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A Sense of Purpose Fuels Employee Motivation

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Motivation is one of the best ways to build a good management in an organization. Hobson and Kini (2002) defined motivation as “The set of processes that arouse (-drive behind behavior), direct (-directed behavior), and maintain (-maintaining the behavior in meeting the goal) human behavior toward attaining goal” (Kini and Hobson 2002, p. 607). It simply means that by motivation, people are motivated to do their work at their maximum capability. This may help the organization to achieve their goal and their objectives. Therefore, managers have responsibility to make sure that employees are at their high level of motivation so that they can work at their high level of performance (Wood et al. 2006). According to Bates (2009), sense of purpose is necessary. It is because if people have no purpose, it might difficult for them to have motivation. While if they know and understand what matters that they are doing, it could motivate them and increase their passion and creativity (Bates 2009).
Frey and Osterloh (2000) found that there are two types of motivation, which are intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation defined as a motivation that is “valued for its own sake and appears to be self-sustained” (Frey and Osterloh 2000, p. 539). In other words, intrinsic motivation is a motivation that motivates people to do some activity based on individual’s need and satisfaction. For example, students maybe motivated to study harder and get the best score in class because they want to make their parents proud of them. Everyone has different needs or purpose, thus there are different motivation for different people. Whereas extrinsic motivation is a motivation that can satisfy people’s needs indirectly, such as money motivation (Frey and Osterloh 2000). Moreover, Halepota (2005) believed that motivation and productivity are interdependent. This means increase in motivation will lead productivity to increase and increase in productivity will cause motivation to increase. Some people agree that people would be more motivated by sense of purpose rather than the pursuit of money. Therefore, this essay will evaluate the idea that people are more likely to be motivated by sense of purpose rather than the pursuit of money. In addition, this essay will talk about factors affecting motivation based on content theory, process theory and finally scientific management theory.

