Employee Motivation at Workplace

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Psychology Pages: 17 (4828 words) Published: October 9, 2011

The purpose of writing this paper is to examine work motivation and show why organizations should have a motivated work force. Motivation is central because it determines the time and effort people put into their work to help achieve company goals.

It shall try to explain why individuals with similar abilities and different levels of motivation won’t necessarily produce similar results. Some will care about their tasks and others simply wont. Managers should therefore make sure that employees are motivated enough to help the organization meet its goals because de-motivated employees hinder achievement of those goals.

Organizations that ignore employee motivation have ultimately paid the price and because of that, some have adopted motivation programs which have paid off handsomely for them and ensured effectiveness in the organization.

This study suggests that future managers should motivate their employees from the word go rather than choose to wait for something bad to first happen.


According to James. R Linder (1998) a motive is an impulse that causes a person to act. Motivation is an internal force that drives a person move toward a personal or organizational goal. According to Jennifer M. George and Gareth R. George (2008) p181, it includes 1) direction of behavior, which is behavior a person chooses to use. 2) Level of effort, which is how hard someone works. 3) Level of persistence, which is how hard someone keeps behaving despite obstacles faced.

Motivation is one of the many factors that affect job performance and because of that a high level of motivation will not necessarily lead to high performance on the job. Therefore they shouldn’t assume that low or high performance is as a result of low or high motivation otherwise they will miss the actual cause Jennifer M. George and Gareth R. George (2008) p184

The job of a manager in the workplace is to get things done through employees. To do this the manager should be able to motivate employees. However, that’s not an easy thing to do. Motivation practice and theory are different, some managers know the theory but putting it into practice fails them. To understand motivation one must understand human nature itself which is where the problem lies. Human nature can be very simple, yet very complex too. Understanding this is a needed to ensure effective employee motivation in the workplace and therefore effective management and leadership.

Motivation can either be intrinsic or extrinsic, and according to M Ryan and Edward L. Deci (2000) intrinsic motivation is defined as doing an activity for its own sake and satisfaction rather than for a separable reason. Such people are motivated to act for the fun or challenge rather than external reasons like rewards. Extrinsic motivation is done to obtain a separate outcome like rewards and for this reason it contrasts with intrinsic motivation.

Several motivation theories have been put forth and these include 1) Need theory which looks at workers needs as the source of motivation and includes theories like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which states that human beings have five sets of needs that they seek to satisfy in order of bottom to top and Alderfer’s ERG theory which says human beings have three needs and states that higher needs can be satisfied before lower needs are. 2) Expectancy theory, which focuses on which specific behaviors to perform and the effort to exert. 3) Equity needs which focuses on fairness of work outcomes and input. 4) Social justice needs which focuses on overall fairness in an organization (Jennifer M. George and Gareth R. George (2008) p186

Motivation in an organization should therefore be emphasized but this isn’t the case since some firms neither have the time nor resources to do so or they deliberately choose to ignore it. We shall therefore seek to know the consequences organizations face when they choose to motivate or not to motivate their...

References: 1. Myron Curry, (2004) - Effective ways to Motivate Employees
3. Richard Lowe, Jr. (2002) – Motivating Employees
5. Mareike Wieth and Bruce D. Burns (2000) – motivation insight versus incremental
problem solving
6 Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Deci (2000) – intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: classic definitions and New Directions.
7 Charlie Corry, (2006) - Equity Theory and Employee Motivation
8 Jennifer M
9. David Javitch. (2005) – How to prevent and rescue burnt out employee’s
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