Motivation is goal-directed behaviour – it is concerned with the factors that influence people to behave in certain ways and to take discretionary action.
Motivating people is about getting them to behave in a way that will produce a desired result.
Self-motivation is about deciding for yourself where you want to go and ensuring that you get there.
Well-motivated people are those with clearly defined goals who take action that they expect will achieve those goals.
TYPES OF MOTIVATION
Intrinsic motivation – the factors that influence people to behave in a particular way or move in a certain direction. These may be self-generated factors or factors that are intrinsic to the work itself such as responsibility (feeling that the work is important and having control over one’s own resources), autonomy (freedom to act), scope to use and develop skills and interests, interesting and challenging work and opportunities for advancement.
Extrinsic motivation - what is done to or for people to motivate them. This includes rewards such as more pay, recognition, praise or promotion, and punishments, such as disciplinary action, withholding pay, or criticism.
Instrumentality theory – which states that reward or punishments (carrots or sticks) ensure that people behave or act in desired ways.
Content (needs) theory – which focuses on the content of motivation and states that motivation is about taking action to satisfy needs. Needs theory was originated by Maslow.
Process theory – which is concerned with the psychological processes which affect motivation by reference to expectations (Vroom and Lawler and Porter), goals (Latham and Locke) and equity (Adams,).
Herzberg’s two-factor theory – which states that there are two factors that affect motivation: the satisfiers and the dissatisfies or hygiene factors.
Note that motivation theory stresses that motivation is a complex process. People have different needs and are thus motivated in their own particular ways. Generalizations about what will motivate a number of people, for example all managers in an organization, are therefore highly suspect.
THE PROCESS OF MOTIVATION
A needs theory model
According to this theory, motivation is initiated by the conscious or unconscious recognition of an unsatisfied need. This creates wants which are desires to achieve or obtain something. A goal is then established which it is believed will satisfy the need and wants and a behaviour pathway is selected which it is expected will achieve the goal. If the goal is attained the need will be satisfied and the behaviour is likely to be repeated the next time a similar need emerges.
MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF HUMAN NEEDS
Maslow’s theory states that there are five major need categories starting from the fundamental physiological needs and leading through a hierarchy of safety, social and esteem needs to the need for self-fulfilment, the highest need of all, as illustrated in the model below. Maslow says that ‘man is a wanting animal’; as one need is satisfied the next one becomes dominant and the individual’s attention is turned to satisfying the higher needs. He stated that only an unsatisfied need can motivate behaviour and the dominant need is the prime motivator of behaviour – ‘a satisfied need is no long a motivator’. But individuals constantly return to previously satisfied needs. The need for self-fulfilment, however, can never be satisfied.
This theory has been very influential although it has been criticized for its rigidity – different people have different priorities and may not progress steadily up the hierarchy. It has not been verified by empirical research.
EXPECTANCY MOTIVATION THEORY
Expectancy theory was originally formulated by Vroom and was then developed by Porter and Lawler. Vroom’s theory states that expectancy is the probability that action or effort will lead to an outcome. Motivation only takes place when a clearly perceived and useable relationship exists between performance and outcome and the outcome is seen as a means of satisfying needs. The strength of expectations may be based on past experiences (reinforcement) but individuals are frequently faced with new situations in which case motivation may be reduced.
Porter and Lawler expanded the theory as modelled below. They listed four factors determining the effort people put into their work:
The value of the reward in so far as it satisfies their needs.
The probability that rewards depend upon effort, ie their expectations about the link between effort and reward.
The ability of individuals – their intelligence, skills and knowledge.
Role perceptions – what individuals want to do or think they are required to do.
GOAL AND EQUITY MOTIVATION THEORIES
Goal theory (Latham and Locke) This states that motivation and performance are higher when individuals are set specific goals, when goals are difficult but accepted, and when there is feedback on performance.
Equity theory (Adams) This states that people will be better motivated if they are treated equitably and demotivated if they are treated inequitably. To be dealt with equitably is to be treated fairly in comparison with other people (a reference group).
