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Motivation and Productivity in the Workplace

Motivation and Productivity in the Workplace

by Carla Valencia

 


 

Introduction

Employee motivation has always been a central problem for leaders and managers. Unmotivated employees are likely to spend little or no effort in their jobs, avoid the workplace as much as possible, exit the organization if given the opportunity and produce low quality work. On the other hand, employees who feel motivated to work are likely to be persistent, creative and productive, turning out high quality work that they willingly undertake. There has been a lot of research done on motivation by many scholars, but the behavior of groups of people to try to find out why it is that every employee of a company does not perform at their best has been comparatively unresearched. Many things can be said to answer this question; the reality is that every employee has different ways to become motivated. Employers need to get to know their employees very well and use different tactics to motivate each of them based on their personal wants and needs.

The dictionary Webster's defines motivation as something inside people that drives them to action. This motivation varies in different people. We can also say that motivation is the willingness to work at a certain level of effort. Motivation emerges, in current theories, out of needs, values, goals, intentions, and expectation. Because motivation comes from within, managers need to cultivate and direct the motivation that their employees already have.

Motivation comes from within us such as thoughts, beliefs, ambitions, and goals. The people who are most interested in motivation studies are managers of people because they may provide insights into why people perform at work as they do, and as a result provide managers with techniques to improve worker productivity.  

Statement of the Problem

There is a need for further research on motivation, therefore my goal is to reveal what it is that motivates all employees to perform at their best and achieve optimal business results at all times. The inherent problem I have identified is that many employers have attempted several different incentive programs to motivate their employees, yet they have not worked for everyone in the company. This is a major problem faced by employers these days, due to the fact that each employer's company is founded on the strength of its employees' performance.

One of the traditional components of management along with planning, organizing, and controlling, is motivating. Many managers do different things for example: contests, ranking of people, plants, shifts, teams, and departments, performance appraisals, performance, production, sales quotas and commission pay. All these systems are implemented in the belief that they drive performance. Some researchers think it does the opposite. Instead of trying to use extrinsic motivators (something outside of the work itself such as promised rewards or incentives) to get higher levels of performance from people, management will be better served by studying the organization as a system. Employers demand results. Without results the organization will not survive. Managing motivation is a requirement for productivity.

Importance of the Project

This proposed research is needed to improve employees' performance at the workplace, to retain employees and to help companies establish a good image. If a company's employees do not acquire this motivation then the company could lose large amounts of money, customers or even go out of business. On the other hand if that company's employees are well trained and motivated by their employers it could have great income potential, keep loyal customers and gain a lot of market share.  

 

This research would help many managers and leaders in our society to identify the things that they need to do in order to successfully motivate their employees to perform at their best. As a manager this knowledge will therefore help me to understand what new strategies I could implement in order to motivate employees to achieve optimal business results. It is evident that there is a need for this study because of the many companies that are constantly spending money on various ways to increase employee motivation.  

 

The word motivation suggests energetic behavior directed toward some goal.

Instead of pushing solutions on people with the force of your argument, pull solutions out of them. You may be the cause of your employee's lack of motivation. Employee motivation is perhaps the ultimate management challenge. Although motivation is an important determinator of individual performance, it is not the only factor. Such variables as ability, experience, and environment also influence performance.

  

Research Questions

 

Following is a list of questions that I will attempt to answer through my research:

  1. Is money enough to motivate employees?
  2. How effective are awards such as "employee of the month"?
  3. Why do employers not recognize all their employees at the same level?
  4. What specifically will motivate employees to perform at their peak?
  5. Who in a company should be involved in giving employees recognition?
  6. How can employers implement or improve incentive systems in the workplace?
  7. How does motivation impact an employee's productivity?
  8. How do employees respond to different incentives?
  9. Why can't every employee perform at his or her best?
  10. Do employees lose enthusiasm about the company, and therefore become less motivated?

