Motivation and Job Satisfaction

Article excerpt

Motivation and Job Satisfaction

Within your management organization, there are different people executing the same or similar tasks at various levels of productivity. We can objectively and systematically measure differences in performance, but recognizing why these discrepancies exist may be more difficult.

What is performance?

Performance is a function of ability and motivation. The absence of either may explain the discrepancy in productivity. Ability is defined as a combination of aptitude, training, and experience:

Ability = (Aptitude x (Training + Experience) ) Each of these elements must be present if a person is to perform well in a given situation. Aptitude is usually defined as a natural talent for a task. At the same time, ability is dynamic characteristic that can be continually developed through training and experience.

Performance is also influenced by motivation. The distinguishing characteristic of motivated behavior is its goal orientation. Motivation energizes the behavior and then dictates the behavior to act and obtain some aim. Ability and motivation combine in a multiplicative relationship:

Performance = (Ability x Motivation) If ability or motivation is low, the result will be low performance. High motivation may compensate for low ability only to a limited extent. Likewise, if high ability exists with little motivation, performance will be low.

The final question remains, "Can the organization stimulate the individual to higher performance with specific policies and programs?"

The organization is the rational coordination of the activities of a number of individuals to accomplish certain goals. The very structure of an organization is characterized by its superior/subordinate relationship. This relationship plays a vital role in motivating people, both in the methods used to supervise and influence the performance of workers and in the enticement of promotion to a higher management level.

How the organization relates to its employees is based upon the management's view of the nature of man. There are four basic theories of the nature of man as reflected in managerial behavior and attitudes toward the organization. These basic assumptions will determine the types of personal relationships that will be established and influence the organization's managerial structure.

The rational-economic man

The theory of rational-economic man originated in the philosophy of the English utilitarian economists. Its primary premise is that man balances the amount of satisfaction achieved from an action with the amount of effort the action takes. Man will then behave in a way to maximize self-interest. This theory further assumes that money is the primary satisfier.

There are four main propositions in the rational-economic theory:

* Man is motivated by economic incentives and will perform those functions with the highest compensation.

* Organizations are most capable of providing economic incentives and may thus motivate and control man.

* Man's unconscious drives are intrinsically irrational, preventing the logical calculation of self-interest.

* Organizations must monitor and neutralize man's irrational feelings and direct man to meet self-interest objectives.

The rational-economic man theory assumes that man is incapable of self-control and that the organization must control these irrational feelings with external forces to achieve the organization's goals. To accomplish this task, the organization must have a highly centralized authority structure. The manager carries the burden of all planning, organizing, and supervising. Subordinate workers are expected to obey those who occupy positions of authority.

Faced with a problem, this type of organization looks to external changes for solutions, not relationships. For example, if the level of production decreases, the solution might be to improve the control system, increase incentives, or re-evaluate the design of the jobs. …