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The issues of teachers lacking motivation

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 5444 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Based on the previous studies showed that, teachers are suffer from a lack of work motivation more than other professionals (Jesus & Lens, 2005) but Kazeem (1999) and Akinwumi (2000) found that private school teachers appear more motivated than teachers in public schools. It has been commonly assumed that, public sector organisations are more likely to employ who individuals’ values and needs are consistent with the public service mission of the organisation (Baldwin, 1984; Crewson, 1997; Perry & Wise, 1990; Perry, 1996, 1997). Public sector employees have been found to place a lower value on financial rewards (Cacioppe & Mock, 1984; Houston, 2000; Jurkiewicz et al., 1998; Khojasteh, 1993; Kilpatrick et al.,1964; Lawler, 1971; Newstrom et al., 1976; Rainey, 1982; Rawls et al., 1975; Wittmer, 1991) and a higher value on helping others or public service (Buchanan, 1975; Cacioppe & Mock, 1984; Crewson, 1997; Houston, 2000; Kilpatrick et al., 1964; Rainey, 1983; Wittmer, 1991) than their private sector counterparts. All business use pay, promotion, bonuses, and other type of reward to encourage and enhancing employee’s interest and performance (Cameron and Pierce, 1977). But Buelens and Van den Broeck (2007) shows that public and private employees are differ, compared to private sector, public sector employees are less influenced by monetary rewards. (Newstrom, Reif & Monczka, 1976; Rainey, 1982; Wittmer, 1991) found that even public sector employee do values on monetary rewards less than private sector employee, such financial incentives are still highly valued. From the previous research also found that public service employee do not value on helping others (Gabris & Simo, 1995). But why in Malaysia, as people know, working with the government where does not guarantee will get highly paid, but still many people opt to work in the government sector. What motivates them to work with government? This phenomenon occurs because of several possibilities and it can be link to the benefits received from working in the government sector. So this research will focus on:-

Determine the relationship between benefits and motivation of public primary school teachers in Malaysia.

Identify the rank of employee benefits program on job motivation of academic institution staff in public education institution in Malaysia.

This research will fill the research gap where there were many researchers conducted on studies that focused on employee benefits and motivation, but most of the study is conducted in other country. There were several similar studies that were conducted in Malaysia, but the scope was on private company in Malaysia and generally, there were very few studies focus on benefits and motivations of the academic institution staff in public primary school in Malaysia. This study is to reveal whether benefit offered by the government in Malaysia is can positively affect employee’s motivation among staff of public education institution.

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1.3 Research Question/Problem Statement

Richard Ingersoll, a University of Georgia sociologist, defines teaching as “an occupation with a very high turnover rate and the graying workforce is only a piece of the puzzle” (Lawrence, 1999).Teachers are expected to give a very high performance, and the Ministry of Education is always curious regarding the job performance of its teachers. The Ministry of Education also demands for loyalty, patriotism, dedication, hard work, and commitment from its teachers (Ubom &Joshua, 2004). The problem in the government’s position concerning on job performance of the teachers was accused as negligence, laziness, purposeful lethargy, and lack of dedication and enthusiasm to work. Besides that, further argue that teachers’ level of efficiency and effectiveness does not require the request for salary increases, incentive, and better working conditions. While teachers on their part argue that the existing salary structure, benefits, and working condition do not satisfy their basic needs compare to private sector. Research into relationship between employee benefits and motivation and performance is becoming more important because some researcher have examined the relationships between them (Hong, etc al., 1995). Thus, the research question was proposed as:-

What is the relationship between employee benefits and motivation of Malaysian teachers of public primary school?

Scope of the study

Education is one of the most important institutional organisations of a nation. Education in Malaysia can divided into Higher Education, Pre-school Education, Primary School Education, Professional Certification, and Secondary School Education. In general, education institution can be categorized into public and private. Public education institution is fully controlled and funded directly by federal government and indirectly by the public sector (Selvaratnam, 1992).

