Introduction to Motivation
Motivation is a term that refers to the process that elicits, controls, and sustains certain behaviors.
Discuss the relevance of motivation to the workplace
- Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with either volition or optimism. Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.
- Studies have found that employees are not motivated solely by money but motivation is linked to employee behavior and their attitudes.
- At one time, employees were considered just another input into the production of goods and services, but this changed after the Hawthorne studies.
- motivation: Willingness of action, especially in behavior.
- volition: The mental power or ability of choosing; the will.
Motivation is a term that refers to a process that elicits, controls, and sustains certain behaviors. It is a group phenomenon which affects the nature of an individual’s behavior, the strength of the behavior, and the persistence of the behavior. For instance: an individual has not eaten, so he or she feels hungry, and as a response he or she eats and diminishes feelings of hunger.
There are many approaches to motivation: physiological, behavioral, cognitive, and social. It is the crucial element in setting and attaining goals —and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. According to various theories, motivation may be rooted in a basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure; or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting; or a desired object, goal, state of being, or ideal; or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with either volition or optimism. Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.
At one time, employees were considered just another input into the production of goods and services. But this changed after the Hawthorne studies. The Hawthorne studies were conducted by Elton Mayo at Hawthorne Plant in the 1920s. The researchers were studying the effect of different working environments on productivity. They used lighting as an experimental variable (the effect of bright lighting and dull lighting). Initially they noticed that employees were working harder but it was not because of the lighting. They concluded that productivity increased due to attention that the workers got from the research team and not because of changes to the experimental variable. The Hawthorne studies found that employees are not motivated solely by money but motivation is linked to employee behavior and their attitudes. The Hawthorne Studies began the human relations approach to management, so the needs and motivation of employees became the primary focus of managers.
Classical Theory of Motivation
The classical theory of motivation includes the hierarchy of needs from Abraham Maslow and the two-factor theory from Frederick Herzberg.
Compare Maslow’s and Herzberg’s theories of the hierarchy of needs
- A good manager will try to figure out which levels of needs are important for a certain individual or employee.
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs consist of the following: Physiology (hunger, thirst, sleep, etc. ); Safety/ Security /Shelter/Health; Belongingness/Love/Friendship; Self-esteem/Recognition/Achievement; Self actualization.
- Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory, a.k.a. intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, concludes that certain factors in the workplace result in job satisfaction but, if absent, they don’t lead to dissatisfaction but rather to no satisfaction at all.
- demotivation: Feeling or state of being unmotivated or demotivated.
Needs Hierarchy Theory
The content of this theory includes the hierarchy of needs from Abraham H. Maslow and the two-factor theory from Frederick Irving Herzberg. Maslow’s theory is one of the most widely discussed theories of motivation.
The American motivation psychologist Abraham H. Maslow developed the Hierarchy of Needs consistent of five hierarchical classes. It shows the complexity of human requirements. According to him, people are motivated by unsatisfied needs. The lower level needs such as physiological and safety needs will have to be satisfied before higher level needs are to be addressed. We can relate Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory with employee motivation. For example, if a manager is trying to motivate his employees by satisfying their needs, according to Maslow, he should try to satisfy the lower-level needs before he tries to satisfy the upper-level needs or the employees will not be motivated. Also the manager has to remember that not everyone will be satisfied by the same needs.
A good manager will try to figure out which levels of needs are active for a certain individual or employee. The basic requirements build the first step in his pyramid. If there is any deficit on this level, the whole behavior of an individual will be oriented to satisfy this deficit. Subsequently we do have the second level, which awakens a need for security. Basically it is oriented on a future need for security. After securing those two levels, the motives shift in the social sphere, which form the third stage. Psychological requirements comprise the fourth level, while the top of the hierarchy is self-realization. So the theory can be summarized as follows: Human beings have wants and desires which influence their behavior.
Only unsatisfied needs influence behavior; satisfied needs do not. Since needs are many, they are arranged in order of importance, from the basic to the complex. The person advances to the next level of needs only after the lower-level need is at least minimally satisfied. The further the progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality, humanness and psychological health a person will show. The needs, listed from basic (lowest or earliest) to most complex (highest or latest) are as follows:
- Physiology (hunger, thirst, sleep, etc. )
- Self actualization
Herzberg’s Two-factor Theory
Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory, a.k.a. intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, concludes that certain factors in the workplace result in job satisfaction, but if absent, they don’t lead to dissatisfaction but rather to no satisfaction at all. The factors that motivate people can change over their lifetime, but “respect for me as a person” is one of the top motivating factors at any stage of life. He distinguished between: Motivators (e.g. challenging work, recognition, responsibility) which give positive satisfaction, and Hygiene factors (e.g. status, job security, salary and fringe benefits) that do not motivate when present but, if absent, result in demotivation. The name Hygiene factors is used because, like hygiene, the presence will not make you healthier, but absence can cause health deterioration. The theory is sometimes called the “Motivator-Hygiene Theory” or “The Dual Structure Theory. ” Herzberg’s theory has found application in such occupational fields as information systems and in studies of user satisfaction.
