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Master in Hrm

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MOTIVATION

Do you think you can motivate others? How do we know when a person is motivated? If we think of examples, we are likely to identify different visible signs. Truly motivated people we would identify as those who show: GOAL DIRECTION effort focused upon appropriate goals and activities displaying energy or enthusiasm about tasks staying power and continuing energy

EFFORT PERSISTENCE

Motivation goes much wider than the individual, which is why managers can find it hard to motivate those around them. There may be organisational constraints, which can lead to de-motivation. Does the person have the correct resources to do the job? The individual may need training to gain further skills or knowledge. They may be over-stretched and suffering from stress. Perception can also affect our judgement of another person’s level of motivation. The individual may be competent, but acting in ways that appear incongruent with the culture of the organisation and therefore the individual seems to lack competence or motivation. On a more personal level, the individual may not appear motivated to us, because they may lack the ability to perform at our level, or their style, or manner, may be quite different from ours. Putting broader environmental issues to one side, there are two major theories about motivation. The first is process analysis. This contends that energy will be expended if people expect to be rewarded and if they value the reward they are to receive. Hence, telling me that I will receive performance related pay may motivate me if (a) I value money as a reward and (b) I believe that there is a direct link between my performance and the money I might receive. There are at least three potential breakdowns in this process. I see that my efforts do not result in good performance (eg because I lack the skills, ability, back-up to do the job); My good performance does not lead to valued outcomes (eg because of organisational politics); I don’t value the rewards I am offered (eg because I value personal autonomy more than a little extra pay a week). Process analysis implies that the most critical aspects of motivation, and the most powerful motivators, are clear objectives, perceived fairness and feedback on performance. It may be easier to understand this in reverse: if no-one tells me what I am supposed to be doing, or whether how I subsequently chose to spend my time was of any use, I can become de-motivated.

The second theory about motivation is called content analysis and relates directly to the sorts of rewards the individual may value. Content analysis says that people have different needs or goals and that it is only by satisfying these goals that people become motivated. Psychologists used to talk of a hierarchy of needs (eg Maslow), assuming a neat progression from one to the next as the inferior need was satisfied. An individual would strive first to satisfy inferior needs, such as the physical needs of hunger and thirst and the emotional needs for security and love, before moving on to satisfy the higher order needs of self-respect and achieving one’s full potential. This theory was developed by others, such as McGregor, Argyris, Likert, McClelland and Alderfer. Today, psychologists talk of contingency theory, which means that our needs or goals may differ according to upbringing, current social circumstances and age. For example, the child of a policeman and a civil servant, who has chosen to work in a large bureaucracy, will probably always have a high need for security, a socalled lower order need. In addition, this need might only become apparent if the individual had to leave their structured work environment, to work, say, in an advertising agency. The most common needs are held to be; physical and mental comfort and lack of stress structure or certainty relationships power recognition autonomy and challenge. Intuitively, we can see that motivating someone with a high desire for relationships would require a different approach from motivating someone with a high need for recognition. The former would probably be happiest in a good team, the latter needs to be a "star".

Using Listening and Questions to Understand Motivation
Both questioning, but also listening, skills can be used to work out what motivates someone. Working out another person’s goals, and thus establishing how they might be better motivated, can be done if we look for patterns of behaviour (or inertia) over time. For example, chairing the squash club at home is only one indicator of having the goal to achieve power. Better evidence would couple this with having run several clubs or committees over time and with talking about getting another promotion at work. While deep-seated and meaningful, goals both change over time and can directly conflict with each other. For example, my need for security may marginally outweigh my still important need for autonomy, so I may talk with regret about how, if I didn’t have to keep up my mortgage repayments, I would definitely set up my own business. Using the metric of John W Hunt’s Work Interests Schedule, here are some of the questions that can be used to probe another person’s goals and motivation.

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Stress avoidance and comfort · “Why did you enjoy/not enjoy that job?” · “What has been your greatest challenge at work?” · “What gives you most/least satisfaction at work?” · “What is your greatest ambition?”

Structure and risk avoidance · “What sort of school did you attend?” · “Do you prefer large or small organisations?” · “How do you manage your time?” . “What sort of contingency plans would you put in place?”

Relationships · “How often do you see your best friends?” · “Do you go to clubs?” · “How would your family describe you? Recognition · “What did your parents do when you did well at school?” · “What sort of lifestyle do you hope to achieve?” (A need for recognition can stem from overindulgence or deprivation in childhood). Power · “Do you hold any positions...at University...outside work?” · “Did your parents play any roles in the community?” · “What positions have you enjoyed most in your career?” (How many dependent people? What control over finance?) · “What appeals to you in managing other people?” Autonomy and Personal Growth · “Do you see yourself happiest working in a group or on your own?” · “What interests you most in a job?” (Initiating or implementing?) · “What has led you to change jobs so often?” · “How do you cope with so many jobs at once?” · “What do you hope to achieve in your life?” (You are looking for endless striving to achieve goals, enormous energy if interested, clarity in what they want, low tolerance for repetition, variety of interests).

