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Human Resources Management - Employees’ Morale And Motivation

Theories and models of motivation - Employees’ Morale And Motivation

   Posted On :  13.06.2018 10:49 pm

Theories on work motivation may be broadly classified as the content and process theories based on their emphasis on “what” and “how” of motivation respectively.

Theories and models of motivation
Theories on work motivation may be broadly classified as the content and process theories based on their emphasis on “what” and “how” of motivation respectively. The content theories state what type of needs or factors motivate employees, while the process theories describe the internal thought processes in the employees that lead to motivation. Based on the period of their origin, the earlier theories are classified as Classical theories and the latter as modern theories.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

According to this most commonly known classical theory popular since the mid-1950s, human needs can be arranged into five levels such as basic or physiological needs including food, water and air, safety needs such as a feeling of physical or economic security and freedom from dangers, which might include housing and job tenure, social needs such as belongingness, love and affection, and esteem needs such as respect, recognition and reward. Maslow separated the five needs by grouping the first two into lower level and the remaining three into higher level. The differentiation between the two orders was made on the premise that higher-order needs are satisfied internally, whereas lower-order needs are predominantly satisfied externally.
The final stage of the hierarchy is the attainment of self-actualization, which implies achieving one’s fullest potential (attaining a state of what one is capable of becoming) and self-fulfillment. Abraham Maslow surmised that until a person’s more basic needs are fulfilled, he or she will not strive to meet higher order needs. As each need is substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant. The needs when translated into an organizational context would mean wages, job-security, recognition, confidence and pride of excellence.

Alderfer’s Existence, Relatedness and Growth Theory

Clayton Alderfer through his ERG theory, reformulated Maslow’s theory by reducing the five level of needs into three namely Existence, Relatedness and Growth. Physiological and Security needs were combined under the label Existence, while love need was renamed relatedness and self-esteem and self-actualization correspond to the growth needs. While the ERG theory accepted the usual movement from lower order to higher order needs, it also emphasizes the possibility of more than one need arising at a given time. Secondly, it states that if a higher order need is not satisfied, an employee may regress into the pursuit of lower order need.

Alderfer suggested more of a continuum of needs than hierarchical levels of two factors of needs. Unlike Maslow and Herzberg, Alderfer did not contend that a lower level need has to be fulfilled before a higher-level need becomes motivating. According to the descriptions of the ERG theory, a person’s family background, upbringing or cultural atmosphere may dictate that the relatedness needs will take primacy over unfulfilled survival needs. Thus, there could be persons with genius qualities starving. Similarly in some cases the more the growth needs are satisfied, the more they will increase in intensity.

Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory

Fredrick Herzberg and his associates’ recommendations are familiar to almost all managers. They had concluded in their prescriptive two-factor theory, also known as the motivation-hygiene theory that satisfaction and dissatisfaction with jobs occur because of different set of factors. While dissatisfaction is caused if the hygiene factors such as pay, job security, relationships with superior and peers, status, happiness in personal life, cordial relationships with peers and subordinates and physical working conditions are not possible or available in an adequate measure, but their mere presence would not be sufficient to motivate a person. Motivation at work occurs if another set of factors like recognition, challenging tasks, opportunity to use one’s talents and skills, demonstrate achievements, chances to learn and grow, are made possible or available to the employees. Herzberg’s theory has contributed to much of the enthusiasm towards job enrichment.

Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y

The theory is based on two distinct views on the nature of human beings. According to Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, different strokes are meant to be given for different folks. The theories say that there are two main categories of workers namely the X type and the Y type. First type of assumption is that people are basically lazy, dislike work and wait to be told formally about what is to be done and would attempt to avoid it whenever possible. They would require external control, constant monitoring, continuous prodding or even punitive measures to do their work, according to Theory X. Because the theory believed that employees dislike work, it advocated that they must be coerced, controlled or threatened with dire consequences to achieve desired goals.

The other types of people like to work and produce results and are self-driven. In order to make them work well, theory Y advocates that the organization will have to merely create congenial conditions to work and provide them with the autonomy and respect they deserve. This is also referred to as the Carrot approach, a phrase arising from the metaphor of tying carrots before horses to make them run forward with desire, as against the opposite approach of using “stick” to cause pain and make a horse run faster with fear. Theory Y believes that once given the right conditions, the rest would be taken care of by these incumbents. Theory Y views employees from a positive perspective and believes that employees can view work as bringing pleasure as natural as rest or play and that the average person could learn to accept or even seek responsibility.

Three-Need Theory – Salient Features

1. This theory propounded by David McClelland related motivation with the three types of needs namely Achievement, Power and Affiliation. People score differently in each of these needs. There are national differences in the importance given to one type of need. For instance, Indians usually have high need for affiliation while citizens of western nations are found to be high on the other two needs.

