Chapter 9: Motivation



Learning objectives



v     Define motivation

v     Explain the meaning of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards

v     Describe the simple model of motivation

v     Discuss the importance of motivation

v     Describe the 3 content perspectives theories; illustrate each of these theories with examples. Discuss the strengths and weakness of these theories.

v     Describe the 3 process perspectives theories; illustrate each of these theories with examples. Discuss the strengths and weakness of these theories.

v     Describe the reinforcement theory and explain how it can be applied.

v     Suggest how various compensation and rewards can be used to motivate.



12.1 Motivating for performance





v     The psychological processes that arouse and direct goal-directed behavior is motivation

v     In a simple model of motivation, people have needs that motivate them to perform specific behaviors for which they receive rewards that feed back and satisfy the original needs

v     Rewards can be extrinsic (the payoff a person receives from others for performing a particular task), or intrinsic (the satisfaction a person receives from performing the particular task itself)




    How would you motivate a donkey?



    Simple model: Needs => behaviors => rewards => satisfied needs





    Extrinsic: form others


    Intrinsic: from task

Figure 12.1: A Simple Model Of Motivation





It is important to motivate people to

v     join your organization

v     stay with your organization

v     show up for work at your organization

v     perform better for your organization

v     do extra for your organization





12.2 Content perspectives on employee motivation





v     Theories that emphasize the needs that motivate people are content perspectives or need-based perspectives

v     where needs are defined as physiological or psychological deficiencies that arouse behavior


v     Three content perspectives are Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, McClelland’s acquired needs theory, and Herzberg’s two-factor theory





    Contents perspectives => What is given

1. Abraham Maslow put forth the hierarchy of needs theory which proposes that people are motivated by five levels of needs:

v     At the most basic level, people try to fulfill physiological needs (basic human needs like food, clothing, and shelter)

v     Next, are safety needs (physical safety, emotional security, avoidance of violence)


v     Then, belongingness needs (love, friendship, affection)


v     Next, esteem needs (self-respect, status, reputation, recognition, and self-confidence)


v     Finally, self-actualization needs (self-fulfillment increasing competence, using abilities to the fullest)


    Five innate needs

                    Physiological (Physical): food, shelter, sexual satisfaction etc.

                    Safety: security and protection from physical and emotional harm, assurance that physical needs will continue to be met (=> order, predictability)

                    Social (Love): affection, belongingness, acceptance, and friendship

                    Esteem: internal esteem (self-respect, autonomy, achievement), external esteem (status, recognition, attention)

                    Self Actualization: growth, achieving one's potential, self-fulfilment


Figure 12.2: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs






2. David McClelland proposed the acquired needs theory which argues that three needs (achievement, affiliation, and power) are major motivators in the workplace


v     The three needs are associated with different sets of work preferences

v     People with a high need for achievement excel in technical fields that require creativity and individual skills

v     People who have a high need for power will do well in jobs where they can control others and be publicly applauded for their accomplishments

v     People with a high need for affiliation prefer work where personal relationships and social approval are important


Now you can talk 


R&C textbook states (R&C p.487) that "The best managers tend to be high in the need for power and low in the need for affiliation". Why?










    Applauded: recognized





3. Frederick Hertzberg proposed that work satisfaction and dissatisfaction arise from two different factors:


v     Lower level needs are usually handled through hygiene factors (factors associated with job dissatisfaction like salary and working conditions)

v     Higher level needs are associated with motivating factors (factors associated with job satisfaction)

v     So, managers should eliminate dissatisfaction, then focus on encouraging motivation



Figure 12.4: Hertzberg’s Two-Factor Theory: Satisfaction Versus Dissatisfaction








    Higher order










    Lower order



12.3 Process perspectives on employee motivation




v     Process perspectives are concerned with the thought processes by which people decide to act

v     Three process perspectives on motivation are equity theory, expectancy theory, and goal-setting theory




    Process perspectives: How it is given

1. Equity theory focuses on employee perceptions as to how fairly they think they are being treated relative to others


v     The central issues of equity theory are inputs (what you think you put into the job), outputs (the rewards you could receive), and comparisons (how your inputs and outputs compare to those of others)

v     Employees that believe they are being treated fairly are more likely to support their organizations than those who perceive inequities

v     Managers need to understand employee perceptions, allow employees to participate in important decisions, and have an appeal process in place



Figure 12.6: Equity Theory





    Inputs: time, effort, training


    Outputs: pay, benefits, praise


    Ratio: Outputs/Inputs


Now you can talk


To ensure that there could be a more balanced student body in each tier of high schools, the government used a selection system that favored the male students. What do you think of this system?


