Motivation in the Workplace

Definition of Motivation

In the business context, motivation can be said to be the process of giving employees incentives to spur better performance in their work. In a general sense, motivation is not only useful at the office but also in most life’s aspects. For instance, the act of sleeping is usually motivated by presence of sleep or exhaustion. Similarly, people eat and drink because they are motivated by hunger and thirst. These examples serve to show that the absence of a motivator will result in the overall absence of the related activity. Motivation is broad and it could range from the simple acts like a manager patting the back of an employee in appreciation to more complex motivation activities like promotions and salary increments.

Motivation can be said to emanate from two types of sources; internal and external. The

Internal motivation is also referred to as intrinsic motivation and it comes from within an individual. On the other hand, the externally sourced motivation, also known as extrinsic usually comes from one’s environment. Intrinsic motivation is possible when the employees have high morale. They will work hard not because they are being supervised but because they want to. The biggest reason is when employees have a desire to rise in the corporate ladder.

Extrinsic motivation stems from theory XYZ which believes that employees are naturally lazy and they should be forced to work. This motivation could either be positive or negative. In the positive form, employees are promised a reward for performance while in the negative form pressure is used. According to the research conducted in Minneapolis gas company money is not the best motivator for the employees as they gave the highest rating to job security.

Motivation is mostly applied in work places and learning institution. In the work place, motivation can be influenced by the kind of leadership practiced. On the other hand, employment motivation is achieved by giving employees rewards and recognizing their unique traits that helps propel the organization. For a leader and managers to be successful in their work, they must be good in motivating their subjects so that they can give out maximum output for the organization to achieve its objectives and goals (Dodt, 1994, pp. 89). There are two important but different factors; Motivators and hygiene factors. The definition given to hygiene is that they are factors which can bring about dissatisfaction if they are left out but they do not exactly a source of motivation for employees. Hygiene factors are related to the working environment and not motivation. These factors are significant because if they are missing they will be notable (Gitman & McDaniel, 2009, pp. 25).

Self Assessment Test Analysis:

What motivates me?

Score items = growth needs = 5+4+5+5 = 19 items = relatedness needs = 4+ 3+3+4=14 items = existence needs= 5+5+5+4=19

In coming up with my motivators, relatedness, growth and existence needs have been assessed. In this assessment, my score is 19, 14, and 19 for growth, relatedness and existence respectively. This implies that I am substantially unsatisfied with the relatedness needs while I am substantially satisfied with the growth and existence needs. My motivation here is therefore the quest to satisfy the relatedness needs and that will be my motivation factor in my future employment.

Which are My Dominant Needs?

1, 5, 9, 13 and 17 = achievement score = 5+5+5+3+4= 22

1, 6, 10, 14, and 18 = Affiliation score = 5+3+4+4+4= 20

3, 7, 11, 15, and 19 = Autonomy score = 3+3+5+4+4 = 19

4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 = Power score = 4+3+5+2+4 = 18

In this self assessment, my dominant need is the achievement wile the least dominant need is the power need. This implies that I am concentrating on achieving than the others scores of socialization, fame and directing others. In this assessment, 22, 20, 19 and 18 are scores for achievement, affiliation, autonomy and power scores.

Which Rewards Do I Value Most?

Good pay is the reward that I value most in an organization. This implies that if an organization will not offer me an attractive pay I will most likely be least interested to work with them. The disparity in motivational levels should not be so much wide. Secondly, I take Job security as a very important motivator. Other things that I consider important in any working environment include; pleasant work conditions, high chances to advance and finally being with friendly co-workers, vacation time and recognition for the work I do.

Hygiene and Motivators Score

From the assessment of hygiene and motivators, motivators have the highest score of 25 while hygiene lags with a score of 23. This means that I value what motivates me as opposed to hygiene at the workplace. Although hygiene is important for me in the work area, I would gladly forfeit it if it was mutually exclusive with motivators.

Analysis of the Case Study

The greatest factor that motivates the respondent is good pay for workers. For the respondent to be comfortable when performing his duties, he must have a good remuneration. This is so because the respondent thinks that when he’s paid well he will be able to financial all his needs and consequently be comfortable. This will enable him to work well and diligently. Other factors would be good relations with others, opportunity for personal growth, a fringe benefit program and a sense of self esteem. Lack of mentioning of some of the factors however, does not make them less important for the respondent. On the contrary, it only implies that they have already been addressed (Rahit, 2009, pp. 39). 

