Motivation: Two Views of a Manager's Ability Essay

Pages: 3 (1100 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Leadership

Motivation: Two views of a manager's ability to shape human motivation within an organizational context

Motivation could be defined as convincing someone that they want to do something, rather than forcing them to do it. Motivating individuals with a mixture of internal and external rewards is necessary for any organization to function, from school to the workplace. Perhaps the crudest form of motivation is reinforcement theory, a variant of operant conditioning, where 'good' behavior is rewarded and 'bad' behavior is punished, in a carrot-and-stick approach. However, exactly how a manager can strike a delicate between intrinsic and extrinsic rewards remains controversial, as well as the question of whether it is possible to quantify and categorize a larger theory of motivation of the human psyche at all. Most theories fall into two basic categories -- those of needs-based theories, which presuppose a fixed human character, and suggest that managers must respond to those needs, and theories which view human motivation as malleable and responsive to the will of the manager.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Essay on Motivation: Two Views of a Manager's Ability Assignment

Theories of motivation with their origins in social science research, like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory have often stressed that individuals have certain innate needs and tendencies which managers must identify and 'feed': managers cannot impose motivational needs upon employees. Imagine an early morning meeting filled with cranky, overtired employees. Their receptivity to a new project is likely to be severely impaired. However, adding coffee and free doughnuts to the meeting room can be useful in assuaging employee anger and making the workers more receptive. As noted by Maslow and also by Clayton Alderfer in his simplified revision of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, unless basic needs are met, such as food, individuals have trouble accessing higher-level needs, including the need to please others or to realize a larger human purpose. This also applies to more serious concerns about worker salaries and benefits: if workers are not paid enough money, they are unlikely to take a company's idealistic mission statement seriously, not just because it seems hypocritical, but also because they spend so much time worrying about the stresses of poverty, they cannot perform at an optimal level in their jobs.

These needs-based theories suggest that even when a manager wants to motivate employees with higher-level aspirations, an employee's basic needs cannot be ignored. Internal needs may be more compelling once basic needs are met, but external needs cannot be overlooked and replaced by charismatic slogans and leadership. For a short period of time, employees may put aside personal comfort, but these needs cannot be postponed indefinitely. Even in the military, soldiers receive benefits for joining, and may desert if they do not have proper food, shelter, and clothing!

The concept of having to respond to the nature of the human psyche, rather than impose motivational strategies upon it is also reflected in Herzberg's Two-Factor theory. Herzberg notes that employees can be motivated or unmotivated by concerns that pertain to their level of 'dissatisfaction,' including company policy, quality of supervision, relationships with superiors and colleagues, working conditions and salaries. Dissatisfaction is based upon the absence of such essential characteristics in the environment: a bad company, none (or too much) oversight, personal conflicts, and an unsafe and hazardous job means an employee cannot be motivated to fulfill higher-level concerns. Satisfaction, in contrast is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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