All organizations, irrespective of nature and size, aspire to succeed in the current business environment. Today’s business environment is highly competitive therefore companies strive to retain the most productive employees especially because they play an important role in promoting organizational efficiency. In order to achieve this objective, organizations should be able to create a strong bond with its employees as well as direct them towards productive task fulfillment. According to Lai (2011), most organizations devise strategies intended to increase their level of performance in the highly competitive market but fail to recognize the role of human capital in promoting this success. Although human capital is an important asset that is capable of leading an organization towards its most desire success, lack of satisfaction and motivation to help employees fulfill their work-related tasks may violate an organization’s ability to succeed. Employees in any given organization have varying needs that may sometimes contend with each other. As such, organizational leaders should be able to understand what really motivates their employees so as to be able to control their behavior and eventually enhance their overall contribution towards organizational success (Grant, 2010). This paper explores motivation as an important concept of organizational behavior.
Motivation as a Concept of Organizational Behavior
Motivation defines a psychological feature that stimulates an organism to behave in a certain way to achieve a desired goal as well as controls certain goal-oriented conducts. On this note, motivation can be perceived to be a psychological driving force that reinforces certain actions that would eventually lead to the realization of a certain desired goal. In the context of organizational behavior, the term motivation refers to a psychological force that influences the direction of employees’ conduct within the organization, their degree of effort as well as their level of persistence in realizing personal and organizational goals. According to Chintaloo (2013), motivation defines what drives an employee to behave in a certain way so as to sustain or terminate all the critical activities that may in return impact the degree of performance.
Motivation usually emanates from either extrinsic or intrinsic sources, which can either trigger positive or negative results on an individual. Extrinsic motivation sources usually include tangible rewards that a person can receive as a result of performing certain work-related tasks. Monetary compensation is an example of extrinsic motivation, which mainly refers to the salary or payment that an employee receives after fulfilling certain duties assigned in their place of work. According to Liao (2014), employees aspire to earn a reasonable amount of money in exchange for quality work that would eventually contribute to a high level of organizational performance. Monetary compensation is a basic consideration that employees make when accepting a job offer. As such, violating compensation terms or even offering unfair pay can strongly de-motivate employees. On the other hand, offering employees a fair compensation motivates and contributes to their positive behavior, which in return triggers higher performance and the subsequent organizational success. In order to effectively use monetary compensation as source of motivation, employers should develop an effective salary structure that integrates the importance attached to each job, compensation that matches performance, individual allowances as well as fringe benefits (Grant, 2010).
Leadership is another extrinsic source of employee motivation and it defines the aspect of influencing people to act and do things in the most desirable way. Leading people in the right way motivates them to trust their leaders, and hence are able to do things that would contribute to the overall organizational performance. According to Chintaloo (2013), employers and their employees have the potential to lift one another to a higher point of motivation. When leaders do the right things for their followers, the followers will in return aspire to do the right things to their leaders as well as the wider organization. However, doing the wrong things to employees may demoralize them, which may in return reduce their desire to do the right things for the organization.
Job enrichment is also an extrinsic source motivation and it defines a work modification technique that gives employees greater independence on how they undertake their work thereby enjoying a significant level of responsibility. According to Lai (2011), organizations employing job enrichment as a substitute to job specialization increases employees’ level of motivation, which in return increases their productivity level as well as reduces possible labor turnover and absenteeism. This is because employees that have power and authority over their work tend to be more efficient, avoid unnecessary tasks and employ shortcuts, which eventually increases their level of performance.
Motivation can also emanate from intrinsic sources, which include internal factors that motivate a person to do his/her work in the right manner to satisfy certain intrinsic needs. Intrinsic sources of motivation ensure that a person is able to get a sense of pleasure and satisfaction after completing a certain task. Skill variety is a suitable example of intrinsic sources of motivation and it defines the extent to which a particular job demands for a range of employee competencies to be accomplished. According to Liao (2014), employees tend to feel motivated when their job demands for a variety of skills but feel demoralized when a job demands for limited skills. Working in greater skill diversity promotes a sense of competency to contribute to organizational success. Lack of skill diversity however limits employees’ sense of belongingness, which may eventually affect their willingness to work towards promoting overall organizational success.
Trust is another intrinsic source of motivation and it defines the kind of perception that a person is likely to have about others. According to Chintaloo (2013), an organization that aspires to succeed in a highly competitive business environment should preserve a high level of trust so as to motivate employees to work towards its overall success. Trust makes both interpersonal and intrapersonal impacts that influence relationships within and outside the organization. Employees that feel trusted as well as trust their employers engage in positive relationships that encourage positive actions that would eventually translate into improved performance. Mistrust however de-motivates employees thereby impacting their ability to contribute towards the performance of the wider organization.
Motivation is important in contributing to positive organizational behavior. According to Grant (2010), all the important assets, facilities and resources in an organization can get wasted if employees are not motivated to utilize them effectively. As such, organizational leaders should seek to motivate their subordinates to encourage the right kinds of behavior. As argued by Liao (2014), motivation contributes to positive organizational behavior by encouraging the most effective resource utilization. When employees are motivated, they seek to use all resources for their intended purpose, which in return contributes to increased employee as well as the wider organization performance. Motivated employees also commit their efforts towards the realization of goals as well as objectives laid down by the organization to contribute to overall success. On this note, organizations should seek to motivate employees so as to encourage the execution of all plans that can contribute to the realization of organizational goals (Prabhakaran, 2012).
Motivation is also important in contributing to positive organizational behavior because it promotes employees’ willingness to contribute towards its overall success. According to Lai (2011), employees can have the ability and skills to perform tasks but may lack the will to undertake these tasks and contribute to overall organizational performance. Similarly, employees maybe physically and mentally stable, and hence possess the required capacity to work but may be unwilling to perform the tasks that can boost overall organizational performance. Motivation thus triggers a positive desire to participate in overall organizational productivity, which in return improves the level of employee performance.
Motivation also contributes to positive organizational behavior by reducing possible labor problems. According to Liao (2014), motivating employees can encourage them to concentrate their efforts towards realizing organizational objectives. They thus undertake all the plans and activities in accordance with organizational policies as well as programs. This in return reduces potential labor problems including labor turnover, misconduct and absenteeism.
Motivation is an important factor that organizations should seek to promote if they aspire to succeed in a highly competitive business environment. Motivation can emanate from intrinsic or extrinsic sources and hence can impact employees and the wider organization in different ways. Extrinsic sources of motivation include external factors such as monetary compensation, job enrichment and leadership. Intrinsic sources of motivation include internal factors that can give employees a sense of satisfaction. Such factors include trust and skill variety. Motivating employees contributes to positive organizational behavior by promoting willingness to work, encouraging effective resource utilization and reducing possible labor problems.
Chintaloo, J. (2013). Effect of Motivation on Employees’ Work Performance at Ireland Blyth Limited. London: Conference Imperial College.
Lai, H. (2011). The Influence of Compensation System Design on Employee Satisfaction. African Journal of Business Management, 15(26):1078-1193.
Liao, G. (2014). The Mediating Role of Intrinsic Motivation on the Relationship between Developmental Feedback and Employee Job Performance. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 42(5):602-1056.
Grant, A. (2010). Work Matters: Job Design in Classic and Contemporary Perspectives. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Prabhakaran, S. (2012). Organizational Learning and its Inter-Linkages: Determining the Impact on Employee Behavior. South Asian Journal of Management, 19(3):409-907.