Motivating for Performance Discussion

Motivating for Performance Discussion

Motivating for Performance Discussion

Motivation is defined as the psychological processes that arouse and direct people’s goal-directed behavior. The model of how it works is that people have certain needs that motivate them to perform specific behaviors for which they receive rewards, both extrinsic and intrinsic, that feed back and satisfy the original need. The four major perspectives on motivation are content, process, job-design, and reinforcement.

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What would make you rise a half hour earlier than usual to ensure you got to work on time—and to perform your best once there?

Among the possible inducements (such as those offered by SAS, Google, and Salesforce): free snacks and free meals, on-site laundry, Friday afternoons off, child care assistance, freedom to paint your walls, tuition reimbursement, career counseling, and having your dog at work. How about repayment of your student loan—there’s a big one! (But only 3% of companies offer it.)12 How about getting paid to live near your job? (Housing subsidies are sometimes offered to attract new hires to high-rent areas like Silicon Valley.)13

Whether employment rates are high or low, there are always companies, industries, and occupations in which employers feel they need to bend over backward to retain their human capital.

Motivation: What It Is, Why It’s Important

Why do people do the things they do? The answer is this: They are mainly motivated to fulfill their wants and needs.

What Is Motivation and How Does It Work?

Motivation may be defined as the psychological processes that arouse and direct goal-directed behavior. 14 Motivation is difficult to understand because you can’t actually see it or know it in another person; it must be inferred from one’s behavior. Nevertheless, it’s imperative that you as a manager understand the process of motivation if you are to guide employees in accomplishing your organization’s objectives.

The way motivation works actually is complex, the result of multiple personal and contextual factors. (See Figure 12.1 .)

FIGURE 12.1 An integrated model of motivation A figure lists the factors affecting motivation and employee engagement Access the text alternative for Figure 12 1. Page 397

The individual personal factors that employees bring to the workplace range from personality to attitudes, many of which we described in Chapter 11 . The contextual factors include organizational culture, cross-cultural values, the physical environment, and other matters we discuss in this chapter and the next. Both categories of factors influence an employee’s level of motivation and engagement at work.

However, motivation can also be expressed in a simple model—namely, that people have certain needs that motivate them to perform specific behaviors for which they receive rewards that feed back and satisfy the original need. (See Figure 12.2 , below.)

FIGURE 12.2 A simple model of motivation A figure illustrates a simple model of motivation Access the text alternative for Figure 12 2.

For example, as an hourly worker you desire more money (need), which impels you (motivates you) to work more hours (behavior), which provides you with more money (reward) and informs you (feedback loop) that working more hours will fulfill your need for more money in the future.

Rewards (as well as motivation itself) are of two types—extrinsic and intrinsic. 15 Managers can use both to encourage better work performance.

· Extrinsic rewards—satisfaction in the payoff from others. An extrinsic reward is the payoff, such as money, a person receives from others for performing a particular task. An extrinsic reward is an external reward; the payoff comes from pleasing others. Motivating for Performance Discussion

Example: The Air Force is offering a bonus to drone pilots if they extend their commitment to remain in the military. These pilots can earn $15,000 a year by extending for either five or nine years, and they have the option to receive half the total bonus up front. The Air Force is doing this because the demand for drone pilots exceeds the supply.16

Another example: Companies are trying to reduce health care costs by paying employees to lose weight.17 (Some firms are asking their employees to pay higher insurance premiums to spur them to take off pounds, but that has not been found to be a strong enough motivation. “Financial incentives can work well—if they are separated from insurance premiums,” suggests one team of researchers.)18

· Intrinsic rewards—satisfaction in performing the task itself. An intrinsic reward is the satisfaction, such as a feeling of accomplishment, a person receives from performing the particular task itself. An intrinsic reward is an internal reward; the payoff comes from pleasing yourself.

Example: When Debbie Feit, a senior copywriter at MARS, a Southfield, Michigan–based marketing agency, was given a month-long paid sabbatical at a charitable organization of her choice, she chose to donate her time writing marketing materials and completing grant applications for children’s mental health organizations. “MARS could have just sent money to the organization,” Feit says, “but instead they also devoted my time to something I felt passionate about. I was very touched by the experience.”19

Page 398

We all are motivated by a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. Which type of reward is more valuable to you? Answering this question can help you generate self-motivation and higher performance.


Are You More Interested in Extrinsic or Intrinsic Rewards?

The following survey was designed to assess extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Please be prepared to answer these questions if your instructor has assigned Self-Assessment 12.1 in Connect.

1. What is more important to you, extrinsic or intrinsic rewards? Are you surprised by the results?

2. How can you use the results to increase your motivation to obtain good grades in your classes?

3. If you were managing someone like yourself, what would you do to increase the individual’s motivation?

Why Is Motivation Important?

It seems obvious that organizations would want to motivate their employees to be more productive. But motivation also plays a role in influencing a host of outcomes, including employee engagement, organizational citizenship, absenteeism, and service quality. 20 In order of importance, you as a manager want to motivate people to:

1. Join your organization. You need to instill in talented prospective workers the desire to come to work for you.

2. Stay with your organization. Whether you are in good economic times or bad, you always want to be able to retain good people.

3. Show up for work at your organization. In many organizations, absenteeism and lateness are tremendous problems.

4. Be engaged while at your organization. Engaged employees produce higher-quality work and better customer service.

5. Do extra for your organization. You hope your employees will perform extra tasks above and beyond the call of duty (be organizational “good citizens”).

The Four Major Perspectives on Motivation: Overview

There is no theory accepted by everyone as to what motivates people. In this chapter, therefore, we present the four principal perspectives. From these, you may be able to select what ideas seem most workable to you. The four perspectives on motivation are (1) content, (2) process, (3) job design, and (4) reinforcement, as described in the following four main sections. ●

Page 399 Motivating for Performance Discussion

Content Perspectives on Employee Motivation
MAJOR QUESTION What kinds of needs motivate employees?


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