Typically, private education institution in Malaysia has founded by individual or organisation, some of which are profit-oriented institution which others non-profit. Hence private education institution does not receive funding from government and operating in a very competitive environment. Generally the profit- making educational institution set up by private companies, proprietors, or Government Corporation. There are some private universities supported by government business agencies such as Multimedia University (MMU), National Power University of Malaysia, and Petroleum National University of Malaysia and there are also universities supported by political party in the present alliance government like University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR). Meanwhile, the non-profit institution set up by foundations, philanthropic organisations, and through community financing. But there are also few branches of foreign university in Malaysia for instance, campuses of Monash University, the University of Nottingham, and so on.

This research is conducted to determine the relationship between benefit and motivation of primary school teachers. This primary school is divided into two categories: national or in Malay Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) and national-type, Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (SJK) in Malay like Chinese national-type schools (Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina, SJK(C)) and Tamil national-type schools (Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil, SJK(T)). For this paper will focus on national-type or better known as Sekolah Kebangsaan(SK) because it can be easily found.

1.5 Relevance of the study

The study will give contribution to the knowledge community in Malaysia and around the globe. This will give opportunity for them to gain some information and can later improvise and validate more on this study. This study will help teachers, professors and private researchers an idea about the topic.

Besides that, because this study is focusing on academic institution staff in government primary school, it will help the government of Malaysia with any information this research can provide. On the government side, they can be enlightened on motivational theory that links between the benefits provided and the employees’ motivation. Based on this information, it will help the government when making any decision on the benefits in the future and also to provide good benefits programme to employees.



Definition of Employee Benefits

Everyone works in expectation of some rewards and benefits. Employee benefits is very important as part of employee’s financial security. Benefits have the ability to attract and retain employees and also may perceive dissatisfaction which resulting in job de-motivating, higher level of absenteeism, lower level of performance, and higher turnover rate. Vroom in his expectancy theory say that people work in expectation of some rewards in order to build quality and quantity of work, and in turn productivity. Improving employee productivity is one of the job performance measures ( Borman, 2004). Employee benefit is defined as any form of compensation provided by the organisation other than salaries that is paid for in whole or in part the employer (Ju, Kong, Zaliha, and Kamaruzaman, 2008. Different company may offer different benefits package to their employee.

Types of Employee Benefits

Government of Malaysia has implied under Malaysia Employment Act 1955 has some condition which is essential for every employer offer some form of benefits to their employees in order to maintain competitiveness and support loyalty among employee in an organisation. This mandatory benefit that required by the law become employees and employers responsibility to paid for and it is an offence if not to do so.

In addition to the mandatory benefits, some companies also provide fringe benefit as a way to attract employees. By a good benefits system, public sector can retain the employees because of its inability to offer salaries as high as the private sector. Furnham (1994) claimed that money act as benefit for employees to loyal and remain within the organisation longer. The benefits can be financial which it some form of payment and cash transfer, and some of it is direct such as salary, pension, insurance, bonuses and so on and also can be indirect like subsidized meals, clothes, transport, or housing. Benefits can be also non financial and come in many forms such gift, rewards, travel and so on (UNDP, 2006). A good benefits system plays an important role to keep employees continuing employment with the organisation, help build a positive working relationship between employer and employee and also promote good work habits and financial practices Due to this, it is vital for organisation to take care of their employee’s income and welfare.

