Skip to main content
Business LibreTexts

14.5: Summary

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    ( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorA}[1]{\vec{#1}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorAt}[1]{\vec{\text{#1}}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorB}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorC}[1]{\textbf{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorD}[1]{\overrightarrow{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorDt}[1]{\overrightarrow{\text{#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectE}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{\mathbf {#1}}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \(\newcommand{\avec}{\mathbf a}\) \(\newcommand{\bvec}{\mathbf b}\) \(\newcommand{\cvec}{\mathbf c}\) \(\newcommand{\dvec}{\mathbf d}\) \(\newcommand{\dtil}{\widetilde{\mathbf d}}\) \(\newcommand{\evec}{\mathbf e}\) \(\newcommand{\fvec}{\mathbf f}\) \(\newcommand{\nvec}{\mathbf n}\) \(\newcommand{\pvec}{\mathbf p}\) \(\newcommand{\qvec}{\mathbf q}\) \(\newcommand{\svec}{\mathbf s}\) \(\newcommand{\tvec}{\mathbf t}\) \(\newcommand{\uvec}{\mathbf u}\) \(\newcommand{\vvec}{\mathbf v}\) \(\newcommand{\wvec}{\mathbf w}\) \(\newcommand{\xvec}{\mathbf x}\) \(\newcommand{\yvec}{\mathbf y}\) \(\newcommand{\zvec}{\mathbf z}\) \(\newcommand{\rvec}{\mathbf r}\) \(\newcommand{\mvec}{\mathbf m}\) \(\newcommand{\zerovec}{\mathbf 0}\) \(\newcommand{\onevec}{\mathbf 1}\) \(\newcommand{\real}{\mathbb R}\) \(\newcommand{\twovec}[2]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\ctwovec}[2]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\threevec}[3]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\cthreevec}[3]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\fourvec}[4]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\cfourvec}[4]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\fivevec}[5]{\left[\begin{array}{r}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \\ #5 \\ \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\cfivevec}[5]{\left[\begin{array}{c}#1 \\ #2 \\ #3 \\ #4 \\ #5 \\ \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\mattwo}[4]{\left[\begin{array}{rr}#1 \amp #2 \\ #3 \amp #4 \\ \end{array}\right]}\) \(\newcommand{\laspan}[1]{\text{Span}\{#1\}}\) \(\newcommand{\bcal}{\cal B}\) \(\newcommand{\ccal}{\cal C}\) \(\newcommand{\scal}{\cal S}\) \(\newcommand{\wcal}{\cal W}\) \(\newcommand{\ecal}{\cal E}\) \(\newcommand{\coords}[2]{\left\{#1\right\}_{#2}}\) \(\newcommand{\gray}[1]{\color{gray}{#1}}\) \(\newcommand{\lgray}[1]{\color{lightgray}{#1}}\) \(\newcommand{\rank}{\operatorname{rank}}\) \(\newcommand{\row}{\text{Row}}\) \(\newcommand{\col}{\text{Col}}\) \(\renewcommand{\row}{\text{Row}}\) \(\newcommand{\nul}{\text{Nul}}\) \(\newcommand{\var}{\text{Var}}\) \(\newcommand{\corr}{\text{corr}}\) \(\newcommand{\len}[1]{\left|#1\right|}\) \(\newcommand{\bbar}{\overline{\bvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\bhat}{\widehat{\bvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\bperp}{\bvec^\perp}\) \(\newcommand{\xhat}{\widehat{\xvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\vhat}{\widehat{\vvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\uhat}{\widehat{\uvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\what}{\widehat{\wvec}}\) \(\newcommand{\Sighat}{\widehat{\Sigma}}\) \(\newcommand{\lt}{<}\) \(\newcommand{\gt}{>}\) \(\newcommand{\amp}{&}\) \(\definecolor{fillinmathshade}{gray}{0.9}\)
    key terms
    The knowledge, skills, and receptiveness to learning that an individual brings to a task or job.
    content motivation theories
    Theories that focus on what motivates people.
    What a person is motivated to achieve.
    (1) The degree to which people try to achieve their targets; (2) the forcefulness that enhances the likelihood that a stimulus will be selected for perceptual processing.
    A force within or outside of the body that energizes, directs, and sustains human behavior. Within the body, examples might be needs, personal values, and goals, while an incentive might be seen as a force outside of the body. The word stems from its Latin root movere, which means “to move.”
    performance environment
    Refers to those factors that impact employees’ performance but are essentially out of their control.
    process motivation theories
    Theories that focus on the how and why of motivation.
    role perceptions
    The set of behaviors employees think they are expected to perform as members of an organization.
    work motivation
    The amount of effort a person exerts to achieve a level of job performance
    ERG theory
    Compresses Maslow’s five need categories into three: existence, relatedness, and growth.
    extrinsic motivation
    Occurs when a person performs a given behavior to acquire something that will satisfy a lower-order need.
