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Term Paper. Written By: Annastiina Aamurusko Mark Szasz Ricardo Duque A thorough review of “The Future of work Motivation Theory .” - By Steers, Richard M., Mowday, Richard T., Shapiro, Debra L., Academy of Management Review. 03637425, Jul2004, Vol. 29, Issue 3. “Hamlet - The time is out of joint: Oh cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right.” William Shakespeare Motivation Theory is widely recognized, throughout all possible perspectives of the management world as an important and essential part of management and of the performance goals that companies tend to set. Motivation is a subject that is pertinent to the behavior characteristics of the working staff and of the individual and it is worth studying as shall be explained later, for it is the scaffolding of one of the two pillars of competitive advantage (Thurow, 2003) in what has been becoming accepted as the future of the very concept of advantage itself: quality of human resources (The other pillar being the quality of technology). A Further Look into Motivation Theory. The task of this paper is to evaluate the statements made throughout this article and basically assess whether the view proposed by the authors on the upcoming work on Motivation Theory seems accurately forecasted and if the conclusion seem valid given the evidence researched throughout this paper. As well, Motivation altogether and the understanding of it will be evaluated in parallel with the development of the review of the article. Work done on Motivation often seems a chimera of knowledge, and the evaluation of its evolution is more easily achieved following the article’s overview. It is important to note that the depth with which this forum (or article) revises the sources and the trends of thought regarding Motivation Theory is not great. The sole purpose of the article was apparently to review broadly and to try to apprehend as much of the entirety of the Theories within an inspective scope, and at the end present the resulting papers from the AMR calling in 2001. According to the authors, these papers represent the contemporary views and plausible study and research grounds for the future Motivation Theory Breakdowns. Also within the Scope of this Paper in itself is the task to compliment the knowledge wherever it may seem necessary in all its statements. Since the overlook made by the authors in the Article is found lacking in depth, some views and historic features are worth looking deeply into since they present evidence of the further developments of the Motivation Theories. Finally, it is found that there is profound importance in realizing which are the upcoming developments of Motivation Theory and henceforth research on present and perhaps more contemporary Theories. For such, this paper will contain a review as profound as possible (within the resources of students) of current and significant thought regarding Motivation. Early Considerations The authors begin with a dissertation of the meaning of motivation. In itself, there is an absence of clarity and description and we feel this must be amended since it is often found that an answer to a question is half-defined by the way the question is posed. Hence, most of the description that will follow is constructed for this paper, and focused on realizing that the deep question is what motivation is as well as quotes from the Article. The article refers to Motivation as of Latin origin from the word “move” (movere). It goes on further quoting Atkinson’s definition “The contemporary (immediate) influence on direction, vigor, and persistence of action” and Vroom’s “a process governing choice made by persons among alternative forms of voluntary activity”. It claims, with the aid of Campbell and Pritchard, that motivation has to do with variables that influence and explain the direction and the purpose of a person’s behavior. Yet, although profound for most of the time in its definitions, there is yet something to be said regarding the quite undefined term of Choice. Many, if not all of the ideas regarding motivation as the set of circumstances which define the strength, willingness and purpose of people’s work are intrinsically bound by the idea of choice and liberty. For full understanding one might want to argue that Motivation is, as understood by the authors of the Article: a desirable and an important part of the overwhelming goal of performance-enhancing within Business. To go deeper, and to understand what is searched for, Motivation then becomes a matter of achieving a sense of comfort and willing deliverance of effort in human resources to enhance this performance goal. As such, as a pursuit of performance, Motivation adds up to provoking desirable amounts of commitment towards work and labor from the workers which are the subjects of study for the sake of the company. In Sir Isaiah Berlin’s view on negative liberty, -The philosophical concept of negative liberty is the absence of coercion from others. In this negative sense, one is considered free to the extent to which no person or person interferes with his or her activity. According to Thomas Hobbes, for example, "a free man is he that... is not hindered to do what he hath the will to do."- Hence, Motivation becomes a way to provoke a desire to enhance the subjects (or the workers’) desire to deliver this effort willingly, under the scope of enhancing their liberty. It is important then to define Motivation as a willing setting of the worker upon his/her task, hence utilizing his/her freedom at most in the service of performance, making the process of generating such willingness an ethically involved subject altogether. Partly in knowing this consequence of Motivation, the authors of the Article begin the dissertation of the history of the study of Motivation Theory with ancient (yet fully latent) views on Greek hedonism. Being a classic perspective, hedonism was regarded as the search for pleasurable activities in sound consonance with avoiding painful activities. Again, fundamentally important (an importance purposefully overlooked by business essayists and writers and some psychologists to avoid getting involved in ethical questions that they are not prepared to endeavor