2. Victor Vroom’s expectancy theory argues that people are motivated by how much they want something, and how likely they think they are to get it

v     According to expectancy theory, people will do what they can, when they want to

v     Expectancy is the belief that a particular level of effort will lead to a particular level of performance

v     If people believe their efforts matter, they will work harder

v     Instrumentality is the expectation that successful performance of the task will lead to the desired outcome

v     Managers want to know what they will get for successful performance









    Expectancy: Effort ~ Performance



    Instrumentality: Performance ~ reward

v            Valence is the value or importance a worker assigns to the possible outcome or reward

v            For motivation to be high, employees need to score high on all three elements


v            Managers should ask the following questions when they are trying to motivate employees

v     what are the job objectives and the performance level desired?

v     are rewards linked to performance?

v     do employees believe you will deliver the right rewards for the right performance?


    Valence: value of the reward




Nothing will work if the employee believes that the task is impossible


        Can Effort lead to performance?

        Will performance lead to reward? (Believed)

        Reward is valued?

3. Goal setting theory suggests that employees can be motivated by goals that are specific and challenging, but achievable

v     Managers can motivate by setting the right goals in the right ways

v     Goals should be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented, and have Target dates


    MBO (R&C, p.222 ~ 223) is an application of this theory.


Now you can talk


At the beginning of the semester, some of you declared in the class that you want to get “B+ or above” in this subject. Do you think “setting this goal” is motivating you? Why?




12.5 Reinforcement perspectives on motivation





v     Reinforcement theory attempts to explain behavior change by suggesting that behavior with positive consequences tends to be repeated, whereas behavior with negative consequences tends not to be repeated

v     When reinforcement theory is used to change human behavior, it is called behavior modification








    +ve: repeated


    -ve: not repeated


v     Reinforcement is anything that causes a given behavior to be repeated or inhibited


v     There are four types of reinforcement:


1. The use of positive consequences to encourage desirable behavior is called positive reinforcement


2. The removal of unpleasant consequences following a desired behavior is called negative reinforcement


3. The withholding or withdrawal of positive rewards for desirable behavior, so that the behavior is less likely to occur in the future is called extinction


4. The application of negative consequences to stop or change undesirable behavior is called punishment









    Give +ve: +ve reinforcement




    Remove –ve: -ve reinforcement




    Remove +ve: extinction





    Give –ve: punishment


Figure: 12.9: Four Types of Reinforcement




When using positive reinforcement or punishment, managers should:


v     Reward only desirable behavior


v     Give rewards as soon as possible



v     Be clear about what behavior is desired


v     Have different rewards and recognize individual differences


v     Punish only undesirable behavior


v     Give reprimands or disciplinary actions as soon as possible


v     Be clear about what behavior is undesirable


v     Administer punishment in private


v     Combine punishment and positive reinforcement







12.6 Using compensation and other rewards to motivate





v     Wages or salaries are usually not enough to motivate people to work hard, so many companies offer incentives as well


v     Good incentive plans:

v     link measurable rewards to performance

v     use rewards that satisfy individual needs

v     offer rewards that have been agreed on by managers and employees

v     have believable and achievable rewards






    Note: wages and salaries are usually fixed





Now you can talk


Can you identify the theoretical bases of these suggestions?


Some popular incentive plans are:


v     pay for performance - pay is based on results using piece rates


v     sales commissions - pay is based on a percentage of the earnings made by sales


v     bonuses - cash awards given to employees who achieve specific performance objectives


v     profit sharing - the distribution to employees of a percentage of the company’s profits


v     gainsharing - the distribution of savings or gains to groups of employees who reduced costs and increased measurable productivity


v     stock options - certain employees are given the right to buy stock at a future date for a discounted price


v     pay for knowledge - employee pay is tied to the number of job relevant skills or academic degrees they earn


    Incentive plan: reward program to increase performance



Organizations need to be sure that

v     employees have a balance between work and life


v     employees can expand their skill set


v     employees feel valuable


    Non monetary: not related to money

v     The most common non-monetary incentive is the flexible workplace


v     Companies need to offer employees a means of balancing their work and their personal lives


v     Companies need to create a work environment that is conducive to productivity


v     Companies can help employees build their skills by developing “shadowing” programs and offering tuition reimbursement


v     Offering sabbaticals to long-term employees gives people a change to recharge themselves













