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How Organizations Ensure Job Satisfaction

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 5481 words Published: 2nd Jan 2018

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The world has been changing into the global village quite rapidly since the beginning of 21st century. Gone are the days of dark ages when employers could exploit their workers by receiving maximum output in exchange with no or awfully minimal rewards or incentives. In today’s world, due to improved communication networks, one cannot keep others in dark about their rights and organizations have to fulfill their responsibilities according to the global standards. Similarly, the world of internet has enabled people to link themselves with others through websites. This new reality is working towards the objective of creating new sociological arrangements within the context of culture, and same is the case with corporate culture. After realizing the force of competitiveness in global markets and between individual organizations, it has become really essential for any organization to make certain that it develops and keep holding a kind of personnel that is dedicated and faithful with the organization for an unlimited time.

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The workers or employees who are happy and satisfied with the work that they are assigned to do, or by the culture of the organization regarding relations with their employees ultimately feel motivated to continue their relationship with that organization as a faithful, devoted, committed and talented workforce. But many theorists feel that a great number of employees do not have this level of job satisfaction that they can be taken as motivated towards achieving the goals of the organization. Because of this unsatisfied nature of the employees, they keep seeking for alternate job resources where they may be able to experience a higher degree of job satisfaction. A high degree of job satisfaction shows high retention rate and low turnover rate. In other words, turn over rate can be taken as a measure of Job satisfaction level of the employees in any organization. The organizations that fail to retain their able and talented workforce and cannot make them loyal to the organizational goals face problems in escalating their production level and profitability. Finck, Timmers and Mennes (1998) highlighted the problem that the business excellence can be achieved only when employees are excited by what they do, i.e. the employees should be satisfied with their work and job conditions in order to achieve high goals of an organization.

Employee motivation and its link to job satisfaction of employees has been a matter of study for ages. Managers have to rely on their human resources to get things done and therefore need to know what factors would be most helpful for them in having a workforce that has a high level of job satisfaction.

Making employees motivated is considered as a factor that has a power of making workers satisfied with their jobs. But this is an understood fact that one cannot directly motivate others; one can just create the conditions where people feel motivated themselves. Spector (2003) says that a number of factors can help in motivating people at work, some of which are tangible, such as money, and some of which are intangible, such as a sense of achievement. The accomplishment of any organization greatly depends on the contribution of its labor force. This is also said that such contributions are triggered by those features of people’s work environment that motivate them to devote more material and intellectual vigor into their work. In this way the organization’s objectives are chased and accomplished. Motivation and job satisfaction are therefore regarded as key determinants of organizational success, both of which have an inter link between themselves. In order to have a highly productive and loyal workforce, organizations strive to take measures that would create a feeling of satisfaction and well being in their workers.

But does it really matter, or is it only a common myth that the aspect of motivation does have an influence on the job satisfaction level of the employees. The aim of this study is to observe the relationship between motivation and job satisfaction of employees and to authenticate it through statistical measures.

1.2 Concepts of Employee Motivation and Job Satisfaction

Definitions of employee motivation:

The term “motivation” is derived from the Latin word ‘movere’, which means ‘to move’ (Baron, Henley, McGibbon & McCarthy, 2002). This means that motivation is a kind of energy that helps people in advancing towards the achievement of some certain goals. A great number of researchers over the years have been studying the concept of motivation and have been trying to extract the true definition of motivation but motivation can not be defined in explicit manner. Rather, motivation can be taken as a phenomenon or a concept instead of a simple remark.

Campbell and Pritchard (1976) defined motivation as “a label for the determinants of the choice to begin effort on a certain task, the choice to expend a certain amount of effort, and the choice to persist in expending effort over a period of time”. Therefore, motivation is considered as an individual’s behavior which is the result of some inter-related factors where some variables have to be taken as constants such as individual’s skills, abilities and knowledge.

There are a lot of perspectives about motivation; some of them are given below.

