Learning Objectives



What Is Motivation?

         Define motivation.

         Explain motivation as a need-satisfying process.


Early Theories of Motivation

         Describe Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how it can be used to motivate.

         Discuss how Theory X and Theory Y managers approach motivation.

         Describe Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory.

         Explain Herzberg’s views of satisfaction and dissatisfaction.


Contemporary Theories of Motivation

         Describe the three needs McClelland proposed as being present in work settings.

         Explain how goal-setting and reinforcement theories explain employee motivation.

         Discuss the motivation implications of equity theory.

         Contrast distributive justice and procedural justice.

         Explain the three key linkages in expectancy theory and their role in motivation.



  How would you motivate this donkey?

Definition: (R&C, p.482 ~ 483)


Motivation: The process by which a person’s efforts are energized, directed, and sustained toward attaining a goal.

·        Energy: a measure of intensity or drive

·        Direction: toward organizational goals

·        Persistence: exerting effort to achieve goals.



·        Motivation is not a personal trait (i.e. it can be created)

·        Motivation (from the organization’s point of view) works best when individual needs are compatible with organizational goals.


Early theories of motivation (R&C p.483 ~ 486)


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs  


·        Hierarchy of needs: Man's need can be arranged in a hierarchy. Each level of need is dominant until satisfied, only then does the next level of need become a motivating factor. A need which has been satisfied no longer motivates an individual's behaviour. Motivating a person depends on knowing at what level that person is on the hierarchy.

·        Five innate needs


·        Lower-order needs (external): First two needs are for survival.

·        Higher-order (internal): Second two needs are for sense of adequacy and psychological health. Self-Actualisation is the ultimate goal.


Problem with Maslow's theory:


McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y


·        Theory X: Assumes that workers have little ambition, dislike work, avoid responsibility, and require close supervision.

·        Theory Y: Assumes that workers can exercise self-direction, desire responsibility, and like to work

·        McGregor’s suggestion: Theory Y is more valid than Theory X => motivation is maximized by participative decision making, interesting jobs, and good group relations.


Herzberg's Two Factors (Motivation-Hygiene) Theory


Herzberg claimed that factors that cause dissatisfaction are different from those that create satisfaction.


·        Hygiene – extrinsic(environmental) factors:

o       Related to salary, job security, working condition, interpersonal relations, company policy and administration, supervision.

o       Even if effective, it will not motivate employee. It just prevents or minimise dissatisfaction but does not give satisfaction.

o       Have to be continually renewed.


·        Motivator – intrinsic (psychological) factors:

o       Related to status, advancement, gaining recognition, being given responsibility, achievement, growth.

o       These are the factors that create job satisfaction and truly motivate the employees.


·        Implication:

o       Individual has need to avoid unpleasantness and need for personal growth.

o       Lack of motivation at work will encourage employee to concentrate on bad hygiene factors.


·        Suggestions to revise work to improve motivation

o       Job enrichment: increase delegation (decision making power)

o       Job enlargement: increasing the number of operations (duties)

o       Job rotation: exchange position to break monotony



Contemporary Theories of Motivation (R&C p.486 ~ 490)


McClelland’s Three-Needs Theory


The three acquired (not innate) needs for achievement, power and affiliation are major motives in work.


·         Need for Achievement: The drive to excel and succeed.

o        High achievers focus on their own accomplishment while good managers emphasize helping others accomplish their goals.


·         Need for Power: The need to influence the behaviour of others.


·         Need for Affiliation: The desire for friendly and close interpersonal relationship.


Now you can talk: 


Your 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?



Goal-setting theory (See R&C p.488 ~ 490, Exhibit 16-5)


·        Goal-Setting Theory

o       Proposes that setting goals that are accepted, specific, and challenging yet achievable will result in higher performance than having no or easy goals.

o       Is culture bound to the U.S. and Canada.


·        Benefits of Participation in Goal-Setting

o       Increases the acceptance of goals.

o       Fosters commitment to difficult, public goals.

o       Provides for self-feedback (internal locus of control) that guides behavior and motivates performance (self-efficacy).


·         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?



Reinforcement theory


·         Assumes that a desired behavior is a function of its consequences, is externally caused, and if reinforced, is likely to be repeated.

