Last Updated 21 Apr 2020

Psychology and Motivation

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This essay examines the topic on ‘psychology and motivation’, where money has long been considered the most effective motivator of staff. Therefore, three specific management theories would be used in this paper to evaluate the use of monetary incentives in employee motivation. Motivation is purely a simple active process of leadership behavior. It creates conditions which drives an individual to do things right. Motivation is a built-in response in an individual and it appears within an individual instead of establishing from the outside (Baldoni, 2005). Motivation is the key to performance improvement.

Unfortunately, in today’s working society, the traditional approach of monetary incentives tempts individuals only to a certain extent. Though monetary incentives are able to fulfill the basic needs (hunger, thirst and daily necessities) of an individual, it cannot ‘buy happiness’ like work satisfaction or help people attain power. Money makes people feel self-sufficient. Human beings are thus more likely to put forth effort to attain personal goals (Buchanan, 2009). Instead of using the traditional approach, employers can consider adopting another method of motivating their staff – Maslow’s theory of motivation – Hierarchy of needs.

Maslow’s motivation theory shows that individuals are being motivated by unfulfilled needs (Clifford & Thorpe, 2007). According to Maslow, there are five types of needs. These needs are illustrated in the figure below. Maslow Theory of Motivation – Hierarchy of Needs (tutor2u) Maslow identified these five needs which are considered the “deficiency needs. ” When one is motivated to satisfy these needs, one will work hard to achieve it. Therefore, these needs must be satisfied in order for work productivity to be improved. When these needs are satisfied, naturally, employees would want to remain in the company.

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Thus, employers can motivate individuals by satisfying these five types of needs mentioned by Maslow differently. For physiological motivation, employers can provide sufficient meal breaks for employees. This is done in the hope that employees can not only have sufficient time to eat a proper meal, but also time for them to rest and to be re-energized. This time can also be used for the employees to run their errands, since most shops are often closed for the day when these employees knock off. To meet the employees’ safety needs, employers can provide a safe working environment that is generally free of threats to the employees.

In this way, employees would feel at ease during work as their safety is being well taken care off. If the employees have job security, it also enhances their satisfaction. For social needs, employers have to ensure that employees do feel a sense of belonging with the company. In order to do so, employers can maintain traditions and working characteristics to create a sense of belonging and of shared values and objectives. By using all means of communications, employers can create a relaxed and collaborative mood between all workers, and also to encourage a team game and a sense of responsibility in the employees.

However, this would also mean transferring some of the control from the employers to the employees. For esteem motivators, employers can recognize employees’ achievements by appreciating their work in forms of incentive pay systems. Other than monetary forms, employers can also recognize their efforts in the company’s annual dinners by showing their appreciation with medals or trophies that enhance the rewarded employee’s status, allowing them to feel valued and appreciated for their hard work.

Lastly, for self-actualization, employers can offer more challenging and meaningful work assignments which would require employees to be creative and innovate, so that they can progress with accordance to their long-term goals. However, not every individual is motivated by the exact same needs. Employers have to recognize such needs that each employee is pursuing and try to fulfill these needs with reasonable solutions that would benefit both parties.

Thus, with employers trying their best to satisfy these five needs as mentioned by Maslow constantly, employees would be more motivated to continue working with the company as they feel valued and appreciated by employers. Thus, this shows that not only monetary incentives are able to motivate employees, the basic needs of an individual are equally essential for employees to fulfill as well. According to Frederick Herzberg’s two factory motivation theory, individuals are affected by two factors; motivation factors which include personal satisfaction and psychological growth and hygiene factors like dissatisfaction.

Some typical hygiene factors that Herzberg discovered during his investigation in the U. S. A. would be working conditions, feelings of security, job, interpersonal relation and status (Management. net, 2009). Therefore, if these hygiene factors are not sufficient to the employees, they can be turned into the sources of dissatisfaction with work. For employees’ personal growth, motivation factors like recognition for achievement, responsibility of tasks and advancement to higher level tasks are needed as they are able to create job satisfaction.

These factors can help to motivate an individual to perform and achieve above-average performance and effort. However, all hygiene factors must be met first in order for motivation factors to be fulfilling. The different combination of hygiene factors and motivation factors results in four scenarios. A high hygiene but low motivation factor results in an environment where employees have few complaints but are not highly motivated because they merely work for a living.

If employees are motivated and yet still have complaints, this shows that the job is full of excitement and challenging, but the wages and working conditions does not meet the minimal individual requirements. The worst situation is the combination of low hygiene and low motivation where unmotivated employees have lots of complaints. Of course, the perfect situation is the combination of high hygiene and high motivation where employees are highly motivated and have fewer complaints (Tutor2u. net, 2010).

Herzberg suggested that employers should focus on the people-oriented approach which emphasizes on job satisfaction through job rotation, an arrangement where employees are able to engage in a variety of jobs in the same organization to increase interest and motivation, and also to discover which is the most suitable job for them. In addition, job enrichment is yet another method where employers can enhance individual jobs, allocating more responsibilities to individuals with the aim of rewarding and inspiring the staff.

A combination of the previous two methods is likely to result in the best result (Fisher, Schoenfeldt, & Shaw, 2003). In today’s work and other contexts, motivation does not necessary mean using the traditional approach of monetary incentives. Other incentives, for instance, free travel packages, movie tickets or other impromptu recognition rewards are also able to motivate employees to high performance work levels, often without the usage of large monetary incentives (Tan CH, D Torrington, 2004).

In “The Human Side of Enterprise”, Douglas McGregor examined theories of individual behaviors at work, thus formulating two theories which can be categorized as Theory X and Theory Y (Accel-Team, 2010). According to McGregor, Theory X assumes workers work mainly for money and security, and dislike work and would avoid it if possible. Thus, in order for Theory X workers to achieve organizational objectives, various kinds of rewards offered by employees would be the most popular and appropriate motivator to such employees.

However, on the other hand, Theory Y assumes there are workers who enjoy challenges in their work and would want more from their jobs than just mere monetary incentives. Therefore, for Theory Y workers, employers have to create a creative working environment or culture in order for employees to show and develop their creativity (Tutor2u. net, 2010). Under Theory X, employers must be careful to maintain a delicate balance between the two extremes – hard and soft approach towards employees.

The hard approach refers to management using coercion, micromanagement, and reining a tight control over the employees, while a soft approach relies on taking a permissive and harmonious approach towards them, in the hope that they will cooperate when required. However, McGregor asserts that using such approaches are not the most efficient because it might result in hostility from employees if the former approach is used, or cause repeated requests for various benefits when a soft approach is used to entice the employees.

On the other hand, under the Theory Y, employees’ personal goals can be aligned with organizational goals by using the employee’s own quest for fulfillment as the motivator (NetMBA. com, 2007). McGregor stressed that the soft management approach does not apply to Theory Y management and it is also recognized that some individuals may not be able to reached the level of maturity assumed by Theory Y and therefore, tighter controls can be gradually reduced as employees develops their independence. The discussion thus far leads to the conclusion that people with more money tend to be happier than those with less – but only up to a certain extent.

Money’s impact on happiness suffers from diminishing returns: once an individual have sufficient food and shelter, more cash does not bring much extra joy (Buchanan, 2009). Researchers believe that extra capital leave people less worried about their financial health, and are thus less stressed. However, ‘experimental experiences’ such as trips to the theatre or travel trips sponsored by employers brings more happiness and joy to employees rather than just monetary incentives. Though monetary incentive seems more appealing, a good experience is still able to wield its power to bring pleasure to employees.

This essay was written by a fellow student. You can use it as an example when writing your own essay or use it as a source, but you need cite it.

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