How to motivate staff? What is the best way to get out the most out of staff? What encourages putting effort into work? And what is the link between motivation and good job performance? The question of what people expect or want from work is one of the most discussed topics in human resource management and a wide range of authors have tried to find the best fitting solution, which combines extrinsic and intrinsic methods. While content theories engage with the question of people´s needs, process theories deal with human behaviour such as work performance, effort and satisfaction. But what is motivation all about? When it comes to analyse approaches to managing, motivating and rewarding employees in the international hospitality and tourism industry, the term motivation needs to be defined as: ‘…the direction and persistence of action. It is concerned with why people choose a particular course of action in preference to others, and why they continue with a chosen action, …’ (Krech et al., 1962, in Mullins, 2009, p. 250) So the core question is, do people work at their best if they are motivated? Or what is the connection between motivation and performance?
Historically, the first author who tried to solve the question of there being a link between motivation and performance was Frederick Taylor. He invented the Scientific Management approach to human resources in 1912. His idea was to separate conception from execution. (Baverman, 1974) Taylor´s motivation theory focused on managers who, according to the theory, should scientifically discover the way to perform a certain task and be mentors for their workers by teaching and rewarding them. For Taylor, extrinsic factors, like money, were the best ways to encourage employees because people have a simple set of needs at work. (Guerrier, 1999 b) In the 1960´s, Douglas McGregor formed the ‘taylorism’-based management style ‘X’, which deals with authority, because the average man is by nature indolent and works as little as possible. Furthermore, theory ‘X’ claims that the average man lacks ambition dislikes responsibility and prefers to be led. McGregor (1960) suggested by carrying out the theory he discovered that compulsion and bribery are the core motivation factors. (McGregor, 1960) In practise, this kind of management style is still found in assembly line work today (based on ‘Fordism’) like in fast food chains such as McDonald´s where work is simplified to single tasks and becomes ‘idiot proof’. (Leidner, 1993) McGregor´s second theory, ‘Y’, deals with human needs and the development of employees. Here, he stated that Taylor did not recognize other social psychological needs that encourage people to work. If work feels boring and alienating, there is a danger that people act without thinking of the purpose of their actions. They would work for rewards and to avoid punishment rather than in the interest of the company. There is therefore there is a need to understand human nature and needs before understanding an organization. (Guerrier, 1999 b) According to Elton Mayo´s Hawthorne studies since the 1920´s, motivation depends on relationships and behaviour. Mayo researched the influences on productivity, accidents and labour turn-over by the effects of rest pauses. Motivation from the view of the employee is related to treatment, value and relations rather than profit and margins, which is the manager´s point of view. For Mayo, Herzberg and McGregor, as the representatives of content theories, job-enrichment, job-modification and challenges, in the context of human potential, the type of society and work organisation, are the key elements in reaching a worker´s full potential. According to Frederick Herzberg (1976, p. 304), ‘Money is not a motivator but it´s a good mover’. Like Maslow, Herzberg made a clear distinction between lower level and higher level needs. According to Maslow´s hierarchy of needs, people are not motivated by one satisfied need until each level of need is satisfied. Reaching that stage is only possible if the previous one is satisfied. The more one self-actualizes, the more one needs to self-actualize. Therefore self-actualization, the highest stage of needs in the hierarchy, can never be satisfied. While lower level needs can be satisfied by extrinsic motivation factors such as salaries, rewards and performance related pay, higher level needs need more intrinsic motivation factors, such as commitment and challenges. (Guerrier, 1999 b) In the 1960s Frederick Herzberg invented the Hygiene Factor Theory and stated that dissatisfaction occurs because past motivation factors became hygiene factors and did not motivate in the long-term (e.g. salary and supervision). He suggested that an improvement of motivation is only possible by improving the intrinsic factors (e.g. challenging and interesting work, job-enrichment, responsibility and advancement). (Guerrier, 1999 b) As is evident, factors of motivating can be divided into intrinsic and extrinsic. As mentioned, intrinsic motivation deals with the characteristics of work and extrinsic motivation deals with the context of work. The question of if people should be motivated more ex- or intrinsically is accompanying this essay from the first sentence. In this context, Kohn (1993) argued that people work in the tourism and hospitality industry because they like dealing with people rather than gaining high salaries. In addition, to state Vecchio (1995), individual motivation is depends on a wide range of circumstances (e.g. age, stage, socio-economical circumstances and national culture). In addition to Vecchio, Furnham (1994) argued that the major parameter of behaviour is the actual situation in which individuals find themselves, therefore it is a matter of fact that motivation can vary over time and according to the actual circumstances. On this basis, Mullius (1995) stated that little pleasure in the work offers little opportunities for career advancement, personal challenge and growth. (Meudell and Rodham, 1998) Besides content theories, process theories engaged with the issue of motivation. The expectancy theory was first developed by Tolman and Lewis in the 1930´s, applied by Vroom and further developed by Porter and Lawler in the 1960´s. In 1975, Porter stated that the amount of effort that a person puts into a task can be calculated by listing the main expected outcomes. He believed that motivation is a result of a decision-making process and that effort is influenced by expectancies about outcomes and hard work. The core question of this theory is, is a reward valuable to work, because a reward needs to be linked between working hard and gaining it. Furthermore, the value of a reward depends on the individual´s perception of the link between effort and reward. As a result, this relation is called job-satisfaction and can be reached through effort, ability and goal clarity; it may be ex- or intrinsic. Locke (1976) argued that job satisfaction is a positive emotional state which is a result of appraisal of one´s job or job experiences. Money would be the most important motivational factor in this context. (Guerrier, 1999 b) According to Lawler (1973), money will motivate to the extent to satisfy personal goals and is dependent on performance criteria. Here the link between rewarding and performance is explained by the value one can receive and by the reward´s flexibility. (Meudell and Rodham, 1998)