into) is the fact that the study of behavior begins in the parents of civilization as a search for pleasure. Far from presently-weakened ideas of the western world regarding Sin, the Greeks understood pleasurable activities as desirable and the understanding of Behavior (And therefore Motivation) derives from the understanding of what are the circumstances that produce pleasure. Hence, much will hang in this understanding that perhaps Motivation of the workforce will depend greatly on how the individual sees and executes their work, more than what the individual expects from it or the rewards he sees in the path of his/her work. The Article goes forward into the end of the nineteenth century in that epoch where the mind was studied with lack of romanticism. Overvalued as it may seem Homer and Shakespeare had already explored the human mind successfully, yet it is another matter that continuously eludes academic researchers, for the interpretation of literature as a statement of culture is something of supreme difficulty for business authors and academic researchers alike. Within this epoch, the seriously and quite irresponsibly overlooked theories of current Psychology researchers such as Freud and James are mentioned in the article as focusing on the instinctive nature of human beings. Naturally, since at that time Business literature was inexistent, referring to it as partly originating Motivation Theory is a necessity. Yet overlooking its fundamental contribution relating to the nature of the human mind (in a deep perspective with regards to human understanding that would culminate in the controversial works on understanding of the continental Philosopher Derida) is a mistake that the Authors make. In fact, current relevant evaluations of Motivation Theory are constantly reevaluating and basing their arguments on the study of the human mind. As a matter of fact, should this present tendency no be present, it would have to be stated that it should be so. Studies (both Medical and Anthropological) should be taken in an inter- disciplinary manner in the studies of worker performance just as much as they should be utilized in Current Business thought. Following these commencing statements the Article deepens into more elaborate ideas that would suit the Business understanding of motivation more delightedly (but apparently not deeply enough). The article continues with the 1920s psychologists such as Thorndike and Hull in which the concept of learning is introduced. It is stated that “posited that decisions concerning present or future behaviors are largely influenced by the consequences of rewards associated with past behavior” a primary yet fully relevant statement in which light upon the immediate reasons and causes of behavior relate to past behavior. The behavior that was successful in the past is bound to be successful once more. Skinner, from the 1930s streamline of thought is mentioned and its operant conditioning. It is said that during this period it is even further understood that individuals create relationships links between actions and their consequences, and that these links are further referred to in the individual’s mind in the future. At the following step in the Article a distinctive milestone is reached. It is stated that “While psychologists were focusing on instincts and drives, managers were focusing on more pragmatic issues”. It is then made clear that from here onwards a tendency is born, a tendency to become perhaps too pragmatic in its entirety towards behavior. Frederick Taylor is introduced, with the birth of scientific management that would give birth to mass production (a haven for performance seekers) and creators of cultural fears portrayed in Huxley’s A brave new world. These ideas were basically founded on the ideas that while looking into efficiency as the measure of performance, a lot of technological advances were created that degenerated later into the abuse of physical conditions for the workers for there was few if no study whatsoever as to the implications on most of the advances in the studies of scientific management. Altogether it was regarded as a theory bordering on the technocratic side of management of human resources; this coupled with “company efforts to maximize productivity without simultaneously increasing employee rewards, eventually served to discredit this system, leading to the widespread rise of unionization efforts in the 1930s”. Further on, more specific schools of thought were rising these times, a series of eras that would yield the eventual rocketing of Motivation Theory. Mayo’s group dynamics work of the 1930s and the further views that there was a need to see employees as human beings rather than subjects dominated the remainder of the 1930s. Further on the Article describes the Hierarchical Studies by Maslow in the 1950s involving need hierarchical theory which name a few principles that are worth mentioning. The fulfillment of needs such as physiological needs, safety, security, belongingness, esteem and self-actualization are vital then for the successful working conditions and performance of the worker. Later these principles or needs were re- categorized in these three branches: existence needs, relatedness needs and growth needs. The “Golden Age” of Work Motivation Theories arrives The so-called “golden age” arrives with the process theorists’ view on how to accomplish the full knowledge of the sources of motivation. The article claims that it focuses on delineating the process underlying work motivation, contrasting with identifying factors associated with motivation in a relatively static environment. These new thinkers generate the view of a dynamic perspective, they are constantly looking and searching for relationships across time and happenings and their relation with humans at their workspace and workplace. According to the article, these schools of thought generated the cognitive theories of motivation that try to understand the thought processes that individuals have to perform or go through in figuring out which behavior is most adequate or appropriate for them to use at their workplace. In their view, they state: “Behavior is a purposeful goal directed, and largely based on conscious intentions”. Quite certainly this