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The Role of Motivation, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 685

Essay

Employee Motivation and Intellectual Property Rights

The motivation of employees and encouraging individuals to create and share knowledge is in the center of today’s business studies. Indeed, according to Thurow, developing countries are doing better in registering new patents and encouraging professionals to create new solutions. Does this mean that motivation of individuals is determined by the economic conditions of the country? The below essay will review Locke’s, Smith’s and Marx’s views on employee motivation in order to find solutions to the challenges of today’s knowledge-based economy.

Smith states that the division of labor creates increased productivity, due to one person performing one job, and there is no need for switching tasks. Further, the invention of machines increases productivity. This, however, results in end products being the produce of not one, but multiple people, inventors of machines and techniques. This brings us to the argument of Karl Marx, who highlights the negative impact of alienated labor. As the laborer becomes dehumanized, it is harder to motivate them. Capitalism makes individuals seek humanity in pleasures, and properties are sought, but money is needed to obtain property. The alienation of the laborer from the product and production, therefore, motivation of individuals to create a product and engage in production is low. While Locke states that ownership is the byproduct of labor, as such, it cannot be assigned to one person. While land and property used to be owned by the community, and not individuals, today, those who have the ability to make profits of it are truly motivated. This is why Marx argues that alienated laborers should be motivated by ownership, and proposes the relationship between the laborer and the produce of labor to be re-established. As the author states: “if the product of labor does not belong to the worker, if it confronts him as an alien power, then this can only be because it belongs to some other man than the worker” (Marx, 12).

Today’s knowledge economy, however, focuses on the product of the mind, more than the physical product. Thurow (1) states that “intellectual property lies at the center of the modern company’s economic success or failure”. Confirming the above statement, the author further highlights the fact that the largest international companies created their wealth and profits simply based on knowledge. Laborers became inventors, researchers, who do not sell their productivity, but their ideas to organizations that are able to make profit using them. The wealthiest people today became rich because of their knowledge, not their productivity or ownership of land, raw materials. Just like public ownership of land and resources declined during the industrial revolution, public knowledge is declining today. If a person is looking to use a laptop to write an article, they deal with a product that is a product of multiple companies’ knowledge. The laptop would have Intel microchips inside, copyrighted by Intel, used by the computer manufacturer, that created the system configuration as standard, which was the product of several engineers and computer experts developing the system for the best performance.  The person is also using a Word Processor program, which is the product of Microsoft, not to mention the additional tools, such as grammar checker, mouse, motherboard, and operating system.

Thurow also talks about the problematic aspects of intellectual property rights.  Intellectual property can be used to make money, or to gain job satisfaction and reputation. Protecting knowledge rights today is just as important as protecting property rights. The globalization of the economy means that knowledge is shared in many ways. As the author (Thurow, 7) confirms: “the Industrial Revolution began with an enclosure movement that abolished common land in England”. Today, knowledge took over the role of land and natural resources, and needs to be protected the same way.

Works Cited

Locke, J. “The justification of private property”. The Second Treatise on Government In Classics of moral and political theory. (2005 [1690] Print.

Marx, K. “Alienated Labor”. In: Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts 1844. Print.

Smith, A. “Benefits of the profit motive” In: The Wealth of Nations 1776. Print.

Thurow, L. “Needed: A New System of Intellectual Property Rights” Harvard Business Review. 1997. Print.

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