Types of Motivation
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People are often motivated to achieve both personal and organizational goals. Motivation refers to the desire to do something that has a positive influence on an individual. This implies that an individual cannot be motivated towards doing something that may hurt or harm him or her, for instances, shooting a gun towards his or her own body. According to Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman (2009) motivation is a psychological force or drive that stimulates or provokes the desire to achieve particular goals in an individual. Motivation often involves arousal of various intrinsic forces that drive an individual to act or behavior in a specific way in order to realize or achieve specified or desired goals and objectives.
Types of Motivation
Motivation can be divided into two broad categories namely intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to a type of motivation that is generated from within the individual, for example, the need to excel in examinations amongst students. Intrinsic motivation is usually derived from gaining internal emotional pleasure by being involve in a particular activity.
On the other hand, extrinsic motivation refers to a type of motivation that is derived from external factors and pressure. Simply put, extrinsic motivation is derived from external environment surrounding the individual. A person who solves a Sudoku puzzle for personal pleasure and contentment gains intrinsic motivation whereas an athlete who runs at a higher speed to defeat his competitors so that he can get cash reward is said to be motivated extrinsically. Things that motivate people are called motivating factors. Herzberg (2011) defines a motivating factor as what makes a person do something. It tells us more about why an individual acts in a particular manner.
Approaches to Motivation
Approaches to motivation can be psychological, biological, behavioral, cognitive or social. For example, a person who feels thirsty quenches his or her thirst by drinking cold. Such approach is both psychological and behavioral because the person psychologically believes that cold water quenches thirst. On the other hand, it is behavioral because it involves the actual or physical act of drinking the water.
Theories of Motivation
Various theories have been developed to explain the original and nature of motivation. The most common theories of motivation include incentive theory and hierarchy of needs theory. According to incentive theory, a person becomes extrinsically motivated when he or she expects to receive or receives a reward from the motivating factor. The reward can be either tangible such as cash prize given to a high-performing students or intangible such as an expensive holiday trip given to an employee. The incentive theory further asserts that in extrinsic motivation, repetitive reward actions usually cause solidification of behaviors into habits.
The hierarchy of needs theory was formulated by Abraham Maslow. In this theory, Maslow explained that individuals are motive to work in order to meets various needs (Walker, 2008). These needs include self-actualizations needs, esteem needs, social needs, safety needs and physiological needs. These needs can be arranged in a hierarchical order as shown in figure 1 below. According to Walker (2008), Maslow argued that a person must satisfy needs that are lower in the pyramid before moving to the next stage up the ladder.
Components of Motivation
Clinical psychologists argue that there are three major components of motivation namely activation, persistence and intensity. Activation refers to the need to initiate a given behavior whereas persistence is the unremitting or sustained efforts to achieve desired goals. Lastly, intensity refers to the vigor of pursuing a goal, for example, a student who wants to pass his examinations must study regularly.
Motivation of Employees
Employee motivation refers to any action that aims at directing the energy of workers towards achieving organizational goals. It aims at improving the levels of commitment, hard work, creativity and involvement of employees at the workplaces. Employee motivation is a term used to describe ways of encouraging employees to work harder and attain higher levels of productivity at the workplace.
Various ways have been developed to motivate employees. However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of any method of employee motivation depends on a variety of factors such as socio-economic factors like financial positions, level of education and marital status, biological factors such as age and health status, traditional believes, values and practices and organizational structures and politics amongst others. Every employee may require a different approach for motivation, for instance, high salaries may motivate Miss Jane while Mr. John would need recognition to be motivated.
Importance of Employee Motivation
Employees are the most important assets of an organization. Thus, they need motivation in order to work smoothly and effectively. Various research studies have directly linked employee motivation to productivity and profitability of an organization. According to Bowen (2011), motivation of employees encourages employees to look for new, innovative and better ways of carrying out their duties and responsibilities. Motivated employees also treat customers well. Johnson, Chang and Yang (2010) also mention increased productivity as a direct benefit of employee motivation.
The purpose of the research study was to determine the most influential factors in employee motivation. The study aimed at ranking various motivational factors in order of their importance to employees. I choose this topic because it would enable me in determine how employees value and rank various motivational factors used by managers.
Purpose of the Study
The study aimed at ranking various factors that motivate employees because previous research studies have established that different influential factors have varied effect on motivation of employees. However, these studies have not determined the impact and importance of each the influential in motivation of employees.
Generally, researchers have acknowledged that job security, rewarding, communication, good working conditions, promotions, competitive salaries and wages, assignment of challenging task recognition and employee appraisals are some of the major influential factors that are often used by managers to motivate employees. These factors can be categorized into broadly categorized into four groups; namely income, recognition and promotions, communication and financial incentives. This study also assumes that all employees have equal access to these motivational factors.