school of thought had completely forgotten what other generations of behavior students (such as the aforementioned Freud and James) had found in their research of human behavior. Apparently, the cognitive theory seems to casually avoid the subject of individuals’ sometimes unexplainable behavior and sets of radical choices upon their lives. As a matter of fact whole schools of thought (Such as Existentialism) were created based on the idea that human nature was indeed altogether a continuous set of daily radical choices. In our view, the cognitive view is overtly simplistic and has a serious lack in reality. The golden Age must have gone by rapidly to be able to advance, for their theories had even weaker foundations than those of their psychoanalytical predecessors. Again, the Article returns to point out an important conclusion from Porter and Lawler which is an incorporated feedback loop in employee relationships: “ ..if superior performance in the past failed to lead to superior rewards, future employee effort may suffer as incentives and the reward system lose credibility in the employee’s eye”. Once again we find that the only constructive advance here has been an ability to re-phrase what has already been written In the past. The theory of the feedback loop just explained is extraordinarily similar to the concept of learning developed earlier by Thorndike, Woodworth and Lull about how future behavior is seriously influenced by the consequences of past behavior. There is no clear development here from ideas from the 1920s, the learning concept from then is very much alive and perhaps it is the Business world that has changed so far at this point. Another Theory which according to the article is created during this period as well is the Goal-Setting Theory. This idea is founded on the quite logical and eventual evolved idea that the specificity of the goal that is set will aid on guaranteeing its fulfillment. This theory though simple, seemed to be of much more use for the goal’s specificity, time span, definition are indeed more concise items to focus on and make management of Motivation indeed an easier and more efficient task. The view on Recent Developments. According to the Article the most recent developments are much more integrated with re-developing and reviewing already existing ideas and theories and extending its fields and its applications. The authors also claim that during the 1990s there was a grave decrease or debacle in the research done in this area which according to the authors it seems rather surprising since according to their own statements : “A motivated workforce is frequently cited as a hallmark of competitive advantage”. This claim seems reasonable for there is serious work done by a few authors who believe that enhancing and producing engagement in workers and employees is one of the fundamentally advantageous capabilities a firm or undertaking could have. MIT economist Lester Thurow claims that companies in the future will be competing on the level of quality of their technology and of their human resources, making the issue of Motivation a serious one. Such an issue, as both the authors of the article and us believe should be one that should be generating a great amount of literature and yet there seems to be little. According to the Article there is still much to be written about Motivation and there is still much to be understood: “Most observers of the corporate world believe that the traditional relationship between employer and employee is gone, but there is little understanding of why it ended and even les abut what is replacing that relationship”. The authors of the article believe that new models have to be constructed and that there is still much to be learned, their views of what is coming is presented in the following section. The view Ahead The Authors of the article produce at the end of the article a list of the most recent studies on Motivation done by Academia-dwellers and writers after a call issued by the AMR in 2001 for papers in relationship with motivation. Many papers are mentioned among which are the work of Ruth Kanfer and Phillip L. Ackerman on the study of life-span related issues at the workplace. Adult development and cognitive capabilities and the effects of aging over the working life are looked at with a new perspective. Also, the work of Hugo M. Kehr on the influences of explicit and implicit motives and perceived abilities on motivation in the workplace using a compensatory model is mentioned. Other works mentioned are the work done on self-categorization theory and social identity process by Naomi Ellemers, Dick de Gilder, and S. Alexander Haslam and the work on metatheories on work motivation developed by Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham. Among those mentioned a very particular one refers to a very relevant approach to motivation, an article into which we have looked into with further depth for it seems to contain much more structure that the others and has, in our opinion more relevance. The ideas developed by Myeong-Gu Seo, Lisa Feldman Barrett and Jean M. Bartunek have strong structural backbones in both the neurobiological and psychological disciplines in their approach. For starters, they have an approach that seems scientifically relevant, an approach on a human characteristic with a medical optic. Regardless on the accidental relevance other work has had in psychology the lack of broad-view perspective because of the lack of medical fundament is avoided in this particular work. The extraction of medical knowledge from the discipline into the understanding of behavior gives this work much more weight and therefore reliability. Their work encompasses the understanding of three spectrums of behavior: direction, intensity and persistence. They create a view in which the medical structure is used to understand core affective experiences further. This understanding would surely identify an explanation of how work-related affective feelings can influence the three spectrums of behavior. The power this paper could have is yet underestimated. Consider our prior efforts throughout this paper in explaining what motivation was exactly and its relationship with the liberty of the individual. Therefore the