Motivation Essay Example

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Employee motivation is a crucial aspect of in organizations success. Motivated employees are more likely to be creative, thus produce better quality products and services. On the contrary, is the workers are demotivated, they will not put more effort into a particular task, thus producing low-quality work. Employees are part of the organization, and thus if they are not committed, there will be no incentives to excel at their jobs. Studies have shown that many organizations have expressed the challenges of retaining current employees, and when workers leave the firm loses millions of dollars (Ramllah 2004). In addition to financial loss, the company also loses knowledgeable and experienced workforce, which is the most valued employee asset. This cost may be minimized by motivating employees to achieve both personal and organization goals. Motivation results intrinsic and extrinsic factors that stimulate the desire in workers to be continually committed and interested in performing their jobs. Most employees need the motivation to perform their jobs to the best of their ability and increase productivity. Managers use incentives such as paid time off, bonuses, travel packages, recognition and so on to increase workforce productivity. Since different incentives influence workers differently, managers can use motivation theories that employ several techniques. This paper will discuss the concept of motivation, theories of motivation and how they are employed in the work plan, design and implementation. A case study of motivation theories in practice at Siemens will also be discussed.

Motivation Concept

Motivation may be described as a force that acts on an individual causing him or her to behave in a particular goal oriented manner. Also, Daft & Marcic (2004) defined motivation as the forces either internally or externally that arouse a person passion and determination to pursue specific objectives to achieve their goal or mission. Following the above, it is clear that that motivation has an impact on individual behavior; however, causes of their behavior may be different because people have different needs. Employers must thus understand and discover the employees’ individual differences and their need so that they can develop motivation strategies that will cater to all employees need so that they can word toward one goal.

In other words, employers should not apply limited motivational strategies, but rather but focus on diverse motivational strategies to ensure that all needs of the workers are met. Literature indicates that there is no specific motivational factor that can be applied to all organizations because people have varying needs. For instance, what interests’ one employee may not interest another; one can value a high salary while another may prefer interesting work (Staw, Robert &, Lisa 1994). Moreover, it is possible to satisfy and individual in the process of performing employee motivation, for instance, promotion is given by the manager. The managers should take an initiative to learn their workforce to allow them to understand incentives that will suit their needs. In the current competitive business environment, inspiring employees require new motivational strategies rather than the old-fashioned carrot- and-stick approach. The employer should understand the reason the workers perform their jobs and offer the rewards they anticipate to receive. The motivated workforce has the drive to succeed even when the projects are complex. The employer, therefore, needs to create an environment that inspires and create employee motivation. Employees motivation theories have been used by many organizations to plan, design and implement work to meet individual needs.

Motivation Theories

A motivated workforce is necessary for a firm growth and improves the quality of products and services offered by the organization. However, managers are faced with the challenge of identifying practical, motivational strategies (Fodor & Carver 2000). Theories of motivation are derived from work itself and the motivation to perform, which are critical aspects of management. Even though the workforce has the required skills and knowledge, they may fail to perform if there are not motivated to perform their task (Hassan 2005). Each has workplace needs that need to be fulfilled to ensure they are not demotivated. Theories of motivation in the workplace tell us what drives people to initiate an action, factors that influence these choices, and why they are focused on their goals. In other words, motivation is a result of either intrinsic factors such as satisfaction, interest and extrinsic factors such as bonuses, salary, and so on (Guest 1996).

Theories of motivation are classified in two: need and process theories. Need theories suggest that people work to satisfy their needs. On the other hand, process theories attempt to show the link between performance at work and behavior outcomes. Due to the increasing competition, job satisfaction has become the center of attention for both public and private organizations; thus, it is essential to utilize appropriate techniques to ensure that the employees are motivated to perform better. Human resource management is an important component of a company as it seek to achieve competitive advantage to ensure that employee is highly committed and capable by employing the incentives that suit their needs (Storey 2001).

Human resource management soft model stresses that employees should be nurtured to ensure they are committed because doing so ensures they are more committed to meeting the company objectives and the resultant goal (Truss 1997). This model views employees as important assets in an organization and can cause a competitive advantage for a firm. The company should implement efforts focused on winning employees commitment through motivation. It stresses on developing skills and competencies of the workforce because they are an essential component of growth and development (Ramaswany 2000). The soft model of human resource management is crucial to this study because it stresses the importance of nurturing the employees to ensure they remain committed to their work for good performance and overall organizations success. This paper will analyze three major theories of motivation and how they are applied in work to motivate workers to achieve a higher level of performance.

Taylor Motivational Theory

Taylor’s motivational theory rests on the assumption that people are motivated to work by high pay (Rollinson 2005). Taylor approached scientific management by collecting analyzing data. He performed a study to analyze the motion required to complete work and proposed a way to break tasks. Taylor’s theory argues that workers do not enjoy performing tasks and thus, they should be given direction. Also, if a task is divided into small units and employees are trained appropriately, they would perform the tasks efficiently. Following, Taylor was thus convinced that workers and managers higher pay would result in cooperation and increase in production (Bell & Martin 2012). Today, scientific management has widely used a set of principles to organize production. Moreover, the current idea of job analysis and design is derived from Taylor’s scientific management theory that has become a common human resource practice globally. These ideas are rooted in understanding work organization, which are common modern managerial practices (Rousseau 2012).

