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Motivational theories within the workplace Essay

Motivation is ‘a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way’. Motivation can be defined as a process that helps achieve goals through behaviour that guides and maintains behaviour in order to achieve a positive end result. Motivation leads to actions, such as researching a topic, educate yourself to further your knowledge or working to earn money.

Abraham Maslow believed that humans had motivation and drive dependant on their needs. The main need being physiological which is followed by other needs of less importance such as safety, love, esteem and self actualisation. This was then placed into a hierarchy of needs represented into a pyramid (See appendix 1). Maslow believed that the first need had to be met in order to achieve to move forward to the second. Alongside Maslow’s theory of motivation, Herzberg has a two factor content theory of motivation which is also a main theory. From Herzberg’s research he suggested a two-step approach to understanding employee motivation and satisfaction. Herzberg’s two factor theory distinguishes between the motivators and hygiene factors.

Hygiene factors are needed for employees to feel comfortable at work if these are not met and are adequate, this can cause dissatisfaction for employees. Hygiene factors include feelings of job security, working conditions, wages and company policy. Overall hygiene factors are needed to ensure employee is not dissatisfied. Motivator factors are needed to create job satisfaction once motivational factors are met this can see employees are performing above what is expected of them. Motivator factors include a sense of personal achievement, opportunity for promotion, responsibility and gaining recognition. Motivator factors are needed to motivate employees to perform at higher level. (Appendix 2…)

An Advantage of Maslow’s theory is the order that is needed to identify the needs of the employees, ranging from basic to higher needs. Another advantage of Maslow’s theory is that it can be applied to various ways of understanding employee behaviour and deciding rewards at different levels from a management view. Disadvantage of Maslow’s model is that one stage needs to be met before progress onto another stage can be achieved. Another disadvantage is that Maslow theory may be restricted to western cultures it does not take into account different cultures and the need of those cultures.

An Advantage of Herzberg’s theory is identification of factors which will motivate and demotivate employees, factors which can be controlled by management. Herzberg’s model can also be used to identify issues that need to be addressed by management for example; hygiene and cleanliness in the workplace. A Disadvantage of Herzberg’s model is; the model can be seen as a generalisation which may not be applicable to all employees and workforces. Some employees get paid by the hour, therefore may not be interested in motivator factors, rather completing many hours of work which will result in a larger paycheque.

Both theorists based their argument on human internal feelings needing to be satisfied, before work of a higher standard can be expected. Both theories suggest similar criteria that motivate employees. Similarities also extend to one stage must be completed before advancing onto the next. Both theories are also influenced by factors such as environmental conditions and employee attitudes. Although both theories have similarities there are also differences, Maslow’s theory has a hierarchy and Herzberg does not have a hierarchy. The main goal of Maslow’s theory is for needs to be met in order for an individual to develop a healthy way of life. Herzberg’s ultimate goal is for motivation to be the attitude of the employee, whilst not focusing on the quality of life for the employee.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is relevant to Google. Google focuses on the psychological, friendship and esteem needs of Maslow’s theory. Google believes in providing awards for its employees. Google recognises that employees are not alone motivated by pay bonuses. Google provides dining facilities, laundry rooms, massage rooms, haircuts, car washes and dry cleaning services within their workplace for their employees. Google recognises that if employees can get errands done on their work breaks that they will feel much walk accomplished and this will show in their work. Hertzberg’s theory is relevant to Apple. Apple implements aspects of Hertzberg’s theory within the structure of the company.

Apple uses hygiene factors as a foundation that they launch from, these factors in themselves do not motivate staff yet leave them in a neutral state. Building on from this, motivating factors that are used for employees are the knowledge they are gaining working for Apple one of the world’s leading companies in technology. Everything is top-secret employees have regular meetings keeping them refreshed with tasks, not always knowing the full extent of the work they are doing aware we can lead to. Employees are set to work in groups with each other this motivates them together to come up with new ideas, which could possibly be used in technology all over the world.

