‘Management is a process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals, working together in groups to efficiently accomplish selected aims.’ (Weihrich and Koontz, 1993) Nowadays, manager is one of the most popular and required professions all over the world. However, this profession is not as simple as it seems to be, because it is very difficult to organize a team and help workers to achieve the best results together. Probably the most significant difficulty in managing employees is to realize that all people are similar and different at the same time and to find out what this similarities and differences are. According to that, manager should create a strategy of achieving a certain goal and to encourage his team to do its best to achieve it. The best way to make people work is to motivate them. However, the problem is that there are so many motivation theories in the world that it can become a real challenge for a team leader to decide which theory he or she is going to use in order to motivate workers. In this essay two motivation theories are going to be compared and contrasted, after what team leaders will be suggested how both of these theories can be used in their work. Hopefully, after reading this work managers will be aware of the key principles of motivation and will succeed in motivating their staff.
One of the strongest psychological factors that encourage people to reach certain goals is motivation. ‘Motivation is willingness to do something and is conditioned by this action’s ability to satisfy some need for the individual.’ (Robbins, 2005) So, it can be claimed that motivated people will do their work better than people with lack of motivation. Undoubtedly, a company cannot perform well without motivating its employees. ‘People must be motivated if they are to effectively engage in the behaviors and practices that bring advantage and success to a firm’ (Hitt, Miller, Colella, 2009) Indeed, if workers are not motivated enough they will not do their job well and, as a result, a firm will not be able to succeed in its work.
There are plenty of motivation theories all over the world. For example, Abraham Maslow developed a theory which is based on the idea that there are ‘five distinct levels of individual needs from higher-order needs to lower-order needs (French, Rayner, Rees, Rumbles, 2005). Clayton Alderfer’s ERG theory claims that there are three types of people’s needs: Existence needs, relatedness needs and growth needs. This theory is similar to Maslow’s but ‘is more flexible than Maslow’s in three basic respects’ (French, Rayner, Rees, Rumbles, 2005). There is also a theory called Acquired needs theory developed by David I. McClelland and many more interesting and useful theories based on different ideas and developed by outstanding world’s psychologists.
There are plenty of motivation theories in the world. One of them was developed by an American psychologist Frederick Irving Herzberg. This theory is called the two-factor theory or the motivator-hygiene theory and is based on the idea that there are two main factors that can motivate people. ‘The motivator-hygiene theory distinguishes between sources of work dissatisfaction (hygiene factors) and satisfaction (motivators)’ (French, Rayner, Rees, Rumbles, 2005) According to Herzberg, the absence of hygiene factors can make people be dissatisfied with their work but the presence of these factors does not make them satisfied. Only motivation factors can make workers feel happy with their job. ‘Herzberg’s model provides a useful distinction between maintenance factors, which are necessary, but not sufficient and motivational factors, which have the potential for improving employee effort’ (Newstorm, Davis, 1997) In fact, this motivation theory helps managers to improve factors that can dissatisfy their workers and to find out which factors can encourage employees to perform better.
Another theory was developed by American professor Edwin A. Locke and is called goal-setting theory. This theory claims that a stated clear goal helps people to do their job better. ‘Goal-setting theory posits that goals enhance human performance because they direct attention and affect effort and persistence’ (Locke, Latham, 1990) Motivated by a clear goal, employees will do their best to reach their target. However, the theory would not be so effective without five essential elements: goal acceptance, specificity, challenge, performance monitoring and feedback. ‘Goal setting, as a motivational tool, is most effective when all its major elements are present. These are goal acceptance, specificity, challenge, performance monitoring and feedback.’ (Newstorm, Davis 1997) These elements help managers to understand the theory better and to set and manage goals rightly. Accompanied by its vital elements goal-setting theory help managers to formulate their tasks very clearly and, as a result, not only to motivate people, but also make their work much easier.