Maslow Theory

Maslow theory proposes a hierarchy of needs, starting from the basics to higher levels of self-fulfillment. He believed that people are motivated to fulfill personal needs, but employ this perspective in a work setting. According to Maslow, there are five hierarchy needs that an individual need to meet in their life. They are basics, security, self-esteem, affiliation and self-actualization. Everyone starts at the bottom and works to achieve the goals of the next need. One cannot move to the next level before the needs of the first level are met. For instance, once the salaries are enough to cater for the basics, that is food, clothing and shelter, the individual moves to secure the needs with a secure job. Once an individual achieves job security, that is creating a retirement package, securing job position, and insurance, there is a need level for social belongingness and companionship. Social belongingness can be achieved through work, for instance, being a member of the same profession or a community of practice. Moving to the next level, the employees will have self-esteem and recognition from colleagues, supervisors and so on.

It results in an individual gaining self-confidence in finding ways of self-fulfillment and personal growth through work. The last level of the hierarchy of need is self-actualization, this level is when an individual have met all the other needs. In this level, an individual talent is completely utilized. An individual will strive to use better their talents in other ways. People should be motivated to fulfill their current needs and strive to the next need levels.

Despite criticism of Maslow theory, it is still popular among many managers because it draws a link between need hierarchies and organizational hierarchies. Many employee management approaches such as job enrichment, employee empowerment, and total quality management employ Maslow theory ideas in the search for applicable motivational strategy (Robbins 2005).

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

Herzberg developed the Two-Factory theory of motivation in 1959. His research using critical incident techniques, they asked a group of engineers and accountants when they felt and the time they felt bad, and what the consequences were. After the study, he noted that in a workplace environment an employee can be satisfied by events that are related to his or her task. He concluded that what a worker thinks or believe has a direct relationship with the work performed, thus if they believe the work is good they will be comfortable. These factors that are associated with work were labeled as hygiene factors. Hygiene factors are those that focused on work and included recognition, achievement, growth and responsibility. However, if these factors are limited or absent, it can lead to job dissatisfaction. Managers should ensure that these factors are improved to ensure that workers are satisfied to perform better, nevertheless improvement without proper strategies may not result in motivation. Herzberg argued that to ensure that the workers remain motivated, the working conditions should make them feel valued and an important component of the organization. The company should improve factors such as employee salaries, the company policies, and procedures, job security, working environment and interpersonal relations.

Also, he noted that there is a clear distinction between satisfiers and dissatisfiers. The real motivators to employees are growth needs, but can also be dissatisfied, not unmotivated, by the hygiene factors. He stressed that an individual only becomes motivated if his or her job is challenging and detailed enough to offer a chance for achievement, advancement, responsibility, and stimulation. Employees are only motivated when they feel individually responsible for their job results. As a result, they will work harder to achieve their personal goal, as well as resultant organization goal. Individuals need to feel that their jobs are meaningful and enriching (Robbins 2005).

Managers address different types of factors by removing some job controls, increase employee accountability, more job freedom, monitoring progress, introducing challenging tasks, and so on. Herzberg work design proposes that internal factors result in the job while external factors may act as dissatisfiers. Although this theory still faces criticism (Fisher, 2002), it sparked more interest in incentives that an organization can employ to ensure that employees are motivated to work, as well introduced the idea of job enrichment. Enriching workers roles and functions act as a strategy to improve their performance and become more satisfied because they are given the power to be in control and become more creative increasing opportunity for growth. Herzberg’s hygiene theory has been employed in many corporations because it proposes factor that has done the job and the surrounding job context.

A Case Study of Motivation Theories in Practice at Siemens

Siemens is an engineering company that design and manufactures many products we use in daily live such electrical appliances, street lights, medical scanners magnet, wind turbines, and many others. It also supplies two-fifth of the country’s wind energy and hosts the BBC website, one of the largest broadcasting corporations in the world. The company began its operations in 1843, and currently has more than 18,000 employees in the UK and about 427,000 globally. Most of the company employee are engineers, thus they emphasis on improving their products rather than creating new ones. In other words, Siemens engineers transform these innovative ideas to improve processes, as well as products. To support growth and innovation, Siemens needs staffs that are motivated, required skills to meet customers’ needs. Siemens recognizes that employee motivation is crucial for the continued growth of the company, therefore, supports they are provided with wide range of opportunities for further education and training (Business Case Studies 2009). This case looks at how engineering environment at Siemens uses three different theories of motivation to plan, design and implement work.