    Assumes that people are motivated to satisfy mainly their own needs (seek pleasure, avoid pain).
    Factors in the work environment that are based on the basic human need to “avoid pain.”
    Our natural, fundamental needs, basic to our survival.
    intrinsic motivation
    Arises out of performing a behavior in and of itself, because it is interesting or “fun” to do.
    latent needs
    Cannot be inferred from a person’s behavior at a given time, yet the person may still possess those needs.
    manifest needs
    Are needs motivating a person at a given time.
    manifest needs theory
    Assumes that human behavior is driven by the desire to satisfy needs.
    Relate to the jobs that people perform and people’s ability to feel a sense of achievement as a result of performing them.
    A source of motivation; the need that a person is attempting to satisfy.
    need for achievement (nAch)
    The need to excel at tasks, especially tasks that are difficult.
    need for affiliation (nAff)
    The need to establish and maintain warm and friendly relationships with other people.
    need for power (nPow)
    The need to control things, especially other people; reflects a motivation to influence and be responsible for other people.
    A human condition that becomes energized when people feel deficient in some respect.
    primary needs
    Are instinctual in nature and include physiological needs for food, water, and sex (procreation).
    secondary needs
    Are learned throughout one’s life span and are psychological in nature.
    self-determination theory (SDT)
    Seeks to explain not only what causes motivation, but also the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation.
    avoidance learning
    Occurs when people learn to behave in a certain way to avoid encountering an undesired or unpleasant consequence.
    effort-performance expectancy
    E1, the perceived probability that effort will lead to performance (or E ➨ P).
    equity theory
    States that human motivation is affected by the outcomes people receive for their inputs, compared to the outcomes and inputs of other people.
    expectancy theory
    Posits that people will exert high effort levels to perform at high levels so that they can obtain valued outcomes.
    Occurs when a consequence or lack of a consequence makes it less likely that a behavior will be repeated in the future.
    extrinsic outcomes
    Are awarded or given by other people (like a supervisor).
    goal commitment
    The degree to which people dedicate themselves to achieving a goal.
    goal theory
    States that people will perform better if they have difficult, specific, accepted performance goals or objectives.
    Any personal qualities that a person views as having value and that are relevant to the organization.
    intrinsic outcomes
    Are awarded or given by people to themselves (such as a sense of achievement).
    negative reinforcement
    Occurs when a behavior causes something undesirable to be removed, increasing the likelihood of the behavior reoccurring.
    Occurs when no consequence follows a worker’s behavior.
    operant conditioning
    A learning process based on the results produced by a person “operating on” the environment.
    operant conditioning theory
    Posits that people learn to behave in a particular fashion as a result of the consequences that followed their past behaviors.
    Anything a person perceives as getting back from an organization in exchange for the person’s inputs.
    overreward inequity
    Occurs when people perceive their outcome/input ratio to be greater than that of their referent other.
    performance-outcome expectancy
    E2, the perceived relationship between performance and outcomes (or P ➨ O).
    positive reinforcement
    Occurs when a desirable consequence that satisfies an active need or removes a barrier to need satisfaction increases the likelihood of a behavior reoccurring.
    An aversive consequence that follows a behavior and makes it less likely to reoccur.
    referent others
    Workers that a person uses to compare inputs and outcomes, and who perform jobs similar in difficulty and complexity to the employee making an equity determination.
    Occurs when a consequence makes it more likely a behavior will be repeated in the future.
    schedules of reinforcement
    The frequency at which effective employee behaviors are reinforced.
    A belief about the probability that one can successfully execute some future action or task, or achieve some result.
    state of equity
    Occurs when people perceive their outcome/input ratio to be equal to that of their referent other.
    underreward inequity
    Occurs when people perceive their outcome/input ratio to be less than that of their referent other.
    The degree to which a person perceives an outcome as being desirable, neutral, or undesirable.

