Motivation theory


** The name of the book is: CONTEMPORARY MANAGEMENT, 12th Ed. Gareth R. Jones, Jennifer M. George McGraw-Hill/Irwin The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.

** The ISBN is: 978-1-260-73515-4

1. Choose a motivation theory from chapter 13.

2.  Describe your understanding of this theory and its implications

3. Apply this theory to your life (in the context of work, school, or other) and its impact on your motivation. You must explicitly employ terminology, specific examples, and demonstrate full understanding of the theory and how to apply it.


The Nature of Motivation
Explain what motivation is and why managers need to be concerned about it.

Motivation may be defined as psychological forces that determine the direction of a persons behavior in an organization, a persons level of effort, and a persons level of persistence in the face of obstacles.7 The direction of a persons behavior refers to the many possible behaviors a person can engage in. For example, employees of ATS know they should do whatever it takes to provide high-quality customer service. Effort refers to how hard people work. ATS employees exert high levels of effort to make sure they maintain a collaborative working relationship between the engineering and production teams to meet or exceed company goals. Persistence refers to whether, when faced with roadblocks or other obstacles, people keep trying or give up. Managers at ATS persistently seek to improve the profitability of the company while making sure its customers continue to be satisfied with ATSs performance.

Motivation is central to management because it explains why people behave the way they do in organizations.8 Motivation also explains why a waiter is polite or rude and why a kindergarten teacher really tries to get children to enjoy learning or just goes through the motions. It explains why some managers truly put their organizations best interests first, whereas others are more concerned with maximizing their salaries and whymore generallysome workers put forth twice as much effort as others.

Where are you more likely to find prosocial motivation? Here in the classroom as a teacher walks her student through that tricky math problem. Getting companies to foster this type of motivation is a bit trickier!

Blend Images – LWA/Dann Tardif/Getty Images

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Motivation can come from either intrinsic or extrinsic sources. Intrinsically motivated behavior is behavior that is performed for its own sake; the source of motivation is actually performing the behavior, and motivation comes from doing the work itself. Many managers are intrinsically motivated; they derive a sense of accomplishment and achievement from helping the organization achieve its goals and gain competitive advantages. Jobs that are interesting and challenging or high on the five characteristics described by the job characteristics model (see Chapter 10) are more likely to lead to intrinsic motivation than are jobs that are boring or do not use a persons skills and abilities. An elementary school teacher who really enjoys teaching children, a software engineer who loves solving programming problems, and a commercial photographer who relishes taking creative photographs are all intrinsically motivated. For these individuals, motivation comes from performing their jobsteaching children, finding bugs in computer programs, and taking pictures.

Extrinsically motivated behavior is behavior that is performed to acquire material or social rewards or to avoid punishment; the source of motivation is the consequences of the behavior, not the behavior itself. A car salesperson who is motivated by receiving a commission on all cars sold, a lawyer who is motivated by the high salary and status that go along with the job, and a factory worker who is motivated by the opportunity to earn a secure income are all extrinsically motivated. Their motivation comes from the consequences they receive as a result of their work behaviors.

People can be intrinsically motivated, extrinsically motivated, or both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated.9 A top manager who derives a sense of accomplishment and achievement from managing a large corporation and strives to reach year-end targets to obtain a hefty bonus is both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated. Similarly, a nurse who enjoys helping and taking care of patients and is motivated by having a secure job with good benefits is both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated. As described in the chapters A Managers Challenge, within ATS, employees are both extrinsically motivated because of opportunities for promotions and having their pay linked to the companys overall performance and intrinsically motivated because they get a sense of satisfaction out of serving customers and learning new things. Whether workers are intrinsically motivated, extrinsically motivated, or both depends on a wide variety of factors: (1) workers own personal characteristics (such as their personalities, abilities, values, attitudes, and needs), (2) the nature of their jobs (such as whether they have been enriched or where they are on the five core characteristics of the job characteristics model), and (3) the nature of the organization (such as its structure, its culture, its control systems, its human resource management system, and the ways in which rewards such as pay are distributed to employees).

In addition to being intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, some people are prosocially motivated by their work.10 Prosocially motivated behavior is behavior that is performed to benefit or help others.11 Behavior can be prosocially motivated in addition to being extrinsically and/or intrinsically motivated. An elementary school teacher who not only enjoys the process of teaching young children (has high intrinsic motivation) but also has a strong desire to give children the best learning experience possible and help those with learning disabilities overcome their challenges, and who keeps up with the latest research on child development and teaching methods in an effort to continually improve the effectiveness of his teaching, has high prosocial motivation in addition to high intrinsic motivation. A surgeon who specializes in organ transplants, enjoys the challenge of performing complex operations, has a strong desire to help her patients regain their health and extend their lives through successful organ transplants, and is motivated by the relatively high income she earns has high intrinsic, prosocial, and extrinsic motivation. Recent preliminary research suggests that when workers have high prosocial motivation, also having high intrinsic motivation can be especially beneficial for job performance.12

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Regardless of whether people are intrinsically, extrinsically, or prosocially motivated, they join and are motivated to work in organizations to obtain certain outcomes. An outcome is anything a person gets from a job or an organization. Some outcomes, such as autonomy, responsibility, a feeling of accomplishment, and the pleasure of doing interesting or enjoyable work, result in intrinsically motivated behavior. Outcomes such as improving the lives or well-being of other people and doing good by helping others result in prosocially motivated behavior. Other outcomes, such as pay, job security, benefits, and vacation time, result in extrinsically motivated behavior.

Organizations hire people to obtain important inputs. An input is anything a person contributes to the job or organization, such as time, effort, education, experience, skills, knowledge, and actual work behaviors. Inputs such as these are necessary for an organization to achieve its goals. Managers strive to motivate members of an organization to contribute inputsthrough their behavior, effort, and persistencethat help the organization achieve its goals. How do managers do this? They ensure that members of an organization obtain the outcomes they desire when they make valuable contributions to the organization. Managers use outcomes to motivate people to contribute their inputs to the organization. Giving people outcomes when they contribute inputs and perform well aligns the interests of employees with the goals of the organization as a whole because when employees do what is good for the organization, they personally benefit.

This alignment between employees and organizational goals as a whole can be described by the motivation equation depicted in Figure 13.1. Managers seek to ensure that people are motivated to contribute important inputs to the organization, that these inputs are put to good use or focused in the direction of high performance, and that high performance results in workers obtaining the outcomes they desire.

Figure 13.1
The Motivation Equation

A chart defines the Motivation Equation.
Access the text alternative for Figure 13.1.
Each of the theories of motivation discussed in this chapter focuses on one or more aspects of this equation. Each theory focuses on a different set of issues that managers need to address to have a highly motivated workforce. Together the theories provide a comprehensive set of guidelines for managers to follow to promote high levels of employee motivation. Effective managers tend to follow many of these guidelines, whereas ineffective managers often fail to follow them and seem to have trouble motivating organizational members.