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how to motivate employees


In this section four different contemporary views on motivation will be discussed these motivation theories can help managers understand how to motivate their staff. These four theories are equity theory, expectancy theory, reinforcement theory, and goal setting theory. These four theories are all different views on motivation each theory will be discussed in details below. Equity theory will be discussed first.
The equity theory of motivation is based on the fact that people are motivated first to achieve and then to maintain a sense of equity. Equity refers to the distribution of rewards in direct equality to the contribution of each employee to the organization. Everyone needs not to receive the same rewards, but the rewards should be in accordance with individual contributions. According to the theory, the idea of equity is as follows:

1) First, a development of an input-to-outcome ratio. Inputs are the things that are contributed to the organization. Outcomes are the things we get from the organization, e.g. a hard working employee who gets well paid by his organization he works for.
2) Next, a comparison of this ratio is made with what we perceive as the input-to-outcome ratio for some other person, called the comparison other.
3) If the two ratios are roughly the same, you feel that the organization is treating you equitably and are motivated to leave things as they are.
If our ratio is the lower of the two, you will feel under rewarded and are motivated to change things you may decrease your own inputs by not working so hard, leave the work situation or try to increase our total outcomes by asking for a raise in pay. This shows that the equity theory is most relevant to pay as an outcome. It is important for an organization to know how much work each employee produces and if they are well paid, it is certainly not fair if an employee who does not work hard gets paid a reasonable amount of money and an other employee who does work hard is underpaid, not only will this employee get unmotivated but it might lead to resignation from the company.

3.2 Expectancy Theory.
Expectancy theory, developed by Victor Vroom is a very complex model of motivation that is based on a simple assumption. According to expectancy theory, motivation depends on how much we want something and on how likely we are to get it. A short scenario is given below to understand this model of motivation.
Two airline sales reservations agents who are candidates for promotion to one sales reservations manager’s job. Bill has had a very good sales year and always gets good performance evaluations. But he is not sure he wants the job because it requires a great deal of travel, long working hours, and much stress and pressure. Susan wants the job as much as Bill, and she thinks she has a good chance of getting it. Her sales have improved this past year, and her evaluations are the best in the company. Expectancy theory would predict that Bill is not very motivated to seek the promotion. But Susan is very motivated to seek the promotion, because she wants it and thinks she can get it.

Expectancy theory is complex because each action that is taken is likely to lead to several different outcomes, some that we may want and others that we may not want. For example, if people work hard and put in a lot of extra hours, several things may happen. They may get a pay raise, they may be promoted, they may gain valuable new job skills or it might have bad outcomes such as having less time to spend with their families and cut back on social life.

Expectancy theory has several useful guidelines for managers. It suggests that managers must recognize the following:
1) Employees work for a variety of reasons.
2) These reasons, or expected outcomes, may change over time.
3) It is necessary to clearly show employees how they can attain the outcomes they desire.
Basically the expectancy theory shows that getting promoted or getting a better job position could lead to outcomes the employees would not want. Getting better paid or promoted would not conclude that the employee will get motivated as we have seen in the above scenario where Bill has a good sales year and always gets good performance evaluations but he does not want the job because it requires long working hours and stress. Paula would be more suitable for the job because she is highly motivated and can probably deal with the requirements and the negative outcomes such as cutting back on social life.

3.3 Reinforcement Theory
Reinforcement theory states that behavior that is rewarded is likely to be repeated, whereas behavior that has been punished is less likely to recur. Reinforcement is an action that follows directly from a particular behavior. Reinforcements can be used in a number of different ways:
*A positive reinforcement strengthens desired behavior by providing a reward e.g. an customer service agent at the airport who took over her colleagues jobs because they were absent and dealt with all the issues at once, she could be rewarded for her hard work which might get her motivated to work harder and take up more tasks at once.
*Punishment is an undesired consequence that follows from undesirable behavior e.g.a flight attendant who is rude to her customers might get punished or be given a warning, this way this behavior might not occur again.
Reinforcement can work effectively but in general, positive reinforcement might be the most effective action because as it states behavior that is rewarded is likely to be repeated.

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