    14.1 Motivation: Direction and Intensity

    1. Define motivation, and distinguish direction and intensity of motivation.

    This chapter has covered the major motivation theories in organizational behavior. Motivation theories endeavor to explain how people become motivated. Motivation has two major components: direction and intensity. Direction is what a person is trying to achieve. Intensity is the degree of effort a person expends to achieve the target. All motivation theories address the ways in which people develop direction and intensity.

    14.2 Content Theories of Motivation

    1. Describe a content theory of motivation, and compare and contrast the main content theories of motivation: manifest needs theory, learned needs theory, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Alderfer’s ERG theory, Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene theory, and self-determination theory.

    Motivation theories are classified as either content or process theories. Content theories focus on what motivates behavior. The basic premise of content theories is that humans have needs. When these needs are not satisfied, humans are motivated to satisfy the need. The need provides direction for motivation. Murray’s manifest needs theory, McClelland’s learned needs theory, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene theory are all content theories. Each has something to say about the needs that motivate humans in the workplace.

    14.3 Process Theories of Motivation

    1. Describe the process theories of motivation, and compare and contrast the main process theories of motivation: operant conditioning theory, equity theory, goal theory, and expectancy theory.

    Process theories focus on how people become motivated. Operant conditioning theory states that people will be motivated to engage in behaviors for which they have been reinforced (rewarded). It also states that people will avoid behaviors that are punished. The rate at which behaviors are rewarded also affects how often they will be displayed. Equity theory’s main premise is that people compare their situations to those of other people. If a person feels that they are being treated unfairly relative to a referent other, the person may engage in behaviors that are counterproductive for the organization. Employers should try to develop feelings of fairness in employees. Goal theory is a strong theory. It states that difficult, specific goals will result in high performance if employees accept the goals and are committed to achieving them.

    14.4 Recent Research on Motivation Theories

    1. Describe the modern advancements in the study of human motivation.

    Expectancy theory is a process theory. It also is the broadest of the motivation theories. Expectancy theory predicts that employees will be motivated to be high performers if they perceive that high performance leads to valued outcomes. Employees will be motivated to avoid being low performers if they perceive that it leads to negative outcomes. Employees must perceive that they are capable of achieving high performance, and they must have the appropriate abilities and high self-efficacy. Organizations need to provide adequate resources and to measure performance accurately. Inaccurate performance ratings discourage high performance. Overall, expectancy theory draws attention to how organizations structure the work environment and distribute rewards.