Definition of Motivation

Employee motivation is one of the strategies of management to enhance employee job performance in organisations (Shadare & Hammed, 2009). Studies on work motivation seem to confirm that it improves workers’ motivation and performance. Teacher’s motivation is viewed as a major factor in increasing student’s achievement. Research suggested that academic staff’s job motivation have significant impact on the job performance of the academic staff and also the academic performance of their students. Good performance among employee in an organisation has many implications such as high motivation among employees, excellent ability, good quality organisational atmosphere and infrastructure, excellent leadership that can maintain rapport and productivity and good relationship among staff (Shaari, Yaakub &Hashim, 2002). Significantly, job motivation is very essential to the continuing growth of educational systems around the world. Performance has been defined by Hellriegel, Jackson, and Slocum (1999) as the level of an individual’s work achievement after having exerted effort. The word motivation is come from the Latin word “movers” which means “to move” and so motivation is the process of arousing movement in the organism (Oparanma, 2008); an inner drive or an external encouragement to behave in some particular way, typically a way that lead to reward (Dessler, 1978); Luthans (1998) describes motivation is the process that arouses, directs, and sustains behaviour and performance, which is a process of stimulating people to action and to achieve a desired task. Motivation has been defined by Kreitner (1995) as an internal state that gives behaviour purpose and direction; tendency to behave in a purposive manner to accomplish exact goals, unmet desires, requirements, or needs ( Buford, Bedeian,& Linder, 1995) ; an inner oblige to satisfy an unsatisfied needs ( Higgins, 1994); the will to achieve (Bedeian, 1993); and can be seen as the response or feedback while working for example from absence rate, leave rate, quit rate, speed of start the work, and so (Hong,Yang, Wang, Chiou, Sun and Huang,1995). According to Greenberg and Baron (2003, 2000) definition of motivation can be divided into three main parts. The first part looks at arousal that deals with the drive, or energy behind individual action. People turn to be guided by their interest by making a good impression on others, doing interesting work, and being successful in what they do. The second part refers to the choice people make and the direction their behaviour takes. The last part deals with maintaining behaviour clearly defining how long people have to persist at attempting to meet their goals. According to Taylor (1905) people only respond if they have been given financial rewards and supervised, his idea also was supported by Adam Smith and Porter and Lawler. However, his theory not accepted by Ajibola (1981) which states motivation as the process of stimulating people to action in achieving desired goals. From my perspective and for this research, motivation is the reasons why someone wants to do something and individual inner force to achieve personal and organisational goals.

Role of Motivation

The importance of analyzing and enhancing the level of motivation among employees, was highlighted by a report in the New Straits Times (9 April 2005, p.10). Ifinedo (2003) demonstrated that a motivated worker is easy to spot by his or her agility, dedication, enthusiasm, focus, zeal, and general performance and contribution to organisational objectives and goals. Job motivation is essential to the effectiveness of an organisation. It is more than a tool that managers can use to encourage employee loyalty and improve productivity, but also as a survival (Smith, 1994). Motivated employees help organisation to survive because employees are more to produce. Employees keep on maintaining and increasing productivity if the motivation factors are given. The more the motivation factors are provided, the greater the employee’s motivation. Motivated employees work more efficiently, producing better products in fewer times. Productivity is seen as quality and quantity of products. The quality include faults and returns while the quantity include completion time and the production of hygiene factor ( Jon, Sung, Li, En, Fan, & Tsui, 1995). Managers and team leaders have a liability for motivation in the workplace in order to get things done through employee. One who highly motivated is tend to be more responsible and very diligent. Motivating employees to boost up satisfaction and production is an important concern for organisation in the hunt to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Well motivated employees will work so much better and are so much productivity and creativity because they work with interest and enthusiasm, while de-motivated employees will be less productive, result in high absenteeism and also employee turnover (Sarker, 2003). In an educational organisation, Sederberg, Charles & Clark (1990), said that job motivation would generate a high vitality teacher, which refer to the positive quality of producing good products. For this case is good student performance. Highly motivated teachers can create a good social, psychological and physical climate in the classroom and also a good teacher able to integrate professional knowledge, interpersonal knowledge, and intrapersonal knowledge ( Collinson, 1996; Connell & Ryan, 1984; Rosenholtz, 1989) while lack of motivation may cause teachers to be less successful in teaching . Most of the previous studies attempt to explain an employee’s job motivation as a function of the individual’s personal characteristic and the characteristics of the job itself. Generally, age, marital status, no of children, job experience, and education level have a major impact on job motivation of school teachers. Different studies conducted show that the older worker are more satisfied (Davis,1988:100). Kose (1985) found a meaningful relationship between age and job motivation; educational level ( well-Maker, 1985; Hamshari, 1986); job experience (D’elia 1979; Hamshari1986); level of wages (Vaugan and Dunn in Adeyemo, 1997); gender ( D’elia, 1979;Lynch and Verdin, 1983). There is an evolution over time where motivations change with age while the opportunity for travel for instance may be very attractive for young and single professional.

