Given these diverse jobs and needs, what methods for motivating employees would you recommend to upper management?

Employee Motivation

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Discussion Question

A large organization hires you as a consultant to identify ways to enhance employee motivation. The company explains that their organization has employees in a wide range of job types from factory assembly line workers doing routine physical tasks to design engineers doing complex, cognitive work. They also employ people in roles such as business-to-business sales, customer care, IT, HR, marketing, accounting, finance, and administration.

Apply what you learned in Chapter 5 about Job Design, along with the research discussed in the videos for Chapter 5 by Dan Ariely and Dan Pink. Given these diverse jobs and needs, what methods for motivating employees would you recommend to upper management? If you customize motivation strategies for each group of employees, how would you maintain feelings of fairness among employees in different job types? How do your recommendations compare to employee motivational strategies you have experienced in the real world?



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In order to increase motivation, I believe it would first be beneficial to determine what this companies greatest motivators are. This could be achieved by going to each department and talking to people about what they need, like, and dislike of their job, department, and company as a whole. If a majority of people say they would like paid sick time, vacation days, longer breaks, bonuses, promotions, a variety in daily tasks, casual Fridays, really the possible responses are endless, because everyone is motivated by different things, this increases outcome valences by “individualizing rewards by allowing employees to choose the rewards of greatest value to them” (McShane, Von Glinow, 2019, p.115). I think even though there would be a variety of different responses, some trends would still be apparent. These trends could then be used to figure out what drives a large portion of employees. Keeping in mind that these motivators should make sure that employees are able to equally fulfill each of the drives mentioned in the four-drive theory (drive to acquire, bond, comprehend, defend) especially since everyone shares the same four drives. I think it also helps to keep in mind that motivators don’t always have to be something complex, sometimes it’s something that can easily be achieved. The video by Dan Ariely showed that something as simple as recognizing someone’s work could give their work more meaning and encourage them to do more work (in his experiment sheets of paper). Dan also saw that when that recognition wasn’t given, their motivation decreased substantially (about half the motivation). Both of Dan’s experiments showed that, “Adding motivation isn’t difficult, but eliminating motivation is EASY” which is also something that should be taken into account. I think that determining motivation by group would be nearly impossible to keep fair especially since the tasks of each job are different. Unlike the video where Dan Pink’s experiment shows that unfairness is observed after the monkeys complete the same task yet get different rewards. Motivators should directly correspond to reward the tasks needed to complete the job. Job design is important in determining the tasks associated with a specific job, and therefore the motivators needed for that job. In my experience time off/getting to leave early was the best motivator for my team. A predetermined amount of work needed to be completed, but the time frame was irrelevant, you were also paid a predetermined amount. So as long as the work was done, you could leave when it was finished. This also encourages employees to cut corners, so management was always there as a “check and balance” to ensure this didn’t happen. I enjoyed it because you could get off early if you put in the extra effort, which is nice especially on Fridays. I think the biggest motivator, no matter what department, position, etc. is recognition of effort. If you take the time to tell someone what they are doing is valued and appreciated it will make an impact, most likely increasing an employees intrinsic motivation.


With any motivation technique, it is important to adjust the technique to fit the work that is being done. This is much like Dan Pink discussed in his video: monetary rewards are only beneficial when used with tasks that require no cognitive skills, so monetary rewards should be reserved for assembly line workers. With the other jobs that require more cognitive skills, the rewards should be adjusted to be not monetary-based, as monetary rewards have been demonstrated to negatively impact performance in the jobs requiring cognitive skills (according to Dan Pink). This might include simple rewards such as longer lunch breaks. Considering the video by Dan Ariely, motivation for the cognitive-intensive jobs can be as simple as mere recognition. Often, this is enough to motivate employees, which Ariely describes as the “meaningful condition,” or feeling that what you are doing matters and is worth your time.

To keep things fair and to ensure that no employees feel that the rewards are not equal across the company, it can be as simple as when employees meet the criteria for earning a reward, they can take their pick from all the rewards listed, so that they are rewarded in the way that best suits them. This would allow management to select rewards it is comfortable with passing out while allowing employees the choice of reward to remove any potential accusations of favoritism or unfairness.

In my own work history, I have not experienced many opportunities for legitimate rewards such as the ones I discussed above. Often, the company would just be rewarded with a blanket reward, such as food, for something that was accomplished by the group. This is why I feel that setting individual criteria and allowing for employees to select from a list of personal rewards when the meet those criteria would be more motivating than the standard pizza that is provided for simply completing what is expected of you.


the book “M: Organizational Behavior. McShane & Von Glinow, 4th ed”

Chapter 5 Employee Motivation

Chapter page image attached.

Videos: https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_what_makes_us_feel_good_about_our_work?language=en



Subject: Management

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