Motivation & Money

6 June 2017

how money motivates A review of motivation concepts and the impact of money. A review of motivation concepts and the impact of money. What motivates us? This is a subject of great debate and study and there are many theories that have been developed to answer this one question. Motivation can be defined in many ways, but generally is viewed as the influential force driving our behaviors toward achieving a goal. In the workplace environment, many studies evaluate what forces specifically have the greatest influence on an employee’s behaviors, performance and overall job satisfaction.

These factors include but are not limited to: good wages, job security, interesting work, promotion & growth, full appreciation of work done, feeling of being in on things, loyalty to employees, good working conditions, sympathetic help with problems and tactful discipline. (Kovach, 1987, p. 59) The articles that I have selected for discussion explore further the effects and importance of money as the primary and most important factor. The author, Kenneth Kovach, addresses his views on the key drivers for why people work in his article, “What Motivates Employees?

Motivation & Money Essay Example

Workers and Supervisors Give Different Answers. ” Interestingly the outcome of his research, combined with the research of many others over the last 40 years is consistent with the claim that money is not the primary and most important driver, rather employees are more motivated by type of work that they do, specifically “interesting work”. This is contradictory to what is generally understood by supervisors, citing that money or good wages is the most important driver.

This varies of course depending on the groups being evaluated where Kovach discovered that low income, young workers (20-30 yrs. old) and / or low entry level workers were more likely to place more significance on good wages versus their counterparts. This is somewhat intuitive when you evaluate it against Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory, which defines a hierarchy of five needs as: physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization.

In the groups defined above, they are still striving to meet their physiological needs and as such, placed a more significant importance on good wages. However applying this same concept, one could suggest that what wasn’t further investigated is the uses of money to meet the factor’s cited by employees as more important, specifically: full appreciation of work done and feeling of being in on things which were ranked as the top two in the survey. According to Maslow’s hierarchy, these influential factors would fall under the higher needs of social, esteem and self-actualization.

Supervisor’s ability to demonstrate appreciation for employee’s work can be done in several ways; however, monetary rewards are generally the most widely utilized. This can be through pay increases, bonuses, stock options, lump sum allotments or pay for performance models. This suggests that possibly the flaw with the research is not the analysis of the workers survey responses but rather the survey questions themselves. This is the premise captured in the article, “The Importance of Pay in Employee Motivation: Discrepancies on What People Say and What People Do”. Rynes, Gerhart, Minette, 2004) Rynes, Colbert and Brown (2004) make the statement that “Surveys that directly ask employees how important pay is to them are likely to overestimate pay’s true importance in actual decisions” This article reveals that pay is actually more important than employees would like to admit, suggesting a person’s tendency towards socially desirable. Social norms can be the primary explanation for why many view money as a less noble source of motivation than factors such as challenging work or work that makes a contribution to society. Rynes, et al. , p. 382) Whether we would like to admit it, money is influential. In a further investigation, its influences have been reported that although bad for the interpersonal self, it can be good for the personal self. (Vohs, Mead & Goode, 2008, p. 1) In this, they formulated two hypotheses as to why this is the case all of which stems back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The hypothesis comes from the premise that people need money to live, fulfilling Maslow’s physiological need.

A secondary source suggests that money often follows performance efforts, and as a result, can be a useful tool in encouraging individual performance efforts. (Vohs et al. , 2008, p 2) Rynes et al. noted that Maslow refers to money as meeting “lower-order” needs, but can also “pave the way toward social status, a good education for one’s children, or making it possible to retire early and enjoy increased leisure. ” (Rynes et al. , p. 385) This suggests that money can assist all levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy.

However, this doesn’t suggest that money is the only important factor. Research further discovered money is a relative criterion for evaluating job satisfaction. There are many variables that contribute to ranking the importance of money, both situational and individual. This is a key point since it suggests that despite surveys, research and data; ultimately the manager needs to understand the individual and their needs and drivers for meeting performance objectives and overall job satisfaction.

This is further evidenced by interviews from FORTUNE’S Top 100 Companies to work for in 2011, companies such as SAS, Wegman’s Food Products, Google, Edwards Jones & Microsoft to name a few. Rynes et al. (2004) shared the example of the CEO for General Electric, Jack Welch, as an example where leadership acknowledges the money motivator using a pay system to provide much higher rewards for strong individual and organizational performance. He quoted the following: “I think showering rewards on people for excellence is an important part of the management process.

There’s nothing I like more than giving big raises . . . You have to get rewarded in the soul and the wallet. The money isn’t enough, but a plaque isn’t enough either. . . . you have to give both. ” (Jack Welch, quoted in Hymowitz & Murray,1999, p. B1, as cited in Rynes et al. , p. 392) In conclusion, money is not always the only or the most important motivator, but it does have a significant place contrary to what many researchers suggest. Rynes et al. (2004, p. 92) stated, “while managers will (and should) consider both financial and nonfinancial tools for attracting, motivating, and retaining employees, it would be a mistake to conclude, based on general surveys, that monetary rewards are not highly important. ” Studies need to rethink the idea that money is directly attributable to greed and instead understand how money aligned with Maslow’s Hierarchy Theory can be a beneficial tool in motivating higher performance while achieving greater job satisfaction. References Kovach, K. A. (1987). What Motivates Employees?

Workers and Supervisors Give Different Answers. Business Horizons. September-October, 58-65. Rynes, S. L. , Gerhart, B. & Minette, K. A. (2004) The Importance of Pay in Employee Motivation: Discrepancies Between What People Say and What They Do. Human Resource Management, 43, 381-394 Vohs, K. , Mead, N. & Goode, M. (2008). Merely Activating the Concept of Money Changes Personal and Interpersonal Behavior. Association for Psychological Science, 17, 208-212. “FORTUNES Top 100” (2011) in CNN Money; retrieved from http://money. cnn. com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2011/full_list/

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