Now that you have watched the mini lecture, you can learn more in the Essential reading for this topic:
Mullins, L.J. and G. Christy Management and organisational behaviour. (Harlow: Pearson, 2016) 11th edition. Chapter 7 Work motivation and job satisfaction. Chapter 8 Working in groups and teams.
Remember that all the Essential reading for this programme is provided for you. Click ‘next’ to go to the next page and start reading.
Effective organisational performance is dependent upon human activity and the efforts of members of staff. The structure of the work organisation, styles of leadership and the design and content of jobs can have a significant effect on the attitude, motivation and satisfaction of staff. The manager needs to know how best to elicit the co-operation and motivation of staff, and direct their efforts to achieving the goals and objectives of the organisation.
The relationship between the organisation and its members is influenced by what motivates them to work and the rewards and fulfilment they derive from it. The more highly engaged and motivated the workforce, the more likely the success of the organisation in achieving its goals and objectives. Motivation is at the basis of all organisational activity.
The study of motivation is concerned, basically, with why people behave in a certain way. The basic underlying question is ‘Why do people do what they do?’ In general terms, motivation can be described as the direction and persistence of action. It is concerned with why people choose a particular course of action in preference to others, and why they continue with a chosen action, often over a long period and in the face of difficulties and problems.
From a review of motivation theory, Mitchell identifies four common characteristics that underlie the definition of motivation:
• Motivation is typified as an individual phenomenon. Every person is unique, and major theories of motivation allow for this uniqueness to be demonstrated in one way or another.
• Motivation is described, usually, as intentional. Motivation is assumed to be under the worker’s control, and behaviours that are influenced by motivation, such as effort expended, are seen as choices of action.
• Motivation is multifaceted. The two factors of greatest importance are: (i) what gets people activated (arousal); and (ii) the force of an individual to engage in desired behaviour (direction or choice of behaviour).
• The purpose of motivational theories is to predict behaviour. Motivation is not the behaviour itself and it is not performance. Motivation concerns action and the internal and external forces that influence a person’s choice of action.
On the basis of these characteristics, Mitchell defines motivation as ‘the degree to which an individual wants and chooses to engage in certain specified behaviours’.
A fuller definition from the Chartered Management Institute is:
Motivation is the creation of incentives and working environments that enable people to perform to the best of their ability. The aim of motivation is to engage people with the work they are doing in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for individuals and the organisation as a whole.
The underlying concept of motivation is some driving force within individuals by which they attempt to achieve some goal in order to fulfil some need or expectation. This concept gives rise to the basic motivational model, illustrated in Figure 7.1.
People’s behaviour is determined by what motivates them. Their performance is a product of both ability level and motivation:
Performance = function (ability × motivation)
Kreitner et al. suggest that although motivation is a necessary contributor for job performance, it is not the only one. Along with ability, motivation is also a combination of level of skill, knowledge about how to complete the task, feelings and emotions, and facilitating and inhibiting conditions not under the individual’s control.4 However, what is clearly evident is that if the manager is to improve the work of the organisation, attention must be given to the level of motivation of its members. The manager must also encourage staff to direct their efforts (their driving force) towards the successful attainment of the goals and objectives of the organisation.
But what is this driving force and what do people really want from work? What are people’s needs and expectations and how do they influence behaviour and performance at work? Motivation is a complex subject, it is a very personal thing and it is influenced by many variables. For example, Farren reminds us of the twelve human needs that have been around since the beginning of recorded history: family, health and well-being, work/career, economic, learning, home/shelter, social relationships, spirituality, community, leisure, mobility and environment/safety: ‘Work and private life in the new millennium will continue to revolve around the 12 human needs.’
Early writers, such as F. W. Taylor, believed in economic needs motivation. Workers would be motivated by obtaining the highest possible wages through working in the most efficient and productive way. Performance was limited by physiological fatigue. For Taylor, motivation was a comparatively simple issue − what the workers wanted from their employers more than anything else was high wages. The ideas of F. W. Taylor and his rational−economic concept of motivation and subsequent approaches to motivation at work have fuelled the continuing debate about financial rewards as a motivator and their influence on productivity.
