Motivation is a commonly used term that can be defined in different ways. The term is derived from the word, motivate which is used to refer to the desires or impulses that make one to do or engage in particular activities or doings. In the context of the work environment, the term motivation can be understood as the commitment, cooperation, and activeness of the employees of an organization to the achievement of organizational goals in the work setting.
In the words, as defined by Kirstein, work motivation typically refers to employees’ motivation to perform, stay, and commit themselves in a company to cooperate, lead, or support a leader, help customers, and so forth ( Kirstein, 2010, p.6). Work motivation could also be associated with such factors that tend to energize, direct, and sustain work related behavior (Ellemers, Gilder, and Haslam, 2004).
From the aforementioned definitions of the term motivation, it is clear that motivation means different things to different people. As such, different organizations will apply the different aspects of motivation on their employees. Commonly used methods of employee motivation include off duties, incentives, performance appraisals, gifts and holidays just to mention a few. The next section tries to illustrate how workers are motivated in Siemens Company in line with different schools or models of motivation.
One of the theories of motivation is the scientific management theory, where motivation relates to work specialization within a narrow defined range and payment systems given to workers according to their work output. Though this theory is not really irrelevant in the modern era, Siemens adopted some of its aspect for instance the use of control however in a different fashion where the worker is expected to be a team player and even make decisions on how best to improve their assignment work.
Other factors that can maintain work related behavior are the different needs as postulated by Abraham Maslow, the hierarchy of need. At the very bottom are the basic needs, which include food and shelter or accommodation. Siemens is known to provide an attractive pay thus able to meet the basic needs of its workers. According to this theory, the moment the worker achieves good pay, other incentives tends to count more for instance a good work environment, job security, safety, self worth respect or even self actualization.
Siemens provide its workers with some level of security both financial as well as job security. In addition, the company provides an appropriate work environment for its workers to accomplish the rest of their needs in the hierarchy. One of its major projects is the reward scheme for achievement and improvements.
Again, the nature of the engineering work itself is interested to workers as it has challenges, which could help them in their career development. Siemens is one company, which allows its staff to take up responsibilities for their work. This significantly enhances not only self-worth but also self-actualization. Apart from this, there is a clear human resource development program, which offers training. This allows self-actualization and career development
Motivation is also related to the balance between Satisfiers and dissatisfies as suggested by Frederick Herzberg’s theory of motivation. The former relates to job satisfaction whereas the latter entails those factors that discourage workers. Siemens as a company has really tried to balance the two components by coming up with appropriate policies for instance is sensitizing the workers particularly on issues, which encourage their active participation in the work setting.
Why Taylorism is the preferred theory of motivation for most engineers within a modern workplace setting
Taylorism is whereby job specialization and payment system is emphasized. It is based on collecting ad centralizing detailed information on the production process in the firm and on subdividing shop-floor activities into smaller and simplest units of tasks possible leading to specialization. Detailed information on how to execute these tasks were to be given to the worker consequently centralizing decision making and as a result eliminating all workers deliberations and autonomy(Buenstorf and Murmann, 2005, p.543)
One weakness associated with this theory is the fact that workers have no deliberations and autonomy. Each employee has to undertake specific task with no or little explanation of why, or even what part it plays in the organization as a whole. He or she is eliminated in decision-making process. This is quite outdated in the modern working environment.
There is need to involve the workers themselves and this can only be achieved if they are giving the possibility of exercising judgment, developing social contacts as well as learning. In the contemporary work setting, many organizations do encourage participation in organizational issues, to know about their company goals and to be able to work across different departments.
Again, this theory aims at specialization, which sometimes is counterproductive in that it can hinder employee’s adaptability or flexibility in the modern dynamic work environment. Thus, the current work setting requires workers to be not only efficient but also flexibility.
In addition, this theory is likely to face a lot of confrontation with Labour unions since it focus more work from labor with less payment. In addition, the benefits of increased productivity are usually not shared with labour.