effect the study of the definition of the limits of an individual’s liberty through his relationship with those surrounding him/her and with the amount of power he/she possesses is vital to understand what it is that motivates the individual at work that should encompass the broader picture: starting from a medical point of view such as Seo, Barrett and Bartunek’s work and going on to a further evaluation of power such as McClelland and Burnham’s study on power. For this stress we have made on this point we will look upon this work as reference on our views of the future of Motivation Theory as well as the article: Power Is the Great Motivator (HBR, 2003) from the Harvard Business Review. Our Look Ahead. “..when it comes to managing big companies, the desire for power--that is, a manager's desire to have an impact, to be strong and influential--is more important than the need to get things done or the wish to be liked.” The article Power is a Great Motivator (HBR, 2003) from the Harvard Business Review, despite its age, has huge relevance in this topic concerning Motivation. We have stressed before that there is a profound relationship between an individual’s Motivation (the desire, the wish the effort to work: Broadly) with the individual’s liberty. Within the scope of liberty we spoke of the more liberal British thinkers’ definitions like Berlin’s negative liberty in which an individual’s liberty is the confinement of everyone else’s liberty and its understanding as space were there is no coercion. Motivation in itself, as we defined it represented a matter of both morale and ethical perspectives, for to achieve successful amounts of motivation one would have to generate behavior that would be (as Greek hedonism would have it) pleasurable and therefore motivation lies somewhat in the scope of satisfaction of positive urges in the individual. The moral perspective enters when the manager and the researcher understand that whoever is responsible for the creation of motivation is becoming altogether responsible for making the employee behave in such a way that is both pleasing to him and enhancing of performance for the firm. These two conditions could be opposite in intent, and care must be taken in order to not fall into a simple reward system. The article by McClelland and Burnham refers to a flattening of the more traditional hierarchical system of power in organizations, meaning that the newly coming standards for distribution of power in organizations will change and will have surprising effects on motivation. The article also emphasizes on the positive effects a desire for power has on a feeling of success within the employee and his/her effectiveness on the workplace. The Article talks about a survey done in which top managers and their subordinates were interviewed and results yielded that the better managers were those with more thirst for power. Also, the power being channeled towards the good of the company also created “better” managers. This illustrates that power managed within a certain channeling can produce powerful results in motivation considerably improving the organization’s performance: “Correlations between employee morale and sales figures show that individuals who manage by fiat are less effective than those whose style is more democratic”. As well as the understanding of this ability Power has to produce motivation, it is also important to notice the current elimination of hierarchical traditions: “In his retrospective commentary, David McClelland considers his earlier findings in light of his research into two important changes that have occurred in the workplace since HBR first published this article 27 years ago: large hierarchical organizations have flattened out, and female managers have entered the workplace in full force.” This serves an accidental purpose that will be looked upon in father work done on Motivation Theory with absolute certainty. Power shifting its position in organization will create Theories in the distribution of power horizontally and vertically (perhaps a new term could even be created if it hasn’t already: diagonal, to refer to power between disciplines and departments) in which the allocation of power will be regarded as a tool for generating positive motivation with absolute focus on a Company’s performance since all power costs in expense is the enhancing of direction. One thing that at least can be said about the shift of old ways as compared to possibly upcoming new ones in regarding to generating Motivation is that Reward systems will tend to be abandoned, most apparently regarding the larger return rate of motivation in involving changes within the distribution of labour and power within the Organization. An Employee’s pay, salary and wealth often have little relevance on the commitment the worker has on the company’s performance, let alone “rewards”. The future works, just like suggested in the article evaluated (Steers, Mowday and Shapiro) must include relevance to deeper studies of an individual’s satisfaction and the still relevant importance of distribution and allocation of power. Bibliography. - The Future of work Motivation Theory. - By Steers, Richard M., Mowday, Richard T., Shapiro, Debra L., Academy of Management Review. 03637425, Jul2004, Vol. 29, Issue 3. - Sir Isaiah Berlin (Philosopher) - "Two Concepts of Liberty" (Essay) (1958). - William Shakespeare - Theatrical play: The tragedy of Hamlet, First seen on stage on 1598. - Nancy r. Katz - Incentives and performance Management in the Public Sector. Harvard University June 2000. - Thurow, Lester Dangerous Currents: The State of Economics. NY: Random House, 1983; also published in United Kingdom. - Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World (1932) - Taylor, Frederick W. - The principles of Scientific Management (1991) various publications. Online editions - McClelland, D. A. & Burnham, D. H. (2000). - Power is a Great Motivator (Harvard Business Review, 2000) - Ochsner, K., & Feldman Barrett, L. (2000). - The neuroscience of emotion. Chapter in T. Mayne & G. Bonnano (Eds.), Emotion: Current Issues and Future Directions. New York: Guilford. - Abdel Magid Al-Araki, Førsteamanuensis- Web page for class
"A thorough review of The Future of work Motivation Theory"