Theories of Motivation and Their Application in Organizations


“If you fail to motivate, you fail as a manager.” (Greenidge, 2019). Motivation is essential in the work environment because employee performance has a direct relationship with a company’s outputs. Motivation when executed effectively can have a positive effect on a company’s abilities to achieve budgeted goals as motivated employees are known to increase productivity. This then leads to increased levels of output and efficiency, but on the contrary, unmotivated employees can display counterproductive work behavior, laziness and loafing on the job.

In the case of Eric and Kipsy, unmotivated employees led to plummeting sales companywide. Thus the conclusion that employees need to be motivated can safely be made. An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager (Nelson, n.d.). There are many ways managers can motivate employees.

Overview of Motivational Theories

Victor Vroom’s Expectancy Theory

It is also known as V.I.E. theory where motivation equals expectancy times instrumentality times valence where expectancy is the probability of success, instrumentality is the correlation and valence is the value of a specific reward.

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This model uses these three cognitions to assume motivation is determined by the employee’s perception of his or her likeliness to succeed. It’s premise is that the employee’s behavior is a result of the outcomes he or she receives for the work and the value of such reward to this employee.

Frederick Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene Theory

The theory categorizes employee motivation under two factor, motivators and dissatisfiers (hygiene).

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The theory penned in 1959 highlights four combinations of such and they are high hygiene-high motivation, high hygiene-low motivation, low hygiene-high motivation, low hygiene-low motivation. Motivators encourage workers to work harder and hygiene factors if not present can reduce motivation

David McClelland’s Theory of Needs

This theory zeros in on three needs. The need for achievement being the first is the strive for success and the satisfaction accompanying it once a difficult task has been executed. The need for power is a desire to impact others by having a voice of influence. The last being the need for affiliation, which is the motivation to maintain amicable, strong relationships with close ones.

Adam’s Equity Theory

The essence of the theory is the effort put in by the employee directly correlates to the result given in return.

Case Summary

The complexity of management and organizational behavior is adequately displayed in the case of Eric and Kipsy as well as the importance of applying suitable, effective management styles. In this case, Eric is appointed new manager, of product information for a national firm which wholesales electrical components, fresh out of training, and Kipsy holds the position of a clerk in said firm. Eric spent his first day observing the work environment as he was unfamiliar with the employees he would be managing and the kind of work they did. Throughout the day, Eric became mesmerized by the efficiency of the operations, but that fascination vanished by day two on the job. By then, Salesmen were already calling having one of three main problems. Either salesman often couldn’t get through quickly to information clerks, errors were excessive, or the clerks were often aloof and rude to the salesmen when they called. Adding to this, Eric’s own observations shed light on other problems like high absenteeism, high turnover, unqualified part-time staff, loafing on the job, and counterproductive work behavior.

It was only a few weeks later that Eric was visited by the company’s regional vice president who informed him that sales were plummeting companywide. As a result, Eric developed a crash program to increase efficiency, reduce call-in delays and eradicate the error rate. Unfortunately, Eric experienced difficulty with his new program when an employee defaced the two posters he used as motivation drivers. Subsequent to this incident, Eric spent time contemplating the root problem before deriving he had merely attacked a symptom instead of the disease. He concluded that the root of his problems was employee Kipsy.

Kipsy had been an information clerk in Eric’s office for almost a year. When Kipsy applied for the job, she was told that the company had great morale, employees were well paid, and her potential co-workers would be friendly and stimulating. In addition, the company was known to rapidly grow and expand. To Kipsy that meant that there was a high chance of climbing the hierarchy ladder which was very valuable to her. In the year she was working with the firm, she had pent up mass frustration and harbored increasing unhappiness toward the firm. As time went on, her optimism and motivation depleted. Many of her new friends quit and none of the clerks could think of anybody who had been promoted above console operator or even to management. Kipsy felt the only upside to her job was being the informal leader of the workgroup.

When Eric arrived as new manager, Kipsy was genuinely happy since he appeared to be interested in learning about the job and in hearing feedback from workers. Her feeling towards Eric’s managerial abilities switched to a negative light a few weeks later, largely due to the flexible hours issue. Speaking to Eric about the possibility of promotion didn’t go as planned since he did not give her the desired response. Consequently, her hopes in the new manager barreled to the ground which leads her to react with counterproductive work behavior. Her behavior came with serious penalties because she was a big influence in the informal workgroup which meant her behavior was mimicked by other employees. However, the Increase Efficiency program was the final straw for Kipsy. She and another co-worker vandalized the motivational posters, but guilt soon fell on Kipsy after she took into consideration what she’d done.

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Theories of Motivation and Their Application in Organizations. (2020, Nov 21). Retrieved from

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