Beck (1983) stated that four basic philosophies trigger a variety of angles about motivation on workplace. According to him, a man can be about his economic conditions, he wants to involve in more social activities and strong social relations, he wants to satisfy his need of self-actualization, or he may be a mixture of all the above mentioned needs.

Theories that are about the rational economic man assume only the power of economic conditions on the overall behavior of a man. These theories assume that men are rational and they may make a right decision for their economic well being. The organizations that emphasize on the extrinsic rewards for their employees for example pay raise or fringe benefits actually follow this school of thought that man is rational about his economic conditions. Second kind of theories assume that the basic need of a man is only being social, these theories assume that man is mainly motivated by his social needs such as making friends and having good relationship with their colleagues. In this case, organizations want to make a more conducive and happy environment where their employees are satisfied with the people around them and where they can maintain good inter-relationship with the people t their workplace. Third perspective of motivation, according to theorists, is that a man’s basic need is self actualization. It says that people can be motivated through intrinsic measures as they get pleasure in making good job and receiving compliments in response to a good job. That is, people derive satisfaction through their accomplishments. Organizations that believe in this approach may make a system where rewards are based on high performance. Lastly, the complex man approach argues that there is a much more complex system about motivation of people and this can be based on many factors such as emotions, motives, abilities and experiences. These factors may change their places on the scale from high to low or from low to high level from time to time. The changes in these levels are because of newly learnt behaviours of people as time passes.

All of these above mentioned perspectives of motivation have triggered the researchers and theorists to present a number of different definitions about motivation. According to Schultz and Schultz (1998), motivation can be regarded as only the characteristics of people at workplace or personal characteristics of people that may explain the behaviour of people on their job.

Some authors are of the view that intrinsic conditions are more powerful than the work related characteristics of a person. Spector (2003) regarded motivation as inner state of mind of a person that persuades him to involve in some particular kind of behaviours. Spector argued that motivation may be studied from two perspectives. One perspective, according to him is that motivation is the direction for behaviour to develop that people choose from a number of behaviours. The intensity of such behaviour can differ with the amount of effort that is required to be put in a task to accomplish. The second perspective is that an individual gets motivated by the desire to attain some particular goals. This motivation is derived from a person’s individual needs and desires. Petri (1996) also stated that motivation can be taken as a force that acts on an individual to start and take initiative in showing some special behaviour. This theory explains that why it happens that some behaviour is more intense than others in particular situations, but not in others. The definition of motivation according to Gouws (1995) is that motivation originates from within an individual’s own self, either consciously or unconsciously, to fulfill a given task with success because the person takes pleasure in fulfilling this particular job, rewards from others are not important for such kind of individuals who are motivated intrinsically. Beach (1980) regarded motivation as a readiness to use up energy to achieve a target or incentive. According to him, behaviours tend to be repeated when they are rewarded by others, but the behaviours that are not properly rewarded or are punished will tend to die with the passage of time. He, however, recognized that intrinsic motivation has a link with the job content and it comes in light when people are satisfied by performing some activity or just by involving in some kind of activity.

Van Niekerk (1987) regarded motivation at workplace as created by the workplace environment and conditions that exert an influence on workers to perform some kind of activity by their own wish. According to him, workers want to reach some specific goals to have an inner satisfaction and to satisfy their own needs. Pinder (1998) gave his idea by keeping in mind the work place of organizations. He explained work motivation as a set of internal and external forces that help in initiating behaviours that are work related. According to the definition of Pinder (1980), work motivation has features that are invisible, and they are created from a person’s inner self and that researchers therefore must rely on the theories that are already established in order to have some guidance in measuring work motivation.

For the purpose of this particular study, employee motivation is taken as an instinctive force, that is maintained and shaped by a set of personal characteristics as well as workforce characteristics, that depend on the particular needs and motives of the workers.

