How Motivation Theory Influence Business Performance Essay

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Lots of people are interested in motivation; they try to find out the reason why someone behaves in a particular way. What is motivation? There are a number of definitions of motivation: Baron (1991) stated “motivation is the internal process that activate, guide and maintain behaviour (especially goal-directed behaviour). ” This definition assumes all behaviour is a consequence of motivation which ignored how and why it is instigated.

So, Kanfer (1998) declared that “motivation is only about the ‘free will’ element of behaviour and defines it as ‘the psychological mechanisms governing the direction, intensity, and persistence of action not due solely to individual differences in ability or to overwhelming environmental demands that coerce or force action” (Sarah ,2002). A survey carried out 500 of top 1000 businesses in UK, 95 per cent of those companies responded they hope their employees could be more motivated. ‘To motivate others is the most important of management task’.

It comprises the abilities to communicate, to set an example, to challenge, to encourage, to obtain feedback, to involve, to delegate, to develop and train, to inform, to brief and to provide a just reward” (Richard Deny, 1993). From all have been mentioned above we could find no matter employees or managers and leaders they are need to be well-motivated in a successful company. The purpose of writing this essay is to explore how motivation theories has developed overtime and then we will discuss how motivation theories can influence business performance by give an example.

The most common classification was proposed by Thierry and Koopman-Iwema (1984) has classified theories as two main theories: content theories and process theories. If make this classification more wide other two kinds of theories will be considered, its behaviour modification theories and work design theories. So in this essay we will analyse how these four kinds of theories developed over time. See the diagram1 back of the pages. Behaviour modification theories suggest the environment effect on people’s behaviour. There are significant influences on the behaviour of the external environment of the enterprises.

The most frequently mentioned behaviour modification theories are Taylor’s theory of the study scientific management (1919) and Elton Mayo’s theory (1923) about social relationship in workplace. Taylor (1919) developed “scientific management” in America steelworks. In this theory he made three main key points of assumptions about human behaviour when they are working: Man is a rational economic animal concerned with maximize his economic gain; People respond as individuals, not as groups; People can be treated in a standardized fashion, like machines; Taylor held his viewpoint that the only thing make people work is money.

They design a system about piece-rates, the worker who did not finish his daily work will be less-paid or pay nothing, on the contrary if the one who did more than a fair day’s work (e. g. exceeded the target) would be paid more. In his observation he also find if the employees were not been watched they will not work initiatively. The weakness of Taylor’s theory ignored the differences between people and theirs individual feelings. There couldn’t have a “best way” to suit every individual. Besides, although money is an important motivation to every people, some other reasons are necessities.

In terms of Mayo’s theory, the experiments ignored environmental factors e. g. gender. Therefore researchers found the flaws of behaviour modification theories and carried out a series of new theory that’s the famous content theories. Content theories ‘focus on the underlying human needs that supposedly shape motivational drive’ (Shields, 2010). The theories proposed human’s behaviour motivated by unsatisfied needs and they always avoid the felling of dissatisfaction (Shields, 2010). It emphasizes the reason of motivation and from that way to motivate people.

The famous content theories are :Maslow’ s hierarchy of human needs (1943), Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory (the two factors theory) (1959),McGregor’s theory X and theory Y and management assumption (1960) ,McClelland’s learned needs theory (1961) and Alderfer’s ERG theory (1972). One of the best known content motivation theories is Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. The theory has been first fully expressed in 1954 and made a significant influence in further development of motivation theories.

Once the theory has been put forward, it enjoyed a great popularity among organisations and has been widely used. After 59 years of testing, evaluating, and revising, several researchers developed and perfected the theory. However, the original version is still being applied in various kinds of organisations and it has become a compulsory course for almost every manager (Kanfer R, 1990). According to Maslow, there is a hierarchy of five levels of basic needs.

