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Employee Motivation Essay

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Updated: Feb 18th, 2019

Worker motivation is very vital in any organization as it is required in influencing worker performance. Maximum output can be gotten through creating a culture in the organization that sparks motivation. In order to motivate workers, it is necessary to consider three captivating theories: reinforcement, equity, and expectancy.

Each of them has its own peculiarities, strengths, and weaknesses. In this very paper, we are going to analyze the integrated approach to employee motivation, presented by Nucor Corp. Nucor Corp has focused their management on individuals, who are at the business’s forefront. Every player is incorporated into the running of the business so that he/she can feel him/herself as part of the larger Nucor’s family.

To Nucor, the top managers are required to trust the lower staff with the running of the business and delegate duties to them depending on their contribution to the businesses’ success (Kreitner et al., 2008, p.238). To achieve leading positions, which Nucor Corp wants to take, it is considerable to analyze reinforcement theory, equity theory, and expectancy theory separately and clear up how each of them is used within this concrete corporation, and what are the consequences of their usage.

One of the most significant questions, which any manager may ask every day is what actually can motivate employees. Is it high salary? Hardly, people usually try to compete their norms in order to get the necessary sum of money. This is why it won’t motivate the workers to demonstrate their best qualities and use their potential fully.

Is it comfortable workplace? Well, of course, it plays certain role, but still, does not affect too much. If a manager wants to find more ideas in order to awake the potential of his/her workers, it is better to analyze three known theories concerning workers’ motivation. Nucor Corp is one of the most advanced organizations, which think about its customers and workers.

The managers of Nucor help to learn how it is better to organize their work and make each member of their company be beneficial. Performance of workers will only be great if the workers themselves feel satisfied with their work and benefits that come out of their efforts. To achieve this, intrinsic factors have to be put in place to motivate them to work to their best. These are what Ventrice call “motivational factors” (2003, p.176).

Nucor attempts to achieve these factors through the three theories: reinforcement, equity, and expectancy. Nucor has established a set of positive and negative reinforcements, which are used to steer performance in its workers. Giving out rewards likes bonuses and praises for good performance fall under positive reinforcement, while negative reinforcement encompasses removal of a move that is disliked. Punishment of an uncouth behaviour also falls under reinforcement principle (Putzier, 2001, p. 83-85).

Reinforcement theory refers to influencing the attitude and behaviour of the employees. Employees need to be rewarded as per their contribution, bad work should be penalized and good one rewarded.

Integrating the employees into the mainstream of business makes them feel as if they own the business and they therefore have strive to give the best out of their abilities. What a worker earns should be commensurate to his or her involvement in creating the profit. This is exactly what Podmoroff simply refers to as “collective responsibility” (2005, p.44).

The company provides different scholarship programs, which help to encourage young people to join and develop their abilities. The managers give the workers freedom to find out, analyze, and solve problems, and then, reward their productivity by means of financial and other kinds of support. Penalties and fines should be inflicted on poor or substandard work. This is why it is necessary to know about contingencies, which are described by Montana and Charnov.

They admit that there can be positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, extinction, and punishment. “According to reinforcement theory the manager can really make a difference, but for that to happen the manager must have substantial control over the work environment.” (Montana & Charnov, 2000, p. 249) Without any doubts, penalties are something that any company should not forget about.

Of course, encouragement plays a considerable role, however, it is also important not to give these workers too much without reasons. The best way to motivate employees therefore is when organization’s regulations state that what is carried home is pegged on the results. Whenever attention is needed at Nucor, professional response is amassed and solution sought, blame game follows later when the problem has been fixed.

This is contrary the case in most companies where the bottlenecks facing a company are either left to whoever caused the problem. Competitions among the departments of one and the same organization – this is what may drive worker to demonstrate their best results and use their potential to its full extend. Such competition will certainly increase chances of the company to take leading positions in their spheres.

Equity theory is one more important concern for lots of managers. According to this theory, unfairness is one of the most powerful means to motivate workforce and achieve the desirable results. Of course, unfairness should be properly grounded. If one worker of the same team will be encouraged, and other won’t, it may cause much misunderstanding and other unpleasant actions.

This is why striving for equity is considered to be significant factor in people work. Nucor has perfected the art of putting the equity theory in practice. The top management has taken it as their responsibility to treat every worker as equal partner regardless of their level in the company hierarchy (Kreitner et al., 2008, p.239).

The contribution of every individual in respected, honoured, and rewarded. Collective responsibility takes a centre stage. The contribution that a senior manages gives the organization matters as much as that given by a junior employee. By working together as a team, every member of the big family sees himself or herself as a vital integral part of the larger body that the organization needs to spar its success.