HERZBERG’S TWO-FACTOR MODEL OF MOTIVATION
Herzberg’s two-factor model of motivation was based on research into the sources of job satisfaction. He divided the wants of individuals into two categories: (1) the need for achievement, recognition, advancement and responsibility and the satisfaction gained from the ‘work itself’ and (2) the need for fair treatment in pay, supervision, working conditions and administrative practices. Meeting the needs of the first group – the satisfiers or motivators – will motivate individuals to achieve superior performance. Fulfilling the needs in the second group will remove dissatisfaction but will not create lasting satisfaction. These are therefore called by Herzberg the ‘hygiene factors’ or dissatisfiers.’
Herzberg’s theory has been attacked because, it is claimed, the research upon which it was based was flawed. But it thrives because it clarifies and emphasizes the importance of the intrinsic motivating factors arising from the work itself. It therefore led initially to the job enrichment movement and more recently to the concept of ‘total reward’. The notion that increases in pay brings only temporary feelings of satisfaction accords with common experience.
MOTIVATION AND PERFORMANCE AND JOB SATISFACTION
Motivation and performance:
Vroom’s formulation of the relationship between motivation and performance was:
P = M x A where P is performance, M is motivation and A is ability.
Note that the relationship is multiplicative, i.e. if the value of either M or A is zero, then there will be no performance. Performance depends on both motivation and ability.
Boxall and Purcell’s formulation of the relationship is:
P = M + A + S where P is performance, A is ability and S is scope to use and develop abilities.
Note that the relationship is not multiplicative as in Vroom and scope is an additional factor.
Motivation and job satisfaction
There is no research evidence that there is always a strong and positive relationship between job satisfaction and performance. A satisfied worker is not necessarily a high producer and a high producer is not necessarily a satisfied worker. Satisfaction may lead to good performance but, good performance may just as well be the cause of satisfaction. The relationship could be reciprocal.
MOTIVATION AND MONEY
Money is the most obvious extrinsic reward. But as Herzberg pointed out, the lack of it can cause dissatisfaction but its provision does not result in lasting satisfaction. However, money is significant because, apart from being an important factor in attracting and retaining staff, it also satisfies a number of different needs. It is a tangible reward but can symbolize many intangible goals. The effectiveness of money as a motivator will vary – some people are more motivated by it than others. To function as an incentive, there must be clear link (a line of sight) between the effort and the reward and the reward must be worthwhile.
FACTORS AFFECTING MOTIVATION STRATEGIES
The complexity of the process of motivation means that simplistic approaches based on instrumentality theory (carrot and stick) are unlikely to be successful.
People are more likely to be motivated if they work in an environment where they are valued for what they are and what they do.
The need for work which provides people with the means to achieve their goals, a reasonable degree of autonomy and scope for the use of their abilities should be recognized.
The need to provide people with the opportunity to develop and grow should also be recognized.
The culture of the organization in the shape of its values and norms will significantly affect motivation.
Motivation will be enhanced by effective leadership.
TEN WAYS IN WHICH HR CAN ENHANCE MOTIVATION
Develop performance management processes that enable expectations to be agreed and create opportunities for feedback.
Develop total reward systems that provide both financial and non-financial rewards and recognize the importance of intrinsic as well as extrinsic motivation.
Contribute to the design of jobs and roles that take account of the factors affecting the motivation to work, especially variety, responsibility, autonomy and the scope to use and develop skills and abilities.
Provide opportunities and facilities for learning through such means as personal development planning as well as more formal training.
Implement career development and planning processes.
Devise competence frameworks that focus on leadership qualities and the behaviours expected of managers and team leaders.
Ensure that leadership potential is identified through performance management and assessment centres.
Provide specific training and guidance to managers on how they can motivate their staff.
Contribute to the development of a culture in which the values and norms support processes for valuing and rewarding employees.
Avoid the trap of developing strategies that are based on simplistic notions of motivation and do not take into account individual differences and the limitations of money as a motivator.