Improvement of major personnel management techniques based on the use of motivation models

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №6 - 2014

Author: Sembinova Tatyana, Kazakh American Free University, Kazakhstan

Motivation is one of the most important categories of management science. The concept of motivation in management was described in management and economics literature in sufficient detail. Meanwhile the scientific views on motivation and its role in management system were transformed over the past two centuries.

The problem of motivating people to work has always been important. Attempts to find ways to improve the productivity of people through their motivation were undertaken since the ancient times. As early as about 2000 B.C. Hammurabi, King of Babylon, legally introduced wages for some categories of his subjects. The possibility of using wages as an incentive for workers was proved a thousand years later by Nebuchadnezzar II, another King of Babylon. In 400 B.C. Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, put forward the idea of the need to study the reasons for people motivation.

The scientific approaches to the problem of motivation were further developed in motivation theories authored by A. Maslow, F. Herzberg, D. McGregor, D. McClelland, V. Vroom and others.

In this article we shall briefly analyze major approaches to the definition of "motivation". Motivation takes origin from the French word «motiv» and is, from the perspective of O.S. Vikhansky and A.I. Naumov, "a set of internal and external driving forces that encourage people to work, set boundaries and determine types of activity, making this activity purposeful and focused on the achievement of certain goals" (Vikhansky, Naumov, 2003).

This view is also shared by A.A. Lobanov, who argues that the motivation of workers is the set of reasons inducing a person to act in a certain way. This is an internal state, which encourages, directs and sustains a human desire to achieve a certain goal (Ivantsevich, Lobanov, 1993).

V.V. Travin and V.A. Dyatlov define motivation as an employee desire to meet their needs (to receive certain benefits) through work (Travin, Dyatlov, 1995). It is closely related to the approach in psychology, which defines motivation as a felt need of a person to achieve certain benefits and desired conditions (Gvishiani, Lapina, 2000).

From the psychologists point of view motivation is also a totality of external and internal conditions that encourage a person to act (Petrovskiy, Yaroshevskiy, 2000).

There is no common understanding of the notion “motivation” among foreign researches. According to G.J. Bolt motivation is a way of receiving the most from the employees through understanding their behavior, motives and reason for good or bad work, and using this information and a set of certain techniques to reach the highest production rate (Bolt, 1991).

M. Mescon, M. Albert and F. Chedouri (1992) define motivation as the process of encouraging oneself and others to reach personal and organizational goals.

Foreign and domestic researches use different approaches to define motivation that consider specific aspects of motivation looking at the subject from the point of view of their area of research.

This testifies to a large scale of a problem and about different approaches to solving it.

It should be noted that motivation is not only the management tool, but also a management process with a clearly defineв activity approach and reflecting the potency of managerial influence on shaping employees’ motivation. Employees are understood as a collection of individuals with their own parameters of motivation.

Multiple theories and approaches with some similar features can be integrated into a single conceptual framework through modeling an entity common for all theories and approaches. For this purpose we suggest using Maslow’s pyramid as the most comprehensive model of human needs.

Personnel motivation methods are the ways to encourage employees to achieve organizational goals. These methods, based on the type of influence, fall into material (monetary and non-monetary) and non-material (organizational, psychological methods), but they are all closely related, interdependent and often interchangeable.

Motivation methods can be classified according the object of motivation, incentives used, types of needs, direction, etc. (Table 1). In their work managers should use them not as separate and independent ways of motivation but as a comprehensive whole.

Table 1 – Classification of motivation tools

To achieve high results managers should set clear and precise goals, use certain well-thought incentives. This system of incentives should be public, i.e. known to all organization employees, while every incentive should be deserved, not causing co-workers’ envy or negative attitude towards work (Vachugovi, 2005).

Most managers at domestic plants view the system of motivation as an instrument based on personal payments to the employer. At most enterprises motivation system is closely connected with the wage fund.

This kind of motivation system is quite effective due to rather low living standards and is relevant for the majority of organizations. However, this scheme is gradually losing its effectiveness due to the following reasons:

1) Regular payment of bonuses and payoffs decreases their value and motivating effects – employees get used to these payoffs and treat them as a form of wages, and every cut or decrease is viewed as infringement of rights of the employee by the employer.

2) A variable part of the wage initially has a motivating effect and stimulates employee’s creativity. But as a matter of fact the employers don’t need this creativity. From their point of view it interferes with regular job and high quality of operations.

3) Under similar conditions of material incentives employees choose the organization where they can have a greater choice of actions, where the work requirements are not so rigorous (scope of work to be performed, coercion system, etc.).

Decrease in existing motivation system effectiveness forces managers and enterprise owners to look for new approaches to personnel motivation. Non-material motivation in this case is not taken into account, though use of some non-material (moral) methods of motivation of employees takes place.

To achieve the goal of our investigation we suggest merging motivation theories and approaches into one conceptual framework through modeling a single common entity. For this purpose we suggest using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs but in a slightly changes format (Figure 1). This transformation provides us an opportunity to compare the amount of needs satisfied with the existing system of labor remuneration.

In the process of motivation management the organization should consider all types of motivational factors – material and non-material (according to Maslow from the lowest to the highest).

Figure 1 – Changed variant of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Emphasis on just several factors can lead to dissatisfaction of needs of the personnel and, as a result, to decrease in operation effectiveness. No doubt, each employee has his own distinct system of values, which determines the unique set and correlation of motivators. That is why motivation system in the organization should be very diverse and provide the employees with a wide and flexible choice of motivators that represent certain value for them. Motivation system goals should correspond to the organization goals and should provide functions, processes and procedures of the organization with necessary and sufficient competencies. Thus, the main direction of organization motivation system improvement should be associated with turning an overturned Maslow’s triangle into a rectangle, which means assigning equal stimulating coefficient to all factors motivating an employee (Figure 2).