Types of Motivation

Motivation can be intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is considered as essential by some authors (Deci, 1975). Intrinsic or internal motivation is activated from the inside where “is valued for its own sake and appears to be self sustained” (Calder and Staw, 1975; Deci 1975; Deci and Ryan, 1980). For instance, hobbies, caring for children, or voluntary work in society (UNDP). It is the motivation to do something just for pleasure or performing particular activity (Hagedon and Van Yperen, 2003). Intrinsic motivation can be directed to the activity’s flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1957), to a self-defined goal such as climbing a mountain (Loewenstein, 1999) or the obligations of personal and social identities (March, 1999). In intrinsically motivated behaviour there is no benefit except with the work itself. The more interesting the job itself, the higher is the intrinsic motivation to perform well (UNDP). It follows that “if you want people motivated to do a good job, give them a good job to do” (Herzberg, as quoted by Kohn, 1993).

While extrinsic or external is activated from the outside most importantly through financial compensation. Extrinsic motivation concerns behaviour influenced by obtaining external rewards (Hitt, Esser, & Marriott, 1992). So that, benefits is one of the extrinsic motivations. Praise or positive feedback, money, and the absence of punishment are examples of extrinsic reward (Deci, 1980). External intervention inducing people to perform may be positive for instance mainly by financial work incentive or may be negative by threat of wage cuts or of dismissal for example. Extrinsic motivation is not only one element that influence on work motivation. From the previous literature review on the performance paradigm in the public sector made by Perry, Mesh and Paarlberg (2006) there are four elements that influence on work motivation which is employee incentives, job design, employee participation, and goal setting. Job design is an effective way to increase and improve performance and significantly job redesign has been found to decrease turnover and absenteeism as well as increase job motivation, productivity, and work quality (Perry, Mesch and Paarlberg, 2006).

Figure 3: (Perry, Mesh and Paarlberg , 2006, p. 506)

Employee Participation

Perceived Fairness

Psychological states

Job Involvement

Organisational Commitment



Task strategy (plans)



Upward communication

Group pressure/ support

Higher goals

Mediating Variables

Membership behaviour

Reliable role behaviour

Innovative, spontaneous action

Financial Incentive

Job Design

Goal Setting


Motivational Programs Behavioural Outcomes

Moderating Variables

Moderating Variables

Organizational characteristic

Task type

Task complexity

Type of reinforcement

Growth need strength

Pay satisfaction


Hierarchical level

Goal commitment


Employee ability and knowledge

Leader attribute

Group characteristic homogeneity, size

Extent of participation

The Expectancy Valence Theory, the Cognitive Evaluation Theory, Goal Setting theory, Self- Efficacy Theory, or the Self-Determination Theory ( Festré & Garrouste, 2008) validate that individual reacting differently to extrinsic motivation is generally have some intrinsic motivation, basic capacities, or socially determined as example shown by Wright(2007) below that civil servant realize strong determinants of their work motivation is based on the kinds of missions as well as the characteristic of the job.

Figure 2: Wright (2007,p. 56)

Motivation Theory

Johnson (1986) states that there are three theories of motivation and productivity that teacher motivation are based on:-

Expectancy theory

An individual will struggle for work if there is expected reward such as bonus.

Equity theory

People who unfairly treated are prone to feel de-motivated, while when people feel fairly treated they are more motivated.

Job enrichment theory

Focus on the job itself with making it more varied and challenging so the more productive employees become.

Victor Vroom’s Theory

In Vroom’s theory, motivation is upon the following three criteria. Motivation equals to (E *I*V) where E represent expectancy, I instrumentality, and V valence. From the perspective of this theory, all three variables must be high in order to increase employee’s motivation and resulting of high performance. Vroom (1964) propose that people are motivated by how much they want something and how possible they are to get it, he suggest that motivation leads to effort and the efforts combined with employees ability together with environment factor which interplay’s resulting to performance. This performance interns lead to various outcomes, each of which has an associated value called valence.