Literature Review

There has been a lot of research done on Motivation by many scholars. The following are only a few of the research topics that have been done on Motivation: Motivation theories, Ways to encourage employee motivation, Measures of Motivation, Principles of motivation, Ways of making your firm more exciting, How to motivate your people problem, The missing link in Strategic Performance, Salary is not a motivator anymore, How to effectively reward employees, Turning Motivation Theory into Practice, Measures of Motivation, Self Theories and Employee Motivation, How do you motivate employees, and Worker Motivation: Unsolved Problem or Untapped Resource?.

A multitude of studies have been done on motivation, but no one has ever done any studies on a group of employees and managers to test what their motives are and test to see which incentive program will suit the majority of employees. From the literature review one can see that a need for further research is necessary. This will help managers and leaders find out what it is that employees want from employers to perform at their best.

Research done in both psychology and business literature over the past three decades has recorded that motivation varies as a function of different factors in the work environment, including evaluation expectation, actual performance feedback, reward, autonomy, and the nature of the work itself. Moreover, both theory and empirical research have suggested that human motivation toward work can be categorized into two types: Intrinsic motivation, which comes from the intrinsic value of the work for the individual, and Extrinsic motivation, which comes from the desire to obtain some outcomes that are separate from the work itself.

When employees have high autonomy, receive feedback about their performance, and have an important, identifiable piece of work to do which requires skill variety, they may experience feelings of happiness and therefore intrinsic motivation to keep performing well (Hackmam & Oldham, 1980).

Frederick Herzberg, distinguished professor of Management at the University of Utah and Behavioral theorist conducted studies on worker motivation in the 1950's. He developed the Motivation-Hygiene theory of worker satisfaction and dissatisfaction. This incredible researcher concluded that hygiene factors such as salary, fringe benefits, and working conditions can prevent dissatisfaction, but they do not motivate the worker. He found that motivators such as achievement, recognition, responsibility, and advancement increase satisfaction from work and motivate people toward a greater effort and performance. Herzberg and other behavioral theorists were influenced by the writings of Abraham Maslow, a theoretical psychologist who analyzed what human beings seek in their lives and developed the Needs-Hierarchy concept.

Of the many theories of work motivation, Herzberg's (1966) motivator-hygiene theory has been one of the most influential in recent decades. Basically, the theory divides motivating factors into two categories: Motivator factors, which have something to do with the work itself, and Hygiene factors, which have something to do with the surrounding context.

Motivator factors include such things as responsible work, independence in doing the work, and satisfaction arising from the completion of challenging tasks. Hygiene factors include pay, security, and general working conditions. According to Frederick Herzberg, hygiene factor operate primarily as de-motivators if they are not sufficient. He suggests that workers are most satisfied and most productive when their jobs are rich in the motivator factor. When the work is interesting, he suggests can be accomplished by the job enrichment.

Hackman and Oldham's (1976) model of job enrichment propose that jobs can be made more motivating by increasing the following: skill variety (the number of different skills required by the job), task identity (the degree to which the job produces something meaningful), task significance (the importance of the work), autonomy (the degree to which the individual has freedom in deciding how to perform the job), and feedback (the degree to which the individual obtains ongoing.

Many of these same characteristics of the work, particularly independence and competence, are referred as intrinsic motivators by social psychologists and personality psychologists. Deci and his colleagues proposed that intrinsic motivation occurs when individuals feel both self-determined and competent in their work (Deci 1975; Deci & Ryan 1985). According to this research, people will feel competent if they obtain feedback that indicates progress in their work, or suggests way they can increase their competence.

One psychological view suggests that very high levels of intrinsic motivation are marked by such strong interest and involvement in the work, and by such a perfect match of task complexity with skill level, that people experience some kind of psychological "flow," a sense of merging with the activity they are doing (Csikszentmihalyi 1975).

The major psychological view suggests that extrinsic motivation works in opposition to intrinsic motivation (Deci 1975; Deci & Ryan 1985). Extrinsic motivation takes place when individuals feel driven by something outside of the work itself such as promised rewards or incentives. In general, these theorists suggest that, when strong extrinsic motivators are put to work, intrinsic motivation will decline.

The author of this study Dr. Teresa M. Ambile adopted definitions of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation that include a lot of the concepts proposed by previous theorists. Individuals are intrinsically motivated when they seek enjoyment, interest, satisfaction of curiosity, self-expression, or personal challenge in the work. Individuals are extrinsically motivated when they engage in the work in order to obtain some goal that is apart from work itself.

