What is Motivation?


Motivation

1.0 Objective: To explain the concept of motivation, the different theories of motivation, the types of motivation and state how to use motivation as a managerial tool.

1.1 Nearly all the conscious behavior of human being is motivated. The internal needs and drives lead to tensions, which in turn result into actions. The need for food results into hunger and hence a person is motivated to eat.

1.2 A manager requires creating and maintaining an environment in which individuals work together in groups towards the accomplishment of common objectives. A manager cannot do a job without knowing what motivates people. The building of motivating factors into organisational roles, the staffing of these roles and the entire process of leading people must be built on knowledge of motivation. It is necessary to remember that level of motivation varies both between individuals and within individuals at different times. Today in the increasingly competitive environment maintaining a highly motivated workforce is the most challenging task. The art of motivation starts by learning how to influence the behavior of the individual. This understanding helps to achieve both, the individual as well as organisational objectives.

1.3 Motivation is a powerful tool in the hands of leaders. It can persuade convince and propel. People to act.

2.0 WHAT IS MOTIVATION?

2.1 It is a general tendency to believe that motivation is a personal trait. Some people have it and the others don’t. In practice, some are labeled to be lazy because they do not display an outward sign of motivation. However, individuals differ in their basic motivational drives. It also depends upon their areas of interest. The concept of motivation is situational and its level varies between different individuals and at different times. If you understand what motivates people, you have at your command the most powerful tool for dealing with them.

3.0 DEFINING MOTIVATION

3.1 Motivation is to inspire people to work, individually or in groups in the ways such as to produce best results. It is the will to act. It is the willingness to exert high levels of effort towards organisational goals, conditioned by the efforts and ability to satisfy some individual need.

3.2 Motivation is getting somebody to do something because they want to do it. It was once assumed that motivation had to be injected from outside, but it is now understood that everyone is motivated by several differing forces.

3.3 Motivation is a general term applied to the entire class of drives, desires, needs, wishes and similar forces. To say that managers motivate their subordinates is to say that they do those things which they hope will satisfy these drives and desires and induce the subordinates to act in a desired manner.

3.4 To motivate others is the most important of management tasks. It comprises the abilities to communicate, to set an example, to challenge, to encourage, to obtain feedback, to involve, to delegate, to develop and train, to inform, to brief and to provide a just reward.

4.0

process of motivation

4.1 In the initiation a person starts feeling lacknesses. There is an arousal of need so urgent, that the bearer has to venture in search to satisfy it. This leads to creation of tension, which urges the person to forget everything else and cater to the aroused need first. This tension also creates drives and attitudes regarding the type of satisfaction that is desired. This leads a person to venture into the search of information. This ultimately leads to evaluation of alternatives where the best alternative is chosen. After choosing the alternative, an action is taken. Because of the performance of the activity satisfaction is achieved which than relieves the tension in the individual.

5.0 Theories of Motivation

5.1 Contribution of Robert Owen :

5.1.1 Though Owen is considered to be paternalistic in his view, his contribution is of a considerable significance in the theories of Motivation. During the early years of the nineteenth century, Owen’s textile mill at New Lanark in Scotland was the scene of some novel ways of treating people. His view was that people were similar to machines. A machine that is looked after properly, cared for and maintained well, performs efficiently, reliably and lastingly, similarly people are likely to be more efficient if they are taken care of. Robert Owen practiced what he preached and introduced such things as employee housing and company shop. His ideas on this and other matters were considered to be too revolutionary for that time.
5.2 Jeremy Bentham’s “The Carrot and the Stick Approach” :

5.2.1 Possibly the essence of the traditional view of people at work can be best appreciated by a brief look at the work of this English philosopher, whose ideas were also developed in the early years of the Industrial Revolution, around 1800. Bentham’s view was that all people are self-interested and are motivated by the desire to avoid pain and find pleasure. Any worker will work only if the reward is big enough, or the punishment sufficiently unpleasant. This view – the ‘carrot and stick’ approach – was built into the philosophies of the age and is still to be found, especially in the older, more traditional sectors of industry.

5.2.2 The various leading theories of motivation and motivators seldom make reference to the carrot and the stick. This metaphor relates, of course, to the use of rewards and penalties in order to induce desired behavior. It comes from the old story that to make a donkey move, one must put a carrot in front of him or dab him with a stick from behind. Despite all the research on the theories of motivation, reward and punishment are still considered strong motivators. For centuries, however, they were too often thought of as the only forces that could motivate people.

5.2.3 At the same time, in all theories of motivation, the inducements of some kind of ‘carrot’ are recognized. Often this is money in the form of pay or bonuses. Even though money is not the only motivating force, it has been and will continue to be an important one. The trouble with the money ‘carrot’ approach is that too often everyone gets a carrot, regardless of performance through such practices as salary increase and promotion by seniority, automatic ‘merit’ increases, and executive bonuses not based on individual manager performance. It is as simple as this: If a person put a donkey in a pen full of carrots and then stood outside with a carrot, would the donkey be encouraged to come out of the pen?

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