As it is already mentioned above, the concept of motivation is of very high importance with regard to the effectiveness of an organization, as many researches show that motivation creates a link between job satisfaction and job performance of the employees, and job performance is the determinant of profitability and success of the organization. So, in order to make their employees optimally motivated, it is necessary for an organization to focus on the factors in job content that result in employee motivation and job satisfaction.

It is quite necessary for the managers and leaders to have a good knowledge about different motivational theories in order to have an effective management. Managers and leaders would need to choose the right theory to motivate a particular person in a particular situation and therefore have higher-performing and more satisfied employees.

Here we are going to discuss different theories of motivation and a critical view of these theories. These motivation theories are categorized as: Need Theories of Motivation, Cognitive Theories of Motivation, and Reinforcement Theory of Motivation.


Motivation can be regarded as a widely researched concept in the field of management and behaviour sciences. The concept of motivation is drawn on a broad spectrum as it is based on a variety of perspectives. But all of these perspectives have not been of same influence as they had once they were presented by theorists. One example of less influential perspectives is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory (Wicker & Wiehe, 1999). But their contribution in this regard cannot be neglected and denied as the basis of motivation theories have originated from these perspectives. Motivation theories are generally categorized into three classes; these classes are named as, Need theories of motivation, cognitive theories of motivation, and reinforcement theories of motivation. (Baron et al., 2002).

Needs Based Theories of Motivation

Need theories of motivation are also named as content theories as they explain the substance of motivation (Hadebe, 2001). These theories propose that internal states of mind of individuals invigorate and express their behaviours.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory

Abraham Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs is considered as most common theory in the field of motivation research (Van Niekerk, 1987). It as introduced by Abraham Maslow in 1943. The basic principle of the theory is that people get motivated by their urge to fulfill their needs, or shortcomings. These needs may be grouped in five categories. This theory also argues that all these needs come in hierarchical shape where lower order needs have to be satisfied first before going to the higher order needs (Gouws, 1995). Maslow (1968) emphasized that “gratification of one basic need opens consciousness to domination by another”. These needs are numbered below going from lower level to higher level needs.

Physiological needs, Safety needs, Social needs, Egotistical needs, and Self-actualization needs

Physiological needs are the basic needs of a man necessary for his survival, e.g. hunger or thirst. Safety needs do not only mean that a person wants physical safety and security of life. Rather it also means personal security such as a safe and secure job life without any tension. Social needs are referred to as a wish to have friends and family from which a person derives internal pleasure and love. Whereas egotistical needs are based on a person’s desire to have a respectable and familiar personality in his society. Self-actualization need is the top most need in the hierarchy of needs as it stands for a person’s motivation towards the full growth of his prospective personality, which is basically never totally achieved (Gouws, 1995).

Existence-Relatedness-Growth (ERG) theory

The theory presented by Alderfer is in fact an expansion of Abraham Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs. Alderfer presented the argument that human needs are not based on hierarchical level, rather they reside on a continuum (Spector, 2003). Alderfer reduced Maslow’s five needs into only three needs, which he termed as Existence, Relatedness and Growth hence termed as ERG theory. Existence is basically the need of a human being to survive physically from hunger and fear, Relatedness need is attached with the social needs of a man and Growth is basically the need of a person to grow personally and develop his or her personality. Alderfer put emphasis on the argument that as these needs occur on a continuum, all these needs can be experienced at a time. (Alderfer, 1969).

Regardless of the fact that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory gathered very less support from empirical data, his theory had a positive effect on the policies of organizations as now managers’ policies could be more focused on the basic needs of employees. Also the highest level need in the hierarchy that is self-actualization need has been accepted by executives and managers who are now considering it as a compelling motivator (Schultz & Schultz, 1998).

