Theoretical basis of the concept of "motivation"

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №1 - 2010

Author: Omarkhan Dilara, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan

It is known that the transition from a command to a market economy requires changes in all spheres of economic activity, mainly the transition to new, more efficient management techniques. Therefore the problem of production organization presents qualitatively new requirements for the process of human resources management.

Everyone is working for something. Some people strive for money, others for fame, some people want power, and others just love their job. These and many other circumstances that encourage people to be active are called motives, and their application is called motivation. Reasons that lead a person to give the work maximum efforts are difficult to define; they are very diverse and complex. What should we do to make people work better and more productive? How can we make work more attractive? What makes a person want to work? These and similar questions are always of interest in any sphere of business. The company's management can develop excellent plans and strategies, install the most modern equipment, use the best technology, but it can be ineffective if its employees do not cope with their responsibilities, strive to achieve development of the company. Mechanical enforcement for labour can not produce positive results. Effective management is impossible without understanding motives and human needs.

Motive («motif» – driving force, a reason for this or that action) is a set of psychic driving reasons for behavior, action and human activities. In the basis of motives there are needs, interests, aptitudes and beliefs. Motive not only encourages people to act, but also defines in what way that action will be taken. Understanding motives makes it possible to understand motivations driving the subjective reasons that guide people in their actions.

Human behavior is determined not by one motive, but by its totality, in which motives may be in a certain respect for each other in terms of their impact on human behavior. Status of various motivations that lead to human behavior makes the motivational structure. Each person is individual and is characterized by many factors: level of wealth, social status, qualifications, post, values, etc. Motivational structure of the individual has a certain stability. However, it can vary, in particular, deliberately in the process of getting education. Knowing what motives underlie people's actions, we can develop an effective system of forms and methods of people management.

Motivation is at the heart and foundation of human control. Motivation is a process of human exposure in order to encourage them for certain actions by awakening in them of certain motives.

Irritation of the motives arises under attention of incentives («stimulus» – a pointed stick, which was used for hurrying animals in Rome). Incentives serve as a leverage or carrier "irritation, causing the effect of certain motives. As the stimulus argument is that people would like to receive as a result of certain actions. There are 4 basic types of incentives: enforcement, material and moral encouragement and self-esteem. The process of using various incentives to motivate people is called stimulation. Stimulation is fundamentally different from motivation; the essence of this difference lies in the fact that stimulation is one of the methods of motivation. The concept of stimulation is based on the use of incentives such as external influences on a person to coordinate his activities (for example, using of punishment, encouragement, promotions, etc.).

Theory of motivation was actively developed in the twentieth century, though many motives, incentives and requirements had been known since ancient times. Currently, there are several theories of motivation: the original, substantive and procedural [1, 2, 3, 4].

Initial theories of motivation are added based on analysis of historical records of people and the use of simple incentives of enforcement, material and moral incentives. The most famous and widely used so far is the policy of "carrot and stick". "The stick" was most often used and aroused the fear of death or expulsion from the country for failure to comply with the king or a prince, and "carrot" acted as wealth ("half the kingdom") or kinship with the ruler ("princess"). This theory of motivation was widely used in fairy tales and legends.

With regard to the management of economic activity for the first time the problem of motivation and incentives was posed by Adam Smith, who believed that people are run by selfish motives, permanent and ineradicable tendency of people to improve their financial situation. But Adam Smith meant primarily motivated entrepreneur, and as to the motivation of workers, members of the production process, Adam Smith was not interested in them at all.

This gap was filled by an American theorist F.W Taylor. He claimed: "Coercive force of administrator is the main drive of production and the main motivation to work." Everyone tends to work less and get more, for what an entrepreneur must meet the policy of "pay less and demand more."

Despite the fact that public opinion has shown the inadequacy of the method, some of its provisions are reflected in the motivational model of «X», «Y», «Z». The theory of «X» was originally developed by F. Taylor, and then developed and supplemented by D. McGregor, who added a theory of «Y». Theory «Z» was offered much later, in the 80's by W. Ouchy (model behavior and human motivation).

