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Motivating Employees

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Abstract

Motivational theory is an important part of a business education for professional today. Though it stems from psychology, motivation deals with people, as does management. This paper will cover basic employee motivations and offer suggestions for motivating employees. What motivates employees and what part dies motivation play in today's workforce? Some people believe they are obligated to do their best at their job simply because that is what is expected of them. On the other hand, there are those who merely do enough to get by and receive a paycheck. No matter what type of employee, organizations need to understand the concept of motivation, which comes in a variety of forms such as monetary benefits, perks or recognition within the corporation. Motivation also leads to higher productivity and greater profit Ð'- two major goals in business. The key to unlocking peak performance from employees is the concept of human motivation. And the key to motivation revolves around one fundamental principle: "What's in it for me?"

Satisfying Motivational needs in Employees

"Empowerment, job satisfaction and family-friendly" are familiar buzzwords heard in today's workplace. They describe efforts to integrate employees' work and personal lives. Unfortunately, these concepts haven't caught on everywhere, which according to management experts, is one of the leading causes of increased disenchantment among employees (Dutton, 1998). What motivated employees and what part does motivation play in today's workforce? Some people believe they are obligated to do their best at their job simply because that is what is expected of them. On the other hand, there are those who merely do enough to get by and receive a paycheck. No matter what type of employee, organizations need to understand the concept of motivation, which come in a variety of forms such as monetary benefits, perks or recognition within the corporation. Motivation also leads to higher productivity and greater profit Ð'- two major goals in business. The key to unlocking peak performance from employees is the concept of human motivation. And the key to motivation revolves around one fundamental principle: "What's in it for me?" This paper covers basic motivational forces and offers suggestions for motivating employees. Rooted in the classic question of psychology, motivational theory is an important part of a business education for all managers.

Society had led us to believe that only "selfish" people consider their own interest. In reality all people are motivated be self interest, whether it is a primary or secondary concern. The term selfish has a negative connotation for someone's perceived behavior. Understanding the concept of self interest is perhaps the only way we will understand the need to achieve and how others can be motivated to achieve. Self-interest or self esteem is a fundamental ingredient or motivation. The personal satisfaction an employee may receive from working overtime off the clock is either fro getting the job done well or helping the team. It is possible that management may recognize their efforts.

The theory of the rational-economic man, which originated in the philosophy of the English utilitarian economists, clearly explains this idea. Its primary premise is that man balances the amount of satisfaction achieved from n action with the amount of efforts the action takes (Holland, 1989). Man will then behave in a way to maximize self-interest. This theory further assumes that money is the primary satisfier. There are four main propositions in the rational-economic theory:

Ð'* Man is motivated be economic incentives and will perform these functions with the highest compensation.

Ð'* Organizations are most capable of providing economic incentives and may thus motivate and control man.

Ð'* Man's unconsciousness drives are intrinsically irrational, preventing the logical calculation of self-interest.

Ð'* Organizations must monitor and neutralize man's irrational feelings and direct man to meet self-interest objectives.

The rational-economic theory also assumes that man is incapable of self-control and that the organization must control these irrational feelings with external forces to achieve the organization's goals. To accomplish this task, the organization must have a highly centralized authority structure. Managers carry the burden of planning, organizing, and supervising. Subordinates are expected to follow authority.

When the organization id faced with a problem, they look to external changes for solutions rather than internal relationships. For example, if the level of production decreases, the solution might be to improve the control system, increase incentive, or re-evaluate the design of the jobs.

Components of Motivation

There are several variable in involved in motivation. According to Dr. Gerald Kushel, they are intensity, durability, context and value (Kushel, 1991). Motivation intensity plays an enormous role in how hard a person will work for a reward. If an employer offers a reward that is not meaningful to the employee, then they will not work for it. Intensity had to do with how strongly the reward is desired (Traynor, 1997). A person can be highly motivated, mildly motivated or only slightly motivated. If the person answers the question Ð''What's in it for me?" with" Something I want very much." The performer is considered highly motivated. If the answer is "I can take it or leave it," the performer id considered only slightly motivated. Durability has to do with the duration of the motivation (Sherman, 130). Motivation tends to last longer when it is reinforced intermittently rather the consistently. Intermittent rewards have a stronger effect. A person can come to expect the reward rather than se it as an incentive. Psychologists have believed this for years and feel it has to do with the uncertainty of the surprise factor of the stimulus. Tasks that have become part of a routine tend to be taken for granted or not appreciated.

Studies have shown that the intensity and duration of a given motivator are enhanced if the reward is immediately given following the act of behavior (Sherman, 1998). There is no confusion of what the reward is for in the mind of the performer when immediate reinforcement is given. In addition, what might be perceived as a reward to one person it may be considered punishment to another? Employers and managers must custom fir a

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