Motivation applies to the workplace

by Business Case Studies on Monday 22nd February, 2010

Why do some people climb Mount Everest, sail single-handedly round the world or bungee jump off tall buildings? Theories of motivation also apply to the workplace. Individuals are motivated to carry out such feats by any number of different reasons. Organisations, like the engineering group Siemens, attempt to tap into the different factors that motivate individuals when building a workforce of effective and efficient employees. Within the creative working environment at Siemens, employees are often motivated by the very nature of the challenging work they undertake, the opportunities to progress within the business and by gaining management recognition for their achievements at work. Motivation in the workplace, therefore, goes far beyond the simple matter of pay.

For Olympic athletes, the workplace may be a swimming pool or an athletics track. For Amy Williams, last week it was the Whistler Sliding Centre track. Williams achieved the first British gold medal in the skeleton event at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. She said 'if you have the determination any country can be good at any sport and you just have to concentrate and do your best.' Sports people take part in the Olympics not for pay but for the thrill of beating the other competitors, the recognition gained when winning medals or the personal drive to keep achieving greater and greater results. (The Times Online 20th February 2010)

Motivated individuals can achieve great things. Motivated workers are likely to be productive and provide high quality goods or services. They should also feel happy and fulfilled in the workplace, reducing absenteeism and labour turnover. The challenge for employers is to ensure they provide the appropriate motivators for their own employees.

Questions

  1. Define motivation
  2. Draw Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs showing how Siemens might meet each of the needs.
  3. To what extent should organisations concentrate on meeting the higher order needs of their employees?

Answers to questions

  1. Define motivation Attracting a person to do something because he or she wants to do it.
  2. Draw Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs showing how Siemens might meet each of the needs, Basic – pay, Safety – provide and safe working environment , Social – team-working opportunities, Esteem – management recognition, Self-actualisation – opportunities to progress
  3. To what extent should organisations concentrate on meeting the higher order needs of their employees? On one hand, organisation should concentrate on meeting higher order needs because: According to Maslow, once the lower order needs are met they are no longer motivators, Creative, skilled workers are likely to be more motivated by higher order needs. However, on the other hand organisations may need to concentrate on lower order needs if:  According to Maslow, lower order needs must be met first before higher order needs become motivators, The lower order needs of pay and working conditions are examples of Herzberg's 'hygiene factors' and can therefore cause dissatisfaction if they are not what the workers expect, Younger or unskilled workers may be more motivated by lower order needs.

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