Each of the theories describes a certain group of employees in enterprises. The "X" theory describes reluctant, poor workers who dislike work. Therefore, it is natural to use financial incentives as the main stimulus for coercion and support. Model of the "Y" theory represents an advanced, creative, active part of society. Incentives of work are reflected in the following order: recognition of the moral and material incentives, coercion. It is obvious that the proportion of these workers is low. Theory «Z» describes a good worker who prefers to work in a group, and has goals for the long term perspective. Incentives to labour of such employees are effective in the following order: financial incentives, moral encouragement, recognition, enforcement. Thus, workers, described by «X», «Y», «Z» theories, form a different group of people who are guided by different motives. Initial theories of motivation identified areas for further development of theories of motivation.

Modern theories of motivation can be divided into 2 types: substantive and procedural. The application of this concept is situational, then what is the best motivation for some people is completely unsuitable for others. Content theories of motivation analyze factors that influence motivation. They describe the structure of needs, their content and in what way the requirements relate to human motivation. The best-known theories of motivation of this group are: Maslow's pyramid, the theory of acquired needs by McClelland, ERG theory by Alderfer, the theory of Herzberg's factors.

In accordance with the theory of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, people always have different needs, which can be combined into groups that are in a hierarchical relation to each other. These groups of Maslow needs are presented in the form of a pyramid. The first level is the physiological needs in order to satisfy human basic survival - food, housing, recreation, etc. To do this requires a minimum level of wages and satisfactory working conditions.

The second level is represented by needs of security and confidence in the future, satisfied with wages exceeding the minimum level, which already allows you to purchase an insurance policy to make contributions to the pension fund, as well as through work in a reliable organization to receive certain social benefits. Without satisfying the first and second level, called the primary, there cannot be a normal human life.

At the third level Maslow placed the need for social support from others: the merits of a man belonging to a particular community. To satisfy this need a person needs participation in group work, team work, attention from the leader, respect from colleagues. The fourth level is formed by needs of self-affirmation, recognition from others. They are satisfied through the acquisition of competencies, gaining credibility, leadership, popularity, receiving public recognition. Finally, the fifth stage of Maslow's hierarchy of needs is the need of people to express themselves, realize their potential. To meet these needs a person should have maximum freedom of creativity, choice of means and methods of solving problems.

There are a number of weaknesses in Maslow's concept. He did not consider the impact of situational factors on the needs, insisted on a rigid sequence in the transition from one level of needs to another just from the bottom-up approach [1, 2, 3].

In some cases, the theory of Maslow is challenged by other supporters of the substantive approach, J. McClelland being among them. He advanced the theory, which shows the external levels of Maslow's needs, and without the hierarchy. McClelland theory of acquired needs describes the requirements that are acquired and developed on the basis of learning and life experience and have a major impact on human behavior. He identifies three types of needs: achievement, participation and dominion. Need for achievement is manifested in the pursuit of human to achieve their goals more effectively. At that the work will only be effective if the goals are achievable and the result is guaranteed. It should also be noted that the goals of the employee are achieved with greater activity.

Need of complicity is manifested in the form of desire for friendly relations with others. People with a high degree of this need wish to receive the endorsement and support from others; they are concerned with what other people think about them. For the successful organization of team members it is necessary to create conditions that allow them to receive such information.

Need to dominate are seen in the desire to control resources and processes. Individuals with a high level of this need can be divided into 2 groups. The first group comprises those who seek power for power itself. They are attracted by the opportunity to command others, but the interests of the organization for them are often overshadowed and lose their meaning. The second group includes those who seek power for the sake of solving the organizational tasks and the responsible management experience. In this case, the dominion is a means to achieve organizational goals. McClelland believes that of the three needs considered in the concept (achievement, participation and dominion) the need of ruling the second type is of the greatest importance for the success of the business.