Herzberg’s two-factor theory

Frederick Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory is a well known theory in the study of motivation concept. Herzberg developed this theory in 1954 while he was studying the behaviours of the workers towards their jobs (Gouws, 1995). In fact, Herzberg wanted to study the behaviour of workers in order to judge their job satisfaction measures, but over the time this study got its reputation as motivation theory due to its motivational factors (Baron et al., 2002). Beach (1980) gave his opinion this theory represents aspects that are related to motivation at work place rather than general human motivation factors.

The hygiene factors may be associated with lower order needs in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. These hygiene factors are placed on a continuum from the factors which cause dissatisfaction going towards the factors which cause no dissatisfaction. The point to be noted here is that the here no dissatisfaction does not mean satisfaction, as these factor involve such kind of circumstances that help in preventing dissatisfaction but they do not lead to job satisfaction. Some examples of these hygiene factors include the job status of employees, level of supervision, work conditions, pay and benefits and interpersonal relationships (Herzberg, 1966).

Motivators are the factors that produce satisfaction in the employees and the absence of these factors would result in no satisfaction rather than dissatisfaction. The presence of these factors has a positive impact on the employee performance and job productivity. These factors may be associated with Maslow’s higher order needs in hierarchy but they are placed on a continuum from the factors which are highly motivated to the factors that are highly unmotivated. Job contents such as pleasure of performance, recognition level, opportunities of advancement and promotion are included in motivator factors (Herzberg, 1966).

This theory has shown a great impact on the organizational psychology as now organizations are giving their employees a greater opportunity to plan and perform their own job descriptions (Baron et al., 2002). The two-factor theory has been very effective in the sense that now employees get the work that is pleasurable and meaningful for them (Spector, 2003).

McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X and Theory Y of Douglas McGregor (1960) correspond to an expansion of his thoughts on motivation to the course and organization of employees in the workplace. McGregor’s theory X postulates that people do not take interest in their work and try to get rid of making any effort to accomplish the task, so they have to be coerced and pressurized by some strict actions so that they perform up to the desired level. In his theory, the common man is believed to be a highly unmotivated person and lacks the sense of responsibility. He only strives to meet his lower order needs. They are selfish, and do not consider and care about organizational goals. In contrast of theory X, theory Y has a more modern approach to motivation. . it postulates that people seem to be highly motivated toward achievement of organizational goals, they are keen to discipline themselves, they are eager to take up responsibility, and are talented enough to create solutions for problems. McGregor then regarded Theory Y as a more truthful and rational description of human behaviour and attitudes, since it represents the incorporation of individual and organizational goals. However, McGregor acknowledged the fact that the theory does not propose a complete clarification for employee motivation (McGregor, 1960).

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McClelland’s learned needs theory

McClelland’s theory is also referred as three needs theory. McClelland argues that the people who are achievement oriented strive to meet their three needs that are: the need for power (nPow), the need for affiliation (nAff), and the need for achievement (nAch). nPow denotes that people strive for a control over others, they want to influence other’s behaviour and be responsible for their behaviour. The nAff refers to the desire to create and uphold enjoyable relations with other around them. The nAch is the need to compete with others and to succeed in achieving goals et by the individuals themselves. According to McClelland these needs are not instinctive, but these are obtained through experience and learning (McClelland, 1987).

Cognitive Theories: Cognitive theories present motivation as a process of cognition or inner thoughts, values and beliefs which are used by people when they want to make some choice regarding their behaviour at work (Schultz & Schultz, 1998).

Equity theory

Equity theory was first introduced by Stacy Adams in 1965. Its basic principle is that individuals are motivated to attain a state of equity and fairness in their connections with other people, and with the organizations that they are working for (Adams, 1965).

People make judgments or comparisons between their own and their companions or competitors’ inputs at workplace, e.g. their experience, qualifications, efforts and the outcomes that they receive as a result e.g. fringe benefits and pay, working conditions and status at job. Then they allocate weights to these effort and outcomes according to their significance and magnitude to themselves. The summed total of these efforts and outcomes creates an input/output ratio. This input/output ratio is the key factor in terms of motivation. A state of equity means that the output/input ratios of a person are equal to the ratio of others. If the inequity exists in this ratio, the person wants to change it by reducing one factor i.e. effort or enhancing the other one i.e. outcome. Apparent state of inequity by the person is consequently the foundation for motivation (Baron et al., 2002).

