MGT 302 – Workplace Motivation

Good managers use their power of vision, their delivery passion, and their reasoning logic to motivate their employees. These coupled with proper incentives help ensure that employees work towards achieving the organizational goals. However, this strategy is not always effective due to individual traits and workplace setting. In line with this, different organizations are forced to adopt different employee motivational strategies. This paper will look into the motivational strategies employed in ourorganization. It will discuss how the organization motivates its employees; the management’s application of Theory X and Theory Y; and finally the needs in Maslow’s hierarchy that the management tries to address.

What steps did management at your organization do to motivate workers?

One of the ways the management uses to motivate employees is the way they talk about the company. The management focuses on company impact on the world instead of the company’s financial performance. The management understands that focusing on financial results usually makes employees lose interest in the organization’s financial results especially in cases where those results have no direct correlation on their salaries. Focusing on the company’s impact inspires employee engagement.

The second strategy employed by the management is focusing on a ‘we’ mindset. This approach gives employees a sense of belonging and makes it easier for them to identify with the organization. Managers and supervisors approach issues in a manner that makes the employees perceive them as a part of the team. Approaching struggling team members as ‘we’ take criticism more positively and are more readily willing to fix the problem than if they were approached as ‘you’. This approach makes individuals feel that their individual actions have a significant impact on the team.

Did management seem to apply Theory X or Theory Y for their motivation strategies? Or did they use elements of both?

Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y are based on assumptions about human nature. Theory X assumes that employees do not like work, they have no ambition, require constant supervision, and they avoid obligations, while Theory Y assumes that employees perceive work as an accepted activity, they are always looking for new tasks to take on, and they are focused (Robbins, DeCenzo&Gao, 2007). Like it is the case with most organizations, it is rare to find a manager who is either purely Theory X oriented or Theory Y orientated within our organization. Most managers are usually a blend of both X and Y theories, with only a slight tendency to incline towards one of the theories. However, the management seems to apply Theory Y in their motivation strategies.

Read also McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory and the Hawthorne Studies

A manager with Theory Y mindset portrays actions that communicate trust and a high level of confidence in their employees’ noble intentions. They operate under the assumption that employees are committed to the achievement of organizational goals and they thus work towards creating an environment that fosters growth (McGregor, 1960). By using a ‘we’ mindset, managers identify themselves with employees in order to create a friendly working environment. This would not be possible for managers who have a Theory X mindset.

It is important to note however that manager’s Theory X or Theory Y orientation is not a fixed state. A manager who is more inclined to Theory Y orientation could observe negative employee traits among his/her employees and incline more to Theory X orientation. On the other hand, a manager who is more inclined to Theory X orientation could observe positive employee traits among his/her employees and incline more to Theory y orientation (McGregor, 1960).

What needs in Maslow’s hierarchy does management at your organization try to address?

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory proposes that employee motivation is a product of their attempt to fulfill their needs. He arranged those needsinto five clusters including physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization needs(Mullins, 2007). Our organization tries to address some of these needs in its effort to motivate employees. Below is a discussion of how it achieves this:

Social needs. The organization addresses its employees’ need for acceptance and have a sense of belonging. Meeting social needs ensure that individuals do not feel isolated and alone, which cold result in depression and thus lowered productivity(Mullins, 2007).  By using a ‘we’ approach, the management gives employees a sense of belonging. In addition, this approach to team management promotes teamwork, which in turn fosters strong relationships between employees

Esteem needs. The organization addresses its employees’ need for self- respect and self-esteem(Mullins, 2007). Showing employees the impact their work has on the world around them boosts their self-respect as shows them their value in the organization and the world at large. Furthermore, using the ‘we’ approach also makes employees feel that their actions affect the entire team. Knowing that they are a valued part of a productive team boosts their self worth.

Employee motivation remains to be a key part of any organization. Unmotivated employees put in little or no effort in completing tasks, avoid going to work, have low productivity, and are more likely to leave the organization pre maturely. Since different individuals have different needs and priorities, managers need to work closely with their employees in order to identify and implement effective motivational strategies.

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