1. Define and discuss motivation. Which theory of motivation offers the best chance, if handled properly, of increasing productivity in your workplace?
Motivation can be described as a process that accounts for an individuals intensity, direction and persisitence of efforts towards attaining a goal (Robbins, 2004). While general motivation is concerned with motivation towards the achievement of any goal, this paper will be discussing motivation in relation to organizational goals, as the focus is on work related behavior (Robbins, 2004).
With regards to the definition, there are 3 key elements related to motivation. Intensity is concerned with how hard a person tries to achieve a goal. But in order for intensity to trnaslate into better performance it has to be channeled in the right direction. So, the quality of the intensity is very essential. Persistence is another dimension to motivation. It is a measure of how long a person can maintain his or her efforts.
There have been numerous theories on motivation, devised and tested multiple times. But the theory I find most relevant and important to a workplace, the work be of any nature, is the expectacy theory, put forward by Victor Vroom (Robbins, 2004).
Expectancy theory focuses on three main relationships. The effort-performance relationship, performance-reward relationship and the reward-personal goal relationship.
In more practical terms, expectancy theory says that when an employee puts in effort o his job it is partly because he believes his effort will translate into better performance, but this performance alone would be useless to him, until and unless there are obvious benefits attached to better performance, i.e. rewards. These rewrds may be monetary or non-monetary and may vary from a promotion or pay increment to a pat on the back from the boss and a word or two of appreciation from the supervisor. This would motivate the workforce, as every individual will perceive that with this job he would be able accomplish his personal goals.
2. Define and discuss leadership. Which style is presently used in your own workplace? Which style is needed, or which style do you believe should be used to increase productivity?
Leadership theories have great applications in business settings. For example, some organizations look for leadership traits when choosing a candidate for a leadership position. Most organizations that we normally encounter look for specific personality traits of individuals such as their openness to experience, social behavior, extraversion etc. These are the traits that are associated with good leaders. Extraversion is a trait that is mostly associated with leadership emergence because extraverted people are quick to establish contacts, have usually good communication skills and are emotionally aware of others. Similarly, openness to experience is a good indicator of a leader’s ability to encounter and deal with new situations.
Contemporary theories of leadership such as Charismatic leadership and Transformational leadership fit very well in the dynamic situation of the contemporary world. Contemporary leadership theories view leaders as individuals who inspire their followers through their words, ideas and behaviors. And this is so true of today’s successful leaders (Kotter, 1995). Charismatic leadership theory can be applied to leaders such as New York mayor Rudy Guiliani, African President Nelson Mandela, and African-American leader Martin Luther King. Through his rhetoric, Martin Luther king was able to consolidate the civil rights movement and became one of the most inspiring leaders (Kotter, 1995).
Contemporary leadership theories are forward looking as they emphasize on leader’s vision. A clear vision is described as one of the qualities of charismatic leaders because it is their vision that binds their followers and becomes the impetus for change. Moreover, contemporary leadership theories put emphasis on leader-follower relationship as in Leader Exchange Theory (Robbins, 2004). As employees become more empowered, leader-follower relationship becomes even more important and contemporary leadership theories provide valuable information in this regard.
So, in essence, leadership has a huge role to play when it comes to the employees’ attitude towards work. Because, if a leader can inspire and motivate his or her followers, it may help bring out a more positive attitude from them, and ultimately this would have a positive impact on the productivity of the company.