Workplace motivation paper

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Workplace motivation paper

  1. 1. Workplace Motivation Paper Workplace Motivation Paper Phillip Woodard PSY 320 19 July 2010 Richard Reinsch 1
  2. 2. Workplace Motivation Paper 2 Workplace Motivation Motivation has been defined as "those psychological processes that cause the arousal, direction, and persistence of voluntary actions that are goal directed" (Mitchell, 1982, p. 81). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs advocated a learning environment that promotes and meets the diverse needs and expectations of employees (Wilson & Madsen, 2008). The bottom line for any organization is dependent on individuals collaborating toward a common goal. By doing this, initiative and self-directed learning are also promoted. Employers wrestle with this dilemma more today than at any time in corporate history; making working and learning meaningful while being productive. Workplace motivation in corporate America is explained in this paper, specifically the military defense apparatus called the United States Army. Motivational strategies and the effect on productivity, improving performance and employee resistance to increasing productivity, motivational effects on management and employees, and applying motivational theory. When someone is hired within the federal government there is a sense of commitment and pride that comes with such an appointment, and a certain level of expectation from the employer. Motivational Strategies and Productivity A clear distinction between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation exists. Intrinsic motivation refers to factors that make certain activities rewarding in and of themselves. The term extrinsic refers to the kinds of rewards and reinforcements used by some external agents to direct behavior (Beck, 1978) (Wilson & Madsen, 2008). Organizational efforts to improve employee performance within the Department of the Army Civilian Personnel Activity have been met with mixed emotions and support over the last few years. The Department of the Army adopted the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) in early 2008 as a way to streamline civilian for
  3. 3. Workplace Motivation Paper 3 certain level employees into pay pools, making them more competitive with within each specialty group. Using extrinsic factors, the government assumed employees put greater weight on job satisfaction based upon a salary package based upon performance measures and results. The old system of cost of living increase-based salaries seemed like a system whose time had come, and employees would welcome NSPS with open arms. For the first time, an employee’s salary is in direct proportion to what he or she produced for the organization. Improving Performance Some of the metrics used to measure performance included more frequent evaluations from senior leadership and meticulous documentation by employees on every aspect of their statement of work. Linking objectives or goals to salary put tremendous stress on a number of personnel within our organization, often making them appear inadequate to make the grade under the new system. Employee resistance to increased productivity was instant and reverberated all the way to Washington within the first year of testing for the NSPS program. A Motivation Blueprint -- Give succinct instructions along with continuous feedback. -- Support with purpose, direction, and motivation; learn from mistakes and move on. -- Encourage use of emotional intelligence, push when needed to discourage introversion. -- Take advantage of confident and motivated people, give more latitude and challenge with tasks that require independent thought and planning with collaboration.
  4. 4. Workplace Motivation Paper 4 Employee Resistance to Increasing Productivity As the nature of work continues to change because of the dynamics of a global economy, a more diverse workforce, and technological advances there is a continued need to focus management efforts on developing work that motivates and inspires the worker (Halepota, 2005; Blanchard and Thacker, 1999; Noe, 2002; Wexley & Latham, 2002). Management tends to rely on out-dated forms of extrinsic motivators (Wilson & Madsen, 2008). What leadership learned is employee compensation is not only inclusive of salary, but also programs that stimulate creativity and collaborative efforts within organizations to achieve maximum performance results. Employees were excluded in the planning and adoption process of NSPS and the feedback to leadership communicated this point acrimoniously. Individual self-actualization is the ultimate human goal and is the best means to creating success and security for individuals and organizations. Motivation Effects on Management Merely using the old approaches to worker motivation, coercion, or bribery (pay and incentives), will no longer work; it is also becoming necessary for sustainable company growth to offer employees inspiring work and to help employees grow in ways suitable for them (Wilson & Madsen, 2008). Management has an inherent responsibility to provide an environment people can grow and develop the skills required to succeed at any level within the organization. Opportunities for education, promotion, and recognition are more important today than a decade ago. Technological advances require veteran employees to learn about operating systems, social networking, and portable digital assistants. The role of management is to provide a vision of the future that employees participate in and own as part of their goals.