Scientific management, also called Taylorism, concerns the analysis and synthesis of workflows to improve productivity.
Explain Taylorism: the theory of scientific management
- It can be said that the quality of life at work extends to life outside of work. This can be evaluated by comparing the wages of the “expert leaders” to those of “general laborers”.
- Taylor proposed a “neat, understandable world in the factory, an organization of men whose acts would be planned, coordinated, and controlled under continuous expert direction”.
- Factory production was to become a matter of efficient and scientific management —the planning and administration of workers and machines alike as components of one big machine.
- workflow: A process and/or procedure in which tasks are completed. It may be defined with a flowchart to define actors, actions, results, decisions, and action paths.
Scientific management, also called Taylorism, is a theory of management that analyzed and synthesized workflows. Its main objective was improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management. Its development began with Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 1880s and 1890s within the manufacturing industries. Its peak of influence came in the 1910s, but by the 1920s, its influence started to dwindle. The 1920s saw the beginning of an era of competition and syncretism with opposing or complementary ideas.
Although scientific management as a distinct theory or school of thought was obsolete by the 1930s, most of its themes are still important parts of industrial engineering and management today. These include analysis; synthesis; logic; rationality; empiricism; work ethic; efficiency and elimination of waste; standardization of best practices; disdain for tradition preserved merely for its own sake or merely to protect the social status of particular workers with particular skill sets; the transformation of craft production into mass production; and knowledge transfer between workers and from workers into tools, processes, and documentation.
Features of Scientific Management
- Social philosophy, a promise of reform through growth and expansion
- Application of engineering principles to the industrial system of the production
- Time and motion studies to ensure efficiency
- Factory work to be planned, coordinated, and controlled under expert direction
- Information centralized/controlled in planning department, which increases potential for survillance and controlling the production process
- Expert directions by engineers, factory planning, time and motion studies, standardization, and the intensive division of labors
Taylor proposed a “neat, understandable world in the factory, an organization of men whose acts would be planned, coordinated, and controlled under continuous expert direction. ” Factory production was to become a matter of efficient and scientific management—the planning and administration of workers and machines alike as components of one big machine.
George Elton Mayo concluded that people’s work performance is dependent on both social issues and job content.
Analyze Elton Mayo’s theories on motivation and management
- The human relations movement refers to the researchers of organizational development who study the behavior of people in groups, particularly workplaces.
- The movement viewed workers in terms of their psychology and fit with companies rather than as interchangeable parts, and it resulted in the creation of the discipline of human resource management.
- Norms of cooperation and higher output were established because of a feeling of importance, physical conditions or financial incentives had little motivational value.
- human resource management: The process of hiring and developing employees so that they become more valuable to the organization.
The human relations movement refers to the researchers of organizational development who study the behavior of people in groups, in particular workplace groups. It originated in the 1930s’ Hawthorne Studies, which examined the effects of social relations, motivation, and employee satisfaction on factory productivity. The movement viewed workers in terms of their psychology and fit with companies rather than as interchangeable parts, and it resulted in the creation of the discipline of human resource management.
George Elton Mayo is known as the founder of the Human Relations Movement and was known for his research, including the Hawthorne Studies and his book, The Human Problems of an Industrialized Civilization (1933). The research he conducted under the Hawthorne Studies of the 1930s showed the importance of groups in affecting the behavior of individuals at work. Mayo’s employees, Roethlisberger and Dickson, conducted the practical experiments. This enabled Mayo to make certain deductions about how managers should behave. He carried out a number of investigations to look at ways of improving productivity—for example, by changing lighting conditions in the workplace. What he found, however, was that work satisfaction depended to a large extent on the informal social pattern of the work group. Where norms of cooperation and higher output were established because of a feeling of importance, physical conditions or financial incentives had little motivational value. People will form work groups, and this can be used by management to benefit the organization. In short, he concluded that people’s work performance is dependent on both social issues and job content. He suggested a tension between workers’ “logic of sentiment” and managers’ “logic of cost and efficiency ” which could lead to conflict within organizations.
