Select two theories you learned about this week that will be most useful in managing your staff.
There are three theories to motivate employees. First, I will explain each of these theories and then analyze them according to my work experience and studies.
- Equity Theory
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- Hawthorne effect
These theories cover very well the factors that motivate employees and their needs. As a manager, you must know how to approach and motivate different people in different ways. People usually have different factors that motivate them based on age, work experience, educational qualification, work performance, and social or ethical background. You can motivate new and young employees more easily compared to older and experienced employees. A young and new employee is motivated by some good words from his/her manager, who appreciates his/her work performance. On the other hand, an older more experienced employee needs more than that; his motivational factors may be different. For example promotion, better work shifts, better paychecks, or better benefits. A manager/leader should know about these theories and use them properly to motivate his workforce.
John Stacey Adams was a behavioral psychologist, who developed equity theory in 1963.
The theory is based on fairness to the workforce. Fair treatment motivates every individual in the workplace. We know that everyone in the workplace compares himself/herself to others.
According to equity theory if an individual notices unfairness between him/herself and others, it affects his attitude about work. For example, if one individual thinks he works more than other employees and gets the same or less paycheck, the individual starts working less to make the situation fair in his eyes. According to this theory not only individuals notice unfairness, but the whole workforce as well. For example, if two assembly plants are operating in the same town, both plant workers compare their pay and benefits to each other’s. If one plant’s workforce notices that they are not being paid as much as the other plant’s workforce they will lose motivation and in response, they might reduce production to make the situation fair in their eyes.
Unfairness is the thing that breaks down teamwork and destroys the workforce motivation more than anything else destroys. A leader/Manager can maximize the motivation of his workforce if he treats them fairly. Fair treatment will create teamwork and harmony in the workplace.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow Abraham was an American Psychologist and he produced his theory of human motivation in 1943, known as the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs today. According to Maslow, we have the following common needs.
- Self-actualization needs
- Aesthetic needs
- Need to know and understand
- Self-worth and self-esteem
- Love and belonging
- Safety and security needs
- Physiological needs
Maslow presented the above-mentioned human needs as a hierarchy in the shape of a pyramid. A hierarchy is an arrangement or setting from lowest to highest. According to him, we satisfy our needs at lower levels first and then get motivated to satisfy our upper-level needs. Lower level start from physiological needs to self-worth and self-esteem, and upper-level start from needs to know and understand self-actualization. The upper-level needs represent human growth needs. When we satisfy our lower-level needs, then we go on to satisfy our upper-level needs. When we walk to work, we want to buy a bicycle, after buying a bicycle we want to buy a car, after buying a car we want to buy a better car, then we want to buy a better house and the list keeps growing. As we satisfy our needs we are motivated to achieve bigger goals.
In the 1920s and 1930s, an industrial experiment took place at the Western Electric factory that was located in the Hawthorne suburb of Chicago and the term Hawthorne effect came into use in the world of psychology.
The term refers to the change in people’s performance at work when they are being observed. In simple words, we can say that people change their attitude at work because of the attention they are getting from the people who are conducting their research or experiment.
Later on, some other studies have not found strong evidence of the Hawthorne effect and researchers think many other factors were involved in workers’ productivity improvement and attention was not the only factor. The experiment feedback may have also caused the productivity increase.
The only way to eliminate the bias is to conduct the experiment in such a way that the workers do not know that they are being observed and that researchers are conducting an experiment. It is very important to provide feedback to your workforce; constant feedback keeps your workforce aware of their performance and lets them know where they need to improve. Rewarding employees is the best way to boost motivation. Any recognition in a group meeting; will give them pride, confidence, and motivation to work hard. If you have negative feedback for the individual, talk to him in private.
According to my personal experience, most people in management agree that Equity theory and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are the best theories to motivate employees. A successful manager should use both theories because each one is appropriate for different situations. A successful manager/leader knows how to approach individuals and how to motivate them. Different people are motivated by different factors, based on gender, age, work experience, national origins, culture, etc.
Equity Theory – Keeping Employees Motivated https://expertprogrammanagement.com/2017/06/equity-theory/Equity Theory
Nicole Margaret Wood, Sep 25, 2016 https://wikispaces.psu.edu/display/PSYCH484/5.+Equity+Theory
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Saul McLeod updated 2018 https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs
Hawthorne Effect https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/hawthorne-effect.asp
What Is the Hawthorne Effect?
By Kendra Cherry | Reviewed by Steven Gans, MD https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-hawthorne-effect-2795234
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Although studying theory might seem to be an effort separate from practice (e.g., professional activities), good theories emerge from assessing practice. Accordingly, theories can possess some usefulness in prescribing positive actions for leaders and organizations.
Assume you are the manager of a department in an organization. Select two of the theories you learned about this week that you believe will be most useful in managing your staff. (Be sure to review the supplemental readings as well). Select different theories or different combinations of theories than your classmates select. Address the following:
- Assess why you find the two theories you selected most practical or helpful.
- Evaluate how the two theories might interact with each other.
- Analyze whether you anticipate needing different motivational methods applying your selected theories according to the ages, races, national origins, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds of your subordinates. Provide appropriate citations to support your conclusions.
- Justify three best practices that emerge from your selected theories (three best practices total. You do not need three best practices for each theory).
The final paragraph (three or four sentences) of your initial post should summarize the one or two key points that you are making in your initial response.
Your posting should be the equivalent of 1- to 2- single-spaced pages (500–1000 words) in length.
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