What’s in It for Me?
Reading this chapter will help you do the following:
- Understand need-based theories of motivation.
- Understand process-based theories of motivation.
- Describe how fairness perceptions are determined and their consequences.
- Learn to use performance appraisals in a motivational way.
- Learn to apply organizational rewards in a motivational way.
- Develop your personal motivation skills.
Motivation is defined as “the intention of achieving a goal, leading to goal-directed behavior.” When we refer to someone as being motivated, we mean that the person is trying hard to accomplish a certain task. Motivation is clearly important for someone to perform well. However, motivation alone is not sufficient. Ability—having the skills and knowledge required to perform the job—is also important and is sometimes the key determinant of effectiveness. Finally, environmental factors—having the resources, information, and support one needs to perform well—are also critical to determine performance.
What makes employees willing to “go the extra mile” to provide excellent service, market a company’s products effectively, or achieve the goals set for them? Answering questions like this is of utmost importance to understand and manage the work behavior of our peers, subordinates, and even supervisors. As with many questions involving human beings, the answers are anything but simple. Instead, there are several theories explaining the concept of motivation.
According to this equation, motivation, ability, and environment are the major influences over employee performance.
Source: Mitchell, T. R. (1982). Motivation: New directions for theory, research, and practice. The Academy of Management Review, 7, 80–88; Porter, L. W. & Lawler, E. E. (1968). Managerial attitudes and performance. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press