This theory helped in providing the foundation to study the motivational repercussions of apparent injustice and biasness in the place of work. It also put down the basis for more fresh theories on justice (how job requirements and rewards are rewards are determined) (Cropanzano & Folger, 1996).

Goal-setting theory

Edwin Locke proposed Goal-setting theory in 1968 (Beck, 1983). Spector (2003) portrayed this viewpoint on motivation as the theory that the internal intentions of people motivate their behaviours; it can be explained by the fact that that the behaviours are established by people needs to achieve a certain goal. Locke and Henne (1986) explained that behaviours are affected by goals in four ways. According to them, individuals are concerned with the behaviours that they believe would result in achievement of some particular goal; they assemble effort to reach the goal; they add up to the person’s diligence which results in spending more time on the behaviours that are necessary to reach the preferred goal; they inspire the person’s quest for successful policies for goal attainment.

The prerequisites for goals before setting them are; they should be specific, challenging, attainable, need commitment, need regular feedback, and self-set by the individual. Only then individuals get motivated by the goals.

Expectancy theory

Vroom presented his expectancy theory in 1967 in which he argued that people’s behaviour is based on their expectations and beliefs about future events, which are extremely important and beneficial to them (Baron et al., 2002).

Basically, the theory clarifies importance of rewards in establishing the behaviours of individuals. This theory is focused on internal cognitive conditions that go ahead towards motivation. It can be stated as, people are motivated to do some task only when they are sure that a certain task will lead to sme kind of rewards that are beneficial to them. The cognitive states given in expectancy theory are named as ‘expectancy’, ‘valence’ and ‘instrumentality’ (Spector, 2003). Expectancy means that the individual is expecting that he has the ability to perform the behaviour that is required to lead to a most wanted outcome, e.g. working hard to achieve a promotion in future. Valence stands for the value that is given to an outcome by the individual. An individual wants to know how attractive an outcome of a certain task would be for him. Instrumentality is the term used for a perceived probability of an individual that a certain behaviour will guide to the preferred outcome.

Since its introduction, expectancy theory stands for a well known and important approach, but at the same time it has been disapproved on the basis that the assumption about individuals’ rational and calculating behaviour in their decision making process is not true in all senses. Another criticism for this theory is that fail to take into account the limited cognitive skills of individuals (Baron et al., 2002).

Reinforcement Theories

Reinforcement theories assume that the behaviour of people at workplace is mainly established by its apparent encouraging or harmful consequences (Baron et al., 2002). The reinforcement theories are based on the idea presented in ‘Law of Effect’. This idea was developed by Hull (1943). Hull presented his Drive theory in which he suggested that effort has a direct relationship with drive multiplied by habit. Where habit is a resultant of reinforcement of behaviour.

The rewards for behaviour can be tangible, for example money and pay raise, or intangible, for example admiration of a certain behaviour (Spector, 2003). As a result, reinforcement theory has been taken as highly significant in setting up the ideas relating to rewards and monetary incentives as well as appreciation techniques. These reinforcement techniques have been practiced in many organizations now days (Schultz & Schultz, 1998).

Reinforcement theory is considered as out of track from other motivation theories as it does not take into account the basic factors or need for which a person wants rewards. It only takes into account the relationship between reinforcement and behaviours of employees at workplace. But its importance cannot be denied as the research on this topic has shown empirical evidence that rewards can be highly influential in the improvement of job performance (Spector, 2003).

