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Critical evaluation of the roles of motivation

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 2810 words Published: 18th May 2017

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The Report is a critical evaluation of the role of motivation in the performance of an organization. To achieve the objectives of the organization first, a thorough understanding of the various aspects of human resources (HR) and the role strategic human resource management (SHRM) has on the performance of organizations are analysed. With this background of the integration of human resources management (HRM) and the performance or success of an organization the role motivation as such plays on the performance of an organization is undertaken. The Report is based on a case study of Tesco’s, the leading retailer in United Kingdom (UK).Tesco and its human resources strategies particularly those dealing with motivational strategies employed therein are analysed and a critical evaluation is made. Based on this study a model for motivating employees in an organization is developed.

II. Aim and Objectives

The aim of the dissertation is to analyse the role of motivation in a critical evaluation of the role motivation plays in performance of organization. This is achieved by making a case study of Tesco’s PLC.

III. Scope

Possibly the best dream any businessperson can have is to create a reliable and better functioning and profit making machine with what he is having in his hands at present. If this discussion was, taking place during early part of last century one would have said it is not possible, after all the job of the worker was to do what the manager has to say, a brainless working machine. How they have an impact on the efficiency, productivity and overall profits the organisation makes. However, the restricted view on optimising workforce has on the efficiency and profitability of an organisation is a new one.

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The role of workforce in organisational performance has come a long way from dubious connotations of being an “economic man” to a complex organism, where money and success alone is not the factors that motivate workers to perform at their optimum. This optimisation of workforce, to encourage them to go that extra mile, which makes an organisation efficient and capable of emerging as a challenger in the business environment.

Motivation is a word easy to understand or explain but difficult to define its nature or understand its scope. It dwells on the subjective part of human mind. What is motivating to one maybe unbearable to another? The research today has moved from “economic man” who was interested only on the basic needs motivated by the monetary factors that came with the job and to “job satisfaction” as an important factor in optimising the workforce. Job satisfaction takes on a different meaning and application from the “economic man.” He/she is not just interested in a job that would give him monetary benefits. They want to be satisfied with their job. Modern workplace is characterised more by teamwork and work culture, and a sense of belonging staff has towards their workplace.

IV. Methodology

The methodology for the research is based on the aims and objectives of the Report. The Report is a critical evaluation of the role motivation plays inhuman resource managementof an organisation. To the aim and objectives of the Report a comprehensive and detailed review of the available literature available on the subject matter or the research is done.

There are two types of data collection methods, primary data collection and secondary data collection. The present study is confined to the latter form of data collection. Secondary data collection which involves study and distillation of information from sources that are secondary is adopted here.

The prospective sources of secondary research are:

Journal Articles

Textbooks and publications


Electronic media

Electronic libraries


V. Literature Review

1. Introduction

There has been a phenomenal increase in the importance and acknowledgment of motivation and its impact on the performance of organizations in mainstream literature. In modern business environment, competitions seen as a dynamic factor shaped and reshaped by varying facets of globalization (Porter, 1998). Versatility and flexibility are vital factors that have an immediate influence on the performance of organizations. The reasons for the increasing demand for flexibility and innovations are to meet the challenges and improve the sustained competitiveness of organizations. The competitions met by working smarter and innovating faster than the competitions (Levy and Powell, 2005). Motivation is an important aspect of modern business culture.

2. Human Resources, Performance and Motivation

Organizations consist of individuals working to achieve a common end, generally profits (Bratton and Gold, 2007).Human resources play an important role in organizational success and profits. According to Huselid (1995), HRM policies and employee management are important factors that contribute to the success and competitiveness of organizations. Modern managements advocate the necessity of integrating the vision and goals of organizations with its HRM policies. Schuler and Jackson, (1999) states that the performance of an organization is directly linked to the organization’s HRM policies.

However, not all HRM think tanks give such a clean chit to link between HRM and performance (Wright et al, 2005; Katou and Budhwar, 2006). They believe that the success or increased performance of organizations is possible by the influence the HRM practices has on the human factor involved in an organization. Moreover, the influences of human resources on performance of organizations are scarce. It belongs to the realm of “intangibles” and as such is measurable through, satisfaction of customers, employees, et cetera (Cho et al, 2006).

