Managing organizational behavior research: motivation Essay

Managing organizational behavior research: motivation.


            Managing people in the organization is among the most complex challenges facing organizations today. In early 20th century, rationalistic bureaucratic models of management were introduced and the major assumption applied was to organize the work place in a systematic, well defined manner with strict laws and protocols.[1] This led to mechanistic organizational structures that undermined the worker and reduced his/her roles into those similar to machines. Scientific management’s technique was based on the underlying assumption that labor was just like any other factor of production should be used exhaustively to maximize productivity, in addition, the only motivation needed are financial rewards for workers to produce optimally (HRM Guide, 2006).

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

 This management approach has become unpopular especially in business organizations mainly due to its failure to adequately motivate the workers given the fact that managing the human element is subject to emotional, psychological and environmental factors that make workers inconsistent and imperfect in many aspects regarding organizational performance. Recent theories and research have acknowledged the fact that it is essential for management to take into consideration these aspects of human behavior in formulating policies and styles of management (Beach, 2007 & HRM Guide, 2006). According to DeMuse (1996), to attain sustainable development and profitability in the organization, it is important for management to recognize and manage the human element effectively as it is to manage organizational structure, operational processes and strategies in the workplace. In recent times, complexity of human management is compounded by the growing phenomena of globalization, many firms have diversified and grown to a multi national level thus introducing the problem of cross cultural issues in relation to employees motivation and human management.

Thesis statement.

This paper is a discussion of non financial motivators in relation to the Maslow’s theory of needs and the expectance theory in an attempt to highlight non financial motivators that promote job satisfaction and motivation in the workplace. The paper will also focus on leadership style (as a non financial motivator) based on the path goal theory and its potentiality and application from a cross cultural aspect in the organization.

Organizations behavior theories.

There are several theories discussing the emotional and psychological factors influencing personnel behavior with regards to motivation and job satisfaction in the workplace. The Hawthorne studies conducted in the 1930’s were among the initiation of human behaviour studies and its relation to productivity. Harvard researchers led by Elton Mayo extensively studied the effect of working environment and conditions on output. The team established that, it is not so much of physical conditions that influence workers performance; natural forces of human behaviour have a greater influence on a firm’s productivity than mechanistic systems. This marked the inception of focus on individual human behaviour and group interaction in management and the establishment of social relationship in the work place in an effort to achieve optimal performance among workers. (Blanchard and Hersey, 1988 & Invancevich, 2005).

            The emphasis on human behaviour was further explained by the integration of Maslow’s theory of “hierarchy of needs,” he stipulated that, human needs are categorized into five hierarchical levels. The first level is basic needs such as hunger, thirst and sleep, when these needs are satisfied he/she is elevated to the next level the needs are replace by the desire for safety and protection against danger. Next level is the needs are replaced with desire to belong and need for love. After attaining the third level the needs are replaced by esteem or the desire for self esteem and self respect and finally the self actualization or self fulfilment which is the urge for self development, creativity and job satisfaction (Blanchard and Hersey, 1988). The Maslow’s theory introduced two vital elements to organization theory and human management;

People have varying and diverse needs thus motivated by different incentives
Human needs change over time and the pattern can be predicted, when the desires lower mass are met new needs arise following the Maslow’s hierarchical structure (Morgan, 2007).
The expectant theory is a development that solidified the concept of human behaviour and how understanding it can lead to formulation of a culture that influences optimal performance in the organization. The theory argues that performance is highly influenced by individual factors such as personality which encompasses hereditary and acquired traits, skills, knowledge, experience and abilities and this directly influence performance. The theory is based on the utility theory which holds that human behaviour is a consequence of choices made among alternative with the purpose of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. (Ivancevich, 2005).

 It holds that motivation is a function of valence- meaning the extrinsic (financial motivators) and intrinsic (non financial motivators) value placed on the job and Expectancy – which relates to the different expectations and level of confidence pertaining to employees capabilities. Therefore, for management motivate their workforce they should be aware of different values (Valence) held by employees and discovers supervision, resources and training required by different categories of employees. In addition management should ensure that employees have confidence in the system and management to deliver rewards promised as compensation of their effort (Value based management, Jan 2008).

The theory firmly shows that individuals can be motivated if their personal goals are served by rewards derived from the work. Therefore, if individuals believe that

·         there is a positive correlation between effort and performance,

·         Reward mechanisms are satisfactory and meet their personal goals and

·         it recognizes and value performance,

Then the desire to satisfy their personal goals will motivate workers to put more effort. Therefore, factors such as suitable working environment, effective leadership style, career advancement and integration of organizational goals with employee’s personal goals are some of the non financial motivators that lead to job satisfaction and commitment and hence contribute positively towards the achievement of optimal organizational performance (Ivancevich 2005 & Beach 2007).

Leadership style as a non financial motivator.

