The concepts and frameworks defined in Employee Motivation. A Powerful New Model (Nohria, Groysberg, Lee, 2008) encompass four main motivational drives, in addition to providing insights into how the complex system of managerial and organizational factors analyzed can be combined to create an effective foundation of motivation The drive to acquire, drive to bond, drive to comprehend, and drive to defend are the cornerstones of human motivation and must be managed to ensure a high degree of synchronization among all of them (Nohria, Groysberg, Lee, 2008). The researchers also state that the greater the deliberate synchronization of these factors by a manager on a consistent basis, the higher level of consistent motivation will be achieved. A large proportion of the study concentrates on what actions managers can take to satisfy all four needs concurrently, which is essential for keeping subordinate motivated over the long-term (Nohria, Groysberg, Lee, 2008).
Analysis of the Four Drives of Motivation
Each of the four drives of motivation is formidable in their own right, and when taken together they form a powerful foundation for initiating and sustaining motivation over the long-term. One of the most critically important take-aways from the research completed is just how important the balanced, continual orchestration of each of these four drives are for keeping an employee focused on excelling at their role in an organization (Nohria, Groysberg, Lee, 2008). An important of these four drives is how they must be managed from a nuanced perspective to align with the specific needs and perceptions of each employee
(Anthony, Nohria, 2005). A manager can't for example have an identical strategy for each subordinate as the extent of needs as represented by drives will be significantly across each. A manager needs to have emotional intelligence (EI) and insight into how best to align each of these drives to the unique needs of each subordinate. The most effective leaders who transform organizations have the ability to tailor their specific leadership style and approach to enable each subordinate to excel with their unique series of strengths.
The drive to acquire is based on a person's need to acquire scarce goods and strengthen their sense of well-being. This is a motivational component that is often perceived as the acquisition of products that connote status and an income level. Yet the researchers are quickly to point out that is can just as likely be travel entertainment, services, the attainment of a specific position or role in a company. The need to acquire takes on added meaning and intensity when a person compares what they have attained, earned or purchased relative to others. These leads to an exceptionally intense level of competition as well; one that companies are quick to encourage across sales teams who want to outdo each other and have the largest commission checks and the most rapidly ascending career. The researchers point out how powerful this drive is from both a relative standpoint, and how insatiable it is to fill as everyone would like to attain even more than they have (Nohria, Groysberg, Lee, 2008). Of the four drives, this is the most challenging for any manager to set expectations on and keep within balance as the needs of subordinates can quickly outpace what any given organization can realistically and consistently provide. The drive to acquire can as simple as the determination to buy a new Porsche even it is beyond one's financial means, or the more complex type the researchers discuss. The political maneuvering and assiduous ascent to getting a senior management position is one of the more common acquire-based drives of many. This drive to acquire a position however requires an exceptional level of sacrifice and willingness to hold many aspects of the drive to acquire back for an extended period of time.
The drive to bond is based on a person's need to feel connected to a group and form lasting connections with individuals and groups. The researchers report this is the strongest of all four drives, as it signals the value others place on a member of a group or tribe (Nohria, Groysberg, Lee, 2008). The paradoxical nature of this drive is that once met it releases love and caring, while the withholding of it will often lead to loneliness and feelings of isolation and ostracism. This drive is what makes it so easy for companies to create very rigid silos that are challenging to break. Because employees are galvanized together into tribes or small groups they vigorously stay faithful to. It is an interesting aspect of human behavior that the stronger the bond in an organization of any kind, the greater the positive feelings and sense of shared identity. An example of this is how much more aligned professionals become to their work groups and departments relative to their extended families. The more demanding a profession the tighter the bonds are on this dimension (Anthony, Nohria, 2005). This is why combat soldiers are so closely knit together and would willingly die for each other if necessary to keep the unit safe. For a manager excel at this dimension, they must concentrate on creating a very inclusive, open culture in their groups, making sure everyone has a role and sense of identity.
The drive to comprehend is the need to understand the reason why events occur, and how they fit into the broader spectrum or framework of human experience. This is the drive that seeks to find meaning in work, and relevance in long-term effort over time. It is also driven by the need to make a contribution that is recognized and appreciated. The researcher's definition and valuation of this drive indicates how interrelated all are together, as the attainment of this one requires support from the drive to bond as well (Anthony, Nohria, 2005). An example of the drive to comprehend is the need to see value in every aspect of work and how it contributes to the entire project. Excellent managers have the ability to take even the most mundane tasks and roles, and weave them into a strong vision that satiates the drive to comprehend in employees (Anthony, Nohria, 2005). An example of this is how effectively Steve Jobs showed everyone working on the Apple Macintosh, from the junior-level programmers to the most senior electrical engineers and designers, who critical their roles were in its creation. He created a very compelling vision that met the drive for comprehension in the team. The end result was a revolutionary product and company.
The paradox of the drive to defend is that its requires a manager to balance three very open and progressive drives with one that sets boundaries and defends the interests of his team. The researchers point out that even when a manager excels in meeting the needs of employees on the other three drives, when they fail at this one, they often get very low ratings for management effectiveness
(Nohria, Groysberg, Lee, 2008). This drive requires a manager to show his loyalties to his team at the expense of his own political capital in an organization
(Anthony, Nohria, 2005). This is extremely difficult for the more political managers to do, as they seek to create equilibrium and balance with all other departments, even if another is forcing more work on them or taking their resources. The researchers point out that the performance management and resource allocation processes inherent in any organization structure are best aligned to this drive. Managers need to increase the transparency in all their processes, emphasize fairness and an egalitarian mindset in their decisions, and work to continually build trust through the use of authenticity, transparency and trust (Nohria, Groysberg, Lee, 2008). This drive to defend, like all other drives, is highly complex and interrelated to all others. While at its most fundamental level, this drive is associated with protecting political capital or areas of an organization, it also is highly dependent on creating a balance, egalitarian culture and mindset. An example of this is when a re-organization happens and a manager takes over an additional department. The new manager has years of experience working with his existing department, yet must strive to be inclusive and meet the drive to bond with the employees of the new department. In meeting these needs, the new manager must also concentrate on ensuring that the new group is very transparent and egalitarian in structure, so everyone has an equal chance of succeeding. Another example would be where a new position opens up at a senior level of a large group and the leader promotes the opportunity for everyone to apply, and actually selects the most qualified candidate based on expertise and performance, not on their level of favoritism for them.
The question the researchers build their analysis on was "But what actions, precisely, can managers take to satisfy the four drives and, thereby, increase their employees' overall motivation?" (Nohria, Groysberg, Lee, 2008). This anchors the premise of the research and also illustrates how critically important the integrated…