A criteria been used in the field of social sciences to determine the quality of work done by employees in an organisation is in most cases tied to motivation (Loi and Yang, 2009). One of the things most organisations seek to understand is if it has been able to meet the expectations of its employees in other to ensure job satisfaction and high performance.
This chapter is principally aimed at discussing the literature on employee motivation and its influence on job performance. It commences with various definitions, concepts and types of motivation. Subsequently, the motivation theories will be reviewed in detail as it will aid in understanding the employee motivation variables and the most appropriate conceptual framework for data analysis (Mehta 2013). Finally, the impact of employee motivation and the measures to promote motivation are also discussed.
Definition and Concept of Motivation
The English word ‘motivation’ was originally derived from the Latin word ‘movere’ which means ‘to move or push’, hence Eccles and Wigfield, (2002) suggests that motivation is the study of action which in most cases is channelled towards achieving a goal. The aspects of action that motivation can affect are intensity, direction and duration (Locke and Latham 2004:388).
The intensity is based on the equivalent measure of determination, energy or time spent by an employee in ensuring the process of achieving goals is met. Direction are the choices taken by the employees and persistence is the ability of an employee to sustain the motivation irrespective of any sort of circumstance (Robbins and Judge 2013).
Scholars such as Rabey (2001: 26) defines motivation as the internal drive that is more prevalent in an individual at any given time. He further argues that no one can be motivated by another person and that an unmotivated worker stands the chance of being motivated if a conducive environment is created to aid in that employee’s self-realization. This way, the employee can decide to respond to the motivation within. In other words, the elements that are essential for motivation, are kept in oneself and all that is required for an employee to show case the potential for high productivity is a good work environment.
In addition, Sansone and Harackiewicz (2000) defines motivation as an internal structure that guides behaviour. That is, the internal structure act a sort of catalyst that drives the employees to increase their work performance in order achieve high organizational success. (Sekhar et al., 2013).
However, researchers such as Irum et al. (2014:159) considers motivation as a ‘force that drives the employees toward attaining specific goals and objectives of the organization’. That is, motivation is the stimuli that propels desire in an employee to act towards achieving a particular goal(s) set by the organisation. Every worker is hence motivated by something which in turn facilitates the behavioural response of the employee to either work hard or remain passive (Irum et al. 2014:160).
Osumba et al. (2015:134) assumes that:
‘Motivation is a set of processes that arouse, directs and maintain human behaviour towards attaining some goals. Motivation is concerned with how behaviour gets started, energized, sustained, directed, stopped and what kind of subjective reaction is present in the organization. It is what activates, directs on how the behaviour is sustained to achieve goals’.
That is, motivation is a fusion of various elements put together and set in motion to actualise and sustain the objectives of an organisation. In other words, when workers are consistently motivated, the higher the chances of achieving a productive and committed workforce.
Bartol and Martin (1998) and Farhad, et al (2011) in Mazoor (2011:37) ‘describe motivation as a power that strengthens behaviour, gives route to behaviour, and triggers the tendency to continue’. Hence, in order to achieve clear goals; people must be reasonably enthusiastic. Robbins (1993:205) defined motivation as ‘willingness to exert high levels of effort toward organizational goals conditioned by the efforts and ability to satisfy some individual need’. According to Steenkamp and Van Schoor (2002:24), the characterisation of the three crucial elements: effort, organisational goals and needs suggest that the degree of efforts is largely dependent on the degree of need satisfaction and these efforts should be directed towards definite goals which are monitored in order to attain the set goals. Steenkamp and Van Schoor (2002:24), argues that ‘the most important motivational element is need. A need is some internal state that creates tension. The need can also remain unsatisfied in which case it will continue to frustrate a person. In this case, motivation will be affected negatively’.
Motivation can also be said to be the outcome of the interaction between the individual and the situation. That is, the motivational drive of an individual can vary due to circumstances and cultural differences (Decenzo, 2001).
Nwachukwu (1992:181) termed motivation as “that energizing force that induces, compels and maintains behaviour”. He suggests that motivating an employee can be a difficult task because the impact of any motivational effort is dependent on the extent to which the needs of the employee are met by the employer.
Mahadi and Jafari (2012: 233) briefly explains motivation ‘as a physical, psychological or social need which motivates the individual to reach or achieve his goal and fulfil his need and, finally, feel satisfied owing to achieving his aim’. It can be deduced that the type and level of motivation have important and influencing role in the productivity of any organisation.
2.2 Types and Level of Motivation
Irrespective of the various views posited by various scholars, what remains constant is the fact that motivation is relative to each employee and its application has the tendency to either spur productivity or decrease performance. Consequently, motivating employees effectively requires a good understanding of the various types of motivation as it will aid in categorizing employees’ expectations appropriately as well as applying the motivational type correctly.
According to Ukaejiofo (2013:202) ‘The various needs and expectation at work can be categorised in a number of ways for example the simple divisions into physiological and social motives or into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation’. Whereas some employees respond best to intrinsic motivation which is related to psychological reward which comes “from within”, others respond better to extrinsic motivation which has to do with ”tangible” rewards such that there is a remuneration for tasks upon completion of that task.
2.2.1 Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation is a mental or psychological satisfaction which takes place internally that is either within the individual or from activities that could originate from impulses derived from the task itself aimed at exhibiting ones abilities, responsibilities, expertise etc. According to Gagne and Deci (2005:331) ‘Intrinsic motivation involves people doing an activity because they find it interesting and derive spontaneous satisfaction from the activity itself’.
Intrinsically motivated employees derive fulfilment in executing an assigned task and has the tendency to be committed to his/her job for the sake of true job satisfaction. Coetsee (2002:159), proposes that ‘intrinsic motivation are not driven by better remuneration but by feelings of satisfaction, meaningfulness, interest and accomplishment’. For example, an employee that is inherently motivated, would be devoted to his job for as long as he believes the job is able to satisfy his wants (Ryan & Deci, 2000).
A snag identified with this type of motivation is that some organisations find it difficult to offer its employee intrinsic motivation because it is an internal issue hence each employee is expected to reward himself/herself for good performance (Coetsee, 2002:160). Some examples of intrinsic motivation as proposed by Dhaliwal, A (2016: 4272) are:
• ”Curiosity: We all have the desire to be in the know.
• Honour: We all need to respect the rules and to be ethical.
• Independence: We all need to feel we are unique.
• Order: We all need to be organized.
• Power: We all have the desire to be able to have influence.
• Social contact: We all need to have some social interactions.
• Social Status: We all have the desire to feel important”.
Gagne and Deci (2005) suggest that “Intrinsic needs derive satisfaction from performing the activity itself from the implementation of an activity without receiving any apparent reward”.
According to Roberts-Lombard (2008:142), an internal environment must be created that is supportive to employees. He further proposed that organisations can enhance its intrinsic environment by explaining exactly what a task entails, how the task relates to the organisation’s objectives and how it fits into the workers’ tasks but with the clear indication that final execution of the task lies in the hands of employee, thus creating autonomy and freedom in the way the task is planned and executed.