Motivation and Productivity in the Library

By Ugah, Akobundu Dike | Library Philosophy and Practice, July 2008 | Go to article overview

Motivation and Productivity in the Library


Ugah, Akobundu Dike, Library Philosophy and Practice


Introduction

Employee motivation is important in libraries, as in any other organization. This article attempts to identify the place of motivation in developing human resources in the library. This attempt begins with the need to define human resources, human resources development, and motivation, and to discuss theories of motivation and the literature of motivation as they pertain to libraries.

The Concept of Human Resources

UNECA (1990) conceptualizes human resources as the body of knowledge, skills, attitudes, physical, and managerial efforts required to manipulate land, capital, and technology, to produce goods and services for human consumption and welfare. Human resources includes:

1. Technical skill and abilities acquired from education, training, and experience. It indicates the ability to use knowledge, methods, and techniques in the performance of library tasks.

2. Human skills, which is the ability to work with and through people. It includes the understanding of motivation and the application of effective leadership.

3. Conceptual skill, which incorporates the ability to understand the complexity of the overall organization.

Human resources includes two major activities. The first is recruitment, selection, compensation, discipline, appraisal, and welfare of employees. The second is working with employees to improve their efficiency and productivity. The activities that enable individuals and groups to acquire new knowledge and skills and assume new roles and responsibilities are usually referred to as human resources development (Ojo, 1994).

Human Resources Development

Nadler (1970) defines human resources development as a "series of organized activities conducted within a specified time and designed to produce behavior change" in individuals and organizations. The key point is learning. Ojo (1994) remarks that, the "organized activities contained in the definition provided above embraced a carefully developed learning activity with identifiable components of objectives, actions, and evaluation. These conditions must exist in all forms of human resources development."

Ideally, human resources development should provide solutions to problems such as a shortage of employees, employees who are inadequately skilled and efficient, high turnover, organizational expansion, career planning, and training needs.

What is Motivation?

Motivation has been defined as:

* the psychological process that gives behavior purpose and direction (Kreitner, 1995)

* a predisposition to behave in a purposive manner to achieve specific unmet needs (Buford, Bedeian, and Linder, 1995)

* an internal drive to satisfy an unsatisfied need (Higgins, 1994); and the will to achieve (Bedeian, 1993). defined motivation as

* all those inner-striving conditions described as wishes, desires, drives, etc. (Donnelly, Gibson, and Ivancevich 1995)

* the way urges, aspirations, drives and needs of human beings direct or control or explain their behavior (Appleby 1994)

* some driving force within an individual by which they attempts to achieve some goal in order to fulfill some needs or expectations (Mullins, 1996).

Mitchell (1982) identifies four common characteristics that underlie the definition of motivation. The characteristics are:

* Motivation is an individual phenomenon

* Motivation is intentional

* Motivation is multifaceted

* Motivation theories predict behavior

Based on these characteristics, Mitchell defines motivation as the "degree to which an individual wants and chooses to engage in certain specified manner." Mullins (1996) gives a three-part classification of successful motivation.

* Economic rewards

* Intrinsic satisfaction

* Social relationships

These needs help determine motivation and performance. …

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