Chapter 5 I. Why Study Motivation?
Motivation is one of the most traditional topics in organizational behaviour and it has become
more important in contemporary organizations as a result of the need for increased
productivity to be globally competitive and the rapid changes that organizations are
II. What is Motivation?
When we speak about motivation we usually mean that a person "works hard," "keeps at" his
or her work, and directs his or her behaviour toward appropriate outcomes.
A. Basic Characteristics of Motivation
Motivation is the extent to which persistent effort is directed toward a goal.
The four basic characteristics of motivation are effort, persistence, direction, and goals.
Effort. This refers to the strength of a person's work-related behaviour.
Persistence. This refers to the persistence that individuals exhibit in applying effort to their
Direction. This refers to the quality of a person's work related behaviour.
Goals. This refers to the ends towards which employees direct their effort.
B. Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation
Experts in organizational behaviour distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation stems from the direct relationship between the worker and the task and
it is usually self-applied. Extrinsic motivation stems from the work environment external to
the task and it is usually applied by someone other than the person being motivated. The
extrinsic/intrinsic motivation relationship suggests that if intrinsic outcomes and extrinsic
outcomes are both highly attractive, they should contribute to motivation in an additive
fashion. In general, research has shown that both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards are necessary
to enhance motivation in actual work settings.
C. Motivation and Performance
Performance can be defined as the extent to which an organizational member contributes to
achieving the objectives of the organization. Although there is a positive relationship between
motivation and performance, the relationship is not one-to-one because other factors such as
personality, general cognitive ability, emotional intelligence, task understanding, and chance
General Cognitive Ability. General cognitive ability refers to a person’s basic information
processing capacities and cognitive resources. General cognitive ability predicts learning and
training success as well as job performance in all kinds of jobs and occupations. It is an even
better predictor of performance for more complex and higher-level jobs that require the use of
more cognitive skills.
Emotional Intelligence. Emotional intelligence (EI) has to do with an individual’s ability to
understand and manage his or her own and others’ feelings and emotions. Peter Salovey and John Mayer have developed an EI model that consists of four interrelated sets of skills or
branches. The four skills represent sequential steps that form a hierarchy. Beginning from the
first and most basic level, the four branches are: Perception of emotions, integration and
assimilation of emotions, knowledge and understanding of emotions, and management of
emotions. EI has been found to predict performance in a number of areas including work
performance and academic performance. It is most likely to predict performance in jobs that
involve a lot of social interaction and require high levels of emotional intelligence.
III. What is Employee Engagement?
Engagement involves the extent to which an individual immerses his or her true self into his
or her work roles. When people are engaged, they employ and express themselves physically,
cognitively, and emotionally during role performances. When a person is disengaged, they
withdraw and defend themselves physically, cognitively, or emotionally during role
performances. Two important components of employee engagement are attention and
absorption. Three psychological conditions that contribute to engagement are psychological
meaningfulness, safety, and availability.
IV. Need Theories of Work Motivation
Need theories of motivation attempt to specify the kinds of needs people have and the
conditions under which they will be motivated to satisfy these needs in a way that contributes
to performance. Needs are physiological and psychological wants or desires that individuals
can satisfy by acquiring certain incentives or achieving particular goals. It is the behaviour
stimulated by this acquisition process that reveals the motivational character of needs:
NEEDS --> BEHAVIOUR --> INCENTIVES AND GOALS
Need theories are concerned with “what” motivates workers (needs and their associated
incentives or goals). They can be contrasted with process theories, which are concerned with
exactly “how” various factors motivate people. Need theories and process theories are
complementary rather than contradictory.
A. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a theory based on satisfying certain needs.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a five-level hierarchical need theory of motivation that
specifies that the lowest-level unsatisfied need has the greatest motivating potential. These
needs include physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs, and
self-actualization needs. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, motivation depends on the
person’s position in the need hierarchy. Individuals are motivated to satisfy their physiological
needs before they show interest in their self-esteem or safety needs. When needs at a
particular level of the hierarchy are satisfied, the individual turns his or her attention to the
next higher level. Maslow's hierarchy also implies that a satisfied need is no longer an effective
B. Alderfer's ERG Theory
Another need-based theory called ERG theory was developed by Clayton Alderfer. ERG theory
is a three level hierarchical need theory of motivation that allows for movement up and down
the hierarchy. The name ERG stems from the compression of Maslow’s five-category need
system into three categories of needs: existence, relatedness, and growth needs.
Alderfer's theory differs from Maslow's theory in that there is not a rigid hierarchy of needs
and that if higher-level needs are ungratified, individuals will increase their desire for the
gratification of lower-level needs. C. McClelland's Theory of Needs
Psychologist David McClelland has developed a need theory based on the specific behavioural
consequences of needs rather than a hierarchy of needs. McClelland’s theory of needs is a
nonhierarchical need theory of motivation that outlines the conditions under which certain
needs result in particular patterns of motivation. Individuals have needs for achievement,
affiliation, and power. The theory outlines the conditions under which these needs result in
particular patterns of motivation.
People high in the need for achievement have a strong desire to perform challenging tasks.
The also exhibit the following characteristics: A preference for situations in which personal
responsibility can be taken for outcomes; a tendency to set moderately difficult goals that
provide for calculated risks; and a desire for performance feedback.
People high in the need for affiliation have a strong desire to establish and maintain friendly,
compatible interpersonal relationships. People high in the need for power have a strong
desire to influence others, making a significant impact or impression. McClelland predicts that
people will be motivated to seek out and perform well in jobs that match their needs.
McClelland has found that the most effective managers have low n Aff, high n Pow, and use
their power to achieve organizational goals.
D. Research Support for Need Theories
Research results show that need theories are valid under certain circumstances. The simplicity
and flexibility of ERG theory seem to capture the human need structure better than the
greater complexity and rigidity of Maslow’s theory. Research on McClelland's theory is
generally supportive of the idea that particular needs are motivational when the work setting
permits the satisfaction of these needs.
E. Managerial Implications of Need Theories
Need theories have some important things to say about managerial attempts to motivate
Appreciate Diversity. Managers must be adept at evaluating the needs of individual
employees and offering incentives or goals that correspond to their needs.
Appreciate Intrinsic Motivation. Need theories also serve the valuable function of
alerting managers to the existence of higher-order needs. Therefore, need theories
indicate the importance of appreciating diversity and intrinsic motivation.
V. Process Theories of Work Motivation
Need theories of motivation concentrate on what motivates individuals, while process
theories concentrate on how motivation occurs. Three important process theories are
expectancy theory, equity theory, and goal setting theory.
A. Expectancy Theory
The basic idea underlying expectancy theory is the belief that motivation is determined by
the outcomes that people expect to occur as a result of their actions on the job. There are a
number of basic components of expectancy theory.
Outcomes are the consequences that may follow certain work behaviours. First-level
outcomes are of interest to the organization, such as productivity. Second-level outcomes are consequences of first-level outcomes and of interest to individual
workers, such as pay.
Instrumentality is the probability that a particular first-level outcome (such as high
productivity) will be followed by a particular second-level outcome (such as pay).
Valence is the expected value of outcomes; the extent to which they are attractive or
unattractive to the individual. The valence of first-level outcomes is the sum of
products of the associated second-level outcomes and their instrumentalities. It
depends on the extent to which it leads to favourable second-level outcomes.
Expectancy is the probability that a particular first-level outcome can be achieved.
Force is the effort directed toward a first-level outcome and is the end product of the
other components of the theory. We expect that an individual's effort will be directed
toward the first-level outcome that has the highest force product (force = first-level
valence x expectancy).
The main concepts of expectancy theory are that people will be motivated to engage in those
work activities that they find attractive and that they feel they can accomplish. The
attractiveness of various work activities depends upon the extent to which they lead to