Motivation Theory in Business

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A simple game of bingo, if analyzed closely, can be shown to be a tedious task consisting of a repetitive action that occurs after being prompted by a repetitive stimulus. The skill level needed to make that action is low, and the variability in the rules of the game rarely changes. This game is not unlike many of the jobs that can be classified as having low motivational potential scores (Hackman, et al). So why do people not only enjoy playing games like bingo, but actually pay money to have the pleasure? The answer directly points to the motivating factors of monetary rewards and recognition which are provided on a "variable-ratio" schedule. Motivation by reinforcement (Miller). There are many theories regarding motivation with the most prevalent being the theories of Maslow and Herzberg. It is important to understand these theories and their implications to accurately comment on reinforcement theories of motivation. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, there are five classes: (1) physiological, (2) safety, (3) social, (4) esteem, and (5) self-actualization. Each lower level need must be satisfied before an individual experiences higher level needs. Also, Maslow hypothesized that as physiological, safety, social, and esteem needs were satisfied, they ceased to motivate, while the self-actualization needs actually motivate an individual more as they are satisfied (Schwab, 1978: 57). Herzberg used this theory as a base to build his motivation-hygiene theory which ties Maslow’s needs to on the job achievement. The hygiene elements relate to low needs (physiological, safety, and social). For an individual, hygiene conditions include company policy and administration, supervision, relationships with peers and supervisors, work conditions, salary, status, and security.

These, according to Herzberg account for 69% of the factors which cause employee dissatisfaction or lack of motivation. The motivation conditions, which include achievement, the job itself, recognition, responsibilities, and personal growth, accounted for 81% of the factors which contributed to job satisfaction. The hygiene conditions are extrinsic factors while the motivation conditions are intrinsic factors, and the only way to sustain motivation toward organizational goals is through the achievement of intrinsic outcomes. Each of these theories have proven to contain ideas consistent ...

... middle of paper ... him on a job. He must analyze the amount and speed of learning a job, and relate that to his employees learning ability to see if that employee can handle the task. Also, a manager must assess the subordinates prior experiences and relate them to his ability to learn.

Much of these assessments are best done within the hiring practices of a company to facilitate the manager’s assignment of tasks. After analysis of employee skills and experience, motivation becomes a function of this experience and the characteristics of the present conditions. Since it is the primary function of the manager to achieve results though the work of himself and his subordinates, the manager must determine deadlines and then change or maintain the behavior of his employees to meet expectations. The only way a manager can manipulate behavior is to alter the environment in the present. A manager cannot feasibly determine what needs each employee desires for satisfaction, and cannot change organizational goals to fit the behavior of each individual employee. Since all practices of managers involve the manipulation of the work environment, it is only natural that that is the way to affect motivation.
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