Top managers are the policy makers and path clearers while the junior employees and the means or rather the force that makes the implementation of the policies and goals (Ruthankoon et al., 2001, pp.333-341). That is the major reason equity plays a leading role as far as motivation is concerned. No single party can operate without the other.

The major role of the equity theory at Nucor Corp is its ability to involve every individual into the comparison of own achievements with the ones of his/her collaborators and the analysis of the rewards, each of them get in the result of own work. The received compensation is a good stimulus for any worker to demonstrate the best skills only and help the company to grow and develop.

Another, not less significant theory to motivate workers is the expectancy theory. This theory turns out to be the best motivational tool that Nucor has put in place. It lies in the fact that any worker may easily determine the outcomes they prefer the most and can certainly make real.

Employees feel very much motivated if they are rewarded according to the content of work or rather participation to an organization’s success. Their abilities are appreciated and taken into consideration by managers in order to find more ways to grow. The more active and result oriented the worker is, the higher the rewards are.

If every employee strives to give his or her best, the overall organization outcome will be great and so are the benefits to the higher management. This strategy tries to moderate the wide disparity between the executives and simple factory workers (Wiley, 1995, pp.264-278). As individuals tend to increase his earnings by participating as actively as possible, their efforts add up to the companies turn over. Such fact seems to be a wonderful what out to counter demoralized employees during bad economic down turn.

Glanz gives the expectancy formula and illustrates how employees should be rewarded for their participation in running the organization. “Force=Expectancy* Valences * Instrumentalities”. In this context, Force in the motivation level in a worker, Expectancy is the belief that the individual has in him that he is able to do a certain work, Instrumentality means certainty that the employee has that he is able to deliver as expected and, finally, Valence, that is the value in that particular employee (Glanz, 1996, pp.9-14).

In general, it can be said that employee motivation is considered to be a vital prerequisite for those companies, which want to achieve success and become of the most powerful organization in the concrete sphere. Team building among the staff, rewards for really excellent work, as well as penalty for shoddy work – this is what can certainly motivate demoralize workers. Well-executed principles of equity and expectancy are equally of great help both within an organization that is edging out and within the company that is at its prime time.

The three theories discussed in this paper can be collectively be referred to as “need theories” (Gostick et al., 2009, p.79), where all the individuals feel that the demonstration of their potential, their competitions, and perfect job will bring certain results and awards. With the help of these theories, workers may comprehend that their job is something that plays a considerable role into the general development of the company.

Nucor Corp is one of the best examples of how the theories under consideration should be used and analyzed. The top management and the junior staff believe that whatever they hold dear has been fulfilled, and therefore they owe the organization a positive attitude and good behaviour at work.

Such a step has the potential of creating a culture and environment that automatically sparks growth and development (Buckingham et al., 1999, p.201). To sum up it is now apparent that when people are rewarded, they will strive to repeat whatever led to that and consequently where they are punished, they will try to desist from acts that lead to punishment.

Reference List

Buckingham, M. and Coffman, C 1999, First, Break All he Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, First Edition. Simon & Schuster: New York. pp.201-255.

Glanz, B 1996, Care Packages for the Workplace: Dozens of Little You Can Do to Regenerate Spirit at Work, First Edition. McGraw-Hill, New York. pp.9-14.

Gostick, A. and Elton, C 2009, The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent and Accelerate Performance, Simon & Schuster, Inc, New York. p.79.

Kreitner, R. and Kinicki, A 2008, Organizational Behavior. 8th Edition. McGraw-Hill, New York. pp.238-239.

Montana, PJ and Charnov, BH 2000, Management, Barron’s Educational Series.

Podmoroff, D 2005, 365 Ways to Motivate and Reward Your Employees Every Day: With Little or No Money, Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc, Ocala, Florida. p.44.

Putzier, J 2001, Get Weird: 101 Ways to Make Your Company a Great Place to Work, First Edition, AMACOM, Broadway, New York. pp.71-85.

Ruthankoon, R. and Ogulnlana, SO 2001, Testing Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory, ECAM, vol.10, no.5, pp.333-341.

Ventrice, C 2003, Make Their Day: Employee Recognition That Works, First Edition, Berrett Koehler Publishers, pp175-179.

Wiley, C 1995, “What Motivates Employees?”, International Journal of Manpower, vol. 18, no.3, pp.263-280.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Employee Motivation." February 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/employee-motivation-2/.

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