These two theories are quite different from each other. Firstly, because Herzberg’s theory is content theory and Locke’s theory was classified as progress theory. ‘Content theories of motivation offer ways to profile or analyze individuals to identify needs that are assumed to motivate their behaviour.’ (French, Rayner, Rees, Rumbles, 2005) ‘Process theories of motivation seek to understand the thought processes to take place in the minds of people and how these act to motivate their behaviour’ (French, Rayner, Rees, Rumbles, 2005) In fact, these theories are based on two different sides of peoples’ personalities: on peoples’ desires and on their thoughts. Secondly, while Herzberg’s theory is massively criticized by other researchers because it is claimed that that his theory cannot be applied to all workers, the goal-setting theory is accepted by lots of critics all over the world because their theory was completely proved. ‘The original sample of scientists and engineers probably is not representative of the working population’ (French, Rayner, Rees, Rumbles, 2005), ‘Locke and Latham (2002:714) summarized key aspects of research undertake over the history of goal-setting theory that involved ‘100 different tasks involving more than 40,000 participants in at least eight countries’, and concluded that the effects of goal setting theory are very reliable.’ (Butler and Rose, 2011) So, it can be clearly seen that Locke’s theory is more theoretically proved than the two-factor theory. And the last, but not the least difference is that Herzberg was trying to find out how the work can reward people to make them work harder, whereas Locke was sure that people should have goals that are incredibly difficult to achieve in order to perform better. ‘The two-factor model broadened managers’ perspectives by showing the potentially powerful role of intrinsic rewards that envolve from the work itself’ (Newstorm, Davis, 1997). ‘A number of researchers have found that associates exert more effort when the have goals that are difficult to a significant degree’ (Hitt, Miller, Colella, 2009) In general, Herzberg was sure that comfortable working conditions can improve employees’ work and Locke was convinced of the idea that only tension can make people work harder. These differences show that methods, based on very different ideas, can be taken in order to motivate people.
Despite the fact, that these two theories seem to be completely different from each other, they have number of similarities. First of all, both these theories are very clear and understandable. ‘At a practical level, Herzberg’s theory is easy to understand and apply’ (Hitt, Miller, Colella, 2009) ‘Goal-setting theory suggests that goals are associated with enhanced performance because they mobilize effort, direct attention, and encourage persistence and strategy development.’ (Shani, Lau, 2005)It is clear, that if manager understands the theories perfectly he or she probably will apply both of them. Furthermore, two-factor and goal theories are very easy to apply. ‘Managers can motivate associates by manipulating job-content factors and can prevent associate dissatisfaction by manipulating the job context or environment’ (Hitt, Miller, Colella, 2009) ‘Goal-setting theory suggests that managers can motivate associates by setting or helping to set goals.’ (Hitt, Miller, Colella, 2009) As these theories seem to be quite easy to apply managers can expect predicted results and succeed in worker’s motivation. Finally, both theories are quite popular among managers because they claimed to be quite effective. ‘Herzberg’s theory is highly important for understanding how people perceive satisfaction and dissatisfaction, realizing that this perception will vary with specific individuals.’ (Shani, Lau, 2005) ‘The positive effect of goals on work motivation is one of the strongest findings in research on organizational behavior.’ (Hitt, Miller, Colella, 2009) As a result, it can be clearly seen that theories are said to be very useful in practical use. Undoubtedly, it can be clearly seen that both these theories generally are similar due to their simplicity and effectiveness.
Both these theories can be effectively applied by managers to motivate their team. Firstly, by following the Herzberg’s example, team leaders should ask their workers what in their opinion is the best and the worst aspect of their job. This not only will help leader to find out what are motivation and hygiene factors for his workers but will also show people that their leader cares about them. ‘The way you become a leader is by finding people who want to work for you’ (Malone, 2004) Indeed, if employees will know that their feelings are important for the employer, they will like him and, as a result, will do their best in order not to disappoint him. Then, team leader should improve working facilities according to the survey results. ‘To motivate associates, managers should provide jobs that include potential for achievement and responsibility. They should also try to maintain the hygiene factors at an appropriate level to prevent dissatisfaction’ (Hitt, Miller, Colella, 2009) Thus, people will feel satisfied and motivated by their job and this, according to two-factor theory, will improve their performance. Finally, a team leader should set his team a certain goal. ‘Goal setting works as a motivational process because it creates a discrepancy between current and expected performance. This results in a feeling of tension, which the employee can diminish through future goal attainment.’ (Newstorm, Davis, 1997) Consequently, all these actions will lead to a significant improvement in team’s performance and, as a result to a bigger company’s profit.
Motivation is the vital part of every company’s performance. Without it workers will never do their best in order to increase owner’s profit. Because of that, lots of motivation theories were developed by psychologists all over the world. A good manager should be aware of all these theories and has to know how to use them properly. There are few theories that are claimed to be the most effective. One of them was developed by an American psychologist Frederic Irving Herzberg. It is called Two-factor theory or Motivator-hygiene theory and is based on the idea that there are two types of factors that can motivate people. It is being criticized by many experts but on the other hand it is massively used by team leaders because of its simplicity and effectiveness. Another theory is called Goal-setting theory and was developed in America by a professor Edwin A Locke. It claims that people should have a clear goal, which is quite difficult to achieve, only in that case they will perform well. This theory based on the reliable evidences and is commonly used all over the world because it is very easy to understand and use. In the essay similarities and differences of these two theories were examined. Readers were provided with examples how these theories can be used by team leaders to motivate their workers and, as a result, increase company’s profit.