All these theories which are discussed above have added considerably towards different current viewpoints on motivation and appreciating the concept of motivation in the workplace. Undoubtedly, the theories of all the researchers and authors over the years have an impact on organizations’ ability to change their organizational psychology by taking effective and practical measures in order to meet the challenge of making their employees motivated and satisfied with their jobs to enhance productivity and profitability.


The concept of job satisfaction attracts great attention by the researchers and theorists and also by the organizations these days. As its importance and popularity has been established in organizational productivity. Managers are now feeling more responsible about keeping their employees at a satisfied stage because their job satisfaction has a prime effect on the productivity of the organization (Arnold & Feldman, 1986). Organizations are aware of the fact that having personnel that derive satisfaction from their work add massively towards organizational efficiency and definitive survival. Concept with such marvelous effect on organizational and personal life clearly justifies a matching amount of awareness.

Definitions of Job Satisfaction

Many definitions of the job satisfaction concept have been given over the time. Arnold and Feldman (1986, p.87) defined job satisfaction as the sum total of overall effect that people have towards their job. Therefore, high level of job satisfaction means that a person generally likes his work and appreciates to do so. He has a positive stance about it. McCormick and Ilgen’s (1980) regarded job satisfaction as a individual’s approach towards his job. They added that a feeling is an exciting answer to the job, which may differ from positive to negative along a continuum. Beck (1983) further added that since a job has many unique angles, job satisfaction is essentially a summary of employee attitudes concerning all these.

Theories on Job Satisfaction

Beck (1983) said that theories involving the concept of job satisfaction have emotional, motivational and informational workings, as do other approaches about this concept. As we have discussed in detail these theories in the section about motivational theories, only a short summary of these theories is sufficient.

Equity theory specifies that people generally want to receive what they consider a fair or equitable return for their efforts at work. Greater satisfaction is experienced if they perceive the return or reward they receive as equitable.

Aim of the Study / Research Motivation

As the topic of this study suggests, the basic aim of the study is concerned specifically to investigate the relationship between measures taken by the organization to motivate employees and their overall impact on the job satisfaction level of the employees.

The organizations need to have a smooth line of production and business functions on a consistent basis in order to be able to perform up to the mark in accord with international standards. For this purpose they have to collect, manage and retain proficient, well trained and optimally productive personnel. The personnel of an organization play an important role in higher production and profit making but the condition is that they should be highly dedicated, devoted and faithful to the objectives of that organization. But the staff can have these characteristics only when they are satisfied with the work that they do and who are consequently motivated to continue their relationship with the organization.

A systematic understanding of the nature and considerable causes of employee satisfaction and motivation, will facilitate employers in making the strategies to effect the required positive changes in motivation programs of their organization and ultimately to implement these programs to step forward towards optimal employee reliability and retention. Examples of such strategies may include selecting a number of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to boost employee motivation and to get rid of certain of its human resource policies and practices that can slow down the process of employee motivation and their satisfaction level.

A huge number of researches have been conducted on employee motivation, job satisfaction and their relationship with each other, as well as on a variety of combinations thereof. After having a thorough and deep examination of historical studies, the researcher of this study became able to produce a problem statement that is related to employee motivation and job satisfaction.

In this regard, this study aims to add to the already existing knowledge about motivation and job satisfaction and the implications of these terms in organizational psychology.

1.4 Problem Statement

Through a deep examination of historical studies, and after a thorough research on the existing literature, the researcher of this study came to know about a strong impact of motivation policies of the companies on the job satisfaction levels of their employees. There are also many studies that show the relationship of these two aspects with many other features in an organizational culture. According to Watson (1994) business in the contemporary era has realized that motivated and satisfied personnel will show an increased production level and deliver output powerfully even to the bottom line. Schofield (1998) conducted a convincing study in which he showed with certainty that the way people are managed has a powerful impact on both productivity and profitability levels of the organization. This study established the importance of job satisfaction, employee motivation and commitment, and corporate culture in organisational capability and limits.

By keeping in mind the existing literature about these two variables that are motivation and j


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