The psychologists J. Richard Hackman and G.R. Oldham developed the job-characteristics theory. This work showed that there are five components to motivation:

  1. Skill variety: You get to use different skills.
  2. Task identity: You identify personally with what you do.
  3. Task significance: You feel that what you do is significant or important.
  4. Autonomy: You have some self-control and responsibility.
  5. Feedback: The knowledge of the actual results of what you do.

These five components of motivation take one in an independent manner toward a desired goal. The first three components add meaningfulness to the work, the fourth adds to ownership of results, and the last one gives feedback about the results of what is done.

There are also five ways in which jobs may be redesigned or enriched to enhance employees' performance or satisfaction:

  1. Combining tasks: Influences skill variety and task identity.
  2. Forming natural work units: Enhances task identity and task significance.
  3. Establishing client relationships: Increases skill variety, autonomy, and feedback.
  4. Vertical loading: Worker has more authority, responsibility, and control over the work. Increases autonomy, skill variety, task identity, and task significance.
  5. Opening feedback channels: Increases feedback.

In the Harvard Business Review Frederick Herzberg said that a brief review of his motivation-hygiene theory of job attitudes is required before theoretical and practical suggestions can be offered. According to him, the theory was first withdrawn from an examination of events in the lives of engineers and accountants. At least 16 other investigations, using a wide variety of populations (including some in the communist countries), have since been completed, making the original research one of the most replicated studies in the field of job attitudes.

This researcher also said that the findings of these studies, along with corroboration from many other investigations using different procedures, suggest that the factors involved in producing job satisfaction (and motivation) are separate and distinct from the factors that lead to job dissatisfaction. Since separate factors need to be considered, depending on whether job satisfaction or job dissatisfaction is being examined, it follows that these two feelings are not opposites of each other. The opposite of job satisfaction is no job satisfaction; similarly, the opposite of job dissatisfaction is no job dissatisfaction.

It was interesting to learn that we always think of satisfaction and dissatisfaction as opposites. But it comes to understanding the behavior of people in their jobs; more than play on words is involved. Herzberg said that two different kinds of human beings are involved here. One set of needs is the built-in drive to avoid pain from the environment and the all the learned drives that become conditioned to the basic biological needs. For example, hunger, a basic biological drive makes its necessary to earn money, and then money becomes a specific drive. The other set of needs relates to that unique human characteristic, the ability to achieve and, through achievement, experience psychological growth.

The factors involved in causing job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction were drawn from samples of 1,685 employees, is shown on table 1 in the appendix from previous studies done. The results indicate that motivators were the primary cause of satisfaction, and hygiene factors the primary cause of unhappiness on the job. The employees, studied in 12 different investigations, included lower level supervisors, professional woman, agricultural administrators, men about to retire from management positions, hospital maintenance personnel, manufacturing supervisors, nurses, food handlers, military officers, engineers, scientists, housekeepers, teachers, technicians, female assemblers, accountants, Finnish foremen, and Hungarian engineers.

They were asked what job events had occurred in their work that had led to extreme satisfaction or extreme dissatisfaction on their part. Their responses are broken down in the table into percentages of total "positive" job events and of total "negative" job events. The figures total more than 100% on both the "hygiene" and "motivators" side because of ten at least two factors, can be attributed to a single event; advancement, for instance, often accompanies assumption of responsibility.)

To show, a common response involving achievement that had a negative effect for the employee was, "I was unhappy because I didn't do the job successfully." A typical response in the small number of positive job events in the company policy and administration grouping was, "I was happy because the company reorganized the section sot that I didn't report any longer to the guy I didn't get along with." As the lower part of the table shows, of all the factors contributing to job satisfaction, 81% were motivators. And of all the factors contributing to the employees' dissatisfaction over their work, 69% involved hygiene elements.

