Introduction

A motivated workforce is an important ingredient for successful organizations. Management need to understand the motivation process, application of motivation concepts, and management of the workplace environment to keep employees motivated, stress free and productive.

“Low employee motivation is costly and disruptive. Demotivated employees underperform and exit at the first opportunity. Gallup research reported 70% employees disclosed disengagement at work.”  “Research studies from the University of California found that motivated employees were 31% more productive, had 37% higher sales, and were three times more creative than demotivated employees. They were also 87% less likely to quit, according to a Corporate Leadership Council study on over 50,000 people.” Bradberry, T (n.d.).

In the discussion below we will examine these factors to understand how managers can apply them to increase organizational effectiveness.

The Motivation Process

“When you offer someone motivation, you give them an uplifting nudge in the right direction.” Joshi, N (2018). Motivation therefore is, “the energy that a person expresses in connection with the work”, “the inner wish to make an effort”. Laergaard, & Bindslev (2006), p43. Motivation process is spurred by an initiation driven by the need to achieve something. This drives towards direction to an objective, with an intensity that aims for optimal achievement. The process is characterized by the following:

  1. Focus on specific target
  2. Energy, drive and effort towards achievement of object
  3. Persistence that matches the degree of motivation
  4. Task plan for execution to achieve object

The motivation process is further spurred on by what Laergaard & Bindslev (2006) call advancers and barriers located in the individual conditions and job conditions. The individual and job condition factors can either be barriers or advancers of motivation. Individual factors include job skills, competencies, and personal attributes. The job factors include physical arrangements of the job, job design, compensation and organizational values and culture. For example, possession of skills can be a motivation factor to do a specific task, while lack of skills may be a demotivator. In like manner, the physical arrangements of a job or compensation may either dissuade or motivate performance.

Motivational Effects of Money

From the description of the motivation process above, we see that individual and situational factors affect motivation, either by driving or inhibiting it. Thus, human motivation does not have a single causal factor. Different people are motivated by different things, and same person will have different motivation in different situations. Laergaard & Bindslev, (2006), p41 cite a 2005 study on motivational factors in industrial firm and commercial firm. The results showed that in the industrial firm, the drivers of employee motivation for managers and key personnel, ranked in order of importance were:

  1. Challenging work
  2. Open and honest communication
  3. Results oriented culture
  4. Recognition and credit for achievement
  5. Influence

The results for a commercial, sales driven firm were as follows:

  1. Pay and bonuses
  2. Challenging work
  3. Good working environment
  4. Recognition and credit for achievement
  5. Open and honest communication

The results confirmed that what motivates people differs with individual as well as with situation. A manager can use the steps of the motivation process to identify barriers to motivation and remove them. Managers can also use knowledge of the motivation process to stimulate motivation further. For example, providing coaching were an employee lacks competence.

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