Where there is little pleasure in the work itself or the job offers little opportunity for career advancement, personal challenge or growth, many people may appear to be motivated primarily, if not exclusively, by money. Weaver suggests that for many hourly workers in the hospitality industry, such as dishwashing, waiting or housekeeping staff, the work does not change much among different companies and there is little attachment to a particular company. For such staff, Weaver proposes a ‘Theory M’ programme of motivation based on direct cash rewards for above-average performance. A percentage base is calculated from the average performance of workers on the staff.
Different generations in the workforce are also likely to have contrasting sets of motivations. For example, baby-boomers may well be concerned primarily about security, paying their large mortgages or funding their retirement. Generation X may be concerned about the changing nature of the work organisation, their financial future and continuing job security for the rest of their working life. On the other hand, Generation Y may be more footloose, have less interest in or doubts about affording to buy their own home and be less concerned about security or a long-term career.
For the vast majority of people, money is clearly important and a motivator at work but to what extent and how important depends upon personal circumstances and other satisfactions they derive from work. Although pay may still make people tick, there are now a number of other important influences on motivation. For many people, the feeling of being recognised and valued appears more important than money in motivating them to stay in a particular job. Note also that money may seem important as symbolising successful task performance and goal achievement. (See achievement motivation below; see also the ultimatum game below.)
As Chamorro-Premuzic and Fagan point out, few management topics have attracted as much discussion as the relationship between money and motivation. It seems that money is not a great motivator at work, and under certain circumstances may even demotivate. Extrinsic incentives such as financial rewards may extinguish or crowd out intrinsic rewards such as engagement and job satisfaction. This finding has important implications for managers.
It suggests that before incentivising their employees with external rewards − money, promotions or titles − they must first work out to what degree the job or task is meaningful or interesting for employees. And just as money can compensate for drearier jobs, it may also dilute employees’ passion and joy in doing something that they love − like the artist whom is offended by questions about the price of his work.
The authors also report on evidence that suggests that people are far more sensitive to the loss of money than the gaining of money. A pay rise may not necessarily make people happy, but a pay cut will be sure to make them miserable.
The various needs and expectations at work can be categorised in a number of ways − for example, the simple divisions into physiological and social motives or into extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.
• Extrinsic motivation is related to ‘tangible’ rewards such as salary and fringe benefits, security, promotion, contract of service, the work environment and conditions of work. Such tangible rewards are often determined at the organisation level and may be largely outside the control of individual managers.
• Intrinsic motivation is related to ‘psychological’ rewards such as the opportunity to use one’s ability, a sense of challenge and achievement, receiving appreciation, positive recognition and being treated in a caring and considerate manner. The psychological rewards are those that can usually be determined by the actions and behaviour of individual managers.
According to Sauermann and Cohen, overall intrinsic motives, particularly the desire for intellectual challenge, appear to benefit innovation more than extrinsic motives such as pay: ‘However, management also need to recognise that appealing to individuals’ motives can occasionally detract from organizational goals. For example, there are cases where individuals pursued research projects out of their own interest, against explicit policies of management.’
Popular press reports appear to indicate that many people are increasingly motivated by broader concerns such as their work/life balance, opportunities for flexible working, career advancement and personal development and growth and a feeling of identification with the values of the organisation. The motivation to work is also influenced by the changing nature of the work environment and the concept of the ‘psychological contract’ (discussed in Chapter 1).
However, according to Gratton, finding intrinsically motivating tasks is not easy.
Finding tasks and experiences that are intrinsically motivating sounds relatively straight -forward but in fact it requires a heightened awareness of who we are. Without this emotional self-awareness we have no capacity to judge whether the tasks available to us could be intrinsically motivating . . . Finding intrinsically motivating tasks also requires the companies of which we are members to communicate the tasks available and to encourage volunteering.