The theory of Herzberg helped to focus interest on the importance of the intrinsic aspects of the job and their ability to motivate workers. It also spawned the concept of job enrichment. He also believed that people's satisfaction and motivation derive from the intrinsic nature of the work. Frederick Herzberg suggested things to enrich a job: 

  1. Remove some of the controls over employees and increase their personal accountability or responsibility for their own work.
  2. Provide employees with complete or natural units of work where possible. For example instead of having them make one component of a unit, let them produce the whole unit.
  3. Give employees additional authority and freedom in their work.
  4. Provide reports on production on a regular basis directly to the workers instead of to their supervisors.
  5. Encourage workers to take on new and more difficult tasks.
  6. Assign highly specialized tasks so that workers can become expert in a particular task or operation.

Another distinguished personage who was concerned about the motivation of employees is the quality pioneer W. Edwards Deming who was a statistician and mathematical physicist by trade. Dr. Deming believed that performance did not come from the individual. Performance came from the system or for lack of a system. He also stated that one effective solution is to engage employees in the process of improving the system. People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-esteem, and dignity. One inherits joy in work, and joy in learning.

After advising Japan on census design in the late 1940s, he was invited in 1950 to deliver lectures to Japanese managers on management theory. Deming's lectures led to a wide-scale revolution in Japanese manufacturing systems, allowing Japan to enjoy considerable gains in product quality and economic growth in the latter half of the 20th century. Deming was not "discovered" in the United States until the airing of a television documentary, "If Japan Can, Why Can't We?" in 1980.

Deming's management theory is centered on thinking of an organization, and the vendors and customers of the organization, as a system. With what he called "profound knowledge," this system may be managed to yield maximum value to all involved. Profound knowledge itself is a system. Deming identified four interacting parts to this system of knowledge:

§ Appreciation for a system

§ Knowledge about variation

§ Theory of knowledge

§ Psychology

The first part, which is appreciation for a system, has already been mentioned: Recognition of relationships within and between organizations, and the potential of these relationships to maximize value is crucial to realizing value. Smart systems allow for synergy - wholes greater than the sum of their parts. Appreciation for a system means that parts of an organization are always considered in relationship to other parts, and the aim of the system.

An example of failure to appreciate a system would be setting up divisions or departments within an organization to be in competition with each other. While such an arrangement might be an incentive to a type of "performance," it prevents the optimization of value that is possible when divisions or departments are thoughtfully managed as a whole system, where divisions or departments work in concert for maximum benefit for all. Dr. W. Edwards Deming emphasized that suppliers and customers must be included in the consideration of any system, and systems must include the future as well as the present. The generic aim Deming suggested for any organization is that all involved or affected by the organization (including organization personnel, customers, suppliers, and the broader society) are better off than they would be if the organization did not exist -- that is, everyone gains.

The second part of Deming's system of profound knowledge, knowledge about variation, is crucial for understanding various phenomena that occur in a system, and making smart decisions in designing and managing a system. Deming emphasized the importance of discerning (through proper statistical methods) what variation is built into a repeating process and will predictably occur within certain limits, and what variation represents extraneous phenomena, or the existence of chaos. Knowledge about variation also allows managers to make better decisions about what variation should be reduced, and what variation should be left alone, or even increased.

The third part of Deming's system of profound knowledge was Theory of knowledge, which concerns understanding how knowledge is created, and how there is no substitute for knowledge in managing a system. Deming defined knowledge as rational predictions (or theories) about relationships between phenomena that are separate in time. A rational prediction is a prediction that conforms faithfully to observations that have been made through the present. A theory must change when new observations refute previous theory. Knowledge is built through cycles of theory, experience, and then corroboration or revisions of theory. Good theory or knowledge is essential for creating value in a system. Knowledge must be extracted from experience, and sought from outside the system, to manage well. The alternatives to management by knowledge - such as superstition, luck, hoping and wishing, copying examples without understanding, following tradition for its own sake - tend to take away value.

The last part of Deming's system of profound knowledge, psychology, comprises knowledge about what humans do and why they do it. Psychology is extremely relevant to organizations in that "human beings doing things" is what organizations are. Even the non-human pieces of an organization (e.g., machines, buildings, physical raw materials, procedures) were ultimately the result of human beings doing things. He was especially concerned with effective uses of motivation, and emphasized the motivating power of the joy, satisfaction, and pride that occurs when one contributes to an effective system. He noted how many typical employee reward programs are contrary to appreciation for a system, and hurt, rather than help, morale. He also was concerned about organizational cultures based on fear, which is destructive to both the system and to individuals.