  5. 5. Workplace Motivation Paper 5 Motivation Effects on Employees Watkins and Marsick (1995) explain that organizations that have employees motivated to learn involve the total person in "a process of collaboratively initiated, collaboratively conducted, collectively accountable change directed toward shared values or principles” (Wilson & Madsen, 2008, p. 8). Intrinsic motivation techniques as espoused by Hull’s drive theory present a longer growth period as individuals learn from experiences, formal educational opportunities, and sharing with peers. Collaboration facilitates communication, ensuring that employees and managers are adhering to individual goals through shared organizational goals. The employee grows professionally and intrinsically when an organization reaches its productivity objectives. Management’s philosophy of motivation within the civil service thrives on an atmosphere that values individual creativity while adhering to the federal regulations and guidelines. Although the process to encourage self development and education has evolved to include the Civilian Life-Long Learning (CL3) program in the last 12 months, many senior employees see this as another obstacle to retirement. Conversely, the younger generations view the CL3 program as an opportunity to excel through education, training, and improved collaboration tools. The encouraging platforms in place through Army Knowledge Online (AKO) merges email, shared document storage, instant messaging, blogs, and a plethora of forums for communicating with senior management and peers in a global environment. As the services merge resources within the Department of Defense, employees will benefit from systems and technologies absent in the past few years.
  6. 6. Workplace Motivation Paper 6 Applying Motivation Theories The narrow set of extrinsic rewards (salary, job security, work environment, positive boss-subordinate relationships) that managers have relied on in the past is no longer adequate for the contemporary worker (Wilson & Madsen, 2008). The “Will” drive theory applied to the DOD civilian sector would return us to the draconian climate of the post WWII era in which only certain groups of employees prospered at the expense of others. This system of exclusion was tailored to meet the aspirations of a generation eager to have the “American dream” once peace returns in the free world. The mantra of the day is to gain everything (material) one can store with little or no regard for anything but meeting one’s personal needs. Management is hard pressed to publish policies contrary to the predominant climate for fear of starting a mass exodus for “greener pastures” elsewhere in corporate America. Leadership must open the doors of inclusion regardless of experience or background to attract a more diverse pool of employees. Imagine an organization that encouraged employees to live by the instinct theory, where the survival of the fittest is the motivational philosophy. This is a matter of perception from the lens of the least experienced individual in the organization. New interns would not stand a chance within the DOD if this were the rule of law; giving way to the most experienced or more senior people in the office. The demographic of the office is much different from today because prospective employees today share very little in common with the veteran and Baby Boomer generations. The younger, well-educated worker wants more. Management will realize that employee development programs must focus on providing a learning environment that allows employees to become engaged in their personal development in such a way that the goals of the organization are achieved (Wilson & Madsen, 2008). The bottom
  7. 7. Workplace Motivation Paper 7 line for any organization within the federal government is accountability to the public. The images most people have of government are of political figures campaigning for election who subsequently solicit citizens for more money (taxes) to pay for bigger government. Cleaning up the public perception is the number one priority of any successful organization public or private. Conclusion Workplace motivation is a drive toward meeting goals whether intrinsic or extrinsic. Motivational strategies and productivity are consequently affected as a result of the external influences used to control behavior while improving individual and organizational performance. Employee resistance to increasing productivity can come in the form of apathetic support for a new pay system such as NSPS, which incidentally complicated evaluations and pay for government employees in certain positions. Motivation effects on management “rolls uphill” as the backlash from poorly marketed plans doom the program before it fully gets off the ground because of the negative motivation effects on employees. The lesson for management is to include employees on any future changes to extrinsic and intrinsic motivational programs. Applying motivation theories not currently in place provides an avenue for leaders to examine alternate avenues of approach before making decision that effect the individual and organizational productivity.
  8. 8. Workplace Motivation Paper 8 References Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding Motivation and Emotion (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Wilson, I., & Madsen, S.. (2008). The Influence of Maslow's Humanistic Views on an Employee's Motivation to Learn. Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 13(2), 46-62. Retrieved July 19, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Complete. (Document ID: 1560944381). Saumya Bhattacharya. (2009, October). Be a master motivator :Motivation works best when it is customised to the situation and the individual.. Business Today. Retrieved July 19, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1878135601).
  9. 9. Workplace Motivation Paper 9

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