When asking questions, probe quite deeply and then base your opinions on evidence of actual behaviour over time, rather than on the interviewee’s hypotheses about what they might do in various situations. It is important to test for facts.

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Listening
Good leaders are like social sponges: they listen carefully to pick up important information about the people working closely with them. Here are some of the things that people say about their goals, set out under the same headings. If you have the time and you are a careful listener, you can learn about another individual’s primary motivations without asking questions.

Stress avoidance and comfort “I enjoy my work when I have clear work routines. I hate having to rush to meet deadlines, I’d rather come into work early and get organised. The way the work is distributed, I don’t have to work very long hours and that suits me well. It has taken me a while to get my work space sorted out, but now I have it in good order and I know that everything I need is at hand. I wouldn’t like to have to travel, like some of my colleagues, or to be away from home. The work climate here is very supportive. Sometimes I need to get home early, or have a bit of time off, to deal with family matters. Colleagues will cover for me. I really appreciate that sense of stability and help at work. Nor is this the sort of place where people are discarded easily. As long as you work hard, the job will be open for you.” Structure and Risk Avoidance “I like being well briefed by my boss, and regularly. I know she gets a bit impatient with all my questions, but I can’t do a proper job unless I know what is expected of me. Unclear briefing leads to costly mistakes. The good thing here is that the requirements of my job are crystal clear and I generally know exactly what I am supposed to be doing and what my deadlines are. There is also plenty of training available, so that if I, or any of my colleagues, need updating, it is available. I had a difficult time recently with a new person who just seemed to think that it was alright to muddle through. Luckily my boss suggested that he went on a course and he’s much better organised now. I wouldn’t describe myself as ambitious, but there is a well-structured career path here and I might well move up a rung or two over time.” Relationships “I’ve been in this job for about two years and made some really good friends. In fact, when I got married, two of the girls in the department were my bridesmaids. It’s not just that there are lots of people around and that we have the opportunity to socialise outside work, although I do enjoy that aspect. It’s a real sense of belonging. Some of my friends laugh at me, but I really like the uniform, it gives me a sense of team identity. Everyone wears it here, managers as well, and I think that’s how it should be. Me? I’m from a big family, with loads of relatives. None of them work here, but some of my old school friends do. Oh, I nearly forgot, there’s a social club too and I’m on the darts team.”

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Recognition “When I was young, it was my brothers who had all the attention from my dad. He thought I should be like mum, marry someone nice and bring up some kids. I want to be acknowledged for myself before I become Mrs somebody-else. So I went on to University and got my degree – I can still remember the feeling as I walked across the stage, with everybody looking at me. It felt good! Now I’ve gone into lecturing and I really enjoy it. People want my ideas and really value my opinions. I’m not sure Dad will ever come round, he still keeps asking when I’m going to get married. I’m sure I will one day, but in the meantime, I’m really enjoying my job. I act in a local amateur dramatics group in my spare time. Who knows, I may meet someone there.”

Power “I’ve been in the department for about five years. The job appealed to me because there seemed to be lots of opportunities to organise things and I’m a born organiser. I was Head Boy at school and editor of the student magazine and chair of the squash club at university. I think I’m off to a good start here. Not long after I joined, I was chosen to act as liaison between two working parties and I won a promotion soon afterwards. I’m a bit younger than most of the people on my team, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. I wouldn’t describe myself as ambitious exactly, or not in a bad way. I don’t want to get ahead at the expense of anybody else, but I really enjoy taking charge so that I can sort out problems. I like this job, because there are lots of opportunities and I intend to take every one of them.” Autonomy and personal growth “I like this job because I am given lots of freedom to get on and organise the work in ways which suit me. I’m not a great one for job descriptions and all of that stuff. It seems to me that as long as the requirements of the job are clear, we can just get on and do it. I have a real problem with people who want me to organise them. I find it quite hard to relate to people who need to be told what to do, when it always seems so clear to me. Anyway, I’ll be moving on at the end of the year, because I’ll have been here three years by then and that’s long enough doing one thing. Variety keeps you on your toes. With this new field opening up, the world is my oyster. I’m learning Japanese, finishing my yachtmaster’s certificate and finally getting around to completing the final part of my Master’s.”

Source: Professor John Hunt & Dr. Liz Mellon, London Business School

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