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Using Motivational and Emotional Theories

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Using motivational and emotional theories

This report aims to explore different ways in which motivation levels and moral amongst managers, admins and staff can be increased; it will explore different ways to improve the emotional state of the workforce and to decrease staff sickness. Motivation has been defined as the literal desire to attain a goal, for instance people are motivated to go into education to attain knowledge or a qualification (Abeysekera & Dawson, 2014), and emotion has been argued to act as a response to motivation which is the stimuli, research has also argued that motivation mediates the effects of emotions on achieving a goal or completing a task (Mega, Ronconi & De Beni, 2014).

Motivation can either be intrinsic or extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is caused by outside influences (Gerhart & Fang, 2015), for example promotions, pay rise and even recognition from people of higher positions in a work place. Intrinsic motivation refers to the motivation that comes from oneself (Abuhamdeh, Csikszentmihalyi & Jalal, 2014), this could be personal goals, desire to expand skills or opportunity to improve. Research has argued that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations have a strong relationship with task performance, with intrinsic motivation having a stronger relationship however, extrinsic motivation was found to be associated with contextual performance (Yousaf, Yang & Sanders, 2015), making it necessary for the best performance from the workforce.

There are many factors that can cause a lack of motivation within the workplace, these can be a Lack of progress, Job security, company leadership, poor communication and even boredom. A mistake made by many organisations is using money as a motivator for employees, however several studies have looked at progress within the work place and money as a motivator, it has been found that workers would rather get a reduced pay and be satisfied with their job, than be paid more and not be satisfied (Jin & Huang, 2014). This shows how money is not a motivator for employees but suggests that one’s own satisfaction in what they do plays a huge role in motivating them to do a job, thus making intrinsic motivation a big factor.

Having motivators in the work place can lead to positive emotions that can lead to an improvement in the quality of work produced, and increase moral amongst the workers. Having positive emotions in the work place is beneficial as research has suggested that negative emotions are linked to feelings of discomfort and frustration in the work place, However, positive emotions are linked to more creative ideas from the work force as well as generative thinking (Crawford, Soto, de la Barra, Crawford & Olguín, 2014).

The equity theory of motivation has argued that employees expect an equitable and fair return for their contribution to the work that they do (Ryan & Wessel, 2015), it is argued that they determine what is equitable by comparing their production within the work place to that of their colleagues or of those working in a similar field as they are (Ryan, 2016). If a worker feels as though they are in an inequitable situation they will try to make it equal (Ubeda, 2014), this could include reducing the amount of work they do to match that of their colleagues, or even quit working for the organization; this could explain why there is customer dissatisfaction and why customers are being lost to rival supermarket groups, as the employees may no longer take as much care in their work as they would if they felt that the work was fair.

The first step in increasing productivity and motivation in the work place would be to introduce equity amongst workers. It is important that all the workers feel that they are equal and that they have an equal opportunity to progress within the organisation. According to Collins & Mossholder (2016) the lack of fairness in a work place can lead to lack of productivity as well as counterproductive behaviours; they also found that when workers thought that their job was fair their production increased. Further research looking at the effects of emotions found that negative emotions within the workplace also had a relationship with fairness as well as counterproductive work behaviours (Matta, Erol-Korkmaz, Johnson & Biçaksiz, 2014).

The first step to making a work place fair is to introduce rules that are common and consistent amongst the workers (Christoforou & Ashforth, 2015) for example, disciplinary actions, qualification for benefits within the work place or promotions and raises. Having common rules gives the employees a level playing field whereby they have the same chances of getting promoted as everyone else which will all depends on how they work and development in their skills as a worker. Having the sense of fairness can increase the motivation in the workplace as the feeling alone can lead to positive emotions leading to determination thus better moral amongst workers and increased production which later turns into profit.

As well as having common rules it is important to also look at each employee individually and have rules that may apply to them as an individual for example if an employee has a disability they may need a slightly longer break than other employees. Having rules that cater for each employee given their situation can give them a sense of value and importance within the organisation (Anthony-McMann, Ellinger, Astakhova & Halbesleben, 2016). This can lead to them seeing fairness within the workplace, which will in turn lead to positive emotions and increased motivation, this can also decrease staff illnesses and increase the length of time they work in the organisation. Research has found that negative emotions are strongly linked with illness (Csikszentmihalyi, 2014)

In conjunction with using fairness to increase motivation within the organisation, introducing incentives that each employee has an equal chance of getting based on individual progress and productivity within the work place, can also aid in increasing the motivation of the workforce (Cerasoli, Nicklin & Ford, 2014). According to the incentive theory, behaviours are not pushed by needs but by a desire of something, it also assumes that people are more likely to show behaviours that lead to rewards (Gupta & Shaw, 2014) i.e. bonus in the workplace, than behaviours that are more likely to lead to a punishment such as disciplinary actions or potentially getting fired. Having an incentive in the workplace can help employees work towards a target, they allow employees to not only focus on producing for the sake of not losing the job and to get paid at the end of the month but to also focus on the quality of work they are doing (Garbers & Konradt, 2013).

