Case study on Motivation

Motivation is a complex subject, although it seems very interesting to all of us, but it has many facets for different people.

I have come across many such incidents during my tenure as HR professional at various companies. Some of them are very complicated and some are just the result of some or the other conflicts. If all the reader here have some knowledge on the topic of motivation, this case study would surely be of some value as well as interesting to read.

Motivation has many theories written by various authors, one such theory is Reward and Punishment theory also known as Theory X, another name of which is Carrot and stick. Here in this case our main focus will be on this THEORY X.

As a part of the company’s Management Development Program, a group of managers from various functional areas have devoted several class sessions to a study of motivation theory and the relevence of such knowledge to the manager’s responsbility for directing and controling the operations of his organizational unit.

One of the participant is Rohit sharma, who has been the supevisor of production department from last one year. During his past in the industrial unit he had no chance to attend any supevisory or development program and his duties have been concentrated on routine technical jobs.
The present plant mangager has seen Rohit grow from an apprentice to a supervisor and is yet to reconcile with the change of responsbilities and designation of Rohit Sharma.

Rohit prepared the schedule on a particular day for all machines and on a specific machine, which was on a top priority from another established company. When Rohit came for his round he was surprised to find that the opretor had loaded some other job rather than the job of the company which is on priority.
Looking at this Rohit got annoyed and following conversation took place:

Rohit to operator – please do the job for the company that is on priority.

Operator – Plant manager has given me another job after that i will take up your work.

Rohit – I dont want to hear anything, plant manager has told me to stop everything else and take up the job of that company on priorty.

Operator – I have been taking up all the job immediately whenever you have asked. But what has been done regarding my increment which has been pending for over six months now.

Rohit – I’m not responsible for these problems related to increments, the Top Managment manages the decision on increment. I am helpless in this regard and suggest you to go and sort this problem with Plant Manager.

Operator – As a supervisor it is your duty to solve my problem as i report to you for all my work.

Rohit – Please do not tell me my duties and if you will not do this work on priority now, I would report this incidence as misbehaviour to the plant manager.

Operator replied in a threat to go on strike and complained about the less salary and increment he gets.

Now during a session of Motivation at Management Development Program, Rohit made the following comments:

“Motivation theory makes sense in general, but there is no opportunity for us to apply these concepts in job situation. After all our shop level employees are unionised and have job security. Motivation theories helps me get the work done from my kids, but in a working enviorment we are working with adults and it seems to me this reward and punishment thing smacks of manipulation that just would not go over with people”.

So, now it has become a complicated situation as Rohit does not seems to be interested in the Motivational theories at all.

Does the incident that happened between Operator and Rohit Sharma left such a mark in his mind that he started feeling threatened with Unions and shop floor people??

So, once we have gone through the case I would like the reader to provide the solution to the case study, I would surely be waiting for response and in times to come will share my views with all of you on the case… :)

Happy reading

  • I have one serious objection to the carrot & stick policy. This is a ‘reactionary’ policy. You react to the positive or negative conduct of the employee and deal with the ‘carrot’ or the ‘stick’. Secondly, it presumes that all the responsibilities for running the organization lie with the employees. I feel the motivation issue should be addressed at a proactive and a preventive level for which the management has to take the responsibility. With this I mean that the management should ensure a good, healthy and inspiring ‘work environment’. This would include mutual respect, fairness in disbursement of salaries & perks, prompt & proper redressal of grievances, a friendly ‘connect’ between the management & the employees, requisite ongoing training sessions, genuine discussion with the stake holders & relevant employees before taking policy decisions, delegation of duties coupled with requisite authority & reasonable freedom & so on. This will generate an environment which is likely to keep the employees well motivated and much less time & energy would be wasted on ‘carrots’ & ‘sticks’.

