Topic 1: Work Motivation
A highly motivated employee can be said to have good direction and high levels of effort and persistence (Arnold et al., 2005). It is therefore safe to assume that high levels of motivation lead to higher performance levels. This essay will explore the phenomenon of ‘what motivates people’ in 2 ways. One focuses on the employee and will be examined by using the ‘Goal Setting Theory’ (GST) by Locke et al. (2002). The other focuses on the job itself and will be examined using the ‘Job Characteristics Model’ (JCM) by Hackman et al. (1980). The lack of clear performance goals is said to result in a wide range of acceptable performance, and research shows that this consistently leads to lower performance levels than specific, difficult goals (Locke et al., 2002). If, however, people do not believe that they can achieve such a goal (low self-efficacy), they will not be committed to it and will therefore not be motivated to complete it (Klein et al., 1999). Job enrichment strategies (such as job rotation and enlargement) should increase skill variety, autonomy and responsibility and lead to high job satisfaction (Pooja et al., 2006). These strategies can only be effective as long as the employees have the required knowledge and skills to perform such tasks. It is therefore essential that the proper training is given to all employees. This will provide them with the necessary abilities, and should increase their level of commitment as well (Klein et al., 1999). This is supported by the expectancy theory: increased self-efficacy leads to higher motivation (Arnold et al., 2005). It is best to start by setting specific, challenging learning goals. Whilst improving ability, this will also prevent evaluative pressure and performance anxiety that can lead to the use of inappropriate strategies (Locke et al., 2002). According to Locke et al. (2002), specific, difficult goals lead to higher performance and that this only decreases when limits of...
Bibliography: Arnold, J., Silvester, J., Patterson, F., Robertson, I., Cooper, C. and Burnes, B. (2005) Work Psychology: Understanding Human Behaviour in the Workplace, 4ed, Harlow, FT Prentice Hall. Chapter “Approaches to work motivation and job design”.
Deci, E.L., Connell, J.P. and Ryan, R.M. (1989) ‘Self determination in a work organization’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 74(4), pp580-590.
Hackman, J.R. and Oldham, G.R. (1980) Work Redesign, Addison-Wesley.
Klein, H.J., Wessen, M.J., Hollenbeck, J.R. and Alge, B.J. (1999) ‘Goal commitment and the goal-setting process: Conceptual clarification and empirical synthesis’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 84(6), pp885-896.
Locke, E.L. and Latham, G.P. (2002) ‘Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey, American Psychologist, 57(9), pp363-380.
Maslow A.H. (1943) ‘A theory of human motivation’, Psychological Review, 50, pp370-396.
Pooja, G. and Rastogi, R. (2006) ‘New model of job design: motivating employees’ performance’, Journal of Management Development, 25(6), pp572-587.
Van Eerde, W. and Thierry, H. (1996) ‘Vroom’s expectancy models and work-related criteria: A meta-analysis’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(5), pp363-380.
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