After reviewing both Hertzberg and Maslow’s theory, I believe Maslow’s theory to be more effective when implemented in a work force environment. Maslow’s theory considers a step-by-step needs of the employees, whereas Hertzberg’s theory does have step-by-step needs, it’s simply allows the employee to be a neutral state of mind whilst adding in factors which can motivate them. Maslow’s theory is much more details and when implemented can have higher results. Apple uses the theory of Hertzberg, whereas Google uses the theory of Maslow. Google seem to have a much more content work force stemming from the luxuries they offer. Where as if it wasn’t for the fact that Apple employees were working for such a well-known employer, i believe Hertzberg’s theory would be much less effective within a workforce.

Evaluate the usefulness of a motivation theory for managers in achieving organisational performance

Management approaches are important to an organisation as they are the voice between the management and workers within an organisation. If management value their workers and make them feel valued, this will produce a positive working environment, which allows employees to perform at their best. Dependant on the approach used this can also increase communication within the workforce, which can lead to spur of the moment ideas which the business benefits from. By delivering a positive management approach to the workforce, organisation will need to invest time and money, which is then put back into the company with a positive workforce.

There are three categories of motivation theories. The first is the satisfaction theory, this is the assumption that satisfied worker is a productive worker. Incentive theories, believe the individual will work harder when good performance is rewarded. Intrinsic theory believes the reward will come from the satisfaction in the work itself, employees enjoy participating in their role and see it as an opportunity to learn. All three theories of motivation believe the individuals need encouragement to perform at their best.

Google uses satisfaction theory; they satisfy their workforce by offering them numerous benefits which makes them happy they believe that by workers having perks such as laundry service, car wash, massage etc. available at work, they will perform at the highest standard.

Apple uses the intrinsic theory; they believe that their employees should be privileged to work for the company, employees also believe in the reward will come from the satisfaction in the work yourself. Employees will feel motivated by the thought that they are possibly changing future technology.

Discuss the impact that different leadership styles may have on motivation in organisations in periods of change

Leadership is ‘the action of leading a group of people or an organization’. Leadership can be seen as a person or team with authority who offer guidance to employees which are under their control of management. Democratic leadership allows members of the group to share and contribute ideas. This approach is taken upon the belief that the learning style is usually most effective and will lead to more productive results.

Benefit of democratic leadership is that quote members are encouraged to share their thoughts which can lead to better and more creative solutions to problems. The downside of a democratic leadership can be communication failures in group work, also, team members may not have the necessary knowledge needed to make contributions.

Autocratic leadership is when an individual takes control over group members.

Autocratic leaders will generally make choices based on their own preferences. Benefits of autocratic leadership are decisions can be made without consulting employees. Disadvantage of autocratic leadership is that it can be easily abused by an individual member, which employees may then hold resentment towards. Employees may also feel that there are opinions are not being taken on board.

Laissez faire is the style of leadership where management allow employees freedom. Employees have the power and authority to choose their own decisions and goals. Benefits of this approach are that employee’s feel they have been trusted, therefore work harder to achieve a better result. Negative effects of this leadership may lead to employees not managing their schedule effectively enough, costing company’s time and money.

Paternalistic leadership is a form of fatherly management style. Generally used by dominant male figures, where employees are expected to be loyal such as the father and son relationship. Benefits of this leadership style are loyal and obedient employees. Disadvantage of this style of leadership are employees not able to contribute their ideas regularly.

Laissez faire leadership is consistent with that of Google. Google allow their employees to self manage their own time schedule, they believe this to be the most effective method to get the best results possible. Google believe if employees are allowed to manage their own workload, this will create a more productive workforce. Autocratic leadership is consistent with Apples method of leadership. The decisions are chosen by Steve jobs solely. While Steve would take on opinions from employees the end product decision is his.

Democratic leadership has aspects of both Apple and Google leadership styles within it. Both Apple and Google allow their employees to work within team, to discuss ideas and thoughts, allowing employees with certain skill sets to come together and to bounce off each other.

Skills needed by a leader are presents, motivation, creating a vision, creating a good team atmosphere, being able to utilise the skills of different team members. The main skill needed is being able to achieve effective performance from their employees. Explain the nature of team working

Groupwork is ‘a number of people or things that are located, gathered, or classed together’. There are two types of groups, formal groups and informal groups. Formal groups are those such as work relations defined by structure. Informal groups such as friends, society are structured. The difference between a team and a group in the workplace is that a group interacts primarily to share information, whereas a team binds individual efforts to perform better together in a group. The goal within groups is to share information; the goal within teams is for collective performance.

