Last Updated 02 Apr 2020

Motivation and Organisational Behavior

Category Behavior
Essay type Research
Words 1842 (7 pages)
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What is motivation? Motivation is define as the stimulus that drives, direct and maintaining the human behavior to reach goals (Wood et al. , 2006). In the context of workplace, motivation will be the one that drive the employee to perform and give more effort to contribute in the company or organization growth. Hence, it is crucial that manager keeps their employee or workers motivated. In this essay, one out of four content theories and one out of two process theory will be defined out and compared out. There are 2 types of motivation theory: Content and process theory.

While content theory looks to factors within the individual and attempt to answer most of the “what” question in the context of motivation, process theory emphasize more on “how” does someone gets motivated. (Vincent Gabriel, 2003). A few theorists that have contributed to the few famous theories are Maslow, Herzberg, Atkinson, and McClelland (Vincent Gabriel, 2003). In theory, there is a continuous relationship between need (drive), tension, action and satisfaction (Reduction of drive). But in reality, it might be more complex than just those 4 actions.

These are because: People’s needs are changing over time, and how people react to failure plays a part too. For example a failure to someone will demoralize him, and yet it might push another person to strive for to be better. Hence, their varying needs translated into varying actions of each individual. (Vincent Gabriel, 2003). One of the famous theories in terms of motivation is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. In this theory, Abraham Maslow defined out human needs in 5 steps, with each lower step must be satisfied or fulfilled before advancing to the further steps.

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He identify higher order needs, such as self esteem and self actualization and lower order needs such as social, safety and physiological needs (wood et al, 2006). Maslow rank these needs up by assuming which needs are more important, hence the need to satisfy it before other needs can serve as motivators. (Wood et all, 2006). According to Maslow himself, once the lower needs have been satisfied, it will not serve as the motivator anymore (Udechukwu, 2009). For example, for a normal human, the most basic needs include food, water and a place to live. Once this eeds have been fulfilled, he will then move on to the next hierarchy: safety.

To put it in rough term, he will then want to be able to continue to eat and drink, hence he will find a job and a source of income to do so. Once that is satisfied too, and then he will be able to move on to the next level, so on and so forth. Hence, as you can see, a person will continue to climb the “pyramid” until he reaches the top of the scale: self actualization. From here onward, he then will think on how to expand himself further, and start fulfilling other aspect of needs.

As what have written previously, while content theory like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains out on what are the factors that motivate people, there’s process theory that explain on how does the motivator motivate people, or even, whether is the motivator effective or rather counter-productive instead? In this essay, for the process theory, we are going to look at Adam’s equity theory. Equity theory suggests that employee must develop a sense of fairness after comparing themselves against their peer or others.

Huseman et al suggest that there are three types of individuals (Shore, 2004). They are: ‘Benevolents’, who are described as “giver”, who prefer to have given more input than output. There’s also ‘Entitleds’, who are the “getter”, who on the contrary to the “giver”, will feel discontent and unfair when their input is larger than their output, and finally, the third type of individual is the one that what Huseman called Equity Sensitives, who will adhere to the old equity theory and will just stick with the balance of input and output (Shore, 2004).

With all the individuals defined, Equity theorist starts to predict that benevolent, entitled, and equity sensitives will respond differently to fairness in workplace. For example, benevolent (giver) will feel more satisfied when they feel that they are under-rewarded than when they were over-rewarded. On the contrary, Entitleds (taker), will feel unsatisfied when they were under-rewarded. On a field study done by Huseman, what have been found out about these 3 individuals is that, indeed that both entitleds and equity sensitives are behaving like what was predicted, but on the contrary of the expectation, enevolents do get more satisfied when they were over-reward (Shore, 2004).

This strange phenomenon happened too on other studies by King et al (1993), Alien and White(2002), and also Sauley and Bedeian(2000). Even though all those studies have their own limitation, we can safely conclude that the benevolents are the most tolerant to the under-reward and also more satisfied than the other 2 types of individuals (Shore, 2004). To compare and contrast both the content and process theory mentioned above, we can rather say that they both must be practiced in the workplace instead of only choosing either one.

