Term Paper: Remotely-Based Sales Managers More Motivated

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[. . .] This excellent response was expected for several reasons. The first of these is that the group was easy to reach, all being employed by a single organization. A second was the brevity of the questionnaire. Other reasons follow those identified in prior studies of survey methods.

An earlier study found that organizational survey methodology was one of the most commonly used forms through which corporations gather data useful to decision-making efforts. The reasons for this are its non-intrusive nature (as compared to direct observation by experts, focus groups and so on). Particularly, that survey found that individually answered surveys can be used to assess and track employee attitudes and opinions over time as part of a larger and more strategic organizational development plan, as is presumed to be the case in this study. (Not under consideration here, but noted in that prior study, surveys can also be a means for generating performance models by linking the results to other measurements such as stock or employee turnover rates, sales growth and net profits. That survey noted that even professional organizations such as the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology have begun to perform and depend on the answers to surveys of their members for various types of planning purposes

Results in that study included three separate organizational survey efforts to explore the impact of data collection on response preference, item completion rate, use of "don't know" responses, item mean and variability. Obviously, most of those variables are beyond the scope of this limited study of a single operational preference and its impact on both organization and employee. However, the interesting factor about that study, relative to this one, is that the efforts were all technologically derived (in that case, opscan), as these were. The researchers found there was little difference between various age and level of experience groups and concluded that practitioners (researchers conducting surveys) may be better off choosing a method of gathering responses that is a cultural fit and offers easy of implementation. Obviously, in GE Capital, an electronically conducted and/or tabulated survey would fit the forward-looking, technologically savvy corporate culture.

That study noted that online, Intranet or Web-based surveys which rely on personal motivation for completion and use of a mouse to indicate responses had become increasingly popular by 2001; by this survey's date, 2003, they may be assumed to be even more 'seamless' to the user and more likely to be performed.

While some comment had been raised about confidentiality or glitches causing errors in data collection or tabulation, this prior study found, on the other hand, significantly lower levels of missing or incomplete data with online Web-based responses was reported as compared with paper-and-pencil method. The study authors cautioned that this was a preliminary finding, not within the major scope of the report, and should not be relied upon as an absolute rule of thumb.

The study also failed to determine the maximum survey length to gather the greatest data, but suggested that, until further research is completed, that number may differ considerably by organization, context of the questions, method of administering the survey and a survey taker's prior experiences.

It also had not developed definitive information regarding the likelihood of a question being ignored based on its placement in the questionnaire, or on the "don't know" response. In any case, this questionnaire, being more factual than cognitive, did not seek the sort of opinion response, which would elicit a "don't know" response in some circumstances.

Overall, the prior studies suggested that the impact of various methodological effects on data obtained is not likely to be problematic. (Church 2001, p. 397+)

In the case of GE Capital, it may be also assumed that a short, rather than long, survey would be more likely to gain wide compliance because of the nature of the jobs of those being surveyed; sales account managing limits an employee's ability to devote lengthy periods to such a task when phones might be ringing or customers needing assistance. The survey was designed along those parameters.

The study suggested that survey designers and implementers would be better served by choosing methods of administrating based on the needs and constraints of an organization or project; for example, budget, speed of response required, ease of use of survey instrument(s), Web/Internet/Intranet access and so on. These were considered in this study design.. (Church 2001, p. 397+)


The study will be based on a general definition of motivation as an individuals' desire to behave in a way that is beneficial to the organization. The extensive literature survey that forms a basis in which to consider the results of the smaller, recent respondent survey reveals that levels of dissatisfaction are especially relevant to the effectiveness of telecommuting.


Two major hypotheses were investigated, with a third suggested and taken into account not through the survey itself but through the relevant literature.

Hypothesis Number One:

The major benefit of telecommuting is not that it provides professional satisfaction, but that it eliminates the dissatisfaction present in non-telecommuting positions.

For this reason, the survey instrument focused on determining factors that cause dissatisfaction in the non-telecommuting environment and in the telecommuting environment. The survey instrument included a comparison of factors that satisfy in both environments. A comparison of the overall levels of dissatisfaction and satisfaction in both environments was planned to determine which option achieves the higher level of motivation.

Hypothesis Number Two:

It is also noted that reward is a major motivator, and that reward is not only in the form of financial benefits. Because of the importance of reward, the study will consider how reward impacts motivation, and how this applies to the telecommuting and the non-telecommuting option. The survey instrument included the types of rewards usually granted/expected, and asked employees to rate what types of rewards are most important to them.

Hypothesis Number Three:

Another consideration is that the effectiveness of telecommuting may depend on the personality type of the individual. While this may be a valid consideration, for the purposes of this study, personality type will not be considered. This is both because the sample size is considered too small to allow for this to be effectively assessed and because the purpose of the study is to provide specific information that can be used for decision-making regarding telecommuting or non-telecommuting arrangements in general.

While determining the precise motivators of telecommuters and non-telecommuters at GE Capital is beyond the scope of this project, it is useful to begin with a clear understanding of what motivation means in an organization, as well as effectiveness.

To recap, motivation is defined as:

desire to start work every day.

A desire to achieve all goals and objectives set previously.

A desire to complete a full days' activities.

A desire to satisfy his/her line manager's expectations and contribute to team performance.

Ability to feel part of a team while working remotely.

To recap, effectiveness is defined as:

Completion of numbers of calls on a daily/monthly basis

Perception of empowerment of sales account manager in the eyes of customers.

Degree of self-reliance in completing small tasks.

Strength of contributions to team dynamics

While observation in the workplace might reveal the presence or absence of these attributes, in a telecommuting, or half-telecommuting, workplace environment, it is less easy to determine the levels of motivation and effectiveness. Still, there have been studies prior to this one, also, that attempted to shed light on these factors for various workplace populations.


Employee motivators

Consultants looking for problems in organizations, not just in sales but also across the board, often find that motivators are not present. In Fortune 500 companies that recognize sales associates, the employees are motivated. In businesses that fail to do this, and suddenly begin, recipients of the recognition are grateful and touched. For many, they have not received recognition before.

The same consulting firm found that custom-designed recognition awards can be more effective motivators than money because they satisfy other needs of the employees. The motivators found most often effective are benefits programs, retention bonuses, bonus programs and "pro-employee policies like telecommuting." (Farris 2000)

Respected industry journals also agree with this finding. An article in HR Journal pointed out that flextime, job sharing and work-at-home arrangements (telecommuting, in other words) don't cost much but reduce child-care conflicts or solve them entirely and that companies offering them find they are quite successful. (Hand 1994)

Another motivator is the problem of physical commuting. In an article describing why Colorado companies don't' have more telecommuters, the author points out that it may be simply because the traffic isn't bad enough, a situation that obtains in some parts of the Republic of Ireland, but not by any means all, and certainly not Dublin and Galway. What drives companies to offer telecommuting generally is traffic congestion, expensive real estate and labor shortages? When the article was written, in Western economies generally, there were too many… [END OF PREVIEW]

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