Motivation and Problem Resolution Research Paper

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Motivation and Employee Engagement

Motivation and Employment Engagement

Relationship between Motivation of Followers and Motivation Theories

McClelland's needs Based theory identifies three distinct needs and explains how these needs may be able to motivate employees to improved performance at the workplace. The three needs consist of the need for achievement, the need for power, and the need for affiliation. Employees possess each of these needs at varying levels depending on their personality and innate drives. Employees who have a high need for achievement are motivated by the opportunity to prove themselves to be better than their peers by meeting or surpassing performance standards. They are willing to assume personal responsibility for solving problems and making decisions. These employees can be motivated by specifying performance standards, delegating responsibility for the outcome to them, and by giving them ongoing feedback on their performance. Employees with a high need for power are motivated by opportunities that allow them to assume power and control over the behavior of others. High-performing managers are usually high on the need for power. These employees may be motivated by offering incentives like prestige and status symbols, impressive titles and material symbols of power, e.g. separate office or a larger desk. Employees with high needs for affiliation are motivated by opportunities to be around people with whom they have positive relationships. They can be motivated by incentives such as admission to an attractive reference group or clique at the workplace (Robbins, 1996).

Expectancy theory states that employees' motivation levels depend on four factors and the strength of the relationships between them -- effort, performance, reward and personal goals. A strong effort-performance relationship assures employees that certain amount of effort will improve their work performance and appraisal positively and will not be ignored by their manager. Secondly, a strong performance-reward relationship means that the improvement in performance will certainly result in specific rewards being provided. This can be increased if the criterion for receiving certain pay raise or promotion is specified at the beginning of the year for employees. Third, the strength of the reward-personal goal relationship describes the compatibility of the specified reward with the personal goals of the employee. This relationship can be strengthened by discussing the rewards desired by the employee at the beginning of the goal-setting process for the next year (Robbins, 1996).

According to the equity theory, employees are not only motivated by the absolute size of their reward, but the relative size as well. They want to be sure that their rewards are fair in the given context. They compare the input-output ration between effort and reward of their own with that of their colleagues and friends. They want to be sure that what they are getting fin return for the amount of effort they have put in is fair in relation to what their colleagues are getting for the amount of effort they put into their work. If a sense of inequity is experienced, employees may alter their perceptions of input or output. Alternatively, they may seek to leave the organization for a more equitable situation. Employee motivation levels can be increased by making sure that employee perceptions about their input and output are fair and objective (Robbins, 1996).

Hertzberg's two factor theories distinguish between factors that create job satisfaction (motivator factors) and those that create job dissatisfaction (hygiene factors). Understanding this difference is important because it prevents managers from mistakenly adjusting hygiene factors under the impression that it will improve job satisfaction. In reality, improving hygiene factors such as pay levels, status and working conditions reduces job dissatisfaction without improving job satisfaction. Job satisfaction and hence motivation can be increased by providing opportunities for achievement, recognition, growth and advancement (Robbins, 1996).

Creative Thinking Process and Motivation Methods of Leaders

A number of theories with respect to motivating followers have been developed in recent years. Leaders are expected to behave as transformational leaders by using their charismatic personality and interpersonal skills to identify the needs of their followers and articulate a compelling mission that addresses those needs and the interests of the organization. Therefore, leaders have to employ creative thinking techniques to identify the needs of a diverse group of employees and to find ways of relating those needs with the mission of the organization.

Several leadership paradigms have emerged to enable leaders to perform this function effectively. Participative management requires involving employees in the decision making process. This increases the power of motivating factors such as responsibility and achievement for the employees and increases their motivation levels. Through participative management leaders also become aware of the needs and perceptions of the employees (Robbins, 1996).

One popular form of participative management is the use of quality circles. These are cross-functional teams that meet regularly to discuss and solve quality issues at every level of the organization. This also increases motivation levels because employees learn more and understand about aspects of the organization other than their own functional areas. It helps them to develop and exercise greater responsibility and cooperation with others. However, it is essential that the members of the quality circles possess effective skill and competency in their functional area to provide valuable insight to other members of the quality circle. Contingency leadership theories also require leaders to exercise creativity in assessing the situation, the characteristics of the leader and their own preferences, in coming up with an appropriate leadership and motivational method. Leaders should be flexible in adopting the telling, selling, participating and delegating styles according to the ability and motivational levels of their subordinates (Robbins, 1996).

Best Practices from Contemporary Research

Contemporary research in the field of motivation and leadership shows that transformational leadership is expected to play an important role in improving the motivation levels of employees in private and public sector organizations. According to a study by Wright, Moynihan & Pandey (2012), transformational leadership exercised by leaders in public sector organizations can enable employees to increase their motivational levels. This in turn helps to create mission valence and to make organizational goals and objectives attractive for employees. This leads to an improvement in organizational performance and success. Motivation in public sector organization is has different dynamics because the employees cannot be motivated by profit factors, but by the service aspect of the organization. Hence, transformational leadership has significant application in improving motivation and job satisfaction levels of employees in public sector organizations.

Another study by Cheng & Robertson (2006) describes how leaders may use motivational techniques at a service organization in Singapore. They describe that employees in service organizations can be motivated by appealing to values that do not necessarily translate into monetary concerns. Leaders can motivate employees by offering other incentives such as praise and recognition from managers, positive stroking behaviors and attention from supervisors. These behaviors can increase levels of job satisfaction and motivation among employees in service organizations. They also stress that managers and leaders should be careful not to overplay the importance of such behaviors as incentives to gain compliance. They should act ethically and use such incentives judiciously to avoid diminishing their value. Employees are quick to perceive when their needs are being exploited and this may lead to a drop in employee morale instead of improving it.

Despite the popularity of transformational leadership in areas of employee motivation, the effectiveness of older concepts such as laissez faire and transactional leadership is still prevalent. A study by Chaudhry & Javed (2012) shows that in the banking sector of Pakistan transactional leadership is more effective than transformational leadership. The popularity of transformational leadership in western societies is dependent on high levels of individualism among the employees. However, in collectivist societies, the employer-employee social contract is based on the exchange of concrete rewards such as adequate working hours and specified remuneration. In such an environment,…

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