    chapter review questions
    1. Discuss the benefits that accrue when an organization has a good understanding of employee needs.
    2. How might Maslow explain why organizational rewards that motivate workers today may not motivate the same workers in 5 or 10 years?
    3. Describe the process by which needs motivate workers.
    4. Discuss the importance of Herzberg’s motivators and hygienes.
    5. Describe a work situation in which it would be appropriate to use a continuous reinforcement schedule.
    6. Discuss the potential effectiveness and limitations of punishment in organizations.
    7. How can equity theory explain why a person who receives a high salary might be dissatisfied with their pay?
    8. Equity theory specifies a number of possible alternatives for reducing perceived inequity. How could an organization influence which of these alternatives a person will pursue?
    9. What goals would be most likely to improve your learning and performance in an organizational behavior class?
    10. Identify two reasons why a formal goal-setting program might be dysfunctional for an organization.
    11. What steps can an organization take to increase the motivational force for high levels of performance?
    12. Discuss how supervisors sometimes unintentionally weaken employees E ➨ P and P ➨ O expectancies.
    13. How can an employee attach high valence to high levels of performance, yet not be motivated to be a high performer?
    14. Is there “one best” motivation theory? Explain your answer.
    management skills application exercises
    1. Many companies strive to design jobs that are intrinsically motivating. Visit several small and large company websites and search their career section. What job features related to motivation are highlighted? What type of employees do you think the companies will attract with these jobs?
    2. You will be paired with another student in this class. Each of you will take one side of the issue and debate:
      1. Student A: All members of the organization should be given the same specific, difficult-to-achieve goals.
      2. Student B: Specific, difficult-to-achieve goals should only be given to certain members of the organization.
    3. Assume the role of sales manager, and write a memo to two of your reports that have the following situations and job performance.
      1. Employee 1: Shawn is a onetime stellar performer. They were twice the top performing salesperson in the company in the past decade. In the past year, Shawn has missed goal by 4 percent. Shawn recently became the parent to twins and says that the reason for missing goal this year was due to the territory being saturated with product from previous years.
      2. Employee 2: Soo Kim is an energetic salesperson who is putting in long hours and producing detailed sales reports, but their performance on the sales side has not met expectations. When you examine the customer feedback page on your website, you notice that they have five times as many positive reviews and glowing comments about Soo Kim.
    managerial decision exercises
    1. You are a manager and it’s performance appraisal time, which is a yearly exercise to provide feedback to your direct reports that is often stressful for both the employee and the manager. You feel that the feedback process should be more of an ongoing process than the yearly formal process. What are the benefits of this yearly process, and what, if any, are the drawbacks of providing both positive and remediation feedback to your direct reports?
    2. You have been told by a worker on another team that one of your direct reports made an inappropriate comment to a coworker. What do you do to investigate the matter, and what actions would you take with your report, the person that the comment was directed to, and other people in the organization?
    3. You learn that an employee who doesn’t report to you has made an inappropriate comment to one of your direct reports. What do you do to investigate the matter, and what actions would you take with your report, the person that made the comment, their manager, and other people in the organization?
    4. Your company is considering implementing a 360° appraisal system where up to 10 people in the organization provide feedback on every employee as part of the annual performance appraisal process. This feedback will come from subordinates, peers, and senior managers as well as individuals in other departments. You have been asked to prepare a memo to the director of human resources about the positive and negative effects this could have on the motivation of employees. Note that not all of the employees are on a bonus plan that will be impacted by this feedback.

    Critical Thinking Case

    Motivating Employees at JCPenney, Walmart, and Amazon in the Age of Online Shopping

    In the 1980s, Walmart had killed (or was killing) the mom-and-pop store. “Buy local” signs were seen, urging consumers to buy from their local retailers rather than from the low-cost behemoth. Markets have continued to shift and the “buy local” signs are still around, but now the battleground has shifted with the disruptive growth of e-commerce. Even mighty Walmart is feeling some growing pains.

    Census Bureau data for 2017 shows that e-commerce, or online shopping, accounted for 8.9 percent of all retail sales in the United States, accounting for $111.5 billion (U.S. Census Bureau 2017). Feeling the pinch, many malls across the country are closing their doors, and their empty retail spaces are being repurposed. Credit Suisse predicts that due to competition from online shopping, 20 to 25 percent of American malls will close within the next five years (Dying Malls Make Room for New Condos Apartment 2017). Furthermore, according to a 2017 study, 23 percent of Americans already purchase their groceries online (Embrace the Internet, Skip the Checkout 2017).

    Whether face-to-face with customers or filling orders in a warehouse, motivated employees are essential to business success. And company culture helps drive that motivation. As a 2015 Harvard Business Review article put it, “Why we work determines how well we work” (McGregor & Doshi 2015). Adapting earlier research for the modern workplace, the study found six reasons that people work: play, purpose, potential, emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia. The first three are positive motives while that later three are negative. The researchers found that role design, more than any other factor, had the highest impact on employee motivation.

