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How Do You Motivate Employees? Article Review Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1019

Article Review

Frederick Herzberg’s celebrated article, “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?” takes a fresh perspective and offers a unique answer to this question which invariably plagues every manager or supervisor at some point in his career. Herzberg’s tone is light and playful and he begins the article by explaining the common approaches to employee motivation through a humorous acronym he calls KITA (kick in the ass). This approach involves external action by management to persuade or dissuade employees from certain behavior. Herzberg goes through many KITA (positive and negative) techniques that have failed to produce happy, productive workers. Among these are fringe benefits and incentives (very costly and only work short term), emotional support through sensitivity training (a joke), increased communication using human relations personnel as well as something called job participation in which workers are meant to envision their work as part of a greater whole thus making it more meaningful. All of these are examples of KITA he says and all of them have massive flaws.

Herzberg’s point is that KITA, either positive or negative, is not motivation at all; it merely offers the same end result. He makes a distinction between motivation and motion. Motivation is the desire and movement is the result. In all scenarios of KITA the person threatening or offering incentives to workers is the player with the desire. They desire happy, productive workers so the manager is the motivated one and the worker is simply the mover in the equation. The goal is to “install a generator” in your workers as Herzberg puts it so that they will do the work without the implementation of costly, short-term KITA schemes.

In the next section Herzberg analyzes factors affecting job attitudes and concludes that there are two types of factors that lead to having job satisfaction or to not having job satisfaction. He makes a distinction between kinds of job satisfaction- one is a biological satisfaction in which the person earns enough money, has a safe work environment, etc. These he calls hygiene factors. With these there generally means there will be little job dissatisfaction but not necessarily satisfaction. The factors which lead to true satisfaction he calls motivator factors. They are more nebulous and include responsibility, achievement, recognition and the work itself.

Herzberg then describes the triangle theory using the three main philosophies of personnel management (organizational theory, industrial engineering and behavioral science). It is similar to his hygiene-motivator theory but with different goals. The ultimate goal of hygiene-motivator theory is enrichment of the work atmosphere to create more productive workers. He proposes job enrichment through something called vertical job loading (as opposed to the historically flawed horizontal job loading). He outlines seven main principles of vertical job loading all of which contribute to certain motivator factors in workers. Among these principles are increased responsibility, less reporting to higher-ups, the introduction of new and challenging tasks and additional authority. Herzberg’s idea in a nutshell is simple: if the employee is not satisfied with his job, change the job. He conducted an experiment in which he added this motivator factors to a group of workers and compared them to a control group. The results were greatly increased production and satisfaction.

His idea seems solid and well supported but our chapter 5 “Motivation of Personnel” reads more like a KITA manual than the nuanced changes outlined by Herzberg. Chapter 5 mainly discusses hygiene factors in improving teacher satisfaction. It discusses wages, work environment and reward. It does not make the same distinction as Herzberg between motivation and motion and thus two of its motivation theories (Expectancy Theory and Equity Theory) deal almost entirely with KITA type rewards. The third theory, Goal-Setting, is the closest to what Herzberg promotes. This theory states that people are goal orientated and will derive satisfaction from the pursuit and achievement of challenging (but not impossible) goals. Because this drive is internal rather than external I consider it more motivation than KITA.

The information in both the Herzberg article and Chapter 5 would be very useful for a school leader facing problems of motivation with employees in their school. In order to design a proper plan the school leader should first assess the situation. Is it job dissatisfaction fueled by a lack of hygiene factors such as worries that they will be replaced by someone younger, a lack of computers,a tyrannical department head or maybe just perpetually dirty hallways? These factors may be resolved by a bit of rearrangement in the budget or stern words but if it is a lack of motivator factors in the work place, a lack of job satisfaction, the issue is more serious.

Chapter 5 states that many teachers generally get a lot of satisfaction out of the work itself (a motivator factor) so I would focus on the other motivator factors of responsibility, recognition, achievement and growth in my changes. One person alone cannot face this task so I would establish a committee of teachers (not in the proposed group who would be effected by the changes) to read these articles and brainstorm together ways that the job could be altered to increase motivator factors. Many of Herzberg’s changes in his experiment involved unraveling unnecessary bureaucracy that makes people feel insignificant as well as adding annoyance to their lives. If there is a lot of bureaucracy in the school then the committee should brainstorm ways that it could be diminished perhaps by decreasing the amount of actions by the teachers that need approval from a higher-up. Recognition of achievement will be an important part of the alteration to the teacher’s job. Teaching can often be a thankless task especially from students and the key to job satisfaction may be recognition from some other party. Personal growth and development is also very important to consider. As teachers these men and women likely naturally enjoy learning themselves and need to be continually challenged and given opportunities to learn.

References

Herzberg, F. (1987). One more time: how do you motivate employees? Harvard Business Review, reprint 87507.

Seyfarth, J., & Wood, E. & Boyd, D. (2007). Human Resources Management for Effective Schools, 5/e. Allyn & Bacon Inc.

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