Motivational Approach to Work Design

Category: Design, Motivation
Last Updated: 06 Jan 2022
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The work environment is filled with a number of problems and challenges in terms of job satisfaction, efficiency, quality and the reduction of the problems related to employee performance. These things are all related to the work design. It is possible to organize work so that the employees could be more effective and efficient in doing their work and instead of being stressed, they will appreciate working for the company. A number of organizations all over the world do realize that in order to enhance productivity and efficiency, they will have to address the needs of the employees and make sure that they are motivated to do their work.

The work design, indeed, can revolutionize the work place and enable the company to achieve its potentials (Banon, 1991). For this reason, motivation helps the employees understand themselves in relation to their work environment and helps them realize their importance in achieving the goals of the organization they belong with. Work Design, on the other hand, refers to the application of principles and technology in the work place with the aim of improving efficiency, productivity, employee satisfaction, quality improvement and the minimization of employee problems such as absenteeism, low productivity and tardiness among others.

Organizational development is a deliberate strategy conducted by the whole organization in order to improve processes and the overall health of the organization. It is being achieved through interventions and various activities that cater to the needs of the employees, the managers and other stakeholders in the organization. It is often associated and interchanged with the concept of organizational effectiveness (Beckhard, 1969).

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II. Motivation: A Review of Related Literature Organizational Development

The literature on organizational development is replete with literature on motivation, work design and intervention. Work design falls under the context of organization. As such, the organization and the individuals who belong to it are at the heart of any discourse on organizational development. The main purpose of this development is the improvement of quality, efficiency and effectiveness over time while enhancing the experience and loyalty of those who are working in the organization.

Simply put, organizational development is a kind of contractual relationship between an organization and an agent of change which will enable the principles of behavioral science in the system of the organization for the purpose of improving the performance of the organization. At the heart of organizational development is the concept and practice of innovation (Johnson, 1976). Research has always been a part of organizational development. There are three stages in the process of organizational development according to Lewin (1958). The first stage is the analysis of the organization or what Lewin called the unfreezing.

During this stage, the organization is faced with a challenge that it has to address. This means that the organizational processes and practices need to be scrutinized so as to make the right prescriptions for change. The second stage is Changing, where the new models of behavior are tested and eventually applied to the organization. Lastly, the Refreezing stage where the new behavior of the organization is fully implemented, tested for additional changes and undergoes continuous analysis. The outcome would be a better and more efficient organization and a work design that reflects the values and the goals of the organization.

Work Design Given this framework of organizational development, the role of work design is very important since it is being looked at as the resulting output of an intervention process. Contemporary times have made the field of work design very interesting. The advances in information and communication technologies are making it possible for organizations to make routine tasks easier. Moreover, they are also integrating these technologies with their business practices to make sure that quality standards are being met and that workers are provided with the best possible tools in doing their jobs (Parker & Wall, 1998).

Other exciting developments are in the field of psychology, management, business administration and other bodies of knowledge that deal with employee motivation, ensuring quality, effective management and even customer service. The knowledge being contributed by these fields are invaluable in helping OD practitioners hone their skills and develop and implement intervention strategies to the organizations dealing with several problems concerning work design (Parker & Wall, 1998). Intervention

When the organization’s structure, practices and processes have been analyzed, the problems will also be identified. However, it is not very easy to implement the changes without well thought out plans and intervention strategies. As such the term “intervention” has been understood in OD as a set of structured activities that enable the organization to improve performance. A number of key indicators are usually identified prior to the implementation so as to ensure that the problems identified are indeed addressed by the intervention strategies (Bradford & Burke, 2005).

Although there may be a number of intervention strategies, there are several things that must be understood concerning the organizations. According to Beckhard (1969), organizations are composed of teams or groups. This means that although individuals are important, the real agents of change are groups. The decisions made in the organization are not really dependent on hierarchy but rather on the sources of information in the organization. In addition to this, the units of the organization are measuring their affairs against goals identified by the organization.

One of the main goals of an organization therefore is the cultivation of trust, communication and confidence among the leaders and the subordinates within the organization. Lastly, people will support an undertaking if they feel that they have a sense of ownership in the planning of the change. They will actively support something that they helped create. Motivational Approach to Work Design For this reason, the motivational approach to work design would become an effective intervention strategy that could enable the organization to implement changes.