The expectancy theory of Victor Vroom describe employee in an organisation will enthused when they believe that:-

Putting more work effort give in by better job performance.

Successful performance will be rewarded.

The reward itself must be of value to employees

Vroom’s theory states that employee effort will direct to performance and performance will direct to rewards (Vroom, 1964). The performance that is perceived and rewarded will tend to be repeated, while performance not rewarded will be distinguished (Ejiogu, 1981). There are two types of reward which is positive and negative. The more positive the reward is given to the employee, the more the employee will be motivated and vice versa, the more negative the reward is given to the employee, the less the employee will be motivated. As stated by Lawler and Porter, ‘good performance may lead to rewards, which in turn higher performance and motivation’. So, the employee will feel appreciated for their hard work and sacrifice when they received the rewards and they are positive and motivated to continue to excel (Gunsch, 1991).

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Adam’s Equity Theory

Adams (1965) suggests that people are motivated to seek social equity in the rewards they receive for high performance. Research on equity theory indicates that employees who feel overpaid are likely to increase their quantity and quality of their work, whereas those who feels underpaid are likely to decrease of their quantity and quality of their work (Adams, 1965). Equity theory matches the notions of “a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay”. Equity and fairness in the workplace has been found to be a major factor in determining employee motivation and job motivation (Lewis et al 1995:502). According to him, equity is achieved when the ratio of employee outcomes over inputs is equal to other employee outcomes over inputs. When individual feels unfairly treated or felt inequity is negative, employees become de-motivated and may decide to work less hard in the future or to quit a job for another more attractive opportunity while employee will become more motivated if this ratio is high. The examples of employee’s input includes hard work, skill level, tolerance, and enthusiasm while the employee’s outcome from job includes pay, recognition, promotion, social relationship, and intrinsic rewards. To get all these rewards various input needs to be employed by employees to the job as time, experience, efforts, education, and loyalty. Research by McKenna (2000,p.112) and Sweeny (1990) confirms that equity theory is play an important role and one of the most useful framework for understanding work motivation.

Job Enrichment Theory

Job enrichment theory states that there are five job dimensions will motivate employees to work effectively which are defined as formulated in Hackman & Oldham (1975). The following five features are:-

Skill variety

The degree to which a job requires a worker to perform their job in variety of valued skills, abilities, and talents.

Task identity

The degree to which a job require completion of a “whole” from beginning to end rather than bits and pieces.

Task significance

The degree to which the job has important impact on the lives of other people whether in the immediate organisation or at world.

Each of these three dimensions above will provide meaning to the job. If the job is high in all these dimensions, the worker is likely to experience his job as very meaningful.


Lead a worker experience increase his responsibility, which is the degree to which the job gives the worker freedom, independence, and discretion in scheduling work and in determining how the worker will carrying it out.

Feedback from job itself

Toward knowledge of result, the degree to which the worker carrying out the work activities required by the job results in the worker gets information about the effectiveness of the workers’ effort and performance.

Figure 1 :Job Characteristic Theory Model Hackman & Oldham (1980).

Classical theory of motivation

Frederick W. Taylor studies on how employee performs their task in an effort to improve the employees’ activity. He describe that money is the most important factor in motivating the industrial workers to achieve greater productivity. According to this theory, money is the sole motivator to the employees. Taylor suggests that the more paid the employee received, the more productivity will produce. He also believes that benefit would motivate employee to be more productive. But, the benefits must be well designed and suit to the employee needs so that the employee feels worth for job that they have done. That is why the employees benefits must be emphasize and become key element in order to maintain or increase employee’s motivation.

Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory (Two Factor Theory)

Herzberg in his motivator theory say the job content is sources of satisfaction. A motivation factor includes achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement, and growth. If any one of the factors fulfil, it will lead to satisfaction and encourage production. In order to create self-motivated workforce, company should highlight all these elements and to make the jobs are more challenging, managers can make the job intrinsically motivating by providing feedback and recognition

Hygiene factor includes working conditions, company policies, supervision, salary, and incentive pay will affect employees’ work motivation and thus productivity ( Hong, Yang, Wang, Chiou, Sun, and Huang, 1995). Hygiene factor cannot motivate employee but can minimize dissatisfaction if it is handle properly. If one or more of the factors are not fulfil, then the employee will be de-motivated and resulting in employee efficiency. Usually, the hygiene factor involves money to provide a solution to this issue.

Skinner’s Reinforcement Theory

Skinner’s theory states those employees’ behaviors that lead to positive outcomes will be repeated and behaviours that lead to negative outcomes will not be repeated (Skinner, 1953). So managers should positively highlight employee behaviour that lead to positive outcome and avoid employee behaviour that lead to negative outcome.

Maslow’s Hierarchy Theory

Maslow’s hierarchy theory is the most widely recognized theory of motivation and perhaps the most referenced. According to him, the employee benefit programmes could be categorized into four types of welfare demands which are physical demands, security demands, social demands, and self-actualization demands (Hong,Yang, Wang, Chiou, Sun and Huang,1995) where the lower level demands had to satisfy first before the next higher level demands.

First, physical demands benefits includes loan, dividend, year-end bonuses, saving subsidies, emergency and meal subsidies, individual annual vacation, national holidays, paid leaves, and housing benefits. Currently, on news reported by New Straits Times (6 April, 2010) under new scheme civil servant allowed to apply loan RM5000 to buy computer, software, and other computer paraphernalia. There are also loan for house and car with the lower interest rate for the civil servants which not enjoy by the employee in private sector. This is one of a good opportunity to attract and encourage people to work with the government.

Next, security demands benefits which include medical insurance, pension day-care service, life and occupational disease compensation, medical equipment, child-education benefits, free transportation to work, and subsidies. In Malaysia, Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) is an insurance scheme for Malaysian employees who salary less than RM3000 to provide protection to employee and their dependant in the occurrence of accidents consequential in disablement, death, or problem with working disease. But, those who earn more than RM 3000 can opt to become the member of SOCSO (Maimunah, 2007). The role of this organisation is include registration of employer and employee, collect contribution from them, process benefit claims and make the payment. While the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) is a scheme that provide retirement benefits through the management of savings in an efficient and reliable manner. Both SOCSO and EPF need small monthly contribution from employer and employee and this is compulsory. According to Maimunah too, government servants are exempted from SOCSO and EPF scheme because the employees are covered by the Pension Act and entitle to medical benefits. The medical benefits are given free for those employees in public sector to seek treatment in the government clinic, and enjoy the first class service or facilities from government hospitals when admitted into the hospitals.

Third, social-demand benefits include travel incentive, Parental leave (maternity and paternity leave). Generally, employee who work all day or every day may produce less productivity and less performance. Offering paid vacation is part of good benefits package which will create a positive working environment and one of way to reduce or may be avoid stress and burnout. Travel incentive is a well known application in the organisation milieu (Kimberly, Shiela, 1995). Rubin (1986) stated that since travel incentive introduced, it has been the most effective motivators other than cash benefits. According to Nuelle, the benefits afforded by an incentive trip cannot be underestimated; the travel reward has ‘trophy value’ which insinuates that the reward provides a long-lasting, positive reinforcement, an element that adds to motivational value (Hastings, B, Kiely, J, and Watkins, 1988). Parental leave is divided into 2 which are maternity and paternity. Maternity benefit is for mother and paternity is for father to take care of their wife and the new baby. During maternity leave period, female employee does not receive wages, but is entitled to be paid a maternity allowance which is an amount equivalent to her wages if she has served for at least 90 days for the employer and has no more than five surviving children (Maimunah, 2007). Presently, maternity leave given is 60 days for all female civil servants but, the National Union of the Teaching Profession seeking to extend the maternity leave to 90 days. The union also has called on the government to extend the maternity benefits to women bearing sixth and subsequent children from the first five children. According to the Union’s gener


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