Some Issues Involved in Motivating Teams
Robert W. Swezey
Andrew L. Meltzer
Naval Training Systems Center
Team: Two or more horses, oxen etc. harnessed to the same vehicle or plow.
-- ( Webster New World Dictionary: Second College Edition, 1980).
The nature of motivation has been of keen interest to students of human behavior for centuries. The Greek philosopher Epicurus, for instance, proposed the hedonistic view that people are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain, a position which, according to Franken ( 1982), continues as the cornerstone for various current theories of human motivation. In the 1930s and 1940s the study of human motivation attracted a great deal of interest among psychologists, resulting in the emergence of a variety of theories, including need-based conceptualizations (e.g., Maslow, 1943), and cognitive formulations (e.g., Lewin, 1938; Tolman, 1932), among many others. Later in the 1950s and 1960s, psychologists began to focus on the role of motivation in the work place, specifically in the areas of job satisfaction and job performance resulting in a variety of equity-based (e.g., Adams, 1965), instrumentality-based (e.g., Porter & Lawler, 1968; Vroom, 1964), and goal-setting (e.g., Locke, 1968) orientations. Much recent work has attempted to coordinate various theories of motivation by placing an emphasis on the diverse effects of goals (e.g., Graham, this volume; Kanfer, 1990; Locke, this volume).
The measurement of motivation is made difficult by virtue of the fact that motivation itself is not directly observable. As a result, we are left to infer motivational processes based on behavioral observations. When one speaks of motivation, one is generally concerned with the question of what arouses and energizes behavior. The direction of behavior, the intensity of action, and the