The synergy between groups can be negative whereas in teams it is mainly positive. The skills within a group are random and varied whereas in a team they are complementary. Research is done by management when organising together a team, so that key skills complement allowing employees to thrive off each other. Whereas groups are always varied, if in a group you fail, you fail your part. If in a team you fail, the whole team suffers as a consequence.

There are five stages of group development. Forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning stage. The forming stage is the first stage, when groups gather; there is much uncertainty about the group from the differing personalities to whom will take charge. The second stage is storming stage where there are many conflicts, as the group get to know each other. Norming stage is the third, where conflicts are generally resolved, closer relationships are formed and employees find ways of tolerating one another. Performing stage is stage four, a team is created where employees know how to motivate each other and recognise one another’s skill set. Adjourning stage is stage five, where activities are wrapped up and finalised. In a team where you have different employees playing different roles, the more variety you have the roles and skills you have, with a better outcome.

Factors which can promote effective teams are diversity, communication, leadership and team-building exercises. Diversity can promote an effective team by embracing different cultures and talents aswell as raising awareness/respect for differences which will then go on to support effective teams. Lacking diversity in teams can lead to team members not able to solve problems as their mindsets are very similar. Effective communication can promote an effective team, if team members feel confident to question each other on the task; this will lead to a more defined overall product. An effective team is supported by leadership, leaders support teams by utilising and coordinating skills, aswell as keeping a positive atmosphere.

Belbin was upon the belief that if you bought employees together with a varied skill set, the end result would speak volumes. Belbin decided which roles would need to be fulfilled within a team these are (Appendix 3).

Cohesiveness is ‘degree to which group members are attracted to each other and are motivated to stay in the group’. Ways in which group cohesiveness can be increased can be to make the group smaller, so that employees have a closer connection to one another and can communicate more effectively. Increasing time employees spend together will increase motivation to participate. Stimulating competition with rival groups will create good cohesiveness as groups will strive to win. Physically isolating the group in an environment where they can only leave until the task is done, will increase the cohesiveness as the group will all have the same aim in mind of finishing the project a.s.a.p.

The overall importance of teams is essential to the both Apple and Google. Much of the process of initiating new ideas for the company is created within teams of employees with specialised skill sets.

Discuss what factors may promote or threaten the development of effective teamwork in organisations

Ability can affect an employee’s behaviour within the workforce, if they are capable of doing the work at hand; they are likely to accomplish it. If an individual does not feel they have the ability to do the work set, this can affect their behaviour in the workforce as they can become lazy, un-enthusiastic and brush this off onto their peers. Google work with their employees so that employees can set their own targets, this is an advantage as employees would only set targets they have the ability to achieve. An attitude is ‘a mental’ state an individual has within the workforce, individual behaviour can be affected severely if a person does not have the correct attitude needed for the task, work may be completed to an unsatisfactory level with the maximum time taken to do so, a person’s ambition can also be affected by poor attitude towards their work.

(Appendix 4)… Stress and change can have a huge influence on an individual’s behaviour, for somebody who is suffering with stress, this may cause low confidence levels and poor obedience in line with the company’s values classing the employee as a liability.(Appendix 5)… All these factors which can affect an employee’s performance within teamwork, can brush off onto other members of the team with the same negative results. Apple and Google do their best to ensure these negative factors do not occur within their workforce, by the perks which employees are offered.

Evaluate the impact of technology on team functioning within the two organisations

There are many different ways of technology in which employees of Apple and Google can communicate with each other. Skype, e-mails, messaging, voice calls. Advantages of using technology to communicate within teams is this can be done outside of the workforce, and is available at all times, so if a team member had spontaneous idea, they could relay this to their peers, this also allows employees increased times for decision making aswell as equalisation of team members. Disadvantage of this is employees may then lack professionalism and not focus on the task at hand; the quality of technology responses can be hindered such as an employee replying to a quick e-mail on a Friday afternoon which is likely to be brief. Issues in using today’s technology is that it may not always be reliable, as all employees cannot access the technology at the same time, or if it is under maintenance.


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