Management Theory and Application an Essay

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However, her initial suggestions of improvement -- especially after a lack of positive response the first few times -- are not predicted by expectancy theory. It was obvious that she was not expected to make such suggestions, nor was she especially given an opportunity to do so, and both of these circumstances are considered necessary in expectancy theory. Furthermore, Lesley would have known that she was expected to perform her day-to-day tasks, and she was of course capable of doing so and afforded the opportunity, and she was rewarded for this. Again, while expectancy theory predicts her lack of motivation to achieve more, it fails to predict her dissatisfaction.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs comes somewhat closer to finding a true explanation for Lesley's behavior. The physiological and safety needs -- the two first levels of need in Maslow's hierarchy -- are certainly met by Lesley's employment. Her need for acceptance generally is, too, in that she obviously gets along well enough with most of her colleagues for them to have confided average pay rates and other sensitive information to her. But when it comes to esteem, the lack of recognition for her ideas and the boss's seeming respect for an inferior employee would have left her completely unfulfilled. According to Malsow's theory, the needs of one level in the hierarchy won't even be sought until the lower levels are satisfied; the lack of esteem would prevent Lesley from even seeking self-actualization. This would lead to her dissatisfaction and ultimately to her decision to seek new employment that would better fill her needs.

Although Maslow's theory does an adequate job of predicting Lesley's behavior, Herzberg's two-factor theory comes closer. According to Herzberg's research, her job dissatisfaction would have been caused by a boss that summarily ignored her and favored a male colleague with whom he could go fishing, as well as the lack of an adequate raise and the generally unsupportive atmosphere at Whinslo. Moreover, Herzberg's theory predicts that her job satisfaction has diminished because the work is no longer engaging and she receives no recognition. This would explain the fact that Lesley used to be truly excited about going to work when she thought she could make a difference and become involved in the more complex operations of the company, but had a rather sudden change of heart when she found this wouldn't be the case.

Each of these theories could be used to make suggestion to Whinslo for improving employee motivation, though some are more holistic than others. Equity theory would have raises based on a more careful analysis of an employee's contribution, as would expectancy theory. This latter might also include weekly suggestion meetings to create an atmosphere of expectations of innovative ideas. Maslow's hierarchy of needs demands first, more responsive recognition and rewards systems to boost esteem, and second the encouragement of accepting new responsibilities and tasks so that one can reach their self-actualized potential. Herzeberg's two-factor theory provides the most comprehensive view of what to do to motivate employees, however -- not only must recognition and rewards be increased, but the work must be kept challenging and diverse enough to remain interesting. This could be the most important factor in retaining employees like Lesley Watt.


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