Higher levels of needs could exist beyond these basic needs. These include needs for understanding, esthetic appreciation and purely spiritual needs. In the levels of the five basic needs, the person does not feel the second need until the demands of the first have been satisfied, nor the third until the second has been satisfied, so on so forth (Janet, 1987). The highest need category is self-actualization which concerned to developing the unique potential as an individual( Maslow,1954).

‘Maslow’s need hierarchy was the first major theory of motivation to be applied to individuals at work’ (Seventh, 2003). We can find this theory in different areas and it is still in use today. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs reflect a common feature of human behaviour and mental activity to same extent, starting form human need to explore incentives and the study of human behaviour, what is more the hierarchy of needs theory tells managers how to effectively mobilize people’s enthusiasm inspired role.

Maslow’s theory lays the solid foundation for the development of content theories. Compared with each content theories we can easily find, lower- order needs always correspond with physiological and existence needs or affiliation and hygiene factors, in contrast, higher-order needs are invariably congruent with congruent with growth and achievement or intrinsic factors and self-actualisation.

The overall concept of these constructs is motivation is a ‘by-product’ of what we request to satisfy our needs, for instance, an effective motivation make us to decide, to pursue, to hole on straight to the end and to en enjoy the pleasure of success, and for an performance management , content theories remind us managers or leaders require attention the most salient needs of each their employees. However, content theories share some common weaknesses. They assume a set of universally applicable human needs.

They try to treat the work place as the original site of human’s needs fulfilment, so they underestimate the motivation of extrinsic reward (e. g. financial reward). On another hand, the suppose the needs conform a simple, ordered hierarchy, sequenced by importance, but in reality, needs always operate in a more unpredictable and less-ordered way. Most importantly, they assume that ‘the link between needs and behaviour is direct and automatic rather than mediated by human consciousness, values and choice’.

Even though everyone has the motivation or need to satisfy, but each conscious it differently and we all have different way to satisfying them. The salience depends on two factors: one is ‘need deprivation’ , the ‘need deprivation’ is the difference between how much one thing a person currently has and how much it will be fully satisfy. So need salience also influence be the circumstance of an individual. Another is ‘personal characteristic’ which means some people may place salience on esteem and ego needs and some people may put achievement or power as most important thing in theirs’ life (Shields , 2010).

Process theories of motivation is different from content theories of motivation, they seek to explain the psychological process between the generate motivations and take actions. They try to ‘explain (and exploit) the cognitive processes by which individuals decide to pursue particular pathways to reward attainment and need satisfaction rather than others. ’ (Shields, 2010). There are numbers of process theories have been put forward: Vroom’s expectancy theory (1964), Adams’ equity theory (1963) and Loche’s goal-setting theory (1986) are three of the most influential theories.

When people think of process theories they always mentioned expectancy theory , which pioneered by Vroom (1964), and added by Porter and Lawler(1967) and Lawer ( 1971), ‘expectancy theory has for decades been regarded by many as offering the most practical insights on motivation management’ (Shields, 2010) . Since 1970s Lawler has been the first contributor to the matters between performance and reward. According to process theories, it based on an assumption that working behaviour determined by a worker’s expectation which means the predicted of a specific consequence.

They seek to explain employees ‘motivation in terms of their participations and rewards, they focus on find out how people make a rational decision in a particular in accurately perceived economic realities. Vroom stated that man always desire to meet a certain need and try to reach a certain goal.

When this goal not implemented, is shown as a kind of expectation, then target in turn on personal motivation is a kind of excitation force, and the size of the excitation force, depending on the reward attractiveness ‘valence’ which means an individual measure ‘how likely am I rewarded positively for it?’; ‘effort-performance linkage’- ‘expectancy’: the measurement of the possibility can I get it with my skills capacities at my disposal? The last one is ‘instrumentality’ – (‘perceived performance-reward linkage’) which means ‘will they deliver’. Expressed in formula is: V * I * E= motivation force (Valence* Instrumentality * Expectancy) , the contribution of this theory is management should maximize this three motivational element to encourage their employees. The extend of this expectancy theory: Four factors in the expected pattern, need to take into account several aspects of the relationship: relationship between effort and valence.

