Nature of Motivation

A manager gets results through other people. His effectiveness on a large extent depends on the willingness of his employees to do the assigned tasks with interest and enthusiasm. Motivation is the work a manager performs to inspire and encourage people to take the required action. According to Scott motivation is a process of stimulating people to action to accomplish desired results. Motivation has three distinct features:

1) It results from a felt need. Motivation triggers behavior impelling a person to action.
2) It is goal directed. Motivation is a driving state that channels behavior into a specific course that is fulfillment of a felt need.
3) It sustains behavior in progress. It persists until the satisfaction or reduction of a need state occurs.

Further, motivation is a personal and internal feeling. The feeling arises from needs and wants. Human needs are unlimited. Fulfillment of one set of needs gives rise to other needs. Therefore motivation is a continuous process. Since needs are interrelated a person cannot be partly motivated as he is a self contained and inseparable unit. The success of an organization ultimately depends on how effectively managers are able to motivate their subordinates. In the other words of Allen, poorly motivated people can nullify the soundest organization. It is not easy to understand the complexities involved in motivating people. If an employee has an argument with his boss and fails to report to work the next day it may appear that his behavior is a result of the confrontation. However his behavior may actually be motivated by a combination of factors including overwork, family illness or some other problems. As things stand now the whys of behavior cannot be explained easily. Let us examine some of the factors that complicate this process.

Multiple Cases:

Different people may have different visions for behaving in the same manner For example a bank officer may join a service club because it is a good place to have business contacts another may join because of the social atmosphere still another joins because of the interesting programs and speakers at the club . Thus, three different ways underline the same behavior further complicating the process of inferring motivation from behavior. For example, the motivation of people trying to pursue a certain behavior can spring from quite different reasons. Personality, background, experiences, group effects or many other factors can impact a person’s career choice.

Multiple behaviors:

Further the same motive or drive may result in different behavior. For example, if Rao wants a promotion he may concentrate on performing his job exceptionally well, but Siddharth who also wants a promotion may take a different approach. He may try to apple polish the boss to get the promotion. Another manager who also wants the promotion very badly may be afraid to do anything at all fearing he may fail. The motivation for these three behaviors is the same, but it cannot be determined simply by viewing the behaviors of the three managers.

Motivation obviously is a complex subject. It is difficult to explain and predict the behavior of employees. The introduction of an apparently favorable motivational device may not necessarily produce the desired ends if it brings opposite motives into play. In a factory, when blue green lighting was introduced to reduce eye strain, the output of men workers increased but that of women workers decreased. On investigation it was found that the latter disliked the change in lighting because they felt that the new lighting made them look simply ghastly! An intelligent manager is expected to look into the complex factors that go into the behavior of employees and carefully initiate appropriate steps to motivate them.
Source: HRM

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