A relatively new concept in a meaningful approach to motivation is the theory of ERG Alderfer. In contrast to Maslow's hierarchy of needs he identifies three groups of needs. Firstly, these are existence needs corresponding approximately to the two bottom levels in Maslow’s pyramid. Secondly, there are needs of communication, aimed at maintaining contacts, recognition, affirmation, finding support, group security, covering the third, and partially the second and fourth of Maslow’s stages. Thirdly, there are needs of growth, manifested in man's desire for recognition and affirmation, mostly equivalent to the two upper steps of the pyramid of Maslow. Like Maslow, Alderfer considers needs as a certain hierarchy, but unlike Maslow he considers it possible to move from one level to another in different directions. In the case of unsatistied needs top-level increases the degree of demand at a lower level, which tends to focus people on this level. Thus, there is movement both from top to bottom and from bottom to top.

Another concept in the framework of a meaningful approach is the theory of Herzberg's two factors. On the basis of his model Herzberg suggested two "schools" that show the change in the state needs: a school 1 - from satisfaction to no satisfaction, and school 2- from the lack of frustration to frustration.

Herzberg needs themselves can be divided into 2 groups: motivational factors or factors of satisfaction (these are achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement, opportunity for growth) and "hygiene" factors or factors of working conditions (these are wages, workplace safety, status, rules, regulations and mode of operation, quality control by management, relationships with colleagues and subordinates). According to the theory of Herzberg, better working conditions will not motivate employees, in his opinion for the stimulation people need rewards of recognition, personal and professional growth.

As can be seen, there is no single approach to explain human motivation. Although the theory of Mac-Cleland, Alderfer and Herzberg motivation consider different points of view, they are usually based on Maslow's theory, which gives an idea about the content of motivation [3, 4, 5].

The main drawback of all theories of the content of the concept is that they pay attention to the analysis of the factors explaining the motivation, but do not consider the mechanism of its activity. This shortcoming is overcome by the authors of the process approach. Procedural theories of motivation, consider the dynamics of interaction of different motives. These theories can teach how to construct a process of motivation and how to motivate people to achieve the desired results. There are three basic procedural theory of motivation: V. Vroom, Adams and E. Locke, as well as bringing together all the concept model of the Porter-Lawler.

Vroom Expectancy theory is based on the fact that a person expects to meet its needs, and in accordance with the expected result, plans level of effort. In his concept Vroom attempts to explain why a person makes this or that choice, when faced with multiple possibilities, and how much effort he is prepared to make to get results. People's perceptions about the extent to which their actions lead to certain results are called out. It is determined based on the analysis of the situation, knowledge, experience, intuition, the ability to assess the situation and their possibilities and has a significant effect on the activity of man, and his desire to achieve this goal. Since the expectation is probably a category of its numerical characteristic varies from 0 to 1.

V. Vroom distinguishes the expectations of 2 types:

- expectations of the person that the projected level of effort will lead to achieving the desired result. These expectations are called waiting for the results. In this case, Vroom emphasizes the relationship: labor costs - the results.

- expactations of a fair reward for the achieved level of results. It emphasizes the relationship: results – reward.

In addition, to explain the motivation to work out the theory introduces the concept of valence. Valence is satisfaction or dissatisfaction with compensation, valuation fees. If the ratio of reward to the negative, the valence of the negative; if the remuneration has value - positive and if it is indifferent - is zero.

Another concept within the process approach is a theory of justice. J. Adams argues that human motivation is largely affected by the validity of its current activities and its results as compared with previous periods and, most importantly, the achievements of others. People subjectively determine the ratio of the result, or compensation for expended effort, and then correlate it with the remuneration of other people doing similar work. If as a results of the comparisons he concludes that there is no violation, the motivating factors are normal, but if violations are found, then the person is demotivated, which results in reduced efficiency of labor and the person begins to "restore justice" - to reduce business activity, demand higher wages and better working conditions, promotions, etc. Equity theory suggests important implications for the practice of managing people. The manager must not only strive to be fair, to create an atmosphere of equality, but also know whether workers believe that the reward is fair and equitable.