Waller refers to the importance today of identity, and that work inevitably plays a key role in shaping identity. Waller questions how much of ourselves we put into our job. He points out that, not long ago, a job was something you did to put bread on the table, but nowadays (global financial situation apart) people in a cushy job with a decent salary, paid holiday, pension, healthcare and a well-stocked sandwich trolley will jack it all in, saying ‘It’s not really me.’ If people are getting absorbed by their work-life, they expect their job to help them to discover and develop themselves.
According to Kets de Vries, the best-performing companies possess a set of values that creates the right conditions for high performance. In addition to the motivational needs system for physiological needs, sensual and enjoyment needs and the need to respond to threatening situations, companies that get the best out of their people are characterised by a system based on a higher set of motivational needs:
• attachment/affiliation − concerning the need for engagement and sharing, a feeling of community and a sense of belonging to the company; and
• exploration/assertion − concerning the ability to play and work, a sense of fun and enjoyment, the need for self-assertion and the ability to choose.
In addition to the role relationships with members of their own group − peers, superiors, subordinates − the individual will have a number of role-related relationships with outsiders, for example members of other work groups, trade union officials, suppliers, consumers. This is a person’s role set. The role set comprises the range of associations or contacts with whom the individual has meaningful interactions in connection with the performance of the role (see Figure 8.6).
An important feature of role relationship is the concept of role incongruence.This arises when a member of staff is perceived as having a high and responsible position in one respect but a low standing in another respect. Difficulties with role incongruence can arise from the nature of groupings and formal relationships withinthe structure of the organisation. There are a number of work-related relationships, such as doctor and nurse, chef and waiter, senior manager and personal assistant, which can give rise to a potential imbalance of authority and responsibility. Difficulties with role incongruence can also arise in line-staff relationships: for instance, a relatively junior member of the HR department informing a senior departmental manager that a certain proposed action is contrary to the policies of the organisation. Another example with staff relationships is where a person establishes themselves in the role of ‘gatekeeper’ to the boss35 − for instance, where a comparatively junior personal assistant passes on the manager’s instructions to one of the manager’s more senior subordinates.
Many role expectations are prescribed formally and indicate what the person is expected to do, their duties and obligations, and provide guidelines for expected behaviours. Examples are written contracts of employment, rules and regulations, standing orders, policy decisions, job descriptions, or directives from superiors. Formal role expectations may also be derived clearly from the nature of the task. They may, in part at least, be defined legally: for example, under Health and Safety at Work legislation; obligations of a company secretary under the Companies Acts; or responsibilities of a district auditor under the Local Government Acts.
Not all role expectations are prescribed formally, however. There will be certain patterns of behaviour which, although not specified formally, will nonetheless be expected of members. These informal role expectations may be imposed by the group itself, or at least communicated to a person by other members of the group. Examples include general conduct, mutual support to co-members, attitudes towards superiors, means of communicating, dress and appearance. Members may not always be consciously aware of these informal expectations, yet they still serve as important determinants of behaviour. Under this heading could be included the concept of a psychological contract (discussed in Chapter 1).
Some members may have the opportunity to determine largely their own role expectations, where, for example, formal expectations are specified loosely or only in very general terms. Opportunities for self-established roles are more likely in senior positions, but also occur within certain professional, technical or scientific groups, for example senior research staff, or where there is a demand for creativity or artistic flair, for example head chefs. Such opportunities may be greater within an ‘organic’ organisation and will also be influenced by the style of leadership adopted − for example, where a laissez-faire approach is adopted.
Patterns of behaviour result from both the person’s role and personality. The concept of role focuses attention on aspects of behaviour existing independently of an individual’s personality. Role conflict arises from inadequate or inappropriate role definition and needs to be distinguished from personality clashes. These arise from incompatibility between two or more people as individuals, even though their roles may be defined clearly and understood fully. In practice, the manner in which a person actually behaves may not be consistent with their expected pattern of behaviours. This inconsistency may be a result of role conflict. Role conflict as a generic term can include:
• role incompatibility
• role ambiguity
• role overload
• role underload.
These are all problem areas associated with the creation of role expectations (see Figure 8.7).
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