levels of productivity. Factors that affect work motivation include individual differences, job characteristics, and organizational practices. Individual differences are the personal needs/wants, values, and attitudes, interests and abilities that people bring to their jobs. Job characteristics are the aspects of the position that determine its limitations and challenges. Organizational practices are the rules, human resources policies, managerial practices, and rewards systems of an organization. Supervisors must consider how these factors interact to affect employee job performance.
In the Characteristic Model of Motivation, a job has core dimensions such as skill variety, task identity, autonomy, and feedback. To the extent that these are present in a job, the employee will experience certain psychological states such as experiencing meaningfulness in the work and assume responsibility for outcomes as well as have better knowledge of the actual results of work activities. The more frequent and satisfying these psychological states are, the higher the internal motivation, the better quality the performance, the greater the satisfaction, and the lower the absenteeism and turnover. (Griffin,1999, p 328). This influences performance, affects job satisfaction and affects both physical and mental health. “Who a person is" and what a person is depend on, and reflects the kind of work a person does.
Accepting a job is the crucial factor in integrating the individual into society. It also provides a definition of self that corresponds to their place in society." (Henderson, pg. 49). Workers seek guidance, counseling and direction from management to accomplish tasks and to enhance the quality of life.
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