It can also be argued that having incentives would make the job more interesting and can give the employees a reason to stay in the organisation. Having clear incentives such as employee of the month can increase customer satisfaction as they can clearly see that the organisation cares about the quality of work done by their employees, thus a sense of pride (Koo Moon & Kwon Choi, 2014). The incentive theory could be argued to be focused on extrinsic motivation more than intrinsic therefore by having incentives such as employee of the month, pay raises and bonuses you can alter the behaviour of the employees (Casey, 2015).

In Addition to having goals or incentives that can be attained by all employees the goal setting theory of motivation suggests that specific and challenging goals (Frese & Gielnik, 2014) accompanied with good feedback leads to better and higher task performance (Harks, Rakoczy, Hattie, Besser & Klieme, 2013). This means to increase motivation the company could have individual goals for each employee, these could be daily, weekly or monthly goals they must meet, so they are working towards something. Goals could focus on different aspects of the Job for example, customer services and sales. According to several researches, for goal setting to be effective there are several things that need to be taken into consideration, firstly the goals must be made known to the employee as well as the respective managers (Alexander Haslam, 2014); they also should be allowed input so they have a goal they feel they can achieve (Hamstra, Van Yperen, Wisse & Sassenberg, 2013), as goals that seem difficult to achieve can be discouraging and can lead to lower productivity than increased productivity.

Goals that are set for the employees must compliment the organization’s vision as well as goals, according to research workers are demotivated by a lack of progress in what they do (Zou, Scholer & Higgins, 2014), this is the reason why money has been found to not be a motivator in a work place. Having individual goals can lead to feelings of determination and higher interest in the Job as it would have become more challenging, this will in turn increase the moral of each employee (Martin, 2015). According to the Yerkes Dodson law, to have optimum performance one must have a level of arousal that is not low or high, in this case arousal can be determined by the goal, this implies that the goal should not be too difficult or too easy, it must be achievable and challenging at the same time. The desire to achieve something mixed with positive emotions i.e. happy, excitement or determination can lead to better moral, increased production and can even decrease chances of illness (Meneghel, Salanova & Martínez, 2014).

An important aspect of the goal setting theory and all the given theories is the idea of feedback. Setting a goal or an incentive for the employees without giving them feedback on completion or failure of completion can be discouraging and can only motivate for a very short period (Boudrias, Bernaud & Plunier, 2014). Feedback to and from employees can lead to the leadership’s understanding what may be demotivating the workforce and perhaps discuss ways in which this could be improved or changes the employees would like to see (Butler, Marsh, Slavinsky & Baraniuk, 2014); it allows for the organisation to set interesting, dynamic and challenging goals for the employees; it allows the leadership to understand the concerns the employees may have, it also allows them to compare the company’s preferred outcomes with the aimed performance levels from employees (Hodge & Rainey, 2014).

Feedback between the employers and the employees can be done in many different forms, for a general idea of how the employees are feeling in the workplace questionnaires can be used. However, questionnaires limit the level of detail you get from employees and may not be the most effective way to get feedback soon after change but would be more effective to maintain the change. For more detailed information regarding how the employees are feeling interviews can be done. When doing these interviews to eliminate any chances of social desirability they are better being conducted by someone other than the manager, this could be a manager from a different store within the same organisation. These given methods of feedback can also be used to evaluate the success of the intervention, by collecting data before introducing these theories in the workplace and after doing so, then comparing the emotions from the employees as well as their motivation before and after the intervention you can see how effective the interventions are.

In Conclusion, to increase the motivation and emotional state of the work force the organisation can apply different theories together to get the best results. Firstly, it is important that each employee feels that they are in an equitable situation, this can be done by having common rules as well as valuing each employee and their personal needs (Collins & Mossholder 2016). As well as being equitable, the organisation can have incentives that each employee is able to get, this can be assessed by their productivity in comparison to the previous month, these incentives could be employee of the month, a pay rise or bonus (Cerasoli, Nicklin & Ford, 2014). In Conjunction to this, employees can be given individual goals, these could be focused on sales or customer service; for the goals to be effective in motivation the employees they must be challenging but not impossible to complete (Frese & Gielnik, 2014).

For these methods to work they must be accompanied with feedback, this can be both from the employers or the employees (Boudrias, Bernaud & Plunier, 2014). Feedback can come in the form of interviews or questionnaires. Using these methods to increase motivation can also improve the emotional state of the work force (Meneghel, Salanova & Martínez, 2014). Research has argued that being motivated to do something leads to positive emotions which in turn help decrease illness and increase the length of time people stay in each organisation (Csikszentmihalyi, 2014).

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