As what have been mentioned earlier on, the content theory is only explain out the “what” factor of a human motivator. For this, Maslow basically theorized based on what does one needs that haven’t been fulfilled and arranging them up in a hierarchy order (Harris et al, 1993). Whereas process theory will be dwelling on the nature on how or what problem does human see and perceived and whether it will motivate them. To put it simply, what have been explained above about equity theory is that even with a reward, it may affect different individuals differently.

Before we look into how a job design actually helps in motivating an employee in a company, let’s take a look on what actually is a job design and what are some of the characteristic first. A job design is basically a planning and specification of a job task so that the job are done like how we want it to be (Wood et al, 2006). Under the job design itself, there are four major areas that we will want to cover later on. Those four are: job simplification, job enlargement, job rotation, and job enrichment. To explain these four aspects better, let us examine a short and simple case of a pirate ship (Rao, 2010).

In a pirate ship, there are a lot of jobs involved. It can be as small as normal pirate crew, to the extent until the captain of the ships. Different job have different scopes that need to be fulfilled. Now if we were to design a job in this ship, how will we be able to design it up then? A group of people in MBA have actually grouped them up into two categories: the star tasks and the guardian tasks. The star tasks job scope include target identification, command in the battle until the negotiation for alliance between fleet.

Whereas, the guardian task job is rather more operational, such as allocating crews, solving conflicts, executing punishment, distributing loot evenly until the role of medic (Rao, 2010). The question is, is it really efficient then, to lump all those tasks into two groups only? Well, the answer is most probably quite obvious: No. In such setting of the pirate ship, it will be rather hard for one individuals to be able to have the skills to be the Great Star or Great guardian, since both of them require a totally different set of skills.

What will happen is that with this kind of job design, it will discourage a crew member to apply for the position of the star or guardian position. In this case, we will want to use job simplification to analyze and solve this issue. Job simplification is meant to make someone excel in a job(wood et al, 2006), for example, a crew member of the ship will be task to do a specific job only (eg. Negotiating with other fleet). In the long term, the crew member will get better and better in that area of job. The strength of this job design approach, however, is its biggest weakness also.

This is because, since that the job have been simplified, the crew member will get bored doing it again and again for so many years already. This is when we will want to other approach such as job enlargement, job enrichment and job rotation. Job enlargement involves combining two or more skills that were assigned to separate workers previously (Wood et al, 2006). The only difference between this and the job simplification is that now the worker are responsible over different areas and also have more jobs to do (eg. Negotiator can also be tasked to manage the navigation).

The other approach that involves equipping the crew or worker with more skills is job rotation. This approach can be defined as working different tasks or in different position for a set of time (Kaymaz, 2010). This approach focus more on the flexibility of the worker, decreasing the monotony, supporting career development, enabling high level of adaptation, and also to decrease stress (Kaymaz, 2010). With all those advantage, the most obvious disadvantage will most probably that the crew or worker will spend too much time to adapt and learn different sets of skills.

Last but not least is the job enrichment approach. This involves in adding responsibility to the worker, making their job is more in depth. (wood et al, 2006). With all those job design approach been defined out, it will then enable us to combine and come up with a set of approach that we can use so that our employee are motivated. An appropriate job design can always motivate the employee up if we identify out, each and every single needs of an employee. A new employee that recently joined the company will most probably want to fulfill his physiological needs; hence he will want to have the appropriate salary.

If his performance is good most of the time, and the company wants to retain him, the company must takes in the account on whether he is “benevolents” type or the “entitleds” type to measure the tolerance level on deciding his pay. Once all of those approach has been made, company must also keep close look on the employee, so that they can react fast to apply other approach such as job enlargement or even to the extent of job enrichment and empowerment if the employees begun to show signals that they are not motivated anymore.

And now, we have covered the content theory of Maslow, the Adam’s Equity theory for the process theory in the context of motivation theory, and we also have covered job design approach and how to apply it in the company and organization. Hence it will be pretty obvious, that to motivate people, we will want to know what’s the key motivator is the person, whether he will be motivated with the changes that have been made and also how can the company change to motivate him better.

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Motivation and Organisational Behavior. (2017, Mar 16). Retrieved from

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