Showing posts with label motivation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label motivation. Show all posts

Friday, December 19, 2014

Are Satisfied Employees Less Willing to Help Others?

Organizations can be regarded as a system of relationships between individuals. Social exchange theory (e.g. Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005) provides a general framework to understand these relationships, arguing that positive interactions are likely to increase cooperation among individuals in organizations. While there is much information about how cooperative relationships evolve, far less is known about how these relationships affect each other. Now, taking into account that employees have multiple relationships as they are dealing with coworkers and with supervisors, the question is whether cooperation in one direction may affect cooperation in the other. 

From an organizational perspective, career systems may be viewed as a means to create cooperative relationships with employees. At the same time, however, they can reduce cooperation among coworkers as they will compete for higher positions. This mechanism was found in a study among Dutch organizations: the more satisfied employees were with their career opportunities, the less willing they were to help their colleagues (Koster, 2014). This suggests that the motivational effect of career systems may be at odds with the conditions that are needed to create positive work relations among employees. Organizations that are based around teamwork should be aware of this potential trade-off of between career incentives and cooperation among employees.

Cropanzano, R., & Mitchell, M. S. (2005). Social exchange theory: An interdisciplinary review. Journal of Management, 31, 874-900.

Koster, F. (2014). “When two worlds collide”. Career satisfaction and altruistic organizational citizenship behavior. International Journal of Business Science and Applied Management9(1), 1-12.

Dr. Ferry Koster is Associate Professor of Labor, Organization, and Management at the department of Sociology of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), the Netherlands. Besides that, he is a researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies of the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His empirical research includes the cross national comparison of formal policies and individual attitudes, the comparative study of organizations, and organizational behavior. A general theme across these studies is the question to what extent and how social context relates to individual outcomes.

EUR profile of Ferry Koster

Friday, July 11, 2014

Are You Ignoring Contributing Factors to Fitness?

Is fitness and health exclusively about exercise? Certainly one can make that argument but they often forget about other aspects of one’s life that lead to greater fitness and health. If a person jumps on the treadmill for a half hour a day they will not magically get in great shape.  Those that fail to make a connection to other needed life adjustments are unlikely to achieve their full potential. The reason? – Limited perspective that results in ignoring contributing components to improved fitness.

Fitness and health is as much a lifestyle change as it is engaging in new activities. It requires adjustments in Food & Diet, Fitness Routine, Motivation & Habit, Self-Image, and Nutrition & Fitness Knowledge.  To encourage success in your endeavors you should consider how each aspect of your health impacts your chances of success:

Food & Diet: What we eat will have an impact on our overall health. High fat and calorie laden food will continue to add to your unused energy each day. When your body reaches 3,500 calories you gain a pound and begin to add fat. Eating low calorie but highly nutritious food will help you lose weight and provide the building blocks for enhanced muscle growth. 

Fitness Routine: Fitness routine design will determine focus, speed of change, and the likelihood of injury.  The type of activities influences weight loss, muscle gain, flexibility and performance. For example, gaining muscle requires resistance training while weight loss needs more cardiovascular routines.  It is best to follow other routines or find help in developing a customized routine.

Motivation & Habit: After the New Years gyms are packed with enthusiastic fitness hobbyists that disappear after a few months. The problem is related to motivation and habit. Motivation helps get someone to the gym but habit keeps them coming back at regular intervals. 

Self-Image Development: How we view ourselves will have an impact on our fitness levels, the body image we project, and sustaining motivation. Developing a self-image that is associated with fitness, exercise, sports, etc. will help integrate proper fitness behaviors that are relied on throughout the week.

Nutrition & Fitness Knowledge:  A lack of knowledge can regularly lead to fitness failure. Learning about how the body works, exercise movements, food choices, and sports hobbies encourages greater knowledge for proper fitness choices.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Managers Model Motivation for Employees

Art Work: Dr. Murad Abel

Motivation is an important tool for achieving goals. Motivation is not an all or nothing thing and different people show motivation in varying ways. Some employees will be motivated in a few tasks and others may not show any motivation whatsoever. A paper by Coget (2011) reviews managerial motivation in the fostering of employee motivation to adopt new technology and skills that service their customers better. 

