In the current fierce economic market, organisations have been searching for the most efficient way to improve their competitiveness. To a great extent, businesses are relying on the performance of their employees to improve their competitiveness. Thus, employee performance can be a determining factor for an organisation to operate efficiently. According to Kelechi and Temitayo (2013), motivation plays a significant role in the workplace because employees should be motivated to improve their own performance in order to help the organisation to reach its goals. Motivation is a psychological force that stimulates an individual to seek a desired target (ibid). In other words, motivation can be regarded as an internal state (emotion and attitude) that is only controlled by the individuals; so if the managers wanted to improve and encourage better employee performance, they should foster conditions that would support and arouse motivation in their employees (Kelechi and Temitayo, 2013; Jones, 2005; Antony and MacVicar, 2011; Banks, 1997 cited in Beel, 2007). This essay will explore the feasibility of motivational theory, such as Herzberg’s two-factor theory, Maslow’s hierarchy theory, and Vroom’s expectancy theory, in the cases of Siemens, Hunter Library, and Officer Agency respectively.
Herzberg’s two-factor theory researched the relationship between operating conditions and human motivation, including which factors can increase or reduce satisfaction in the workplace (ScienceDirect, 2009). In his theory, the elements achievement, recognition, challenge, responsibility, and autonomous decision-making create satisfaction and are called motivators or satisfiers. These elements derive from the intrinsic content of the work, and relate to the individuals’ higher needs. (Antony and MacVicar, 2011:265; ScienceDirect, 2009:). On the other hand, the elements pay, supervision, benefits, management, and working conditions cause dissatisfaction, and are called hygiene factors or dissatisfiers. These elements derive from the extrinsic content of the job (ibid). The application of Herzberg’s theory can be found in Siemens’ engineering group, who use it to improve employee performance.
Also, it should be noted that in Herzberg’s theory, satisfaction of low level needs does not create satisfaction, but just eliminates dissatisfaction. That is to say, trying to address hygiene factors will merely reduce dissatisfaction, but those extrinsic factors cannot induce motivation (ScienceDirect, 2009; Antony and MacVicar, 2011). Thus, to avoid the dissatisfaction generated by salary and benefits, the payment system in Siemens provides salary and rewards to its employees according to their performance (The Times 100, 2015). Moreover, Siemens managers attempt to strike a balance between motivators and hygiene factors. For instance, the company adjust policies to a suitable or appropriate degree in order to reduce dissatisfaction. Siemens also realise the importance of change; there should be an awareness of issues within the work environment, which could help to improve the working conditions. Through the implementation of these measures, they can work effectively against dissatisfaction among employees (ibid).
At the same time, motivators could also be found in Siemens management practice. According to Michaelson (2005), it seems that the element of recognition could include self-respect and respect from others, which have a positive effect on employees. For example, Siemens provide opportunities for its staff, through training and development, to obtain career progress and recognition from managers (The Times 100, 2015). A feeling of recognition (a higher need of intrinsic content) can change an employees’ state from one of dissatisfaction to satisfaction, thereby improving their performance in the workplace (ScienceDirect, 2009). Additionally, Siemens offer opportunities for young engineers to study new engineering