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Motivation to Work Well Depends More Than High Wages and on Working Conditions

This essay will define what motivation is, the influence and effect that money and good working conditions have on staff and the other factors and issues that motivate staff to work in the context of the workplace. In order to critically discuss and evaluate what motivates staff in the workplace it is imperitive to firstly define the concept of motivation.

Motivation can be defined as the force or process which impels people to behave in the way they do; Newcomb (1950) said that an organism is motivated: “when – and only when – it is characterized both by a state of drive and by a irection of behaviour towards some goal which is selected in preference to all other possible goals. Motive, then is a concept which joins together drive and goal”.

This implies that providing the drive for staff to achieve goals that have been set is a vital and important part of the managerial role. Although it is apparent that to become or be motivated does not always rely on drive and goals – it can often arise through voluntary action as well. McDougall (1908) made this extension of the concept of motivation to ‘voluntary behaviour’ explicit by suggesting that instincts were the ‘prime movers’ of all uman activity.

McDougall disagrees with the drive theorists arguing that the instincts of staff in the workplace provide a major source of motivation. Hebb (1949) also disagrees with the assumptions that directed and persistant behaviour is always preceeded by ‘extra neural bodily irritants’. Hebb claims that ‘The term motivation then refers to: (1) To the existence of an organisational phase sequence, (2) to its direction or content, and (3) to its persistence in a given direction or stability of content.

There are obviously many schools of thought and theories on exactly what is motivation and why eople are motivated, but it seems that the general concensus opinion lies with Maslow (1970) “Motivation is the force or combination of forces which lead us to behave as we do”. The actual force or forces that motivate will be now be discussed. Money is an important factor in the motivation of employees, as profit acts as a measure of success of a business, so many people judge their own success or failure and the esteem in which they are held by the employer or the renumeration received for the job done.

It must be mentioned that although a high salary is not the only motivator, it can act as an incentive to work more roductively; “Pay buys the goods and services that people want to satisfy other needs. The more boring the job, and the less its intrinsic interest the greater the importance of money as a motivator and incentive to effort”. Hammond (1988). An organisation offers both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to its employees. It must be realised that pay is only an extinsic reward.

Employees derive intrinsic rewards from the job itself, for example an employee may be motivated by the degree of authority given at the work place or the sense of achievement derived from completing their task (achievement motivation). Intrinsic rewards are usually totally unrelated to an employees pay/salary. The extrinsic rewards that employees derive are not directly related to the work itself but are associated with doing the job; they include the salary/pay, financial incentives, fringe benefits, working conditions and interaction with other people in the work place.

The importance of the different types of rewards varies according to each individual and the situation that they are in – their particular stage in life. For example, for an eighteen year old school leaver eager to rent his or her own flat , money might be the determining factor n deciding whether or not to do a job (extrinsic reward), whereas a fifty year old executive with less pressing money worries will probably be search for a more challenging job (intrinsic reward).

These examples can be related to the work of Maslow (1954) who identified five categories of need which he claimed could be placed in a hierarchy (FIG 1). By this he meant that at any given moment an individual will be aiming to satisfy one particular category of need, but once this has been done that person will be interested in satisfying the next higher level.

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