E. Locke’s theory of setting goals also belongs to the process approach theories. The theory assumes that people are subjective to some degree of perceived goal of the organization as their own and strive to achieve it, getting satisfaction from the performance required for this work. Moreover, its effectiveness is largely determined by characteristics such as commitment to the purposes, their acceptability, complexity, etc. If the goals are real, then the higher they are the greater results the person achieves in the process of achieving them, otherwise the target is no longer the means of motivation. Striving for high results leads to clarity and certainty objectives, clarity and specificity in their formulation. At the same time, their vague, amorphous causes fragmentation of efforts.

L. Porter and E. Lawler developed a comprehensive procedural theory of motivation, incorporating elements of theories of expectations and fairness. Theory of the Porter-Lawler is based on the assumption that the work itself is a source of satisfaction of needs, but stresses the importance of remuneration for work as a motivating element.

Thus, the foregoing suggests that there is no single doctrine, explaining what lies at the heart of human motivation and how it is defined. The theory of expectations, equity, goal setting and the Porter-Lawler model help to explain how to influence people to encourage them to productive work, give the head of the key to building an effective system to motivate people. Despite the fundamental difference, all four theories have a lot in common, which allows to draw certain conclusions for the creation of an effective incentive system.

In the practice of American companies such as Ford, General Motors the use different methods of work motivation, many of which are related to monetary rewards. They often use the so-called analytical system of wages, i.e. differential evaluation of a scale degree of complexity of work with regard to the qualifications of performers, physical effort, working conditions, and others. In this case, the variable component of wages, which serves as a reward for improving product quality, increased productivity, cost of raw materials up to 1 / 3 of salary. It was widespread in the British company to receive financial incentives in the form of gifts. So, in the company «British Telecom» they award valuable gifts and travel vouchers [6].

One form of motivation, which has found wide application in the practice of foreign enterprises, is the introduction of flexible work schedules. In the institutions of Oxfordshire (UK) at the beginning of 90's as an experiment there was introduced a new form of labor organization, giving employees a substantial degree of freedom: the ability to work both at the workplace and at home. Thus, contract chief accountant of one of the agencies assumes the following distribution of working time: 75% (30 hours per week) - in the institution, 25% (10 hours per week) - at home. Head of Accounting at home basically works on the computer, verifyin the digital data of financial instruments, and in the institution participates in meetings and is engaged in other jobs that require contact with staff. Work performed at home at a computer is called telecommuting. For some categories of workers who are burdened with family responsibilities, such a form of labor organization is preferable. The experiment met expectations and was picked up by other companies [6].

Analyzing theories of motivation can derive a set of rules that are necessary for an effective incentive system:

- setting clear and achievable objectives for the members of the teams, deciding which of them each worker would be individually concerned with. According to the theory of goal setting, E. Locke, a man committed to the objectives of the organization will recognize them as their own and strive to achieve them. Individual employee's interest is the ideal tool to motivate.

– Creation of conditions under which all employees are aware of the importance of their work in the overall process of production ("self-actualization" by Maslow).

- Appointment of remuneration which is commensurate with the effort expended. According to the theory of expectations by Vroom level of the effort will depend on the expected reward.

- Ensuring equitable distribution of income among members of the team (the theory of equality by J. Adams).

- Providing some degree of self-employment, in which each of the workers can most fully express him/herself ("self-expression by Maslow ").

- Ensuring conditions for growth: the opportunity to learn and improve, career planning, career development (Alderfer’s demand growth).

- Ensuring the necessary conditions. According to the theory of Herzberg there must be "hygiene factors" in the organization. These include the following factors: a) protecting public health and safety and working conditions (physiological needs and security needs on Maslow), b) social contact - an opportunity to interact with others (communication Alderfer needs, McClelland need for participation).

- Timely information to employees about the economic and strategic objectives.


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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №1 - 2010

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