2. The relationship between achievement need and job performance has been well-supported by research. McClelland found that high achievers differentiate themselves from others by their desire to do things better. High achievers are those who tend to dislike succeeding by chance. They prefer the challenge of working at a problem and accepting the personal responsibility for success or failure, rather than leaving the outcome to chance or action of others. They perform best when they perceive that their probability of success as being 0.5, that is, when they estimate that they have a fifty-fifty chance of success. They dislike gambling when the odds are high because they get no achievement satisfaction from happenstance success. Similarly they dislike low odds which have high probability of success, because there would be no challenge to their skills.

3. Individuals of the second type, namely those with high need for power enjoy being “in-charge” and striving for influence over others. They tend to prefer to be competitive in status-oriented situations. Need for power may be further divided into institutional powers and personal powers. People seeking personal power like to inspire subordinates and expect the latter to respect than obey them. Other managers seeking institutional power tend to use authority, regulations and other such formal mechanisms and get things done in the interests of the organization.

4. Affiliation, the third need identified by McClelland is the desire to be liked and accepted by others. Individuals with high need for affiliation would constantly tend to strive for friendships, prefer cooperative situations rather than competitive ones and desire relationships involving a high degree of mutual sensitivity, understanding and appreciation.

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory

This is a process theory of motivation that helps managers to appreciate the complexities of motivation. Victor Vroom (1964) made an important contribution to managers’ understanding of motivation through his Expectancy Theory, which is an alternative to the content theories. According to Vroom’s theory, individuals’ effort is based on their perceptions of certain factors in the work environment. They are termed as Expectancy, Instrumentality and Valence. The strength of the motivation to perform a certain act will depend on the combination of the three factors.

Valence means attraction or repulsion of an outcome to an individual. In order for the valence to be positive, the person must prefer attaining the outcome to not attaining it. A valence of zero occurs when the individual is indifferent towards the outcome. The valence is negative when the individual prefers not attaining the outcome to attaining it. Expectancy is the expected relationship between effort and successful performance. It is the probability that a particular action or effort will lead to a particular first level outcome, such as production or quality. Instrumentality is the performance-reward linkage. It is the degree to which a first-level outcome will lead to a desired second-level outcome such as money, recognition, job security or career growth.

Adam’s Equity Theory

Stacy Adam’s (1963) advocated Equity theory states that employees should be perceived as fair in comparison with various factors. Adams explained inequity as an injustice perceived by a person when he compares the ratio of his outcomes in the form of rewards to his inputs in the form of efforts, with the ratio of the inputs and outputs of another comparable person and finds that it is to his disadvantage and that they are being under-rewarded or over-rewarded. For example, when people of same educational qualifications, age-group, experience-levels and levels of intelligence quotient are placed, the first to be employed might be placed in the regular cadre, while the subsequent appointed persons could be placed in a contractual mode of appointment. Such practices can bring forth feelings of inequity and de-motivation among the latter.
The referent with which employees choose to compare themselves is an important variable in equity theory. The three referent categories have been classified as “other,” “system,” and “self.” The “other” category includes other individuals with similar jobs in the same organization and also includes friends, neighbors, or professional associates. On the basis of information they receive through word of mouth, newspapers and magazine articles on issues such as executive salaries or a recent union contract, employees compare their pay with that of others.
The “system” category considers organizational pay policies and procedures and the administration of this system. It considers organization-wide pay policies, both implied and explicit. Precedents by the organization on matters of allocation of pay are major determinants in this category. The “self ” category refers to inputs-outcomes ratios that are unique to the individual. It might reflect past personal experiences or other occupations presently held. The choice of a particular set of referents is related to the information available about referents as well as to their perceived relevance.

On the basis of the nuances of equity theory, when employees perceive any significant inequity in their working conditions or pay, they might follow any one or more of the following options:

1. Distort either their own or others’ inputs or outcomes;

2. Behave in some way to induce others to change their inputs or outputs;

3. Behave in some way to change their own inputs or outcomes

4. Choose a different comparison referent and /or

5. Give up and quit their jobs.

Goal setting theory of motivation

This theory proposes that an individual’s purpose directs his actions. In other words, intention to work toward a goal is a major source of motivation. According to the advocates of this theory, specific goals would be increasing performance and difficult goals, when accepted, would be resulting in higher performance than easy goals. Reinforcement theory on the other hand, states that behavior is a function of its consequences and explains as follows: Any consequence immediately following an action increases the probability that the action would be repeated by the individual. Thus, this theory might be described as a counterpoint to goal setting theory.

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