The ingredients that create performance or even competitive advantage according to Cheng and Brown (1998) are

* Recruitment and Selection

* Training and Development

* Motivation

* Retention

Thus to achieve the desired effect of better performance or even that of competitiveness of organizations it is imperative that the employees who bring about this flexibility to the organizations are motivated to work at their optimum.

3. Performance

In modern business world, big or small, organizations have to be competitive and perform better than their rivals to survive and prosper. This is first achieved by having the right people for the right jobs. However, the quest for competitiveness and increased performance do not end there, for sustained competitiveness the performance of the organization had to be continuous and superior to its rivals. This is achieved by motivating the employees of the organization. By motivating the employees, the management can provide for better quality and quantity.

The performance of the organization is improved through increased productivity among the employees. The model proposed by Frederick Taylor, of time and motion, to improve the performance of the employees were felt to be insufficient to keep the morale and motivation of the employees. The link between motivation and performance is that satisfied employees perform better leading to increased productivity. However, increased productivity is one of the facets of the notion of the link between performance and motivation. Highly motivated employees not only give better productivity but also the quality of the end products also is positively affected through motivation. The speed, efficiency and consistency of the end products of the organization are improved. This leads to better performance and competitiveness of the organization (Barney, 1991).

4. Motivation

The word “motivation” is derived from the Latin root “move” meaning “to move” (Steers and Porter, 1991). In the post-industrialised world, motivation began to attract researchers (Steers, Mowday and Shapiro, 2004). However, it was only in the second part of the 20th century motivation began a full study and various models for motivation were developed.

According to Laming (2004), motivation is

“…the start some pattern of behaviour with the innate or experienced action specified within the individual. People and all other animal species has equipped with some patterns of behaviour. Given an appropriate stimulus, the corresponding patterns should be triggered. This kind of trigger stimulus releases an internal source of energy, somewhat like switching on a radio set.”

Motivation thus deals with what humans want with work?

Is it the pay? On the other hand, does it involve any desire on the part to the employee to be a part of the organization and the station that he works in? In addition, what makes human beings to work for the organization to the utmost capacity of their talent and capabilities?

These questions have been around for some time. Before the post-industrialization and mass production, the question belonged to the realm of philosophy. Whereas with the advent of industrialization, mass production and increased competition the subject of motivation and how to motivate the employees to perform better for the organization has taken a scientific turn.

4.1 Theories of Motivation

In this section we analyse some of the important and select theories of motivation that have made a profound impact on the understandings of employee motivation in modern times.

Maslow’s Theory of Needs

The Maslow’s theory of needs (Maslow, 1999; Steers and Porter, 1991) gives the framework for developing motivational guidelines for organizations. The theory deals with the differing needs of human beings are arranging them hierarchically, satisfaction of one need leading to others. Maslow (1991) describes human needs in five categories as shown in the figure below.

Figure: 1 Maslow’s Theory of Needs

Source: Maslow (1999)

According to the theory developed by Maslow, the first needs those human beings drives are “physiological” and “safety” which take in aspects such as health and safety and wages. The needs of “love” “esteem” and “self-actualization” takes on aspects such as ego, job security and esteem (Steers and Porter, 1991).

The importance of the Maslow theory is the recognition of inherent desire in human beings to attain self-actualization. This state of self-actualization manifests after the physiological and other lower needs of human beings are satisfied. However, Maslow’s theory was attacked by other behaviourists, who pointed out that Maslow’s hierarchy was often given a go by employees; especially forsaking the lower, physiological needs for needs such as esteem and self-actualization (Hawkins, Best and Coney, 2001). Further, it was alleged that Maslow gives a one dimensional explanation and may not be suited for employees from cultures different to those studied by Maslow (Solomon, 2002).