  • Sachin

    I would completely disagree with the statement,
    “Motivation theory makes sense in general, but there is no opportunity for us to apply these concepts in job situation. After all our shop level employees are unionised and have job security. Motivation theories helps me get the work done from my kids, but in a working enviorment we are working with adults and it seems to me this reward and punishment thing smacks of manipulation that just would not go over with people”.

    Man is known by his NATURE rather then his NURTURE.
    Try to be as humble,polite,friendly with everrrryone whom you meet and communicate.
    Right from your home,watchman,office,shopkeeper,mechanic etc.From Project Manager till the waiter who brings water for you.
    Help all the needy without any expectation.(I know it is tuff )

    One thing you can understand from this is that when your relation-base is perfect,firm and strong u can easily build as many floors as you can without extra efforts.
    I don’t think for this simple concept you need any motivation lessons or something like that.

    I again repeat that be good with everyone,respect another person and try to bring out smile on their face and see.
    I assure you that when u get this skill u r none less then a king.

    Because being good sometimes shows that u need a help….
    And that can be more dangerous :)


  • garima

    As a Supervisor Rohit should have to take care of persons coming under his team because he is the only middle man between plant manager and the workers and this will give motivation to workers under him .
    Before getting onto conclusion he should have once discussed about priority of work once more with Plant Manager this will give a clear picture to both of them.

  • arvind belwalkar

    case is nothing unusual

  • E.Praveen

    dear all
    please give IT payment Slab

  • putri aleeya

    Motivation is something that comes naturally in all human beings and the opposite of that golden word is “dragging”. When you are motivated, everything that you do is successful but if you don’t then it becomes “lousy”. Motivation comes either from your inner self or the environment surrounding that may have the impact and implications. Therefore being a leader in any aspects you should be a “ready made ” and “built-in” motivator characteristics in yourself.

  • Robert

    I don’t often reply but just for the sake of it I will add my comments.
    I think many of the comments are ‘missing the issue’ The worker in the case study is not refusing to work he is taking the opportunity to discus an issue that has not been addressed or he has not been given an forum to address. If management want to motivate a worker the person has to feel respected and that he is important and that if he has an issue it will be addressed. It does not mean that he will get what he wants, but as a manager you need to take note of his issue and address the underlining problem. Union’s in general only become an issue to the business if the worker feel ‘left out and not being listened to’ Manage must listen to the employee and then act. Production line cannot work with out people who care and know the work. People cannot work without manager who does the same. Your business is important as your people. Motivations come from ‘happy staff’ then the ‘carrot’ will work, as people feel important.
    Just some thoughts

  • Motivation is not just a word, it is a feeling and it has to be nurtured ine ach & every employee irrespective of his / her position. The reporting superior is entirely responsible for maintaining the motivation level, either by appreciation or some reward. In this case, since this shopfloor employee was reporting to Rohit, it is his reponsibility to bring to the notice of top managemnt about the value of this particular employee and see to that he is properly rewarded. Even after due increment, if the grievance exists, again it is the responsibility to make the subordinate understand the patter n of increment inthis orgn and next time it will be taken care..

  • vidushi

    examples help a lot in solving problems or giving solutions!
    I think that the operator and rohit are right at their parts!!!

  • Sowmya Rao

    The employee expressed his grievance here and it then becomes the responsibility of the Manager to atleast acknowledge it and then explain the work. Motivation is all about first addressing issues through positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is used as the last resort when workers are being unreasonable. Rohit could have acknowledged the issue and when the work is finally done, he could have taken the issue to a higher authority and offered work-based incentives if not only increments.

  • Alemu Worku A

    Dear all , I am deaf and a post graguate student in HRM. My learning depends on reading. I like latest articles. I have problem to access some articles of my interest. Now i want to study the relationship between motivation and morale in the work place. I want friends share with my studies and the result will make us know how to keep morale keep motivated. AAU School of Commerce, Ethiopia

  • Mukta Shah

    Rohit himself wasn’t motivated enough to motivate others, it is the responsibility of the managers to ensure job satisfaction of the employees & the co-ordination of work alloted to them.

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