It should be understood that adopting new technology and learning new skills can be difficult for employees. To master a new system or serve customers better requires employees who want to learn these new skills and are willing to move through initial frustration to gain mastery. When managers help employees by modeling motivated behavior they can raise motivation levels in their employees. 

In the case of technology adaptation, those managers who modeled the adaptation and use of technology found that their employees were motivated to do the same at a higher rate. This same concept applies to positive workplace behaviors as well as motivation in handling customers. The manager sets the pace and tone of the behaviors that should be emulated in his or her department. 

Charismatic managers found that their employees adopted their motivation more than those with managers who were not charismatic. When managers have charisma they promoted devotion to certain beliefs and causes. Their charm carried higher levels of influence with employees and this led to higher levels of modeling behavior. 

Managers who can connect with employees through multiple similarities with them also found greater motivation for adaptation. A manager who seemed to have similarities with the group they lead attracted more interest than those who were perceived as too different. People want to understand, connect, and see similarities with those above them in position. 

Motivation can be internally or externally driven but there are behaviors managers can emulate that create higher levels of motivation in their employees. When the manager shows motivation, charisma of personality, and appears to have similarities with employees they are likely to create greater motivation of change. This adaptation and change can help organizations learn new skills as well as learn new technology and weather the effects of immediate frustration. 

Coget, J. (2011). Does managerial motivation spill over to subordinates? Academy of Management Perspective, 25 (4). 

Wieseke, J. et. al. (2011). How leaders’ motivation transfers to customer service representatives. Journal of Service Research, 14(2).

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Four Factors of Unconscious Marketing

Subconscious goals = how we see the world.

As competition between products and services rises, marketers seek new methods of promoting products beyond the cultural borders that often limit sales potential. The paper by Woodside and Brasel (2011) provides an overview of unconscious branding as well as its four major methodological approaches.  Understanding what researchers have already found and where large gaps in the literature exists help in highlighting the need for additional research.

Unconscious marketing deals greatly with the concept of behavior, action and beliefs (BAB) toward products. At its core is the belief that behavior proceeds action, which in term fosters particular beliefs in products (Wilson, 2002). Thus, most thinking is on an unconscious level and behavior typically occurs before conscious thinking. If so, marketing can be effective at an unconscious level.

To understand the unconscious it is often beneficial to see an example in ancient history. When Socrates went to the oracle of Delphi it was relayed that his greatest task and that of mankind was to seek truth and know thyself (Pettinger, 2011). As the mind seeks to know itself, it has developed two mental processes that are called the conscious and the unconscious. The conscious is the limited, but available information, while the unconscious is the stronger processor but is difficult for people to reach (Wilson, 2009).

In terms of branding, the unconscious may be extremely important in influencing branding and purchasing behavior. The problem faced by researchers is that the unconscious is multi-dimensional and may have four factors that include lack of awareness, lack of intent, efficiency, and lack of control (Bargh, 1994). This makes the unconscious a wild horse with its own processes that represent the true nature of man.

Unconscious branding is a relatively new field built off Frued’s psychoanalysis. Despite his approaches, it has taken decades to move into new theories and approaches. Researchers have a number of opinions and limited research to back up their claims. Despite these successes, understanding the phenomenon means to look beyond traditional approaches to new ways of analysis.

There are generally four major research studies and ways of looking at unconscious branding:

-Non-conscious visual drivers: The visual processing mechanisms are unconscious and goals influence what we will see before becoming consciously aware.

-Priming Ads: Internet ads can make more forced ads (i.e. television) more effective through priming.

-Social motivations for conforming or escaping: Advertisements that focus on either helping people identify with particular groups of people or escape to form a self-identity can be effective. 

-Internal consumer autopilot: It is believed that non-conscious behavior, routine, schema and habit affect our choices.

Woodside and Brasel (2011) argue that new and more comprehensive models are needed to make findings practical. The report helps us think about how underdeveloped this field is as well as the potential possibilities for companies that want to use new models and methods to improve their brand awareness. By understanding how to sequence advertisements and use internal motivations, marketers can increase their response rates as well as their financial effectiveness.

The processing of most environmental cues is subconscious and most people cannot tap that source of information to pull it into their conscious. This means that it is these powerful processing tools, based in our need for survival, where brands can create the most effectiveness. This is why brands often offer either social acceptance (i.e. jewelry) or they offer solutions to problems (i.e. automobiles). Sometimes they come together (i.e. Mercedes). Attachment to any particular brand is based in its social advantages,  neuro-economic resource choices, and solutions to unconscious conflicts.

