Motivation and Performance at the Work Place

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The Carter Bookstore did not meet its sales target in January and February 2012. The employees are both unenthusiastic and unmotivated. This could be due to some of the policies that the new store manager instituted in January.

The manager believes generous discounts are a major cause of the decline in sales. Previously, employees qualified customers and offered discounts to those who seemed inclined as a way to encourage more book sales. To stem this loss from ‘crazy discounts’, employees must now get the manager’s approval on discounts for each sale. This micromanagement policy prevents employees from decision making thus goes against the Humanistic Theory which states that people are driven to realize their personal potential (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2010). Consequently, the employees are not interested in making extra sales but are strictly adhering to the cover price, to the detriment of the sales.

Moreover, the manager has reduced break times from 15minutes every 2 hours to 15 minutes every 5hours. This is an unethical working conditions policy. Employees are tense and uncooperative since they must ‘hold it in’ as they cannot leave their duty stations for bathroom breaks at will. According the Drive theory, this tension arises from their need to rest or to go to the bathroom, but these needs are unmet, thus their sour attitude. Some customers have complained of ‘less than willing’ sales staff, opting to leave without buying a single book.

Additionally, the employees must stay at their individual and far flung stations that do not allow socializing as the manager thinks they spend too much time chatting with each other, rather than with customers. The distance denies them a chance to socialize, which is a normal human need. According to the Instinct Theory, this social behavior is innate and due to evolutionary programming (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2010). Consequently, employees are bored at work and spend most time texting on cell phones, while ignoring customers.

To increase motivation, the manager should consider asking the employees to propose ways in which the sales can be improved. According to the Sensation Seeking theory, motivation comes about due to high levels of arousal from varied and novel activities (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2010). As the employees seek newer and unique ways of selling, they push themselves to achieve more. The result of this individual ‘pushing’ is that each employee will be motivated to find ways to improve their productivity. This will lead to increased book sales per employee. 

Further, the manager should institute a reward policy where the employee with the most sales per day would receive a monetary reward, a recognition award or both. This will generate a competitive spirit amongst employees which will motivate them to try to outdo each other and make more sales. According to Humanistic Theory best explained by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, people have a need to realize their potential. As they realize their potential, they meet their self esteem needs i.e. working hard to receive the recognition of their colleagues.

According to the Arousal theory, people are driven to maintain a certain level of arousal to be comfortable (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2010). The manager should discuss a break policy with the employees. This consultative approach will allow the employees to acknowledge that many work minutes are wasted on long breaks, and to suggest suitable lengths of break that will allow them to be comfortable. Comfort at work is important as it directly impacts on productivity. The optimum comfort level will be a motivator the employees and will lead to increased sales. 

A participatory management approach creates a sense of worth and motivates employees to pursue their individual goals while meeting the organizational goals. If implemented, the stores sales will pick up, and in time, surpass the monthly sales target.

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