David McClelland who was another illustrious researcher on motivation and a Harvard Psychologist. He studied the phenomenon of constructive activity beyond survival requirements for over 20 years. He labeled this trait Need for Achievement. He found that high achievers value extrinsic rewards such as money only as a method of keeping score, and that the real reward, the satisfaction of achievement, stimulated their performance. In order for organizations to succeed McClelland advised that they invest in a man and not in just a plan.

This phenomenal researcher identified three characteristics of high need-achievement persons:

  1.  People with high need of achievement favor a working situation in which they are able to assume personal responsibility for solving problems.
  2. They have a tendency to take calculated risks and set moderate achievement goals.

  3. They also must have definite and continuing feedback about their progress. If they do not receive any kind of recognition from their work, they would not know how well they are doing.

There are still unresolved questions about the need-achievement theory of motivation, and not all research has been supportive. This theory is judged to be high scientific validity and in its usefulness in application to the world of work.

Psychologist A. H. Maslow was a University professor and a frequent contributor to professional journals organized human needs on five general levels in his book called Motivation and Personality. In ascending order these are:

  • Physiological needs such as food, water, sex, and shelter.
  • Safety needs such as protection
  • Social needs such as belonging, and acceptance.
  • Ego needs such as achievement, status, and appreciation.
  • Self-actualization needs such as the need to realize one's potential.

The first three needs can be considered basic or deficit needs. When these basic needs are satisfied, then the ego and self-actualization needs are pursued. Organizations in the United

States industrial sector have done a better job of satisfying the basic needs of their workers than they have in satisfying the ego or self-fulfillment needs.

According to Maslow, most of what we know of human motivation comes not from psychologists but from psychotherapists treating patients. He explains that these patients are a great source of error as well as of useful data, because they constitute a poor sample of the population. The motivational life of neurotic sufferers should be rejected as a paradigm for healthy motivation. Any theory of motivation must deal with the highest capacities of the healthy and strong man.

This great psychologist says that it is important that we should not only study sick people but healthy men as well. Dr. Maslow's theory has received little research support and is judged to have low scientific validity and low usefulness in application. The theory continues to be very popular among managers and executives who have accepted a need for self-actualization as a motivating force to be reckoned with on the job.

The most worrisome problem American business are facing today is the low employee work productivity. In the past, America's industrial gains have been the highest in the world, but lately our productivity growth has declined, particularly when compared with some of our industrial competitors. The decline in employee motivation and in commitment to high-quality work performance may well be one of the major causes of this productivity slowdown. Productivity is defined as the efficient and effective use of resources with minimum waste and effort to achieve outcome. A decline in productivity is a cost that many companies cannot afford and that the United States, with its high standard of living, cannot tolerate. Increasing foreign competition already has caused many of our firm's serious problems and failures.

Frederick W. Taylor brought to management studies what Adam Smith contributed to the study of economics. Taylor's ideas about motivation were based on the assumption that workers act to maximize their economic self interest. He observed an "us vs. them" relationship between managers and employees. His observation of this condition, plus the extent of some employees' poor performances, convinced him that success was possible when employers and employees cooperated and worked jointly toward a common goal of profits, would which benefit all. The key to a motivated work force is to bring personal and organization goals in line.

Denise M. Rousseau who is a professor of Organizational behavior at Carnegie Mellon University wrote an article on the Academy of Management Executive about her current research on motivation. She believes that modern organizations cannot succeed if the people they employ agree to contribute to their mission and survival. This is called a psychological contract in which beliefs are based upon expressed promises. Psychological contracts motivates employees to fulfill commitments made to employers when employees are certain that employers will give in return and carry out their end of the bargain. Professor Rousseau said, "Agreement between worker and employer on what each owes the other is critical to the employment relationship's success. Managers who feel poorly treated by the employer are less likely to make extensive commitments to their workers or to signal that the employer is trustworthy."