4.2 ERG Theory

The term ERG is an acronym, which stands for Existence, Relatedness and Growth, respectively (Alderfer, 1972). The point of difference between the Maslow’s theory of hierarchy and the ERG is that, though ERG accepts the needs explained by Maslow but do not accept the hierarchical devolution of needs. According to the theory the needs and existing simultaneously (Muchinsky, 2003).

Hertzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory:-

Hertzberg employs the motivational factors playing on the minds of the employees as “external” and “internal,” and Hertzberg calls them “motivators” and “hygiene.” This theory advocates that both the internal and external influences play an equal and important role in shaping the motivation factor of employees.

VI. Analysis and Interpretation:-

Tesco PLC Ltd: Company Background

Tesco started its journey from a grocery stall in 1919 by Jack Cohen. From these meagre beginnings Tesco is the number one retailer in UK and has its presence in North America, Asia and Central Europe. Tesco now has 2200 stores and employees over 280,000 people (ww.tescoplc.com). Tesco communicates with these thousands of customers through its employees. The success of Tesco is largely based on the effective handling of its employees and keeping them motivated to go further to achieve better quality service and value for the customer.

Tesco and Employee Motivation:-

Tesco being in the service sector the impact of having a dedicated and motivated crew is vital to its performance and market leader status. In achieving the performance objectives of its employees Tesco inculcates several motivational procedures. The motivational objectives of Tesco’s can be stated as derived from

Career Development + Monetary Benefits + Experience = Motivated Employees

Here we analyse the different aspects of the motivational theories are tries to put it in context with the procedures and practices at Tesco’s.

Salary/Monetary Benefits/Physiological Needs:-

The physiological needs of employees are satisfied by the monetary benefits the employee will receive. This aspect of Tesco is adequately represented. The employees are paid above the minimum wages and through categorising the employees the Tesco do maintain the need for monetary benefits as compared to its rivals. Salaries are also the most important constituent of

Taylor’s motivational theories.

Safety Needs:-

The next step in the factors recognised as playing a role is that of addressing the safety concerns of employees. The jobs at Tesco are governed by the various employment laws and such they are provided to give the employee security and safety.

Social Needs:-

Tesco tries to cater to the social needs of its employees by bringing about a cohesiveness and unity into the social aspects of its employees. It regularly conducts culture events et cetera to make the employees feel the spirit of a group.

Challenging Work

Challenging work is regarded as an important aspect of motivation. Maslow as well as Hertzberg gives it prominent place. As far as Tesco is concerned it is doubtful whether the organization could be able to provide challenging work to all of its employees. Maybe to the upper echelons of management there may be works and projects, such as breaking into new terrain, or achieving a particular target. Whereas for the employees in the lower rung, this can only be achieved in limited versions. Tesco’s largely influence the motivational aspirations of its employee through challenging work by giving them targets to achieve, which may be followed by monetary or non-monetary benefits (ww.tescoplc.com)

Career and Development Opportunities

Tesco has a well developed career plan. It has provisions for graduates to highly skilled employees. The career development opportunities at Tesco is undertaken by providing the employees with opportunities to develop themselves and move along the progressive scale through programmes such as “Apprentices in Retail” and “Trainee Management Programme” (http://www.tescoplc.com).


Appraisal is an important mechanism through which the performance of individual employees can be assessed and provide motivation for them to work motivated. The appraisal systems used by Tesco’s are

* Self-appraisal

* Peer appraisal

* 360 degree review

The employee of Tesco is appraised by employees themselves, by their peers and through 360 degree evaluation. The 360 degree review is an appraisal system of the employee through all the people who comes into contact them him/her.

VII. Conclusion

Performance of organizations is positively impacted by motivated employees. The attitude of the employees towards the organization and identifying with its aims and objectives are highly stimulated by having motivated employees in an organization. Motivated employees work harder and smarter than employees who are not motivated. The quality and quantity of the products of the organization is improved. Thus the organization is able to cater to customers with products that are of better quality and quantity than those of its rivals. By having the same products of better quality and quantity than of its rivals at a cheaper cost allows the organizations to have a better advantage over its rivals.


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