How might motivational theories help you, as a Managing Director of a supermarket chain?

Essay by ven April 2006

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

Motivation is the key to performance improvement. An understanding and appreciation of the simple yet complex human nature is a prerequisite to effective employee motivation and by extension, effective management and leadership.

A knowledge of motivational theories would aid a Managing Director in any organization as these theories concentrate on human nature in general and motivation in particular. As Managing Director of this chain, I would utilize the articles and research undertaken by Douglas McGregor's Theory Y (1960), Frederick Herzberg (1959), Abraham Maslow (1942), Elton Mayo, Chris Argyris, Rensis Likert and David McClelland (1961).

To excel, people must be motivated or driven to it, either by themselves or through external stimulus. The earlier works of F. W. Taylor (1911) termed scientific management, addressed the design and study of work that would maximize the efficiency of employees. He held that inefficiency was a management's problem, early job completion would lead to unemployment, employees work at less than their capabilities, performance should be tied to the pay system and that management is responsible for suitable job placement and training.

More recent research suggests that social fulfillment, job security and the challenge of the job are needs to be also satisfied.

This distinction in recognizing the individual and the job situation led to the Human Relations Movement, which referred heavily to the findings of McGregor. McGregor's Theory X assumes that people are lazy, avoid work and responsibility, and have no ambition. To get them to work, they must be rewarded, coerced, intimidated and punished for shortcomings.

I recognize this as the constant need to police staff and in this oppressive and frustrating type atmosphere, there would be no possibility of any achievement or creative work. In contrast, Theory Y believes that people want to work, it being a natural activity leading...