    Shadowing: follow a person around to learn how the person work



Key words




v                  Acquired needs theory

v                  Content perspectives

v                  Equity theory

v                  Expectancy

v                  Expectancy theory

v                  Extinction

v                  Extrinsic reward

v                  Goal-setting theory

v                  Hierarchy of needs theory

v                  Hygiene factors

v                  Instrumentality

v                  Intrinsic reward

v                  Motivating factors

v                  Motivation

v                  Needs

v                  Negative reinforcement

v                  Positive reinforcement``

v                  Process perspectives

v                  Punishment

v                  Reinforcement

v                  Two-factor theory

v                  valence






v     Kinicki & Williams (2008) Management – a practical introduction, 3rd ed., McGraw-Hill.

v     Robbins & Coulter (2007) Management by, 9th ed., Pearson.






Remark: Carrot or stick (Positive or negative Motivation)


        Direct motivation is replaced by appealing to needs for self-fulfilment, creativity etc. (different kind of equally strict control?)


        Moral consideration - Drucker: "Using psychology to control, dominate, and manipulate others is self-destructive abuse of knowledge."


        Have you ever heard of the story of the killer whale and its trainer?


Killer Whale and Trainer”


1. Culture and Motivational Importance


HK Managers ranked Financial reward as the most important work-related motivator, followed by Advancement, Challenging work and Job security. (US managers: Challenging work, Advancement, Financial reward and Job security; Australia managers: same as US)
(Ref: Org. Beh. - Southeast Asian Perspectives by R.I. Westwood, p.295,)


2. How should Hong Kong companies reward their top sales?


According to a survey conducted by Incentive Asia, "60% of the top-performing salespeople preferred monetary reward in any form - outright cash, bonus or commission. The other 40% preferred incentive travel, although they want to be given a choice of where and when to go." ("Motivating staff" Hong Kong Staff, p.28, March 1995)


3. Most popular benefits in Hong Kong


According to a EECO Personnel Services (HK) Ltd survey, percentage of job applicant rank the importance of some benefits commonly offered by companies in Hong Kong:


92%    length of the annual leave
73%    hospitalization insurance
73%    Saturdays off
60%    provident fund or retirement plan
58%    life insurance
54%    dental plan
52%    travel allowance
51%    study/examination leave
48%    housing allowance
38%    free or subsidized lunch

* Only 49% will look for provident fund or retirement plan when they are looking at a job advertisement
("A question of benefits", Hong Kong Staff, p.28, April, 1995.) 



4. Rewards offered by the company


How about the reward actually offered by the Hong Kong companies? A 1996 survey by IHRM (as reported by Hong Kong Economic Daily 96/Nov/15, p.C1) showed how Hong Kong companies reward their staff.


Reward                                              Senior Staff                  Junior/Middle Staff
Basic Salary                                        70.2%*                          76%
Bonus                                                  14.3%                            10.6%
Allowance (travel, transportation)      2.6%                              3%
Retirement Fund/Pension                    5.4%                               6.3%
Housing                                               4.9%                              1.8%
Medical Insurance                               1.5%                               1.9%
Educational                                          0.2%                              0%
Others                                                  0.8%                              0.5%


* Figures represent the ratio of specific reward to the total reward


Can you explain the difference in how the companies treat different level of staff?


5. How Employers in China retain their staff


"While attractive pay plays a leading role in getting professional or managerial staff to move to another company, it is not everything when it comes to retaining them"


"Only those in Southern China are more readily swayed by offers of higher pay..."


"Those from Northern China, for example, place higher value on job security and promotion prospects than on pay itself."


"A motivator more universal than money is housing, mainly because the absence of a property market in China has forced people to depend on their employers for this basic need."


Overseas training and career development (e.g. succession planning, formal education, and a series of in-house training programs) are also cited as factors that will excite staff in China.

As reported (in "Cash is not king in retention", China Staff, p.2 Mar 1995):


6. Cultural Differences (See also R&C p.498 ~ 499)

         Hsu (1971): three basic needs among Chinese: sociability, security, and status.


         Asians may act more in accordance with external expectations or social norms in order to protect their social self, or face.



  Now you can talk

Some of the above studies are more than 10 years old; do you think they are still valid? Why?


If you can support your statement with more updated data, would you like to share them with your lecturer and your classmates?



Recap: knowledge and concepts





On-line self -learning activities


Please refer to



Last modified: 2008/Jan/09