Motivation is one of the most discussed topics in the present era’s organisations, especially since renowned psychologists like Maslow and Herzberg are dedicating their efforts to understanding it. Companies are investing a significant amount of resources in improving productivity in order to maximise profits. One of these important resources is of human nature. In order to get the very best out of employees, some motivational approaches need to be used. But what is motivation and how do I successfully motivate? I will try to relate one of my personal experiences with a friend to some of the most influential motivational theories. After introducing my story and making a definition of motivation I will address the ideas of Taylor, McGregor, Herzberg, Vroom and Locke and Latham in a historical order. The outcome of my analysis shows that with the help of my shared experiences and the acknowledgement of the importance of the goal, I finally reached my aim of successfully motivating another person.
The story I want to discuss deals with a situation I had experienced, a year ago in Pakistan: I tried to motivate a friend of mine to subscribe for an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test in order to have the possibility to gain access to an institute of higher education in the United Kingdom. I faced some difficulties during our discussions but ultimately I succeeded in motivating my friend to take the test. In the following paragraphs I am going to critically reflect on that situation and pointing out the motivational techniques that were successful as well as the ones which did not help or were a hindrance during the motivational process.
The word motivation is derived from the Latin word ‘movere’ which means to move something. Baron (1983) says that “motivation is a set of process concerned with a kind of force that energizes behavior and directs it towards achieving some specific goals” (Baron, 1983, p. xxx). According to Kreitner and Kinicki (2001, p.162) motivation represents “those psychological processes that cause the stimulation, persistence of voluntary actions that are goal directed”. Consequently, these definitions lead to the assumption that motivation is something evolving from within an individual as well as the individual being influenced by external factors.
One of the first authors that dealt with the sources of motivation was Frederick Taylor who focussed on the overall productivity of an organisation. He linked this productivity to the effort an employee puts into their work which in turn is dependent on monetary rewards (Taylor, 1911). This theory was established in the context of the industrial age and thus is outdated for today’s analysis but it still provides a basic assumption which is often referred to by other authors. The total neglecting of a worker’s intrinsic motivators is a starting point for discussion...