Process Theories of Motivation

Process theories opposed to the content theories listed above, suggests that variety of factors prove to be motivating depending on the needs of the individual or the situation the individual is in and the rewards the individual expects from the work done. Theorists who hold to this view don’t try to fit people into a single category but rather accept individual differences. Equity theory expectancy theory and goal setting theory come under this classification. Equity theory is based on the premise that our levels of job satisfaction and motivation are related to how fairly we believe we are treated in comparison with others. Expectancy theory proposes that motivation is a function of a rational calculation. A person motivated to the degrees that he believes that effort will yield acceptable performances, performance will be rewarded and the value of the reward is highly positive. The interactive combination of all three, influences motivation. The goal setting theory suggests that managers and subordinates should set specific goals that are moderately difficult to achieve. The goals should be a type that the employees will accept and commit to accomplishing. Rewards should invariably be linked directly to reaching such goals.
How to motivate employees?
We have presented a number of theories and explanations in this article. If you are a manager concerned with motivating your employees how do you apply these theories? The following suggestions may help you in solving the puzzle to some extent.
Recognize individual differences: Employees are not homogeneous. They have different needs. They also differ in terms of attitudes, personalities and other important variables. So recognize these differences and handle the motivational issues carefully.
Match people to jobs: People with high growth needs perform better in challenging jobs. Achievers will do best when the job provides opportunities to participate in set goals and when there is autonomy and feedback. At the same time, keep in mind that not every day one is motivated in jobs with increased autonomy, variety and responsibility. When the right job is given to the right person the organization benefits in innumerable ways.
Use Goals: Provide specific goals so that the employee knows what he is doing. Also, let people know what you expect out of them. Make people understand that they can achieve the goals in a smooth way. If you expect resistance to goals invite people to participate in the goal setting processes.
Individual’s rewards: Use reward selectively keeping the individual requirements in mind. Some employees have different needs what acts as motivator for one may not work for another. So, rewards such as pay, promotion, autonomy, challenging jobs, participative management must be used keeping the mental makeup of the employee in question.
Link rewards of performance: Make rewards contingent on performance. To reward factors other than performance (favouritism, nepotism, regionalism, apple polishing, yes sir culture etc), will only act to reinforce (strengthen) those other factors. Employees should be rewarded immediately after attaining the goals. At the time managers should look for ways to increase the visibility of rewards. Publicize the award of performance bonus, lump sum payments for showing excellence, discuss reward structures with people openly – these will go a long way in increasing the awareness of people regarding the reward performance linkage.
Check the system for equity: The inputs for each job in the form of experience, abilities, effort, special skills must be weighed carefully before arriving at the compensation packages from employees. Employees must see equity between the rewards / recognition obtained from the organization and the efforts put in by them.
Source: Human Resources Management