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


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