The subject of human motivation is quite complicated for a number of reasons. Firstly, humans mature more slowly than any other organisms on this planet, and for this, the motivational tendencies are acquired more slowly too. Secondly, the individual is dependent on many of his fundamental satisfactions on other people; this is illustrated on his/her use of symbolic language to communicate these needs to others. Motivation is defined as the concept that represents the fundamental influence that drives behavior and providing its direction (Morris et al., 1999, p 284).
In organizational behavior the principles in the study of behavior, especially on motivational theories, are applied in the workplace. Such theories help explain what motivates people in their attitudes toward work, their employers and other aspects of employment in general. One major motivational model or theory more often used in organizations and industries is the theory by Abraham Maslow. More prominently called as the hierarchy of needs, this theory explains an individual’s needs on different levels.
On the theory, Maslow defines basic or fundamental needs as the individual’s biological needs like hunger, thirst and rest. Maslow believes that on this basic level lies the “evolution” of the other so-called “higher” needs. If the lower levels are not satisfied, the implications mean the individual cannot or will not move onto the higher levels (Morris et al., 1999, p.302). Maslow’s theory became a phenomenal one especially in industry because of its humanistic desirability; they seemed significant to people. It helps clarify why some work incentives are not effective for some people and situations. And managers in work settings can implement interventions in their workplaces based on their understanding of human behavior according to the hierarchy of needs (Berry, 2002, p. 240).
Figure 1.1 The following pyramid diagram illustrates Maslow’s hierarchical levels where the “more basic needs must be largely satisfied before higher motives can emerge.” Morris et al. 1999 in A.H.Maslow. Copyright Ó1954 by Harper & Row.
4D industries’ top management has emphasized productivity as its top priority but where quality of service and loyalty to the company are not to be compromised. However, the company wanted a clear cut procedure on how this will be carried out. The services of OAKZ consultancy was asked to address 4D’s concerns. OAKZ consultancy drew a blueprint with an initial focus on 4D’s administrative staff. The rationale: 4D’s administrative staff has the direct supervision on the company’s production.
They also become the top management’s echo or voice regarding company policies and direction; hence, the administrative staff’s critical role in the sales and production or rank and file workers’ output. When the staff doesn’t perform to their utmost, this has a domino effect on the whole workforce. This was further enlightened by OAKZ’ consultancy leadership. After a survey from all levels to look into concerns or problems that plague the company, the OD (Organization Development) consultant gave the following recommendations.
Since 4D (population 780 inclusive of -rank & file and middle management/administrative staff) is quite huge by rural/county standards, the company has tried to make their interventions as much as possible on a collective manner rather than on an individual set-up. Motivating the 150 administrative staff members to function to their utmost includes 1.) Looking into their status in the company, whether how many are probationary, casuals, contractuals, and permanent, to determine the extra incentives they will be receiving; 2.) What privileges and perks have they received as a collective group and as individuals, so far; 3.)
What forms will the incentives take: i.e. cash and/or travel privileges, others; 4.) The measures that 4D will use to be able to assess the effects of the incentives to the individual workers (HR Metrics). The OD consultant from OAKZ pointed out that based on the Maslow model (above), an assumption is made that these staff members will perform better when their first three level needs will be secured and this is done through the following step: the company should start to give away additional compensation in the form of increased salary commensurate to the output (quality time, punctuality, initiative, attitude, and participation in meetings and work discussions, etc.) of staff members. Underlying principle:
This addresses the satisfaction of biological needs; Security Needs (can provide for more than food plus how to make the home more safe etc); and Belongingness Needs (more freedom to enjoy friendships because they can now afford, or fiends will appreciate them because they are no longer dependent on other people). The second important feature of the proposed program or scheme is the rotation basis (will schedule) for staff members (could either be by twos) to attend national and/or international conferences for professional growth according to their specialty or would-be specialty. This addresses their Esteem and Self-actualization needs.
Today, with the monitoring and guidance of the OD from OAKZ consultancy, 4D industries have started to implement the long-term program. There is high morale in the workplace and the rank and file and production people are influenced by the contagious self-confidence of the middle management. There are rumors circulating around that the next plan will soon include their numbers.
1. Berry, Lilly M.1997. Psychology at Work An introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw Hill.
2. Morris, Charles G., and Maisto Albert A., 1999. Understanding Psychology 4th Ed. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.
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