Bargh , J . A . ( 1994 ) The four horsemen of automaticity: Awareness, intention, efficiency, and control in social cognition . In: R.S. Wyer and T.K. Srull (eds.) Handbook of Social Cognition , Vol. 1, 2nd edn. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum , pp. 1 – 40 .

Pettinger , T . ( 2011 ) Radical thinking: What you can learn from the timeless philosophy of socrates, Retrieved October 20th, 2013 from 

Wilson , T . D . ( 2002 ) Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press .

Woodside, A. & Brasel, S. (2011). Unconscious thinking, feeling and behavior toward products and brands: introduction to a Journal of Brand Management special issue. Journal of Brand Management, 18, (7).

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek-Structure vs. Performance

Friedrick August Hayek was an Austrian and later British economist and philosopher. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on a theory of money and economic fluctuations that tied in an analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena.  He was a lead 20th century thinker that contributed to economics, systems, neuroscience, jurisprudence and history of ideas. It was these multiple vantage points of seeing the nature of society and its economic system that led to one of his most influential works Road to Serfdom. 

In his work the Road to Serfdom he argues the main points that the loss of individualism also means the loss of liberty, oppression, and the eventual serfdom of people. His argument is that as governments centralize their power they also create limitations on people to develop their economic abilities for the betterment of the nation. Even though centralization has good intentions it eventually limits the ability of people to compete. Development must come through the individual and contribute as an individual to the collective benefit of all. He advocates for a bottom (individual) upwards form of social structure versus a top (administration) moving downward which creates natural limitations. 

Centralized control can be seen as a function of GNP. As governments control higher levels of GNP they will naturally exert certain powers over the lives of individuals. This power creates structures within society that limit the abilities of individuals to manifest their individual destinies. It would seem that strong governments are those that maintain the lowest amount of GNP as necessary to complete their duties and functions. Beyond this, governments could be seen as having unnecessary control over markets.

He argues that the only way to improve upon the betterment of people and the management of society is to push for truly free markets that enhance the ability of people to generate their own income. In this respect Hayek appears to have a level of validity in terms that true Capitalism is a free system whereby each person has an opportunity to produce income and is not thwarted by forced social adherence, policies that protect the conglomerates of companies or individuals, or in any way damage the ability of individuals to produce a living based upon their own skills and abilities. 

From Hayek’s arguments he does not believe government has no place in the market. Yet the government's role is confined to those things such as environmental protections, minimal safety nets, consumer protection, and labor rules that are considered fair and just. However, allowing special interest groups or companies to use government as another system of controlling people and their financial abilities to live free lives is a sure path to serfdom. Government should primarily concern itself with legislation that is necessary for the betterment of everyone and not continual consolidation of power and resources to control or manipulate markets. 

The book moves through a number of great chapters that include The Abandoned Road, The Great Utopia, Individualism and Collectivism, The Inevitability of Planning, Planning and Democracy, Planning and the Rule of Law, Economic Control and Totalitarianism, Who, Whom?, Security and Freedom, Why the Worst Get on Top, The End of Truth, The Socialists Roots of Nazism, The totalitarians in our Midst, Material Conditions and Ideal Ends, Prospects of International Order. 

After reading the book I find myself thinking about the importance of rewarding knowledge and performance in the marketplace versus social adherence. Government’s greatest responsibility would be to legislate only when it is necessary to maintain the free market (i.e. anti-trust laws) or when individuals are no longer free to make a living because of social, economic, or special interests. Laws are nation’s ethical standards and provide a framework for people to understand how to exist and compete in the market. If these laws unnecessarily protect certain groups from realizing their true potential or force a “status quo” on the population these laws should be removed as they limit the potential of a nation.  An entire system will eventually collapse and become impoverished when individuals cannot scan their environments and come to the conclusion that their performance equates directly to their success. The more people who come to this conclusion the closer the population is to serfdom as people’s potential wanes against the need to maintain social structure. Motivation is an internal force that pushes to be realized in a receptive or unreceptive environment. If that environment forces compliance with lower standards and rigid social expectations the highest levels of performance can’t be realized.