Recent studies show that Scholars have identified six key features of the psychological contract said Professor Rousseau. She describes these features as follow:

1. Voluntary Choice: Psychological contracts motivate people to fulfill their commitments because they are based on the exchange of promises in which the individuals has freely participated. Commitments made voluntarily tend to be kept. An employee who agrees to work for a firm for at least a year is likely to be internally conflicted if offered a job elsewhere a few months after being hired. That particular employee is more likely to decline the offer than a co-worker who had made no such commitment to the employer. Explicit voluntary commitments ("I agree to stay a minimum of a year") have more powerful effects on behavior than implicit ones ("to stay a while").

2. Belief in Mutual Agreement: An individual's psychological contract reflects his or her own understanding of the commitments made with another. Individuals act on that subjective understanding as if it is mutual, regardless of whether that is the case in reality. For example, consider a new employee who is told that her job requires two or three days of travel a week. The employee might interpret that to mean that she will be traveling mo more than three days a week, although the manager who hired her really meant that there would be two or three days of travel per week on average. More experienced recruits are better at probing for mutual understanding than rookies are.

3. Incompleteness: Psychological contracts tend to be incomplete and need to be fleshed out over time. Neither employee nor employer can initially spell out all the details of a long-term employment relationship. It is also impractical to recall all the details that should be shared with one another. These contracts tend to become more elaborate over the course of the employment relationship.

4. Multiple Contract Makers: How workers interpret their psychological contracts with employers is shaped by many sources of information. These sources may include top management, human resource representatives, and in particular, a worker's immediate boss. The boss consistently sends strong signals regarding the terms of an individual's psychological contract. If their immediate boss leaves, many employees will view the departure as a violation of their psychological contract with the firm. When their boss leaves, many employees fee they are losing the shared understanding about their psychological contract. Co-workers can also provide information which people use to determine what they owe employers and vice versa. Finally, human resource practices such as training and performance appraisal processes can signal promised benefits and required contributions. And as you might suspect, when information sources convey different messages, it erodes the mutuality of the psychological contract.

5. Managing Losses When Contracts Fail: If employees and employers rely on psychological contracts to guide their actions, then the failure of the other party to fulfill anticipated commitments results in "losses." Such losses are the basic reason why psychological contract violation generates strong negative reactions, including anger, outrage, termination, and withdrawal of support. In essence, employees and employers must focus on both fulfilling commitments of their psychological contracts as well as on managing losses when existing commitments are difficult to keep. For instance, an employer might offer someone a challenging project when a promised promotion fails to materialize. Likewise, an employee who misses a critical meeting might make special efforts that her performance is unimpaired.

6. The contract as Model of the Employment Relationship: A psychological contract creates an enduring mental model of the employment relationship. This mental model provides a stable understanding of what to expect in the future and guides efficient action without much need for practice. Think about the way the conventional QWERTY keyboard helps those of us who type in English to compose a document without looking at the keyboard. Having a psychological contract as a mental model helps employer and employee function despite having incomplete information about the other party's intentions or expectations. Subsequent information also tends to be interpreted in light of the pre-existing psychological contract. For the most part, this is functional since new performance demands can be incorporated into existing understandings of one's work role.

There have also been studies done on performance appraisals to have the potential to disrupt performance and employee motivation. A study done at a large Electric plant showed that employees who received a negative appraisal experienced a decline in job performance. On the other hand, employees who received a good or outstanding appraisal showed no change in their performance. Overall the performance appraisal process was found to have no positive effect on the organization. Instead of building the relationship between the employee and the supervisor, the appraisal works to reinforce the boss/subordinate relationship. When the appraisal is tied to pay this works to further undermine the relationship by confusing performance with pay. This process encourages sucking up behavior and discourages honest, open dialog between supervisor and subordinate. A one-year study was conducted in which the work planning and review process (WP&R) was compared with the traditional performance appraisal process.

Organizations need to look beyond reward at what really drives people to succeed, and provide examples of how reward and recognition can be harnessed as an effective motivational tool. Reward and recognition make people feel good, look good, and do good things. To reward our employees in a way that will have maximum impact we have to create something tailored that will honor and delight them personally. That will do far more in the longer term than a gold watch or a little extra in their pay packet ever would. We need to ask people how would they like to be rewarded.