Method of Examination
In this study, both full time and part-time employees were surveyed. Participants were selected randomly from all departments in the organizations. Random selection of participants helped in ensuring that each employee was given an equal opportunity to be involved in the study regardless of their positions in the organization, age, gender, mode of employment, length of services or any other factor. A total of 250 employees were sampled, surveyed and results analyzed.
Data for the study were obtained from employee surveys using questionnaires. During the survey, all employees were given questionnaires to fill. Each questionnaire was divided into four major parts, with each part representing a particular influential factor that motivates employees. For purposes of the study, influential factors that motivate employees were categorized into four major groups; namely (1) communication at the workplace, (2) income- salaries and wages, (3) recognition and promotions and (4) financial incentives.
All participants were presented with questionnaires with a total of 15 questions. Each participant was to fill the questionnaire independently. Collected data was then analyzed and statistical computations carried out.
The respondents surveyed during the study comprised of 54.5 percent male and 45.5 percent female. It was also reveled that the organization has a young workforce, with 80 percent of the respondents being aged 35 years and below. In addition, 70 percent of the respondents were single.
Detailed analysis of data collected revealed that 68 percent of the respondents have an annual income ranging between 35,000 and 50,000 U.S. dollars. Respondents earning between 35,000 and 40,000 U.S. dollars per year asserted that high income is more motivating than other forms of financial rewards.
b)Recognition and Promotions
As stated earlier, the company has a young workforce, with 80 percent of the respondents being aged 35 years and below. In this regard, older employees regarded recognition as a major motivating factor whereas the younger employees regarded promotions are most important. From the survey data, employees aged above 45 years valued recognition whereas employees aged below 45 years yawned for promotions at the workplace.
The study also found out that 62 percent of the employees believe that clear and open communication has helped them achieve various tasks in the organization. Good communication and interactions between managers and employers positively contributed to the success of employees as well as level of motivation. Statistical calculation of the Pearson Correlation from the data showed a strong correlation between open communication and good manager-employee interaction s and high employee motivation.
Eighty percent of the respondents ranked financial incentives higher than non-financial incentives. In addition, financial incentives such as performance bonuses, reimbursement of training costs, relocation allowances and cash rewards were ranked higher. Non-financial incentives such as allowing employees to join trade unions were seen as the least motivating factor.
High income was ranked as the most influential motivating factors in the organization. Eighty six percent of the respondents ranked high income (competitive salaries and wages) as the most motivating factor at the workplace. This percentage included junior and senior, old and young employees. Therefore, I would conclude that income received from employment is the most influential actor in relation to employee motivation.
Statistical analysis of data obtained from questionnaires disclosed that communication within the organization as the second most influential factor in employee motivation. According to Herzberg (2011), open and clear communication between managers and employees usually shows that the employees are highly valued and trusted by the employers. Communication also facilitates sharing of ideas, knowledge and skills and various challenges faced by the employees within and outside the organization. This creates as sense of belonging to the employees, thus the workers perceive themselves as one big family. Good communication and healthy interrelationships between managers and employees also provide employment security to workers. This further explains why communication is a major influential factor employee motivation.
Financial incentives came third as an influential factor in employee motivation. Most employees, especially junior employees with low incomes, highly value financial incentives because such incentives are viewed as additional income. The category of employees who value high incomes and financial incentives are married employees with families and middle-class employees who need to make long-term investments for future use.
Lastly, recognition and promotion came last in the rank. Older employees are motivated through recognition whereas younger employees get motivated through promotions at the workplace. In my view, the younger workforce requires promotion because of their high need to grow in their careers. However, as an employee becomes old and senior at the workplace, the need for promotion reduces, and this need is replaced with the urge for recognition. I would also argue that this conforms to Abraham Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs in which a person gets motivated as he or she ascends up the hierarchy or pyramid of needs. Thus, senior employees require recognition as a motivation factor because they need self-actualization. The results are shown in figure 2 below.
Employees have different reasons for work. Even though these reasons might be very different, there is one common thread that joins them together. All employees work in order to satisfy certain individual needs. Intrinsic motivation results from empowerment, personal growth and development, inclusion in social settings such as peer groups and teams and purpose of the motivation.
I would also argue that mot employees usually require high incomes and good communication at the workplace. Although different employees get motivated in various ways, highly competitive salaries and wages, excellent communication, financial incentives and recognition and promotion are the most common factors that influence employee behavior. I would also recommend that managers should critically assess and analyze the various needs of employees before formulating and developing approaches and strategies for employee motivation.