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Friday, September 9, 2011

Motivation At Workplace: An Introduction

Motivation At Workplace is one of the primary ways through which employees are engaged effectively and efficiently within an organization for the accomplishment of its goals. Many of the human resource activities are directed towards increasing the productivity of employees. Many techniques for motivation at workplace are used by the human resources department in accordance with the other departments.

The need for motivation

In order to understand motivation clearly, we must understand the relationship between motivation and performance. Looking closely at performance, we can observe that performance is what the people do rather than the results of their work. It is a multi-dimensional concept where the in-role and extra-role of each employee is also counted. Motivation at workplace is the willingness of an employee to perform the job assigned to him. Motivation concerns the arousal, direction and persistence of an employee to perform the job that has been assigned.

Douglas McGregor was one of the first proponents of Motivation at workplace. He wrote about different human behaviors. These were clearly explained in his theories of X and Y. Theory X represents those people who are lazy, who avoid taking responsibilities and who have to be threatened to make them work. And Theory Y represents those people who are naturally inclined to work.

A detailed view of both these theories will reveal their differences.

Theory X

Theory Y

People are lazy

People are active and like to work

People need to be controlled and coordinated

People are self-controlled and self-coordinated

People need motivation to work

People do not need external motivation as they are self-motivated

People are not very smart

People are smart

People need encouragement to do a good work

People want to do a good work naturally

Both the theories in action

It is a known fact that people behave as per their opinions and opinions are based on personal experiences. In motivation theories also, the same can be observed. McGregor points that managers can be categorized as Theory X managers and Theory Y managers.

Managers under Theory X believe that people are generally lazy and they need to be motivated. The motivation can be either positive motivation or negative motivation. Positive motivation includes presenting awards or incentives for outstanding performances, whereas negative motivation includes instilling fear in employees. Employees are threatened of firing from their jobs because of lack of performance. The manager does not generally trust the employees and thinks that the employees do not take responsibility. The instances of Theory X can be seen in almost every place or every organization.

Managers in Theory Y on the other hand believe that people are naturally motivated to do their work and they do not require any kind of motivation and supervision. Managers under this theory assign responsibilities to their subordinates and find that the work is done without any delays. Employees are never threatened of firing from their jobs by the managers as there is no such complaint against people under theory Y of lack of performance. People under Theory Y are also self-motivated, smart and they know to do their work in the most efficient way and in the least time possible.

In today’s business and corporate world, when we look internally in an organization we can observe that both theory X and Y exist. These theories are found in almost all organizations. But, it is seldom found that an organization exclusively has Theory X people and another organization has Theory Y people exclusively. Theory X and Y people are scattered among the population and it is hard to pinpoint them.

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These are some of our previous articles on Human Resources which include Human Resources – The new role, Human Resources Time Management, Recruitments & Selection Strategies, Compensation & Rewards

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