Leadership or management style is one of the most important elements in as far as influencing employee motivation is concerned, good leadership is essential in creating an environment that facilitates a good working environment, appreciates, recognizes and rewards employee contribution and hence contribute directly to employee motivation (Blanchard and Hersey, 1988). According to Boulding (2007), effective Leadership is;

“a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge, and skills”

The Path-Goal theory follows from the expectant theory, it further stipulates that for management to effectively motivate personnel and attain organizational goals depends on situational factors which are: Subordinate’s personality and environmental characteristics. The theory advocates for different styles of leadership, two of the most effective styles of leadership are (Ivancevich, 2005 & Value based management 2008)

Participative leadership is where management insist on consultative leadership, decision making is through communal involving both management and subordinates. This mode of leadership is effective where the management span of control is internal. This style of leadership promotes high performance and high relation through the use of team work ( n. d.) and (Ivancevich, 2005)
Achievement- Oriented leadership refers to setting of goals and expecting subordinates to work harder in an attempt to meet the target. Depending with the situational factors this style of leadership promotes high performance and high relationship but not as effective as participative management (Value based management, Mar. 2008 &
Cross cultural implications and leadership style.

Leadership style adopted depends on the working environment for instance the nature of tasks, complexity of the organization and the organizing structure among many other factors. In relation to leadership functions of work motivation, cross cultural work motivation models hold that leaders should use different leadership styles depending on cultural orientation of a particular society. Hofstede (2001) holds that, the most dominant aspect present in most cultures is the individualistic – collectivism cultural tendencies. In addition, it is the most applicable in analysing cross cultural work motivation models. (Erez, 2007 & Hofstede, 2001).

 The individual – collectivism model hold that different societies have different tendencies in relation to organizational behaviour. Some cultures or national values manifests the tendencies of individualism, under this category, people tend to be motivated when working alone, they identify more with the principle of equity i.e. being rewarded according to the level of performance. In generally, individualistic cultures tend to emphasis competition, personal goals and achievement hence are more likely to endorse a reward package that compensates individual contribution. (Aguinus, n.d., Swartz, 2000 $ Hofstede, 2001).

On the other hand, in collectivistic societies, people tend to be motivated when working as a group. Collectivists tend to focus on group goals; interdependence and cooperation hence are more likely to adopt the principle of equality as a reward mechanism since it enhances group harmony. (Aguinis, n. d. & Hofstede, 2001). Collectivism culture thus would be highly motivated by teams and group effort due to the intrinsic need to belong, therefore, employee participation, team work and performing tasks in a group is a highly motivational technique that can lead to optimal performance (DeMuese, 1996 Swartz, 2000).

Therefore, under this approach, the leadership style adopted can affect the motivation of employee in that it might either contravene or promote work motivation based on culture orientation for example in collectivists societies adopting the participative leadership style promotes performance in that the workers would rely on group decision making , cooperation and teamwork, these style of management will lead to a highly motivated personnel and hence job commitment and optimal performance can be realised. On the other hand, in individualistic societies the best style of management would be achievement oriented style of leadership since it conforms to the qualities of an individualistic culture. Setting of targets and consequently rewarding employees according to their performance leads to individual basing their rewards on their personal contributions or achievement hence acts as a motivator in individualistic culture (Aguinis, n.d. & Swartz, 2000)


In conclusion, non financial factors such as suitable working environment, team work, suitable organizational climate are among some of the motivators that lead the employees to be committed hence promotes growth. Leadership style is one of the most influential drivers in as far as implementing suitable work motivation strategies are concerned. In relation to cross cultural factors, leaders should try and formulate styles that match the needs of the society based on their culture to avoid underperformance in the organization. Generally, Leaders should adopt the management style that conforms to the personal needs in order to create a suitable working environment and facilitate both organizational and personal goal congruence in the work place.


Aguinus, H. (n.d.). The Search for Universals in Cross-Cultural Organizational Behavior. Retrieved 25th May 2008 from

Beach, L. (2007). The Human element: Understanding and managing employee behavior. M.E. Sharpe Publishers.

 Blanchard, K & Hersey, P (1988). Managing of organizational Behaviour: Utilizing Human resources. Prentice-hall Publishers

Boulding, K. (10th March 2007). Concepts of leadership. Retrieved 25th May 2008 from

DeMuese, K. (1st March 1996). Diagnosing whether an organization is truly ready to empower work teams: A case study. Retrieved 25th May 2008 from Human resource Planning

Erez, M et al. (2007). Cross – Cultural organization behavior. Accessed 25th May 2008 from Annual review of psychology Journal. Available online

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd edition).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

HRM Guide. (2006). Classical organization theory-Key Criticisms.  Retrieved 25th May 2008 from Human Resource Management Guide (HRM Guide).

Ivancevich, J. (2005). Organizational behavior and management. 7th Edition McGraw-Hill Publishers.

Morgan, D. (2007). “Organizational theories.” Morgan management consulting. Retrieved 25th May 2008 from

Shay, J. (n.d.) Cross cultural leadership and motivation. Retrieved 25th May 2008 from


Schwartz, S. H., & Sagie, G. (2000).  “Value consensus and importance: A cross-national study”.  Journal of Cross Cultural Psychology, 31, 465-497

Value Based  (January 6th 2008). Path-Goal theory – Robert House. Retrieved 25th May 2008 from

Value Based  (March 25th 2008). Leadership style – Goleman. Retrieved 25th May 2008 from (n.d.). Motivation and leadership style. Retrieved 25th May 2008 from

[1] Management system based on bureaucratic models See classical organization theories (HRM Guide, 2006)


I'm James!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out