George Elton Mayo stressed the importance of natural groups, in which social aspects take precedence over functional organizational structures. He also encouraged upwards communication, by which communication is two-way, from worker to chief executive, as well as vice versa. Companies need their employees to be able to successfully communicate and convey information, to be able to interpret others’ emotions, to be open to others’ feelings, and to be able to solve conflicts and arrive at resolutions. By acquiring these skills, the employees, those in management positions, and the customer can maintain more compatible relationships. Cohesive and good leadership is needed to communicate goals and to ensure effective and coherent decision making. It has become a concern of many companies to improve the job-oriented interpersonal skills of employees. The teaching of these skills to employees is referred to as “soft skills” training.
Elton Mayo’s work is considered the counterpoint of Taylorism and scientific management by various academics. Taylorism, founded by F. W. Taylor, sought to apply science to the management of employees in the workplace in order to gain economic efficiency through labor productivity. On the other hand, Elton Mayo’s work has been widely attributed to the discovery of the “social person,” thereby allowing for workers to be seen as individuals rather than merely robots designed to work for unethical and unrealistic productivity expectations. However, this theory has been contested, as Mayo’s purported role in the human relations movement has been questioned. Nonetheless, although Taylorism attempted to justify scientific management as a holistic philosophy rather than a set of principles, the human relations movement worked parallel to the notion of scientific management aiming to address the social welfare needs of workers and therefore elicit their co-operation as a workforce.
The Hawthorne Effect
The Hawthorne effect refers to a series of studies starting in 1924 at the Hawthorne Works concerning productivity.
Apply the Hawthorne effect to business organizations
- Changing a variable usually increased productivity, even if the variable was just a change back to the original condition.
- The central idea behind the Hawthorne effect is that changes in the behavior of participants during the course of a study may be related only to the special social situation and social treatment that they received.
- Output was measured mechanically by counting how many finished relays each worker dropped down a chute.
- illumination: The act of illuminating, or supplying with light; the state of being illuminated.
The Hawthorne Effect
The central idea behind the Hawthorne effect, a term used as early as 1950 by John R. P. French, is that changes in the behavior of participants during the course of a study may be “related only to the special social situation and social treatment they received. ” The term gets its name from a factory called the Hawthorne Works, where a series of experiments on factory workers was carried out between 1924 and 1932. This effect was observed for minute increases in illumination.
Evaluation of the Hawthorne effect continues in the present day. Most industrial and occupational psychology and organizational behavior textbooks refer to the illumination studies. Only occasionally are the rest of the studies mentioned. In the lighting studies, light intensity was altered to examine its effect on worker productivity. In one of the studies, experimenters chose two women as test subjects and asked them to choose four other workers to join the test group. Together the women worked in a separate room over the course of five years (1927–1932) assembling telephone relays. Output was measured mechanically by counting how many finished relays each worker dropped down a chute. This measuring began in secret two weeks before moving the women to an experiment room and continued throughout the study.
Relay Assembly Experiments
In the experiment room, they had a supervisor who discussed changes with them and at times used their suggestions. Then the researchers spent five years measuring how different variables impacted individual and group productivity. Some of the variables were: giving two five-minute breaks (after a discussion with them on the best length of time), and then changing to two ten-minute breaks (not their preference). Productivity increased, but when they received six five-minute rests, they disliked it and reduced output.
Providing food during the breaks shortened the day by 30 minutes (output went up), while shortening it more increased the output per hour, but decreased overall output. Changing a variable usually increased productivity, even if the variable was just a change back to the original condition. However, it is said that this is the natural process of the human being to adapt to the environment without knowing the objective of the experiment occurring. Researchers concluded that the workers worked harder because they thought that they were being monitored individually. Researchers hypothesized that choosing one’s own coworkers, working as a group, being treated as special (as evidenced by working in a separate room), and having a sympathetic supervisor were the real reasons for the productivity increase.
One interpretation, mainly due to Elton Mayo, was that “the six individuals became a team and the team gave itself wholeheartedly and spontaneously to cooperation in the experiment. ” (There was a second relay assembly test room study whose results were not as significant as the first experiment. )
Bank Wiring Room Experiments
The purpose of the next study was to find out how payment incentives would affect productivity. The surprising result was that productivity actually decreased. Workers apparently had become suspicious that their productivity may have been boosted to justify firing some of the workers later on. The study was conducted by Elton Mayo and W. Lloyd Warner between 1931 and 1932 on a group of fourteen men who put together telephone switching equipment. The researchers found that although the workers were paid according to individual productivity, productivity decreased because the men were afraid that the company would lower the base rate. Detailed observation between the men revealed the existence of informal groups or “cliques” within the formal groups. These cliques developed informal rules of behavior as well as mechanisms to enforce them. The cliques served to control group members and to manage bosses; when bosses asked questions, clique members gave the same responses, even if they were untrue. These results show that workers were more responsive to the social force of their peer groups than to the control and incentives of management.