Apart from this, it is also considered that total productivity decreased instead of increased when this theory is applied in industrial unit because specialized work became boring, as it is nature of man. Man is treated as machine hence as his words “In the past man was first and in the future the system will be the first” proof that this theory is against the humanity (Mahmood, Basharat, and Bashir, 2012, p.517)
The similarities and differences between the theories of Maslow and Herzberg
One common aspect in all the two theories is that they are essentially, drive or motivation theories. In addition to this, these theories bring out the notion that it is essential that human needs be satisfied in order to motivate the employee. However, Herzberg argues that needs such as esteem and self-actualization, normally found at the top in the Maslow’s Hierarchy are used as motivating agents. The other needs in the hierarchy will only lead to dissatisfaction instances if not met
The major differences particularly relates to motivating factors. Maslow’s needs put more emphasis on any unsatisfied need whether of lower-order of higher-order as the driving force to a sustained work behavior. These needs range from the basic needs, security needs, social needs, self-esteem, as well as self-actualization.
If at all the lower needs are not met, workers tend to ignore the higher needs however once they are met, and the higher needs tends to emerge. On the other hand, Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory emphasizes that only higher order needs are motivating to the individual and that the Lower-order needs (hygiene factors) only acts to neutralize dissatisfaction.
The second different can be seen in applicability. Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory is associated with universal applicability in that it can be adopted or applied in almost all types of workers, Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory has some kind of a limited applicability in that is mostly relates to white-collar and professional employees.
Again, Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory is more of descriptive theory since it does not give any recommendation or suggestion to deal with the motivation related problems. On the other hand, Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory is a prescriptive theory since it gives recommendation to some of the inherent motivational problems for instance job enrichment which can significantly deal with the these problems.
The Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory is applicable to all members of the society as it is concerned with general motivation while the Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory is concerned with motivation that is related to work hence applicable to persons in organizations. In terms of rewards, Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory suggest that financial rewards can motivate workers while according to Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory, this can no way motivate any work behavior.
How a company like Siemens benefit from the use of motivation theories to influence its management
Motivating workers is associated with several benefits but most important; workers are able to achieve the company’s goal and objectives. Motivation schemes can be of great use in improving management in most organization or firms. Unlike unmotivated worker, a well motivated staff to work towards a specified organization’s goal (Manzoor, 2012, p. 3)
There is a very close association between work motivation and increased productivity. Motivated employees often produce more even for a limited resource base unlike unmotivated workers. This also applies to Siemens, which has registered high productivity through motivating its workers.
Further, when employees are recognized and respected by their employers, they are highly motivated to work even during of strenuous situations and challenges. They tend to own their specific tasks and feel very responsible for the same. Engineers at Siemens are constantly faced with various challenges and therefore it is only through motivating them that they can comfortably work towards the organization goals and objectives.
Again, motivation of workers is linked to better quality work with less wastage. This is especially when workers are held responsible for their specific assignment. In addition, there is more employee feedback and suggestions made for improvements again through work ownership. At the same time, there is tendency for more feedback demanded from superiors and management.
Furthermore, a motivated employee tends to really put many efforts or energy in a bid to achieving the company’s set goals. By giving them responsibility for their specific tasks tends to give them a feeling that they are special and consequently they are more likely to take pride in whatever they do.
Work Motivation also leads to low absenteeism, as workers are encouraged to attend to their duties or work stations. They also tend to be more loyal to the firm and even stay longer to achieve their needs. This will in the long run helps the organization reach its objectives and improve overall management.
Buenstorf, G., and Murmann, P. (2005). Ernst Abbe’s scientific management theoretical insights from a Nineteenth century dynamic capabilities approach. Industrial and corporate change, 14(4), 543-578.
Ellemers, N., Gilder, D., and Haslam, M. (2004) Motivating Individuals and Groups at Work: A Social Identity Perspective on Leadership and Group Performance. The Academy of Management Review, 29(3), 459-478.
Kirstein, M. (2010).The role of motivation in Human Resource Management: Importance of motivation factors among future Businesspersons (Unpublished dissertation) M.Sc. in Strategy, Organization and Leadership. Retrieved from http://pure.au.dk/portal-asb-student/files/13379/MASTER_THESIS.pdf
Mahmood, Z., Basharat, M., and Bashir, Z. (2012) Review of Classical Management Theories. International Journal of Social Sciences and Education, 2(1), 512-522.
Manzoor, Q. (2012). Impact of Employees Motivation on Organizational Effectiveness Business Management and Strategy Insights from a Nineteenth century dynamic capabilities approach. Industrial and corporate change, 14(4), 543-578.