This relationship depends on the individual’s expectations of the target. Expectations also depend on whether the target appropriate personal cognition, attitudes, beliefs, personality tendency. rewards and personal needs. A satisfied need can produce new behaviour prompted to power, and to achieve new expectations for higher enthusiasm (Shields, 2010) . Essentially, process theory builds a multifaceted and complex reward system to promote desired behaviour of task. However, there are three problem with it, the first one is it is not explain the difference valence that individual place on anticipated rewards.

Another problem is that it assumes behaviour is premeditated and rational but in reality behaviour is emotional and impulsive. The last limitation is that ‘it fails to distinguish adequately between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards in determining reward valence’ ( Pinder , 1991). The common strength could be found in each process theories is that these theories emphasis on the decide –making and psychological perception in individuals work behaviour, and unlike content theories they are take more focus on the important of social and job context rather than the universalistic assumption of employee reward valence and needs.

Besides, they offer useful guidance on how motivation could be strengthened and sustained according arise the positive psychological contracts and ‘favourable perception of organizational justice and trust. ’ (Shields, 2010)However, there are some limitations in process theories also, they ignored work behaviours are impulsive and unpremeditated sort. (Shields, 2010). We have known that what is motivation and how it arises in content theories and we benefit from process theory in terms of we know the inside progress of motivation and in this way we can be well guidance on sustain and strengthen the motivation to achieve the goals.

However all of this is not adequate use in practice, we need more specifically and focus on individuals’ theories to apply to the practice in management. Job design theory is more useful in the work place, this theory was founded by Hackman and Oldham (1976) which centres on: ‘the characteristic of jobs and how these affect people’s attitudes and behaviour’ (wall, 1994). Job design, employee can put forward the Suggestions to work some sort of change, in order to make their work more satisfying, they must explain how the change is more advantageous to realize the overall goal.

Using this method, can make the contribution of each employee are recognized, and at the same time, emphasizes the effective completion of the organization’s mission. Job enrichment and job enlargement of fundamental difference is that the latter is to expand the scope of work, while the former is the work of deepening, to change the content of the work ( McClelland , 1985). All theories we discussed above are basic principles. The most important thing we should do is diagnose models and theories which involving applications.

These basic researches and theories will better help us handle management questions and where and when particular motivational interventions work also effective management strategies. (Cooper, 1974). From the perspective of the development trend and characteristics of motivation theory, the research has been more direction-orientated and the research field and methods has been riches. Enterprise can according to oneself circumstance, fully absorb and make use of the existing incentive theory research, development and utilization of the knowledge and skills of employees, so as to improve enterprise’s competitive advantages.

Before analyse how motivation influence business performance, the first thing we should know is what performance is? Shields (2010) stated performance ‘is not an individual phenomenon; it has group and organisation-wide dimensions, each with inputs, processes and results that parallel those operating at the individual level. ’ Every company want a good performance in their fields so what is a ‘good’ management strategy in Shields theory a well-accepted performance management system have ‘four-fold purpose’: ‘strategic communication,) relationship-building, employee development and employee evaluation’.

In this essay we focus on McClelland’s learned needs theory (1961) and analyse how this theory can influence business performance, Since the early 50 s of this century, the United States Harvard University psychologist David McClelland, focused on the people after physiological and safety needs are met the needs of the situation, especially on a person’s achievement requires a large amount of research, and proposed a new content type incentive theory, achievement need incentive theory.

Achievements need incentive theory’s main features are: it is in high level management is more focused on the study of administrators, as his research object mainly is survival, material needs are relatively satisfy the manager, the functions of the government departments at all levels of officials and scientists, engineers and other senior personnel. With the need of achievement incentive theory of this characteristic, it is outside for business management scientific research management, cadre management has great practical significance. Descriptions of achievement need incentive theory basic content are introduced systematically.

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