It is easy to see that some individuals are more motivated than others. However, the reasons for that motivation are more difficult to determine. When defining motivation it is important to look at the interaction between the individual and the situation. There are three key elements that help us define motivation. The first is intensity or how hard the person tries to accomplish the task. The second element is direction and that is the effort that is channeled toward organizational goals. The final element is persistency or how long a person can maintain the effort.
There are number of theories of motivation that help us gain a better understanding of the concept. Some of the earlier theories are not entirely valid anymore but they are still used by many managers.
The first theory was developed by Abraham Maslow in the 1950’s. His theory states that with every individual there is a hierarchy of five needs. As each need is met or satisfied, the next need becomes dominant. His theory posits that individuals are stuck in their existing need level until it is satisfied and then they can move on to the next level. For example, until their safety needs are met, they will not be able to move on to the social level.
Douglas McGregor added to the motivation work done in the 1950’s and developed the theory called Theory X, Theory Y. He believed that there are two distinct views of human beings that managers hold. The Theory X view is basically negative and believes that workers have little ambition, dislike work, and avoid responsibility. The Theory Y view is in contrast to X and believes that workers tend to be self-directed, enjoy work, and accept responsibility. Managers will modify their behavior toward employees based on what view they hold about them.
An implementation of the goal-setting theory is Management by Objectives, better known as MBO. MBO is a systematic way to utilize goal-setting theory, in which goals are set jointly by managers and employees. The goals must be tangible, verifiable, and measurable in order to be effective. The manager helps to break down the organizational goals into smaller more specific goals for the employee. In order for MBO to be effective, the goals must be specific, the employees must participate in the goal setting, there must be a defined time period, and feedback must be incorporated into the process.
Another theory of motivation is the self-efficacy theory developed by Albert Bandura. This theory is based on an individual’s belief that he or she is capable of performing a task. This theory is a complement to the goal-setting theory as it incorporates goals into the process. Higher efficacy is related to greater confidence, greater persistence in the face of difficulties, and responding to negative feedback with working harder, not shutting down.
Self-efficacy can be increased in several ways. The first is increasing your mastery of a task/skill. Another way is to model your actions after someone else who performs the task effectively and applying their actions to your own. The final methods to increase self-efficacy is to receive verbal persuasion through others as well as getting excited about completing the task.
Adam’s equity theory utilizes perception theory that we looked at in previous chapters. The idea is that employees compare their ratios of outcomes to inputs of others they see as relevant. When they see the ratios as equal, there is a perceived state of equity and no tension arises. However, when they perceive the ratios to be unequal, they may experience anger or guilt, depending on the result of the equity analysis, and then tension can arise. This tension can motivate people to act in a way to bring the situation into a more equitable state.
The justice and equity theory is based on perceived equity in the workplace. For organizational justice to be perceived, there must be distributive justice, procedural justice, and interactional justice. Distributive justice is the fairness in which the outcomes are distributed or experienced. The procedural justice focuses not on the outcomes but on the process itself. Interactional justice focuses on how you are treated during the process.
Organizational Behaviour Stephen Robbins 14Ed. Chapter 7