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Flashcards in Motivation Deck (17)
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Define Motivation 

reason(s) for acting or behaving in a particular way


2 sources of motivation

Extrinsic: Motivation based on incentive: punishment or reward

  • Theory X
  • Maslow Hierarchy of Needs
  • Alderfer’s ERG
  • Hertzberg Motivation-Hygiene Theory

Intrinsic: Motivation based on motive: an impulse, emotion, desire, or physiological need

  • Theory Y
  • Taylorism
  • Tournament Theory


Link between Motivation and Ability

Performance = ability x motivation


3 Elements of Motivation

  1. Direction and level of attention
  2. Level of Effort
  3. Persistence of Effort


McClelland’s Theory of Needs (1953)

states that humans have three basic needs:

  1. Need for Achievement – the drive to excel
  2. Need for Power – the drive to excel in relation to others
  3. Need for Affiliation – the desire for close interpersonal ties

The theory assumes that individual needs are

  • a reflection of society’s cultural values
  • acquired in childhood.


How do goals relate to motivation?

How to set good goals

Setting goals enhances motivation.

  • Hard goals work better than easier goals (inspiring).  
  • Feedback leads to higher performance than no feedback.
  • Also, SMART: specific, measurable, action-orientated, reasonable, time-bound
  • They should be understandable and communicatable so to enhance task cohesion.
  • Stay committed to the goal.
    • The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.


Theory X & Theory Y (McGregor, 1960)

Theory X Assumptions

  • Workers dislike work by nature
  • People are lazy
  • People prefer to avoid responsibility
  • Coercion or threats of punishment are necessary to induce commitment to work goals

Theory Y Assumptions

  • Workers are naturally motivated to work hard
  • People are fundamentally responsible
  • People have self-direction and don’t need to be forced into work


Economic Perspective Scientific Management (Taylorism)

Incentive based motivation


  • money motivates
  • more work = more money
  • specialisation in sub-tasks maximises output
  • productivity = job simplicity + precise measurement + pay for performance


  • difficult to judge performance
    • unclear who is doing what
  • money is not equally motivating for everyone
  • financial reward must be substantial
  • makes risky innovation less likely
  • Constant peer-reviews encourage back-stabbing. Indeed, some firms that graded their staff, including Microsoft, concluded that it is counter-productive, and dropped it.


Tournament Theory

Motivation based on incentive

Assumes that that if the prize is large enough, a lottery mentality will ensue and individuals within a firm will be willing to work extra hours in the hopes of winning the prize

Assumes that most work in an organisation is done by middle managers and line employees.

Often, management positions are ambiguous and it is difficult to actually measure the level of performance.


Human Relations Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs + issues

Intrinsic motivation

  1. Self-actualisation
  2. Esteem
  3. Love/Belonging
  4. Safety
  5. Psychological


  • Are the 5 steps necessary but not sufficient?
  • No empirical support of the model.
  • What does self-actualisation mean?
  • research found minimal link between job satisfaction and actual on-the-job performance


Adlerfer’s ERG Theory

Motivation based on incentive

Improved upon Maslow’s model in two ways:  

  1. Simplified the 5 stages into 3:
    • Existence (similar to the physiological and safety dimensions of Maslow)
    • Relatedness (similar to the social and external esteem elements of Maslow)
    • Growth (similar to the internal esteem and self actualisation).
  2. Proposed that no need to sequentially address each of his three elements, rather, they often operate simultaneously.


Hertzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory

Motivation based on incentive

A fusion of both human relation and economic motivation.

  • Hygiene factors (extrinsic): the basic things that you need to keep you from quitting your job
  • Motivators (intrinsic): what motivates you to do a good job



Job Design (Theory)

Task identity - to what extent job is seen as a whole; it has a beginning and an end with completion of a tangible outcome. 

Task significance - perceptions that the job matters

Feedback – information about their efforts 

Autonomy - to what extent the individual is given a discretion to plan and carry out the work. 

Motivational potential = (Variety+Identity+Significance)/3 X Autonomy X Feedback;


Success of intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivators in organisations 

For organisations, reward-based (extrinsic motivators — bonuses, commissions, etc.) doesn’t work very well (dulls creativity, reduces performance) compared to intrinsic motivators. This has been proven by studies over 40 years. 

Extrinsic motivation works well for tasks that simple rules and a single resolution, but for others (most) it doesn’t because rules are nebulous, solutions might not even exist, and if they do they are surprising.

There is a mismatch of what science knows and business does.


What motivation works well in organisations?

The solution, for intrinsic motivation, focus on autonomy, mastery, and purpose (Dan Pink)

  • Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives. 
    • engagement increases
    • satisfaction increases
    • productivity increases
    • turnover rate deceases
  • Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters. 
  • Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Case Study - Successes

See Google, giving their employees 20% of their time to do whatever they want. See Wikipedia, where contribution is based on fun and volunteering — no payment exists.


the 2 ways to motivate others or ourselves


Why money might not be the optimum motivating tool

1) We cannot assume that money is equally motivating for everyone.

2) Often there is a poor link between money and performance as work becomes more complex;  it’s also difficult to know what to reward and who is doing what. 

3) Financial reward must be substantial. Research indicates that a minimum of 7% of base pay is required to motivate the average individual.

4) Management must have the discretion to reward high performance – but sometimes it doesn’t (Rigid HR policies,  Unions).