2. Goal-Setting Theory (E. Locke):
The primary idea of this theory is that specific and difficult goals, with goal/ feedback, lead to a higher performance. This means that, for example, to motivate someone, you don't say "Just do your best", but you say specific what has to be obtained, for example "You should strive for 85 percent or higher on all your work in English". Research supports this theory in that this do can lead to a higher performance, although it may not lead to job satisfaction (cfr. supra).
3. Reinforcement Theory:
This theory states that reinforcement conditions behaviour. Behaviour is thereby environmentally caused. What controls behaviour are reinforcers – any consequence that , when immediately following a response, increases the probability that the behaviour will be repeated. The theory ignores the inner state of the individual and concentrates solely on what happens to a person when he or she takes some action. Because it does not concern with what initiates behaviour, it is not, strictly speaking, a theory of motivation. But it does provide a powerful means of analysing of what controls behaviour, and it is for this reason that it is typically considered in discussions on motivation.
4. Equity Theory (J. S. Adams):
This theory poses that individuals compare their job inputs (i.e. effort, experience ...) and outcomes (i.e. salary, recognition ...) with those of others and then respond so as to eliminate any inequities. For example a person who does the same job as another employee but gets paid less will be motivated to perform better in order to eliminate the existing inequities.
5. Expectancy Theory (V. Vroom):
This is currently one of the most accepted explanations of motivation. Most of the research evidence is supportive of this theory. Concrete, this theory says that an employee will be motivated to exert a high level of effort when he or she believes that effort will lead to a good performance appraisal; that a good performance appraisal will lead to organizational rewards such as a bonus, a salary increase, or a promotion; and that the rewards will satisfy the employee's goals.
The major theories briefly presented, we can now look at how in reality a manager can implement these. Robbins mentions 6 applications. These are:
1. Management by objectives (MBO) (cfr. Goal-Setting Theory):
This means in realty, as a manager, you make sure that the organization's overall objectives are translated into specific objectives for each succeeding level (divisional, departmental, and individual) in the organization. You develop a program that encompasses specific goals, participatively set with the employees, for an explicit time period, with feedback on goal progress. MBO programs are used in many business, health care, educational, government and non-profit organizations.
2. Employee Recognition Programs (cfr. Reinforcement Theory)
Consistent with reinforcement theory, rewarding a behaviour with recognition immediately following that behaviour is likely to encourage its repetition. For example: personally congratulating an employee, or sending a letter or an e-mail, having a celebration because of good achievement, or publicly recognizing, such as organizing a prize "Best Employee of the Month" (he/she then gets a plaque on the wall). These programs are widely used because it costs no money and according to research bears effective.
3. Employee Involvement Programs (cfr. Theory X and Theory Y, Two-Factor Theory, Hierarchy of Needs Theory & ERG Theory):
The idea here is that by involving workers in those decisions that affect them and by increasing their autonomy and control over their work lives, employees will become more motivated, more committed to the organization, more productive, and more satisfied with their jobs. Examples:
participative management: subordinates share a significant degree of decision-making power with their immediate superiors.
representative participation: rather than participate directly in decisions, workers are represented by a small group of employees who actually participate
quality circles: a work group of 8 to 10 employees and supervisors meet regularly to discuss their quality problems, investigate causes, recommend solutions, and take corrective actions.
employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs): these are company-established benefit plans in which employees acquire stock as part of their benefits.
4. Variable Pay Programs (cfr. Expectancy Theory):
Here a portion of an employee's pay is based on some individual and/or organizational measure of performance. Examples:
Piece-rate pay plans: you are paid a fixed sum for each unit of production completed.
Bonuses: extra payment because of certain achievement.
Profit-sharing plans: compensations based on some established formula designed around a company's profitability (direct cash outlays or stock options).
gainsharing: an incentive plan in which improvements in group productivity determine the total amount of money that is allocated.
5. Skill Based Pay Plans (cfr. ERG Theory, Reinforcement Theory, Equity Theory):
These plans set pay levels on the basis of how many skills employees have or how many jobs they can do. For example, if you are a machine operator in a certain company, you earn 14$/hour, but because of the skill based pay plan, you can earn up to a 10 percent premium if you broaden your skills to for example material accounting. Several studies have confirmed that skill based pay generally leads to higher performance and satisfaction. These plans are expanding and already widely used with success.
6. Flexible Benefits (cfr. Expectancy Theory):
These allow employees to pick and choose from among a menu of benefit options that exceeds the traditional benefit programs. The options might include hearing, dental and eye coverage; life insurance; extended vacation time; .... This way the different needs of the employees can be met. The major theories and their applications were provided; we want to conclude here with some general guidelines:
Recognize Individual Differences
Use Goals and Feedback
Allow Employees to Participate in Decisions that Affect Them
Link Rewards to Performance
Check the System for Equity
The conclusion then is that f you have the skill as a manager to tailor the perfect motivation method for each of your employees, you will be more effective.
With Rees (1991, p. 159), we can say that this characteristic is probably the most important of all the characteristics an effective manager needs to possess. Everything a manager does involves communication, his verbal and nonverbal behaviour. Communication between managers and employees is important in the sense that it provides the information necessary to get work done effectively and efficient in organizations. Effective communication is the critical factor that moves a team toward a resolution or consensus ("How to be an effective manager", 2000, p. 14).
Robbins & Coulter provide us with the following communication model (see attachment 1). As we can notice by looking at this model, there are seven factors involved in communication: (1) the communication source, (2) encoding, (3) the message, (4) the channel, (5) decoding, (6) the receiver and (7) feedback. The definition of communication is then "the transfer and understanding of meaning" (Robbins & Coulter, 2002, p. 282). This meansthat (1) the message has to reach the receiver ( for example a speaker who isn't heard does not communicate) and (2), more important, the message has also to be understood in the way it was meant by the sender. Interesting to note is that communication can be affected by noise, by which we mean any disturbance that interferes with the transmission, receipt or feedback of a message, for example a phone ringing in the background.
Robbins and Coulter (2002, pp. 288-291) distinguish 7 different barriers to effective communication. These are (Robbins & Coulter, 2002, pp. 288-291):
Filtering: this is the deliberate manipulation of information to make it appear more favorable to the receiver. For example when a manager tells his boss what his boss wants to hear.
Selective perception: when people selectively interpret what they see or hear on the basis of their interests, background, experience and attitudes. For example an employment interviewer who expects a female job applicant to put her family ahead of her career is likely to see that in female applicants, regardless of the fact that it is true or not.
Emotions: how a receiver feels when a message is received influences how he or she interprets it.
Information overload: when the information we have to work with exceeds our processing capacity. For example tons of e-mails. You are bound to select and this way information gets lost.
Defensiveness: when individuals interpret another's message as threatening, they often respond in ways that hinder effective communication.
Language: words mean different things to different people. Age, education and cultural background are three of the more obvious variables that influence the language a person uses and the definitions he or she gives to words. The use of jargon, a specialized terminology or technical language that members of a group use to communicate among themselves, can be a barrier to effective communication.
National culture: cultural differences and consequently different values (cfr. the problems of intercultural communication).39