Definitions of Motivation, Morale, and Incentives:Motivation is often somethingintuitively understood but not always easy to precisely define. One earlydefinition of motivation was formulated by Vroom (1964, cited in Van Eerde andThierry, p. 576) in which he defined it as a psychological process controlling choicesmade by people that cause the arousal, direction, and persistence of voluntaryactions that are goal directed. However, a more applicable definition ofmotivation to the workplace describes it as “the degree to which an individualwants and tries hard to do well at a particular task or job” (Mitchell, 1982,p.
82). A more general and recentdefinition was put forth by Waddell et al (2008) inwhich they sum up motivation as the psychologicalforces which govern the direction of a person’s behavior in an organization, anindividual’s level of effort and a person’s degree of persistence. Motivation can be subdivided into thecategories of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is adesire to do something that comes from within an individual and influences himor her to behave in a certain way or direction (Ryan and Deci, 2000).Practically speaking, in the workplace this would mean an opportunity toutilize one’s natural abilities on a project, interesting work,self-development or a chance to better oneself through the job, or a sense ofaccomplishment from doing the work itself regardless of external incentives. Itis derived from the satisfaction in doing the job itself and often connectsdirectly with a person’s values. Extrinsic motivation is rather different. Itis concerned with behavior that is done in order to gain tangible incentivessuch as salaries, fringe benefits, bonuses, job security, promotions, and otherlargely financially related rewards and not for the satisfaction of the jobitself (Ryan and Deci, 2000).
Morale is a concept that is closelylinked to motivation but has some significant differences. A basic definitionwas provided by Bowles and Cooper (2009, p.2) who stated that morale was “a state of individual psychological well-beingbased upon a sense of confidence and usefulnessand purpose.” A more useful definition with relation to the work environmentwas supplied by McKnight et al (2001) who define it as the degree to which anemployee feels good about his/her work and work environment. They use the termin an inclusive manner to encompass concepts such as job satisfaction,organizational commitment, pride in one’s job, and how meaningful work is. Inthese two definitions, morale is presented as an individual concept.
However, Seroka(2009) expands on this idea and explain morale as the general level ofconfidence or optimism felt by a person or a group, especially if it affectsdiscipline and willingness in an organization. The major point to discern aboutmorale is that is not only an individual but also a group concept as comparedto the individualistic focus of motivation. Theories of Motivation:Content theories of motivation centeron analyzing underlying human needs in relation to motivation. They operate onthe assumption that people are motivated to behave by the fulfillment ofcertain needs they have.
The most well-known example is Abraham Maslow’shierarchy of needs theory. In his theory, an individual progresses through ahierarchy of needs which must be satisfied in turn before the next level can beattained. The bottom level starts with physiological needs and continues on tosafety needs, social affiliation and belonging, esteem needs, andself-actualization needs at the highest level (Maslow, 1943). Later on, Herzbergdeveloped a two-factor theory of motivation centered around the ideas of whathe called “satisfiers” and “dissatisfiers”. Briefly, satisfiers are motivationalfactors associated with job satisfaction and would include things such asrecognition, responsibility, opportunities for growth and advancement.Dissatisfiers are factors within the workplace that are regarded as maintenancefactors that do not contribute to job satisfaction and motivation but arenecessary to avoid employees becoming dissatisfied. They might be a dangerouswork environment or high levels of noise in the workplace, salary, status, orsecurity. (Herzberg, 1966, cited in Steers et al, 2004, p.
381). Process theories deal more with howpeople’s thought processes affect their actions. They propose that individualsare continually evaluating their behaviors with their work environment in termsof fulfilling their needs, seeking out rewards, or exerting effort. In 1964, Vroomdeveloped his theory of motivation called expectancy theory which asserts thatmotivation is based on the belief on the expectation of a desired outcome.Three major concepts underlie this theory. They are expectancy,instrumentality, and valence. Expectancy refers to an individual’s belief aboutwhether they will or will not be successful in achieving a desired result.Instrumentality is the idea that a good performance will be met with a reward.
Valence is concerned with how attractive a potential reward, incentive, orresult is. Thus, motivation can be expressed as: motivation = expectancy x instrumentalityx valence. (Vroom, 1964, cited in Van Eerde and Wendline, 1996). Expectancytheory places a high priority on rewards as a key element in motivating people.
