Management and Motivation: An Analysis of Productivity in Education and the Workplace

By Reiger, Robert C.; Stang, Judith | Education, Fall 2000 | Go to article overview
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Management and Motivation: An Analysis of Productivity in Education and the Workplace


Reiger, Robert C., Stang, Judith, Education


As American society enters a new millienium, education will certainly be no less affected than its business counterparts. Financial resources will continue to be vulnerable to a service economy. Furthermore, occupational demands placed upon teaching professionals will continue to escalate based upon societal changes. In this complex environment, motivational and productivity levels of teachers may become a concern to administrative staff who are asked to address increasingly complex social concerns with limited funding.

Motivation and the Classroom

Teacher motivation and its effect on the educational process have been examined and analyzed in detail from the early educational reform movements in New England to present day educational theorists. More recently in the context of organizational and school competitiveness motivational implications of teaching professionals have become more focused. The five properties of employment work roles are:

1. They provide wages to the teaching professional `in return for educational services rendered.

2. They require from the teaching professional the expenditure mental and physical energy.

3. They permit the professional to contribute to the production of goods and services.

4. They permit the role occupants the opportunity of professional social interaction with peers.

5. They define, at least impart, the social status of the professional.

Motivation and productivity of the teaching professional can be enhanced through the situational/environmental approach. Traditional administrative practices may prove to be obsolete or no longer useful. According to Wakefield, (1993) teaching styles varies between professionals with some being more effective than others based upon the educational and social needs of his/her students. An effective administrative managerial style should adapt to the changing needs of students and teachers in an effort to find success for all concerned.

Today teaching professionals have greater technical expertise and increased societal demands, while comprehensive supervisory control may not be necessary 'in many instances to elicit motivation. Administrative and motivational concepts have received increased public attention due to an emphasis on greater school competitiveness. Thirty years ago, Peter Drucker (1970) predicted "educational facilities will have to grapple with population, energy, limited resources, and a series of basic community problems."

With many educational institutions as the communily cornerstone, this concept becomes localized, as the teaching professional must have a greater awareness, and the ability to address the various community and social problems he/she confronts i the classroom. Although individual attitudes and creativity are important, they must be accompanied by well-devised motivational structures, sound administrative policies and innovative teaching practices.

According to Katz, (1988) teachers need to be curious, imaginative, empathetic, interesting, friendly and hardworking in order to be effective in the classroom. Thereby, creating a learning environment that enhances and strengthens the learning deposition of the student.

Organizational Influence on Motivation

Teaching behavior and motivation can be influenced by traditional and non-traditional managerial practices:

Traditional practices impose on the teaching professional through a chain of command, policy decisions reached elsewhere in the organization whether on the building or district level. However, the professional staff should be involved in the decision making process in an effort to alleviate alienation. Although this approach represents a more traditional approach, behavioral influences are primarily dependent upon authority and chain of command structures. Policy decisions are made for the most part upon a hierarchical model with minimal advice from subordinates.

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