·         Positive reinforcement is preferred for its long-term effects on performance

·         Ignoring undesired behavior is better than punishment which may create additional dysfunctional behaviors.

·         Focus solely on the consequence and ignore goals, expectations, and needs.



Equity Theory (See R&C Exhibit 16-8)


·        Proposes that employees perceive what they get from a job situation (outcomes) in relation to what they put in (inputs) and then compare their inputs-outcomes ratio with the inputs-outcomes ratios of relevant others.

o       If the ratios are perceived as equal then a state of equity (fairness) exists.

o       If the ratios are perceived as unequal, inequity exists and the person feels under- or over-rewarded.

o       When inequities occur, employees will attempt to do something to rebalance the ratios (seek justice).

·        When one feel there is inequity, one can try to:

o       Distort own or others’ ratios.

o       Induce others to change their own inputs or outcomes.

o       Change own inputs (increase or decrease efforts) or outcomes (seek greater rewards).

o       Choose a different comparison (referent) other (person, systems, or self).

o       Quit their job.


·        Lesson: Employees are concerned with both the absolute and relative nature of organizational rewards.


·        Distributive justice

o       The perceived fairness of the amount and allocation of rewards among individuals (i.e., who received what).

o       Influences an employee’s satisfaction.


·        Procedural justice

o       The perceived fairness of the process use to determine the distribution of rewards (i.e., how who received what).

o       Affects an employee’s organizational commitment.


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? (Hint: argue from the view point of Distributive justice and Procedural justice)



Victor Vroom's Expectancy Theory (See R&C Exhibit 16-9)


·        States that an individual tends to act in a certain way based on the expectation that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual.


·        Key to the theory is understanding and managing employee goals and the linkages among and between effort, performance and rewards.

o       Effort: employee abilities and training/development

o       Performance: valid appraisal systems

o       Rewards (goals): understanding employee needs


·        Expectancy Relationships

o       Expectancy (effort-performance linkage)

§         The perceived probability that an individual’s effort will result in a certain level of performance.

o       Instrumentality (performance-reward linkage)

§         The perception that a particular level of performance will result in the attaining a desired outcome (reward).

o       Valence (attractiveness of the reward)

§         The attractiveness/importance of the performance reward (outcome) to the individual.


·        Advantage of this theory is that it includes subjectivity of human perception (limited rationality). Also, it suggests how experience makes some goals desirable to individual and to what extent.



Guidelines for motivating employees (R&C p.506 ~ 509)


         Recognize individual differences

         Match people to jobs

         Use goals

         Ensure that goals are perceived as attainable

         Individualize rewards

         Link rewards to performance

         Check the system for equity

         Use recognition

         Don’t ignore money


Now you can talk:


Can you identify the theoretical bases of these suggestions?




Conclusion: Carrot or stick (Positive or negative Motivation)


·        Direct motivation is replaced by appealing to needs for self-fulfillment, 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?


Source: Management by Robbins & Coulter, 9th ed., Prentice Hall



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.

Self-learning Activities


1. How would you rank the following motivators?


Do you want to see how the Hong Kong Managers rank these factors? U S Manager? Australian Manager?

2. Given the above information, do you want to solve the case about why people want to work as a Real Estate Agents in Hong Kong?

3. How would employees of Hong Kong rank the following benefits?


Do you want to see the responses of 116 job applicants (ranging from junior staff to middle managers)?


4. Do you think the companies of Hong Kong should reward their staff according to the expectation of their staff? What did the Expectancy Theory tell us? What kind of rewards is actually offered by the Hong Kong companies?


5. For a report on how the situation is in China, refer to "Cash is not king in retention", China Staff, p.2, March 1995. Question: Do you think the same is true in Hong Kong? How can you explain the difference in preference between people from Northern part and Southern part of China?



1. Culture and Motivational Importance


(Ref: Org. Beh. - Southeast Asian Perspectives by R.I. Westwood, p.295,)

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)

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


("Motivating staff" Hong Kong Staff, p.28, March 1995)

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."

3. The most popular benefit in Hong Kong


("A question of benefits", Hong Kong Staff, p.28, April, 1995.)

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

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


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


"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.

Now you can talk:


Some of the above studies are more than 5 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?


Last modified: 2007/Feb/06