Clear determination of an individual's motivation depends on the individual's expressed levels of interest, enjoyment. There are thousands of companies selling Motivational Products, Programs, and services to organizations, motivational speakers, posters, signs, and slogans. Do they all work for everyone in the company? Despite all precautions, there will be incompetent and/or lazy people who will get through the screen. We need to prepare ourselves for this possibility. Establishing a system for eliminating them from the workforce if that is possible within our organization. If there is not a system for purging these workers, they may linger and infect or disrupt the organization.

Methodology

Methods of Data Gathering

There are several methodological approaches available to gathering data. In order for me to find reliable and valid data I chose to obtain it from different business owners, executive managers and employees from different organizations in the city. This is a very diverse group and it is going to allow me to test my hypotheses which consist of gathering information on a group of employees and managers to discover what influences their motivation.

The methodology I chose is divided into the following categories:

  • Surveys will allow participants to respond to many of my research questions. The surveys will be distributed to different employees in many areas of work.
  • Questionnaires will be very important to the study on motivation and will be kept confidential. The purpose of using questionnaires is to obtain information about the characteristics, attitudes and beliefs of a group of employees to determine what it is that will make them happy at work and motivate them to perform at their best. The questions will be open-ended as opposed to simple yes-or-no questions.

This methodology is appropriate for the research I am doing on employee motivation. It will help me test the hypotheses of my research as well as answer some of my research questions. This proposed methodology is very simple to understand.

Data Analysis ProceduresThe data I will be gathering from these managers and employees will help me test my hypotheses on a diverse group of people. I will be calculating the Mean, Standard deviation and T test. The purpose of collecting this data was to help companies improve their operations. From this data we can point out to managers or business owners areas in which their companies were particularly weak and together with the managers plan strategies for improvement.

Two written surveys and questionnaires were given to 20 managers and 20 employees each from different organizations in the city. The questionnaires are shown in the appendix along with the IRB document. The data gathered was transformed to quantitative data using an ordinal scale conversion. The converted data is shown in the appendix. Managers were queried about motivation techniques money, promotion, training, criticism and recognition. Success of motivation techniques and employee performance were also evaluated. Employees were queried about work tenure, motivating factorsmoney, promotion, discipline, training and recognition. They were also asked about the best motivation technique money, esprit de corps, training, and recognition. Other questions addressed reward for better performance and if they felt motivated. The responses are shown in the appendix.

We will use Excel for analyzing the data. The mean and standard deviation are calculated for each variable and percentages for the responses. A t test is conducted for the two sample groups, managers and employees assuming equal variances. Success of motivation techniques, manager vs. employee perception of performance, perception of motivation, and performance are the variables that are analyzed using t tests. Balnaves and Caputi (2001) discuss quantitative research methods using Excel. Punch (2003) examines the basics of survey research.   

Interpretation of findings

For managers, the data showed that the primary motivation technique was perceived as money (50%) followed by training (22%) and recognition (22%); criticism accounted for only 6%. With respect to successful motivation, there responses indicated money (65%) followed by recognition (29%); training was only 6%. The success of motivation techniques had a mean between excellent and good and a standard deviation of around one with an equally spaced scale between 5 and 1. Employee performance was between good and moderate with a standard deviation of 0.7 with a scale from five to one. Performance of employees was perceived as a problem with a mean of 4.9 and a standard deviation of 0.3 with an equally spaced scale from five to one with five being definite and one being definitely not. Another question involved handling poor performance. Encouragement was the most frequent response (53%) followed by termination (24%) and criticism (12%).