To begin with, content theory is one of the two basic theories of motivation. Cianci and Gambrel (2003) defined content theory as a theory that concern with the factors that can energize, sustain, direct and stop behavior of a person. The two most important theories are Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory and Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory (Udechukwu 2009).
First is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory that published by Abraham H. Malsow (Hobson and Kini 2002). Halepota (2005) states the five levels of hierarchy needs include physiological, safety, social, self-esteem, and self-actualization. According to Cianci and Gambrel (2003) and Harris and Kleiner (1993), it is important for people to arrange their needs in the hierarchical order. This means people have to satisfy their needs based on the level of needs, which is from the basic level of needs and then after it is satisfied, people may change their behavior to satisfy the higher level of needs. Based on this theory, people attempt to satisfy physiological needs at the beginning. These needs involve all of the human basic needs, such as food, water, clothing and many more. After physiological needs are satisfied, people may change their behavior to satisfy safety need. Safety need includes the need for protection and security from physical harm, economic disaster and any unexpected events. Once safety need is satisfied, social need become important need. Social need is the need of people to interact with other people and build a good relationship with each other. Next, self-esteem turned into a priority need. Self-esteem is the need to be recognized by others that might make a person feels important and needed. Once self-esteem is satisfied, self-actualization becomes a significant need. Self-actualization is the need of a person to become what one feels the best that he or she can do (Cianci and Gambrel 2003: Harris and Kleiner 1993). Moreover, Wood et al. (2006) stated Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory determines hierarchical order into two parts. One is higher-order needs that consist of intrinsic factors, which are self-actualization and self-esteem. Another one is lower-order needs that include extrinsic factors, which are social, safety and physiological needs. By this, it can be understood that intrinsic factors (sense of purpose) are more important than extrinsic factors (money). The important point of this theory is if some one has accomplished all of his basic needs, they will try to seek the higher level of needs. In fact, they might go back to the basic level of needs if there is an unexpected event happens (Halepota 2005).
Second theory is Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory and developed by Frederick Herzberg (Sachau 2007). In order to develop this theory, Herzberg was conducting a survey of 200 engineers and accountants to have information about their working relationship, behavior and performance motivator (Halepota 2005). According to Halepota (2005), the result was when engineers are given a tough task and they asked to be responsible for completing the task in accordance with their own way, they might become confident and they would give their best performances. Moreover, if the reward for that is achievement, recognition and advancement, they would be more motivates and they would try their best to accomplish more tasks in the future. It is because they feel satisfied. On the other hand, accountants who were working based on the instruction and under supervision might feel dissatisfied if they felt uncomfortable with a person who supervised them. If they would not have any rewards and no higher salary, they also would feel dissatisfied and it may cause negative productivity. Therefore, Herzberg’s theory is identified into motivator factors and hygiene factors (Halepota 2005).
Furthermore, Udechukwu (2009) defined motivator factors as intrinsic factors that relate to the work itself or job content while hygiene factors is extrinsic factors that refer to the job context in which work itself was performed. According to Bitsch and Hogberg (2005), motivator factors include “ achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility and advancement” while hygiene factors involve “ company policy and administration, supervision-technical, salary, interpersonal relations-supervision and working condition” (Bitsch and Hogberg 2005, p. 660). As stated by Myers and Tietjen (1998), motivator factors result in job satisfaction whereas hygiene factors cause job dissatisfaction. Motivator factors lead to job satisfaction because it creates positive psychology. People feel happy and enjoy with the task that given to them. On the other hand, hygiene factors result in job dissatisfaction because it could make people stress, uncomfortable and not happy with the task. Sachau (2007) states that motivator factors and hygiene factors are differentiated by Herzberg according to psychological dimension, how long is the good feeling and bad feeling take place and the dynamic between motivator factors and hygiene factors. According to psychological dimension, motivator factors would lead to satisfaction-no satisfaction and hygiene factors would bring to dissatisfaction-no dissatisfaction. Moreover, people would feel good about motivator factors for a long time and felt bad about hygiene factors for a short time. There are few people feel good about hygiene factors but it is less longer than motivator factors. By looking at the dynamic, motivator factors relate to job content while hygiene factors refer to job context. Unlike motivator needs, hygiene needs will increase. It will increase because people are not easily satisfied. When they are satisfied with one need, they will seek to the other needs. However, if they cannot satisfy the need, they may become frustrated and give up. Besides hygiene factors is more likely to bring unhappiness and negative affect to people. Therefore, intrinsic or motivator factors is more motivated people to work compare to extrinsic or hygiene factors. This means, money has little contribution in job satisfaction. Furthermore, Herzberg’s theory suggested that manager should not use hygiene factors to make workers excited in their jobs. It is because by using monetary system and security will influence workers to increase their expectation and will be costly for the organization (Sachau 2007). Besides, pursuit of money will not give people long-term happiness and satisfaction. In contrast, motivator or intrinsic factors would bring long-term satisfaction. According to Myers and Tietjen (1998), “Satisfaction creates confidence, loyalty and ultimately improved quality in the output of the employed” (Myers and Tietjen1998, p. 226).
However, there is a controversy in Herzberg’s theory. According to Sachau (2007), in today’s world, it is too impossible to say that money is not important because bonus and raises are really can motivate people to do work better. In fact, if the job is too boring, manager should use hygiene factors in which can motivate worker to do the boring job well (Sachau 2007). It means that money is not always cause dissatisfaction, but it can be bring satisfaction. As a result of different people different needs, people with lower job might think that money can give them satisfaction.
Next, another basic theories of motivation is process theory. Process theory is a theory of motivation that describes the process in which a person’s needs are translated into his or her behavior. Then, it focuses on how the behavior is energized, directed, maintained and stopped (Udechukwu 2009). The two types of process theories are expectancy theory and equity theory.
The first theory was developed by Victor Vroom and it is known as expectancy theory (Wood et al. 2006). Expectancy theory is a theory that motivates individuals to work at their effort to attain reward from their performances (Hobson and Kini 2002). Wood et al. (2006) states that there are three important components in expectancy theory. There are expectancy, instrumentality and valence. Expectancy can be defined as the possibility that the amount of effort contributes will be different with the level of task performances. Whereas instrumentality is the probability of individuals work effort will result in the desired rewards. Lastly, valence is different value of rewards outcome (Wood et al 2006). This theory would motivate people to work because the more interesting the rewards, the higher the perception will be. Since there is a high expectation, people may give their extra effort to achieve the rewards (Halepota 2005). The examples of this theory is when people want to be promoted and they know that it is required a high level of performances. Thus, they would have motivation to put extra effort to achieve the high performances and get promoted.
The second theory is equity theory. Wood et al. (2006) defined equity theory as a theory of motivation that includes social comparison between different individuals behavior. Moreover, inequity happens when people feel that the rewards they received from their performances are unequal to the rewards that others have received. When people feel that they received relatively smaller proportion than the others, they would feel negative inequity. While if people feel that they received bigger proportion than the others, they might feel positive inequity. Therefore, people tend to be more motivated to perform job if they felt positive inequity and they are more likely reduce their performances if they felt negative inequity (Wood et al 2006).



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