There are many factors that can motivate employees, in addition to basic needs such as food and accommodation. Siemens has created a creative environment to its staffs involving engineering work that are very interesting. Some of the Siemens employees works best by solving problems that are a major aspect of their engineering work and how they handle challenges they encounter in their daily lives in the workplace. Others may also find motivation in their work by trying different roles. The company staffs value the fact that their profession allows them to be creative also makes their work stimulating. The organization structure provides a motivating work environment as it allows them to improve products and processes through engineering innovations. In other words, people learn new things every day as they solve their challenges and meeting the customers’ needs, and this gives them a chance to move up their career ladder. Siemens corporate culture portrays its value to its workforce through training and recruits new employees who will take over the company in future. Motivated employees put more effort in their work to ensure that they achieve required outcome. They also feel value and can be more creative to improve the organization performance. Absenteeism will also be minimal because the workers enjoy doing their work. On the other hand, unmotivated workers are dissatisfied with work, decreasing the production. The staffs may be inefficient, and there is a likelihood of increased absenteeism.

Taylor´s Motivational Theory

According to Fredrick Taylor, people are motivated to work by money. He advocated for scientific management and believed that job and employee cooperation should be standardized. Taylor motivational theory proposes that if work is broken down into smaller units, it would require little understanding from the employee. Job specialization allows the workers to concentrate on a narrow range, and they were rewarded according to how much they produced.

Taylor’s theory has helped Siemens to understand how work is organized. In the current world, engineering requires individual with greater capacity and more flexible. Engineering staff need to have adequate skills and knowledge in various areas. At Siemens, the organization culture encourages its staffs to be more involved in work, where they can be creative to come up with their suggestions and implement improvements (Business Case Studies 2009). People work together as a group, and they are allowed to make decisions on how they may improve their jobs as engineering requires continuous development of better products and process. Also, their jobs allow them to come up with new ideas, and this harness people’s enthusiasm. This is a different way of motivating workers by ensuring they are satisfied and recognized, rather than just regarding pay. Working as a team helps them to meet higher level needs.

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow theory proposes that people are motivated by five essential needs. Once the first level needs are met, human want to meet needs at the next level. Siemens provides an opportunity where the workers can fulfill higher level needs. For instance, skilled and creative workers, this opportunity is of great importance. Skilled workers are highly respected, and this increases their self-esteem. Also, the feeling that an employee work is making a difference can also improve their self-esteem. Recognition of an individual achievement by the managers also helps to meet an employee esteem needs. Siemens, for example, has a scheme where the best suggestions and improvement projects are rewarded. These rewards are financial, and may be given to a team or individually for their achievements. Engineering roles allow the workers to achieve this by getting involved and taking responsibility for their jobs. Since engineering environment is both exciting and challenging, they are expected to come up with solutions to solve problems on a regular basis. This working environment can appeal the higher level needs of employees. Technology is also employed to assist the workers in performing their work and improving products. It also offers training and development program to enhance the employee skills and knowledge so that they can perform better. Training and development help an individual to reach the highest level of need because it helps the engineers to use their skills more allows them to progress upwards. In additionally, it helps individuals to meet the changing demand of their clients globally.

Herzberg’s Satisfiers/dissatisfiers

Herzberg’s two-factor theory showed some factors are satisfiers. If these factors lack or are limited in the workplace, it can lead to dissatisfaction. For this reason, managers need to attend motivating factors, as well as individual growth to ensure they perform their best. Furthermore, managers should try to improve hygiene factors to ensure they are satisfied in the workplace. Siemens managers should balance the dissatisfiers against motivators. This includes the company policies that do not meet their needs. At Siemens, they believe the best strategy to increase awareness of employee issues and encourage them to be more involved. The company understands and recognizes the need for change; as a result, Siemens has managed to change programs. The satisfiers at Siemens are those incentives that interest the workers the most, for instance, job features; they are empowered to manage their jobs and power to change the way things work. The roles given to employees are also stimulating despite the level of entry, as apprentices or as graduates. This creative nature of engineering is appealing, particularly to people are more creative to solve problems.


Employee motivation is a crucial task for any organization. It can be beneficial depending on how it is used in the organization. The management needs to understand the needs of the workforce to implement appropriate motivational strategies. Many philosophers have proposed different theories on how to motivate people. An Early motivational theory such as that of Taylor argued that higher pay motivates workers. Today, employees are motivated in other ways because they have higher needs as illustrated through the work of Abraham Maslow and Frederick Herzberg. For this reason, managers should try to understand the workforce and connect with them at personal levels. They can give them the tools they require to motivate them and ensure that the work environment is pleasant and desirable. In the case study above, we have seen how the work of Maslow and Herzberg, as well as Taylor, is applied in a modern engineering environment. The company meets the low-level needs by offering good pay and safe working environment, while higher level need are provided through training and development program, as well as providing an opportunity to handle creative and challenging work. The workers are also motivated through recognition for achievement at all levels.

References List

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