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Friday, December 28, 2012

Priming Organizational Motivation: A partnership of mutual self-interest!

Does employee motivation elude you? Even in the most progressive organizations the nature of motivation eludes the best of managers who throw their hands in the air in sulking defeat. Properly nurtured motivational goals and objectives can be realized through practical processes within the workplace.  Part of the problem lay in their managers perspective of what motivation actually entails. Motivation should not be forced but instead finessed. Like a great fisherman the motivated employee should be attracted and encouraged to take the bait that leads to a line of development.

Employee motivation has two partners of which the first partner is the employee and the second is the organization. In essence, motivation stems from the employee but is fostered through business processes (Radovanovic & Savic, 2012). The will and the way must come together in a workplace marriage if higher performance is to be realized. Despite the benefits offered by the organization the employee is the one who must have a motivational need to put forth the effort into the appropriate pathways offered by the company.

This is why it is beneficial to recruit motivated employees who have a higher probability to use motivational processes/potentials to realize their goals through the organization. Victor Vroom (1964) states "The complex of forces that initiate and keep somebody at work in a company, that is, the motivation starts and maintains activity in the intended direction." The desire to be motivated comes from the unfulfilled needs of the employee which seeks a path of realization within the organization. Organizations that recruit employees with goals and needs can better reap the rewards of their effort through proper encouragement.

The willingness of an employee to put forth effort can be explained by something called Expectancy Theory. Expectancy Theory is based on the assumption that employees will reach a higher level of impact if there is a strong connection between effort and performance, results and rewards, personal rewards and goals (Radovanovic & Savic, 2012).  The path to employee engagement should be transparent and easy for employees to discern when compared to alternative paths that lead to disengagement. This is one reason why policies, ethical standards, processes, procedures, performance feedback and compensation need to be in proper alignment. Where there is divergence of these organizational methods there is also likely to be confusion about appropriate pathways.

The Expectancy Theory discussed the cognitive choices employees make when trying to achieve their goals. The more closely and transparent these choices are the higher the likelihood that appropriate choices will be made that benefit both the individual and the organization.  Montana and Charnov (2008) states, "This theory emphasizes the needs for organizations to relate rewards directly to performance and to ensure that the rewards provided are those rewards deserved and wanted by the recipients." Confusion, cultural rifts between management and employees, improperly designed HR functions, and poorly managed businesses will fail to clearly define proper choice within the organization. They will fail to develop human capital through the confusion of their mixed messages.

As managers throw their arms in the air and pull out the roots of their hair at the lack of employee's motivation they should consider the environment they have created as one of the potential causes of the problem. Strong recruitment and organizational processes go hand-in-hand. It is easy to assume employees are lazy, unproductive, unmotivated, and uninspired when ready made biases are easily available. The question we have to ask ourselves is, "Are we creating the right environment for mutual benefit or are we holding our employees back?"

"A good manager is a man who isn't worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him. My advice: Don't worry about yourself. Take care of those who work for you and you'll float to greatness on their achievements."-  H.S.M Burns


Camilovic, S. & Vidojevic, V. (2007). Basics of human resource management. Belgrade; Tekon.

Montana, P. & Charnov, B. (2008). Management (4th Edition). Barron's Educational Series, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7641-3941-4


Radovanovic, V. & Savic, L. (2012). Motivation and job satisfaction-determinants of competitiveness. Metalurgia International, XVII (11).

Vroom, W. (1964). Work and motivation. NY: Wiley





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