Employee Motivation a Malaysian Perspective 3

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Management Pages: 27 (8843 words) Published: April 10, 2011
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Employee motivation: a Malaysian perspective
Rafikul Islam and Ahmad Zaki Hj. Ismail
Department of Business Administration, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify the motivating factors of employees working in various Malaysian organizations. Design/methodology/approach – A survey method was adopted. The survey questionnaire consisted of two parts: respondents’ personal information were obtained through Part A and in Part B, they were asked to rank the ten motivating factors in terms of their effectiveness. The motivating factors were compiled from the existing literature and refined through consultation with human resource professionals. Findings – An ordered set of motivating factors for employees working in Malaysian organizations. Demographic factors like gender, race, education, etc. were found to have impact on the ranking of the factors. Originality/value – The findings are expected to provide useful guidelines to managers while developing employee motivation programs. Keywords Motivation (psychology), Employee involvement, Job satisfaction, Malaysia Paper type Research paper


Introduction The term motivation is derived from the Latin word “movere” which means to move. Motivation is what moves us from boredom to interest. It is like the steering wheel of a vehicle that directs our activities. Motivation represents those psychological processes that cause the arousal, direction, and persistence of voluntary activities that are goal oriented (Mitchell, 1982). Bartol and Martin (1998) define motivation as a force that energizes behavior, gives direction to behavior, and underlies the tendency to persist. This definition recognizes that in order to achieve goals, individuals must be sufficiently stimulated and energetic, must have a clear focus on what is to be achieved, and must be willing to commit their energy for a long enough period of time to realize their aim. Since, a leading function of management involves influencing others to work toward organizational goals, motivation is an important aspect of that function. Stewart (1986) cites John Harvey-Jones, chief executive of ICI: “the real purpose of management is motivation of the group to use its energy to achieve objectives.” Steers and Porter (1983, p. 32) write: Managers have the responsibility to create a proper climate in which employees can develop to their fullest potential. Failure to provide such a climate would theoretically increase employee frustration and could result in poorer performance, lower job satisfaction, and increased withdrawal from the organization. The authors express sincere thanks and gratitude to all the respondents for their participation in the survey.

International Journal of Commerce and Management Vol. 18 No. 4, 2008 pp. 344-362 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1056-9219 DOI 10.1108/10569210810921960

In today’s highly competitive labor market, there is extensive evidence that organizations regardless of size, technological advances, market focus, are facing retention challenges (Ramlall, 2004). Fitz-enz (1997) stated that the average company loses approximately $1 million with every ten managerial and professional employees who leave the organization combined with the direct and indirect costs; the total cost of an exempt employee’s turnover is a minimum of one year’s pay and benefits. Ahmad and Bakar (2003) mention that voluntary turnover is a major problem for companies in some Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, etc. Job-hopping has become so rampant in these Asian countries that it has, in part, become culture. Ramlall (2004, p. 52) writes: Given the large investments in employee retention efforts within organizations, it is rational to identify, analyze and critique the motivation...

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