Motivating and Rewarding Employees

Essay by supergrl6831A+, December 2002

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Melissa Green


The processes of motivating employees is one of the most important functions of management. One of the biggest challenges faced by managers is getting employees to do what they are supposed to do (Lane & Rierdan, 2001). For some people, the rewards that employees receive from the organization are motivation enough for them to work their hardest. However, no two people are the same and what serves as motivation for one employee, could possibly be perceived by another employee as punishment. Everyone has their own personal motivators, intrinsic and extrinsic. In this paper I will discuss these motivators along with theories and perspectives that help managers influence employees. I will also discuss Maslow's hierarchy of needs and how it relates to the "What's In It For Me?" perspective, how Maslow's theory and the goal-setting theory relate to the Motivation Machine perspective, and how compensation can be used as a motivational tool.


Motivation can be defined in many ways. It can be described as the drive to do well, to succeed, to please, and to perform (Peak Performers, 2001). Herzberg said that motivation is what happens when somebody changes their own batteries, meaning that motivation occurs from the inside - it is intrinsic. Intrinsic motivators come from within the individual and include self-esteem and accomplishment. Self-esteem is an important motivator because it is strongly related to employee performance. People with high self-esteem tend to do a better job (Peak Performers, 2001). Extrinsic motivators are more money, job promotions, or special perks like individual parking spaces (Kushel, 1994). Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators have their strengths and weaknesses.

Why Extrinsic Motivators Work

External motivators work for several reasons. First, they allow group work habits to change and become more creative and productive.