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Running head: Motivation Theories: A Literature Review Motivation Theories: A Literature Review ——————————————————————- ————————————– Motivation Theories: A Literature Review Motivation is an important concept for managers to understand. Motivation affects direction, intensity and duration (Locke & Gary, 2004). High task motivation has been found to correlate with high firm growth (Miner, Smith, et.
al. , 1989).
Berman and Miner (1985) studied CEOs, COOs, executive VPs and group VPs and found that those “who reached the highest levels of large business firms [had] higher motivation to manage than individuals with less achievement” (377-391). There are many things that affect motivation, such as personal preferences, job satisfaction and organizational factors (Wherry & South, 1977). According to Locke and Gary (2004), most people are in situations; particularly work related ones, due to their own personal choices.
Latham and Pinder (2005) found that “goal-setting, social cognitive and organization justice theories are the three most important approaches to work motivation to appear in the last 30 years” (485).
Self-efficacy significantly impacts motivation. Lindner (1998) also supports this. Wabba (1974) discusses behavioral choices and motivation. Personal faith also plays a role in motivation. I Corinthians 10:31 states, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (NASB).
The Bible consistently gives examples of those motivated by their belief and faith in God. When Peter and the disciples were threatened with imprisonment for spreading the gospel, Peter responded with “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29, NASB).
Their desire to follow God overshadowed concern for physical or earthly consequences. Dysfunctional thinking also can affect motivation (Locke & Gary, 2004). Dysfunctional thinking is basically irrational overgeneralizations and it comes from automatic thoughts.
Locke and Gary (2004) also suggest that managers learn how to help employees copy with these automatic thoughts in order to identify the irrational nature of their thoughts so they can process them in a way that is productive and provides greater motivation. Gee and Burke (2001) found that the hope for financial gain as a sole motivator is an outdated idea and not nearly as effective as once thought. There are various motivation theories and some recent changes in motivation trends. Gee and Burke (2001) refer to “human potential management” as opposed to “human resource management. This seemingly small change in vernacular reflects changing attitudes. Wood (2000) recommends taking into account social identify theory, motivational traits, procrastination and lateness, proactive role orientations and person-environment fit when evaluating theories. Dye, Mills and Weatherbee (2005) believe Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has been oversimplified to fit the convenience of motivational textbooks and in this oversimplication, the point of Maslow’s theories has been missed. They caution against using the hierarchy of needs chart without the complete context.
There are some effective best practices that can be derived from motivation theories. Gee and Burke (2001) found that self-managed teams and telecommuting both increased employee motivation. Tai (2006) and Huang (2001) both found positive correlations between effective training programs and employee motivation. Chapman (2008) discusses the role of team-building activities, workshops, inspirational quotes and positive experiences in building employee motivation. Sodenkamp (2005) found that pay-for-performance systems on employee work groups increased motivation as well.
The ACCEL-Team’s (2008) findings support this as well. Fitzgerald (1971) cautions against using irrelevant solutions to try motivate employees without first ensuring the solid foundation of the work system itself. Managerial attitudes and actions also have an impact on motivation. Daniel Goleman gives six distinct leadership styles, “coercive leaders demand immediate compliance. Authoritative leaders mobilize people toward a vision. Affiliative leaders create emotional bonds. Democratic leaders build consensus. Pacesetting leaders set high standards and expect excellence.
Coaching leaders develop people” (Longenecker, Moore, Petty & Palich, 2008, p. 474-475). Forsyth (2006) called leadership “the process by which an individual guides others in their pursuits, often by organizing, directing, coordinating, supporting and motivating their efforts” (p. 376). Invang (2008) the guide to his group members. “A manager who listens encourages employee growth and career development” (Burley-Allen, 1995, p. 9). Anthony (1989) discusses motivation by example and through involvement and interactions with employees.
Wolleat (2007) reviewed Gary Latham’s book, Work Motivation: History, Theory, Research, and Practice and acknowledged its use in presenting motivation theories but Locke and Gary (2004) found that motivation theories do not compete with each other as much as they show different aspects of motivation. The goal of managers, therefore, should not be so much to evaluate motivation theories to select the superior theory; rather the goal of managers should be to use characteristics of different motivation theories to effectively motivate employees. —————————————————————— ————————————— References ACCEL-Team. (2008). Employee Motivation, the Organizational Environment and Productivity. Al-Khalifa, A. , & Peterson, S. E. (2004). On the relationship between initial motivation, and satisfaction and performance in joint ventures. European Journal of Marketing, 38(1/2), 150-174. Anthony, J. H. (1989). Therapeutic Leadership. Leadership Abstracts, 2 (13). Berman, F. E. and J. B. Miner (1985). “Motivation to manage at the top executive level: A test of the hierarchic role-motivation theory. Personnel Psychology 38(2): 377-391. Burley-Allen, M. (1995). Listening the Forgotten Skill: A Self-Teaching Guide. 2nd Ed. , Canada, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Chapman, A. (1995-2008). Employee motivation theory – team building activities, workshops, inspirational quotes, and the power of positive experience. Densten, I. L. (2002). Clarifying inspirational motivation and its relationship to extra effort. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 23(1), 40-44. Dye, K. , Mills, A. J. , & Weatherbee, T. (2005). Maslow: man interrupted: reading management theory in context. Management Decision, 43.
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