As different people are motivated by different rewards or incentives, thistheory offers organizations some scope for finding out what kinds of incentivesmotivate their employees and then utilizing them to boost employee performanceor engagement. The incentives could be extrinsic or intrinsic and then linkedto the organization’s goals One final major theory ofmotivation is called Goal Setting Theory and was originally developed by E.A.
Lockein order to find a way to increase intrinsic motivation. His idea was that theway that employers could increase the intrinsic motivation of his employees wasvia the setting of goals that were challenging yet realistic and attainable byemployees. Accomplishing these goals would increase the satisfaction andengagement of workers and encourage them to set new goals. (Locke, 1968) As a benefit, since thegoals are mutually determined by employers in conjunction with employees, thishas the effect of increasing employee participation and enabling management torecognize their success by providing positive feedback when goals areaccomplished. This theory was further developed and refined into Locke andLatham’s Five Goal Setting Principles, which are clarity, challenge,commitment, feedback, and complexity (Locke and Latham, 1991).
This theoreticalextension of Locke’s original theory was purposefully designed in order tomotivate individuals to accomplish particular objectives in workplace settings. Research on Incentives and Motivation:For the purpose of this report,incentives will simply be defined as things that motivate or encourage a personto do something. Financial incentives are considered to be extrinsic motivatorsand are perhaps the best-studied of incentives designed to motivate workers. Theyinclude salary, benefits, special rewards, and profit sharing programs amongother things. The most consistent finding in the academic literature is thatthese types of incentives are best at increasing job performance in terms ofquality and quantity (Shaw and Gupta, 2015). It was once believed thatfinancial incentives did increase job performance but at the cost of decreasingintrinsic motivation in workers. However, recent meta-analyses by Cerasoli etal. (2014) and Garbers and Konradt (2014) have effectively shown this not to betrue.
Non-financial incentives are a ratherbroad category but have been shown to affect intrinsic motivation in employees andjob performance. One incentive studied has been the effect of publicrecognition on various aspects of workplace behavior. In short, research showsmixed results of the efficacy of recognition as an incentive. While manystudies have shown recognition to have positive effects, Ashraf et al. (2014)and Kosfeld and Neckermann (2011), others such as one done by Gubler et al.
(2013) found that the implementation of a corporate awards program at fiveindustrial laundry plants actually decreased plant productivity by 1.4%. Feedbackincentives have also yielded slightly unclear results. Experiments done byAzmat and Irriberri (2011), Blanes (2011) and Tran and Zeckhauser (2012) showconsiderable positive effects from feedback in school and work settings onoverall performance. However, in an experiment by Barankay (2012) utilizingperformance rankings with furniture salespeople, sales performance actuallydecreased 11% after experimenters stopping giving feedback to salespeople ontheir performance relative to other salespeople.
Employee participation in the decision-makingprocess has been cited as an incentive for workers in organizations. The 2003Towers Watson Global Workforce Study (cited in Giancola, 2014), p.26) foundthat input into decision making by employees was among the top 10 drivers foremployee engagement. Other research by has found participation into decisionmaking to have a real but modest effect on performance. Locke et al. (1980,cited in Rynes et al. 2004, p. 383) found a less than 1% productivity increasefrom employee participation programs.
Autonomy has been noted as anincentive. The 2013 (SHRM) Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey of600 employees in the USA discovered than autonomy was among the top 10conditions out of 34 from which employee engagement could be maximized. Anotherfactor in incentivizing employees is job enrichment or job design. A 2008 studyby Nohria et al. of nearly 700 employees in several global companiesascertained that job design was one of the primary ways of motivating andretaining employees.
A challenging job that enables employees to grow and learnin their skills while also doing a variety of tasks is considered to be astrong intrinsic motivator (SHRM, 2012). Leading projects was found to be aneven more highly rated motivator than financial incentives in a 2009 study byDewhurst et al. in McKinsey Quarterly of a survey of 1,047 executives, managersand employees across the globe. By giving employees a chance to take charge ofprojects, it demonstrates to the worker that the company values them and wantsto give them a chance to grow and develop their skills further. In conclusion, attempts have beenmade to define how motivation works on a theoretical basis and how variousincentives of a financial and non-financial nature can affect intrinsic motivationin the workplace.
As this project will focus on incentives in a nonprofitorganization, research will be conducted to find out which specific incentiveswould be most effective in this particular organization and if there are anypreferences between males and females for certain incentives over others.