ABS 415 Leadership & Ethics in a Changing World
Instructor: Cardra Burns
May 5, 2015
Motivation, by its very definition, insinuates that there is a goal to be reached and thus a need to be met. This need can be either internal or external depending on any number of factors. What motivates one individual to work harder may not motivate another. This is especially true when looking outside the realm of survival based needs and motivations. There are several motivational theories based on the presence of needs. These include Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and McClelland’s acquired-needs theory. (Bauer & Erdogan, 2009) All of these relate to the study of employee motivation, which is what this paper is discussing.
While there are many things a company can offer as motivation, money seems to be the ever popular choice. Monetary reward systems are usually put into place without much thought, as they seem simple and straightforward. A monetary reward system can be anything from one individual receiving a quarterly bonus for exceeding a sales quota to a whole company receiving an extra thousand dollars in their weekly paychecks for collectively doing well. Those in favor of monetary reward systems would argue that money is the great motivator and a panacea for the underperforming department or company. This is true, to a point. Money may provide a little extra motivation to the underachievers in a company; this resulting in higher rates of production for the company and higher income for the individual. These possible positive effects are no match for the possible negative consequences of implementing a money based reward system however. Tying an individual’s productivity and motivation to money may very well diminish or extinguish any intrinsic motivations that are already present. (Frey & Jegen, 2002) Money based rewards may also diminish teamwork and cooperation within a company, leading to a negative or hostile work environment where everyone is out for themselves and would do anything to get that next bonus. (Frey & Jegen, 2002)
Thankfully, there are alternatives to the traditional monetary based corporate reward system. A company that has had success using a non-monetary based reward system is Google. ("How Google Inc.," 2010) Google rewards its employees with rewards that keep them locked into the work experience. Things like new on site swimming pools, rock climbing walls and the more practical perks like free food and childcare keep Google employees happy and productive. ("How Google Inc.," 2010) Not only do progressive companies, such as Google strive, to make their employees feel comfortable and appreciated but they are also looking for creativity and productivity. Google does this through praising teamwork and rewarding new ideas, even if they don’t work out in the end. ("How Google Inc.," 2010) By giving its employees the things that the average corporate job strips away (i.e. humanity, dignity, self-respect) Google Inc. has unlocked a world of new possibilities where an employee is more than just that. By using both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, Google Inc. has created an environment where the employees love coming to work and genuinely enjoy creating and producing new and innovative products that make the company billions of dollars annually. ("How Google Inc.," 2010)
To bring it back to the beginning, Google is making sure that the needs of its employees are being met on a consistent basis, thus ensuring consistent productivity. This relates back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, in so much as according to Maslow’s theory an individual is motivated by whichever set of needs, or hierarchy, he is in at the moment. These hierarchies range from basic physiological needs to love and finally to self-actualization. (Bauer & Erdogan, 2009) Physiological needs referring to things like food, water and various biological needs. Further, these basic biological needs tend to be