Figure 2 – Graphic representation of main directions in organization motivation system improvement

Close examination of the proposed model (Figures 1 and 2) determines the tasks for motivation system and labor incentive management. Moreover, the role and place of organizational, moral and material incentives can also be represented graphically (Figure 3).

Certain type of needs can and should be satisfied through material rewards, other needs can and should be satisfied only using moral incentives, but the majority of needs should be satisfied through a combination of moral (including organizational, i.e. provided for by the management system) and material factors. It is important to mention that different employee categories should be motivating in a different way. Moral to material incentive ratio is to be determined though setting precise goals for each department or each employee with the reference to the common organizational goals.

Figure 3 – Place and role of labor incentive factors

Since there are many employees in the organization but their goals should be aligned with the organization goal it logically follows that there should exist a common motivation system applicable to each employee. Factors of labor motivation and incentive can be classified by type of needs according to Maslow (Khlebnikov):

1) Self-realization needs. To manage these needs the following methods should be used:

- organizational methods (arrow 1), compulsory participation of managers and creative specialists in boards, commissions, councils and task groups;

- non-material methods (arrow 2) of stimulating employees by creating clubs, interest groups, teams, amateur theaters, etc. Developing shared goals (sports, creative, constructive, etc.) makes a significant impact on corporate culture, consolidates and motivates the work team;

- material methods (arrow 3) - stimulating of rationalization and inventive activity through creating quality groups and providing support on important for the employee occasion, making presents, etc. Fair evaluation of the employee contribution their loyalty and desire to work for the company increases significantly.

2) Respect and recognition needs. This is a major need for management personnel for whom status is a driving force. It is quite remarkable that the main motivator (or demotivator) is the comparison with the employees at the same position of the other organization in theу same field of activity. To manage this need it is recommended to use the following:

- organizational methods (arrow 1), demonstrating the managers possibilities for professional growth and achievement of a higher social status which is the major motivating factor for managers;

- non-material methods (arrow 2), such as job titles (status), asking to represent the company at exhibitions, awarding best employee title, diplomas and letters of recognition, a place in a tourist group, health and retirement programs, etc.

- material methods (arrow 3) - competitive level of labor remuneration, support on significant life events, presents, etc.

- PR - methods (arrow 4) - company general image, accessories with company logos, status of the employee of a modern successful organization, prestige.

3) Group belongingness needs. This factor is important for all categories of employees, though the employees may associate themselves with different target social groups they want to belong. To manage this need the following should be used:

- non-material methods (arrow 2), such as participation in management, meetings with the organization administrating, participation in trade union, representing the organization on exhibitions, best employee titles, letters of recognition, etc.;

- material methods (arrow 3) - a competitive level of labor remuneration, support on important life occasions, financial aid, health and life insurance, reimbursement for medicine, etc.

- PR - methods (arrow 4) - general organization image, status of an employee of a successful organization, job prestige, corporate events and holidays.

- organizational methods (arrow 5) - providing employees with the information about long-term perspectives of an organization operation through a corporate newspaper or information boards, company web site, personnel training, stability and safety of jobs, perspectives of professional growth.

4) Safety needs. It’s an important factor significantly influencing the loyalty of the employee, his devotion to the organization especially in the crisis times. To manage this need it is recommended to use the following:

- material methods (arrow 3) - a competitive level of labor remuneration, providing loans at a low interest, support on significant life events, presents, financial aid based on need, providing insurance, reimbursement for medicine, etc.

- PR - methods (arrow 4) - generally recognized by the society image of a strong and dynamic company, lifetime honorary social status of an employee of a successful company and its support, corporate events and holidays.

- organizational methods (arrow 5) - providing the personnel with information about organization long-term perspectives through a corporate newspaper or information boards; personnel training, secure jobs and opportunities for professional growth.

5) Physiological needs. This is the basis for a collective bargaining. It is necessary to note that with consideration of contemporary level of development of the society psychological needs differ from the needs described by Maslow as “physiological”. Managing this type of needs requires the following:

- setting material stimulation (arrow 3) of the employee at a level not lower than that of a specialist of the same qualification working in the same area.

It is clear that in this system of motivation organizational, PR-methods, moral and material methods often overlap, which makes it difficult to single out as separate methods. Nevertheless, defining their meaning is of crucial importance for combination of moral and material incentive methods.

There is no ideal motivation model, no single motivation theory; the choice of the model is made by the organization, its owners and top managers. That is why the choice of the best suitable motivation model should be made based on the following conditions:

The choice of the motivation model to be used in personnel management should be made with consideration of organization goals, functions, type of operation, size and other peculiarities.

For the motivation model to be used effectively it should be a dynamic and developing system capable of responding adequately to the changes in the competitive environment. It is necessary to consider the phases of the economic cycle of the organization (growth, maturity and decline). Methods suitable for one period of time may turn ineffective during the other.

The model should consider all personnel categories (top managers, middle managers and employees), that require different approaches to their motivation.

Different approaches to personnel management and motivation should be based on effective material and financial expenses and achievement of organizational goals. This is essential for an organization operating under market conditions. That is why it is necessary to pay close attention to the assessment of management effectiveness while designing methods of personnel motivation.

There are many employee motivation theories (models). Meanwhile most of the managers mistakenly believe that people work exclusively for money. The problem of motivation should be viewed as a broader phenomenon since in the period of instable economy the role of human capital increases, and it is viewed as the most important strategic resource of many organizations.


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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №6 - 2014

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