There are many theories associated with motivation. Some of the theories are:  Expectancy, need, equity and goal-setting theories. Each one of these theories has a different description and understanding of what is involved in motivation. Expectancy theory states that motivation in employees is increased when they learn about the attractive reward which will make them motivated to work harder so as to win the reward. This reward could be anything from a bonus to a pay rise (Crouise, 2005, pp. 61).

The need theory of motivation has as many descriptions as there are managers. However, the underlying principle is the same; managers ought to identify the needs of their employees in the organization. Consequently, they should ensure that employees get outcomes to satisfy their needs especially if they are performing well in their work. One of the best methods management uses to asses the needs of employees and plan for them is by using the Maslow Hierarchy of needs. Management can establish the; level at which employees are operating in the pyramid and determine what their biggest needs are from that.

Equity theory states that employers should motivate their employees by remunerating them according to their output. This means that their pay will be determined by the length of time they work, effort incurred, skills, experience and other factors that would determine compensation. If Phil is working hard on his job, then it is only fair that he should be more rewarded than Peter who is lazy. Employers employ Information systems to compute the logs of the employees which will be used in determining the wages.

The goal setting theory focuses on an organization having goals and objectives as a source of motivation. Employees, who are aware that they should meet certain goals within a period of time, will be motivated and hence the organization will be successful. Most multilevel marketing companies employ this theory with predefined goals for the individuals as well as for the organization at large. An employee will have a passion to complete the projects of the company within the given time especially if it ensures success and growth. (Kondalkar, 2009, pp. 64). 

Another common theory is the cognitive dissonance. This is a feeling of uneasiness that comes about because one has contrasting ideas. People sometimes strongly hold on to a belief but they do contrary to that belief. For example, a person knows that he or she is good but for one reason or another does something bad. The resulting feeling of remorse or discomfort is what is called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a strong motivator which frequently leads employees to change their behavior. A real application would be if an employer is working and giving very little output, he or she knows that it is his obligation to measure up to the required standards. An employee will find himself improving when he gets the dissonance feeling (Bruce, 2006, pp. 37).


All employees deserve to be motivated. Without motivation, output from employees is always compromised of the thoughts of better working environment. Workers cannot be motivated by their work schedules however interesting the managers and the employers may be willing to make them. It has become common for organizations to lose focus on how employees are relating, communication, recognition, and other contentious issues that are most vital to employees due to poor or no employee’s welfare departments. The initial stage of creating a motivating working environment is to refrain from doing things which might discourage employees.

There are important elements that managements can incorporate into their systems in a bid to maintain the motivation of their employees. For instance, it is advised that too many laws and policies might de-motivate employees, therefore; employees should only come up with few but effective policies. They should focus on the protection of the organization and maintaining order. It is the responsibility of the management to ensure that every employee is familiar with all organizational policies and rules. When formulating the organization’s values and code of conduct, the management should ensure that all the employees are involved or the employees are adequately represented in any policy formulating forums (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2010, pp. 103).

Self motivation is important to every organization as it is consequential to the performance of the organization. It is paramount that managers be motivated themselves before they can start motivating employees. It is impossible to inspire other people in a concept one does not believe in or practice. A leader must show energy and love for his work to the employees so that they follow suit. If the leader is pessimistic the employees will also have a negative attitude towards work. Other employees will admire the fact that their leader is keen in his work and they will take up the challenge (Dodt, 1994, pp. 71).

Another applicable principle is to first understand what motivates you as a leader or employer and then take time to understand the motivators of other employees. The employees may be motivated by team building activities during non working days, seminars and conferences that increase their knowledge, mentors or other people who inspire them and other factors which an employer should research from the employees. 

Employers should work to ensure that the goals of the organization correspond with goals of employees. It is possible to have employees drawing inspiration from their work; this is especially possible if the management draw schedules that are result driven. The efforts of the employees should be directed towards achieving the company’s goals. Therefore, it's most important to regularly applaud employee’s efforts whenever they make substantial efforts towards the growth of the company whether they are delegated to do it or not (Bruce & Pepitone, 1998, pp. 26).

Finally, it is worth mentioning that employee motivation is a process and not an event. The reason is the dynamic nature of both the organization and the employees. The management should always adjust with the changing times to ensure that their employees and work are always in line with the changes.

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