Motivational design targets one of the root causes of problems in the workplace—motivation. This enables the employees to want to learn particular changes in their habits, thought patterns and behavior for the improvement of the organization. Hackman and Oldham (1974) identified three areas in which employees could be motivated to perform their jobs better. One is the psychological state of the employees; the characteristics of the job that help generate these feelings and thoughts; and the characteristics of the individual worker.

This helped analyze the motivation of the employees and how an intervention strategy could be built on that. The interaction between the three areas listed above led Kulik, Oldham & Hackman (1987) to propose that the job and the environment should be fit to the person who will do the job. It is therefore necessary to analyze the requirements of the job and the skills, habits and thought patterns of the person. A comparison therefore will have to be made to arrive at the person-job-environment fit. This could lead to better employee satisfaction, productivity and efficiency.

As such, the whole organization will benefit from this strategy. III. Coming Up with Motivational Approach for Work Design Motivational approach is an effective way for work design. There are a number of steps to be done, however, in order for this approach to be effective and the goals of the organization will be met. First, the present situation of the organization should be analyzed in terms of productivity, through-put efficiency, employee satisfaction and overall effectiveness. These criteria should be carefully thought of and if needed, outside consultants should be brought in for additional inputs.

A full organizational audit might not be necessary but as long as the indicators and variables identified are clearly measured, then that would be sufficient to come up with a motivational approach for work design. To fully understand the situation of the company, then there should be formal and informal interviews with the employees, focused group discussions, survey instruments, actual observations of what is going on and content analysis of the documents that define and prescribe the work that are being done within the company.

Based on the data gathered from these methods, then it would be possible to come up with a list of problematic areas or at least those areas that are not so efficient and effective. Based on these data, there are a number of models for intervention that could be chosen from: the person-centered model, environmentally-centered model, and the interaction-centered model (Kanfer & Pritchard, 2008). The choice will have to depend on the situation of the organization, the focus, and the results desired by the decision makers of the organization. Person-centered models.

The person-centered models believe that the individual is at the center of the changes that could be made in the organization. The target areas for intervention are the inner drives, desires, situations, values and fears of the individual. By addressing these internal motivation issues, then the individuals can perform effectively and efficiently and contribute to the achievement of organizational goals. Environmentally-centered models. In contrast to the previous one, these set of models believe that the environment has a much bigger impact on the individuals’ performance in the organization.

Therefore the focus of the intervention should be on the environment and finding the right mix and settings for the optimal performance of workers within the organization. Interaction-centered models. There are also models of motivational design that hold the belief that the interaction of the individual’s beliefs, values, drives and motivation and the environment should be looked at as a whole instead of looking at them in parts. This approach is closer to the systems thinking model because of the way it looks at the whole and not only at the parts of the system. Managing change in the organization is difficult and challenging.

Therefore, the choice of models to implement should take into account the individuals and the environment where they are working. Furthermore, the concept of groups or teams within the organization should not be neglected as they are important components of any effort toward organizational development and change. By using the Interaction-centered models, organization can utilize the best of the models of motivational approach. The training program and work redesign will be needed so as to bring the organization to better functioning. Implementing the Intervention Strategies.

Before the intervention strategies could be fully implemented, a transition plan should be in place so as to make the necessary training and adjustment process. Implementing the intervention abruptly would just lead to greater confusion and resistance from the employees. As such, the training and consultation with the employees can help the organization become a more harmonious workplace, which is already a step toward the right direction. Conclusion The motivational approach to work design deals with the motivations of the employees in relation to the job and the environment where they are found.

As such, it can be a powerful means to shift focus, change patterns of thought, practices and even the very culture of the organization. However, without a clear commitment from the leaders and the followers of the organization, the intervention will fail utterly. There should be a clear example from the leaders of the organization so that their subordinates will be inspired to follow and work for organizational change and development. Motivation is a two-pronged approach. It influences and it can influence the environment.

As such, the best model to use for intervention would be the one that focuses on the interaction of the employees’ internal motivation and the way the workplace affects them.


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