For employees, work tenure had a mean of 2.3 years with a standard deviation of 1.5 years. The question whether better performance led to promotion had a response of more than likely. The mean was 3.85 and the standard deviation was 1.35 for an equally spaced scale with definitely being five, more than likely being four and definitely not being one. The motivating factors are identified as discipline (43%), recognition (24%) followed by money (19%), promotion (10%) and criticism (5%). To the question if employees felt motivated, the response had a mean of 3.65 with a standard deviation of 1.66 for an equally spaced scale with definitely being one, more than likely being four and definitely not being one. Whether motivation affects effort drew a response with a mean of 3.75 and a standard deviation of 1.3 for an equally spaced scale with definitely being five, more than likely being four and definitely not being one. To the question whether motivation affects performance, the response had a mean of 3.7 and a standard deviation of 1.09 for an equally spaced scale with definitely being five, more than likely being four and definitely not being one. The best motivation technique was identified as esprit de corps being at the top (32%) followed by recognition (27%) and training and money, each at 18%.

A t test was conducted on the success of motivation techniques. Null Hypothesis: There is no difference in the recognition of the value of motivation techniques between managers and employees.Alternate Hypothesis: There is a difference in the recognition of the value of motivation techniques between managers and employees.The p value for the two-tailed test is 0.079 which is greater than 0.05. So we retain the null hypothesis that there is no difference in the perception of motivation techniques between managers and employees.

A t test was conducted on the perception of motivation. Null Hypothesis: There is no difference in the perception of motivation between managers and employees.Alternate Hypothesis: There is a difference in the perception of motivation between managers and employees.The p value for the two-tailed test is 0.06 which is greater than 0.05. So we retain the null hypothesis that there is no difference in the perception of motivation between managers and employees.

A t test was conducted on the perception of performance.Null Hypothesis: There is no difference in the perception of performance between managers and employees.Alternate Hypothesis: There is a difference in the perception of performance between managers and employees.The p value for the two-tailed test is 0.99 which is greater than 0.05. So we retain the null hypothesis that there is no difference in the perception of performance between managers and employees.

A t test was conducted on whether performance is a problem.Null Hypothesis: There is no problem with performance as perceived by managers and employees.Alternate Hypothesis: There is a problem with performance as perceived by managers and employees. The p value for the two-tailed test is 0.004, which is less than 0.05. So we reject the null hypothesis that there is no difference in the perception of performance as a problem between managers and employees.

Results

The results show that both managers and employees agree on the importance of motivation on employee performance. However, there is a difference in the perception of performance as a problem between managers and employees. Also, employees placed a premium on esprit de corps or firm culture and congeniality and recognition; money was lower on the scale. Managers, on the other hand, placed a greater emphasis on monetary factors with training and recognition following well behind. This study, though constrained by small sample size, shows a marked difference between employees and managers as to what constitutes successful motivation. Both groups agree that motivation is significant in influencing performance. Further studies can focus on the differences between manufacturing firms, service firms and retailers.

Conclusions

Motivation is based on growth needs. It is an internal engine, and its benefits show up over a long period of time. Because the ultimate reward in motivation is personal growth. The only way to motivate an employee is to give him challenging work for which he can assume responsibility. Human motivation is so complex and so important, successful management development for the next century must include theoretical and practical education about the types of motivation, their sources, their effects on performance, and their susceptibility to various influences. Employees are the company’ best assets. If employees are not as motivated, it will have a tremendous effect on productivity. The organization’s overall efficiency will decline by unmotivated employees. Managers may even need to hire additional employees to complete tasks that could be done by the existing force.

I believe that emotions are also involved in motivation. An employee who is easily emotional about situations may lack the stability to perform optimally. Motivation is also influenced but morale and attitude. Based on previous research done, under regular conditions, employees tend to work at only about two-thirds of their capacity. Motivation may also be influenced by the manager’s management style. If a manager is not liked, employees may function minimally.

Proper motivation of employees is directly associated with productivity and with maintenance factors. Workers who are content with their jobs, who feel challenged, who have the opportunity to fulfill their goals will exhibit less destructive behavior on the job. They will be absent less frequently, they will be less inclined to change jobs, and, most importantly, they will produce at a higher level.

To be a successful manager one must be a people mover, who motivates employees to increased productivity. Get to know your people well! Remember that people do things for their reasons. Try to understand where the person is coming from. We all have different motives. If employers do not recognize soon what are their employees’ motives they will be destined to lose some of their best people. Motivation is the most critical factor in productivity. Motivation is the key.