    Anecdotally, using role design to motivate employees can be seen across industries. Toyota allows factory workers to innovate new processes on the factory floor. Southwest Airlines encourages a sense of "play" among crewmembers who interact directly with passengers (which has resulted in some humorous viral videos). A sense of the organization’s identity (and a desire to be part of it) and how the career ladder within the company is perceived are second and third in their impact on employee motivation. Unhealthy competition for advancement can do more harm than good to employee motivation, and as a result many large companies are restructuring their performance review and advancement systems (McGregor & Doshi 2015). Conversely, costs from unmotivated employees can be high. In August 2017, retailer JCPenney had an employee arrested who had allegedly cost the company more than $10,000 in stolen cash and under-rung merchandise at a mall store. Another employee had stolen more than $1,000 of clothes from the store less than a month earlier.

    Brick-and-mortar retail outlets from Macy’s to Walmart have come under pressure by increased online shopping, particularly at Walmart has responded by both trying to improve the shopping experience in its stores and creating an online presence of its own. A recent study funded by Walmart found that 60 percent of retails workers lack proficiency in reading and 70 percent have difficulty with math (Class is in session at Walmart Academy 2017). Increasing math and team skills for the employees would increase efficiency and certainly help improve employee self-image and motivation. With this in mind, Walmart has created one of the largest employer training programs in the country, Walmart Academy (McGregor & Doshi 2015). The company expects to graduate more than 225,000 of its supervisors and managers from a program that covers topics such as merchandising and employee motivation. In another program, Pathways, Walmart has created a course that covers topics such as merchandising, communication, and retail math (Walmart 2016 Global Responsibility Report 2016). The Pathways program was expected to see 500,000 entry-level workers take part in 2016 (Walmart 2016). All employees who complete the course receive a dollar an hour pay increase. Educating employees pays off by recognizing that the effort put in pays off with better-motivated and better-educated employees. In the case of Walmart, “upskilling” has become a priority.

    Walmart has gone beyond education to motivate or empower employees. In 2016, pay raises for 1.2 million employees took effect as part of a new minimum-wage policy, and it streamlined its paid time off program that same year (Schmid 2017). In its 2016 Global Responsibility Report, Walmart points out that over the course of two years, the company has invested $2.7 billion in wages, benefits, and training in the United States (Staley 2017).

    Critical Thinking Questions
    1. A 2015 New York Times article described Amazon as “a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard” (Cook 2015 n.p.). Employees themselves came to the company’s defense (Ciubotariu 2015). Does this reputation continue to haunt Amazon, or has it been addressed?
    2. How do employees differ between a Walmart retail location and an Amazon order fulfillment center? How many white-collar or skilled jobs does Amazon have compared to Walmart?
    3. With Amazon moving into the retail market with the purchase of Whole Foods, and with Walmart expanding its e-commerce, how are employee motivation challenges going to shift?

    Ciubotariu, Nick. 2015. “An Amazonian's response to "Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace." LinkedIn.

    Class is in session at Walmart Academy. 2017. Bend Bulletin.

    Cook, John. 2015. “Full memo: Jeff Bezos responds to brutal NYT story, says it doesn’t represent the Amazon he leads.” GeekWire.

    “Dying Malls Make Room for New Condos Apartment.” 2017. Bend Bulletin.

    “Embrace the Internet, Skip the Checkout.” 2017. Bend Bulletin.

    McGregor, Lindsay and Doshi, Neel. 2015. “How Company Culture Shapes Employee Motivation.” Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review.

    Schmid, Emily. 2017. “Work That Matters: Looking Back on 2 Years of Investing in People.” Walmart Today. Bentonville, AR: Walmart Digital Communications.

    Staley, Oliver. 2017. “ Walmart—yes, Walmart—is making changes that could help solve America’s wealth inequality problem.” Yahoo! Finance.

    U.S. Census Bureau. 2017. Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales, 2nd Quarter 2017. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce.

    WalMart 2016 Global Responsibility Report. 2016. Bentonville, AR: Walmart.

    Walmart. 2016. “Pathways program infographic. Bentonville, AR: Walmart.

    This page titled 14.5: Summary is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by OpenStax via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform.