Work Motivation – The State of Mind To Complete Tasks Efficiently

     Motivation is a state of being in which one is energized and is directing and sustaining their behaviour to a certain task. Motivation will affect whether someone chooses certain behaviour, how much effort they will put into that behaviour and how long they will keep on doing that certain behaviour. Motivation is one of three factors that lead to performance (the other two being ability and situation), therefore it is very important in considering employee performance and work motivation. There are certain theories of that can help to explain motivation.

1) Equity Theory:
     One way of looking at motivation is through an equity theory. Equity theory states that people look at their job situation in ratios of input and output. Input is what people think they contribute to an organization. Outputs are what they think that the organization gives them in return. The ratio of ones input to ones output is measured by the worker. They then compare their ratio to another worker of the same position and knowledge as them. If the ratios are equal (they put in the same amount and get the same amount as the comparable worker) then they will not be motivated to change their behaviour. If the ratios are not equal, then the worker becomes motivated to bring the ratios of themselves and their co-worker closer to equal. If two workers put in the same amount of effort and get the same amount of pay – then the ratios are fair and equitable. If one worker puts in a full effort and gets a particular paycheque, whereas another worker puts in half the effort and gets paid the same then the first worker feels underpaid. If a worker gets paid more than other workers for the same job effort then they are overpaid.

     When workers feel that they are underpaid then they will decrease their effort – in both quality and quantity. When workers feel they are overpaid, it follows that they should expend more effort and produce a higher quality, but this is not empirically supported. People are not motivated to fix overpayment inequity.

2) Reinforcement Theory:
     This theory is based on the idea that behaviour is controlled by its consequences, Something that will reinforce a behaviour will increase the likelihood of that behaviour, and punishment are consequences that make behaviour less likely. Ratio reinforcement is when a person is rewarded for a certain amount of work (i.e., they write 10 reports, they get X amount of dollars). Interval reinforcement is when someone is paid the same amount on a certain schedule (i.e., BI-weekly) regardless of how much work they actually did. It has been moderately supported that ratio reinforcement evokes more superior performance than interval reinforcement.

3) VIE Expectancy Theory:
     This theory states that motivation comes from a relationship between valence (the value or expected satisfaction of ones outcomes), instrumentality (the expectation that performance will result in a reward) and expectancy ( whether you feel that giving good effort will lead to good performance evaluation). Outcomes are any event that might result from a workers behaviour – praise, promotion, raise, co-worker ridicule. This theory provides a basis for why people expend effort. An organization can increase links between effort and performance evaluation and performance and outcomes, and can also provide more valued outcomes. This may lead to an increase in motivation.

     As a manager one can increase expectancy by making sure that employees are able to do their jobs – they have the appropriate training, supplies, abilities and technology. Valence can be increased by managers offering appropriate rewards that their employees value and instrumentality can be increased by managers ensuring that the link between job performance and reward is clear and explicit.

4) Goal Setting Theory
     Motivation energizes, directs and sustains behaviours – and goals can influence these three things. Behaviour is guided by intention, and goals clarify what needs to be done – they direct the effort and the energy. Goals keep a behaviour happening when combined with feedback. Performance will be best when:

* Goals are specific * Goals are challenging * Workers have the necessary ability * Feedback is provided * Rewards are clearly understood and provided * Management supports goal attainment (i.e., provides necessary time and resources)

* Goals are internalized (become personal to the employee) and accepted by employees.

      There is strong empirical support for this theory. Performance under goal-setting conditions is almost always superior to settings where no goals are set. This is very applicable in job atmospheres as employers can set challenging goals for every job and person.

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