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Productivity depends on levels of motivation however motivating the workforce is complex, difficult and critical for organisational success.

Using theories of motivation, explain how managers in organisations can maintain and improve employee motivation at work. Select three organisations and use these to demonstrate how the above can be achieved.

Motivational Issues at Walmart

In the contemporary era marked by globalisation, motivation plays a key role in extracting out the maximum productivity from an employee in an organisation, thereby generating maximum profits. Different motivational theories have been applied time and again by managers and supervisors in organisations, big and small, across the world, for motivating employees and strengthening the power of the organisation. For building up a motivated and engaged workforce, employers need to drive the motivational forces when and where needed and implement changes for bringing positive outcomes (Barrick et al., 2013). The present essay explores the application of motivational theories in the context of three different organisations, namely Walmart, Google and Nokia. The essay would discuss the motivational issues present in the organisations and recommend motivational theories that can be applied to the respective organisations.

Walmart is a well known American multinational retail chain that runs warehouse stores and large discount stores. The company is known to be the third largest public corporation and largest retailer in the world. It is a family owned business controlled by the Walton family owning a 48% stake (Taillie et al., 2016). Despite the good reputation Walmart faces certain issues regarding the motivation of employees. The attitudes of the new employees are not desirable as they do not feel themselves to be a part of the Walmart family. The selection of individuals who can evaluate appropriately the achievements of the employees is also a key challenge. Income inequality act as a major challenge in the way of motivating the employees to work harder. In addition, the time taken for promotion is also long, loosing out the motivation in employees at large (Caraway, 2016).

Walmart can apply the four-drive theory of motivation that is based on the instinctive drives to learn, bond, defend and acquire in terms of rationality and emotions. This theory can solve the issues the new employees have. As per the four-drive theory, it is essential to form bonds of social relationships and have an environment of mutual care and commitment toward others. This can help the organisation to solve the issue of selecting the individuals who would evaluate appropriately the other employees. In case the relationship between the employee and the evaluator is good, there would be high satisfaction level after the evaluation process. The drive to defend can solve the issue of attitudes of new employees. The drive is to fulfil the curiosity and know the environment around us. This approach would enable the new employees to gather more knowledge about the company and the environment they are working in. Understanding of the operations would motivate them to give their best efforts to achieve success. New employees can be made more loyal towards the company if they have adequate knowledge about the company and the demands of their respective roles. For solving the issue of a longer time period of promotion, Walmart can consider the evaluation of the performance of the employee once a year and enable provision for promotion once a year. Employees of the present generation like to have promotion in a shorter span of time from lower level to upper level of management. Therefore, based on good performance, the company can decide on promoting the right candidates to a suitable higher level for keeping them loyal towards the company (Wood et al., 2016). As per the equity theory employees perceive feelings of equity through a comparison of own outcome and that of another person. Fairness is adjudged by the exchange of resources (L?z?roiu, 2015). Walmart can apply this theory for settling the issue of income inequality. The higher the contribution is provided by the employees, the higher the pay they must receive. This would motivate the employees to work harder and increase robustness in the workforce.

Application of Four-Drive Theory at Walmart

Google company is an American multinational corporation that provides Internet-based services and products, including internet search, software, cloud computing and advertising technologies. Since the establishment of the company, it has grown to be the most reputed company in its field with thousands of customers across the globe (Young, 2014). Google recruits employees who have the ability to perform, are smart and determined and are open to training. It has been found that though employees are happy to join to be a part of the company initially, the employee turnover is high over a considerable period of time. Investigations reveal that from the point of view of the employees, they may be unhappy to resign but are compelled to do so. The top reason for such demotivation is a low pay in comparison to what is being paid elsewhere. Less fringe benefits are also a challenge for keeping up the motivation level of the employees. Other gripes include poor mentoring, poor management, excessive bureaucracy and a long hiring process (Coleman, 2016).

As per the Two Factor Theory of Frederick Herzberg, individuals can be influenced by two factors- hygiene factors and motivation factors. The hygiene factors are required for ensuring that an employee is not dissatisfied. The motivational factors ensure that an employee is motivated to perform more. Such motivational factors include job interest, growth within the organisation, increased responsibilities for job and recognition of achievements (Mullins & Christy, 2013). Google can apply the Two Factor Theory for ensuring that the working environment fosters motivation for the employees. An awesome working environment can be created by bringing in the scope of recreational activities in the workplace. Such activities can include pool tables, video games, bowling alleys and massage chairs. These would provide relaxation and drive the intention to work effectively. The two theory can bring major advantages for the company. The first advantage would be to have a creative and more efficient workforce. Google is a technology company, and a relaxing environment would enable the employees to generate new ideas. Resignation rates would also drop successively, and a loss for the company can be prevented. An optimistic management team is to be built for the company that can attempt to motivate the employees and work for eliminating the major challenges they are facing and hinders their productivity. This would create a positive view of the workers, and they would be self-motivated.

Nokia is a Finnish multinational information technology and communication company with around 60,000 employees spanning across 120 countries. It is the 274th largest company in the world as measured in the year 2013 (Aspara et al., 2011). The current workforce at Nokia has been facing a lack of motivation among the employees that need immediate recommendations to improve the scenario. Employees at the organisation lack utmost morale upliftment and motivation that is needed to develop innovative products. Motivation is the mental push required for stimulating the workers to achieve a certain goal. Innovation requires immense employee efforts, and this company is facing issues to ensure that the employees reach optimum efficiency. The main issue is a lack of team building and team spirit among the employees. Team work is necessary for the exchange of ideas and viewpoints that promote innovation. However, employees in Nokia are not motivated to work together in teams and be productive (Colbert, 2016).

Application of Equity Theory at Walmart

The Reinforcement Theory can be applied suitably to the case study of Nokia for motivating the employees and bringing better consequences. As per the reinforcement theory, environmental consequences are powerful aids that managers can use for shaping the behaviours of the employees. Unclear task expectations are a reason for frustration among the employees. The task expectation of the employees needs to be set at a more higher level. The employees are to be made to understand that the fulfilment of the expectations of the role they play determine their success in the organisation. Nokia can start introducing gifts and incentives for motivating the employees to work in teams. A system should be proposed that offers all the employees with financial incentives when they succeed in working in groups and bring innovations for the company. This would increase the input and employees would take initiatives for working in collaboration with each other. The goals must be realistic in nature and ambitions for the employees are to be set at a level that is achievable. The company must also plan for developing leadership for the employees. This would ensure that competent leaders motivate the employees and lead them in the right direction (Miner, 2015).

Since the operation of an organisation relies largely on the employee’s performance, motivation level of the employees is a major determinant for the proper functioning of the organisations of Walmart, Google and Nokia. The major motivational issues faced by the employees of the three organisations are attitudes of new employees, income inequality, long promotion period, poor pay structure, less fringe benefits, poor management, poor mentoring, excessive bureaucracy and a long hiring process. In conclusion, it can be stated that motivation is the representation of all the forces that affect an individual’s intensity, direction and perseverance of voluntary behaviour. Employees, when motivated in these organisations with the help of the different motivational theories, would have the will power to exert a certain dedication and effort for a particular period of time towards a set goal.

References:

Aspara, J., Lamberg, J. A., Laukia, A., & Tikkanen, H. (2011). Strategic management of business model transformation: lessons from Nokia. Management Decision, 49(4), 622-647.

Barrick, M. R., Mount, M. K., & Li, N. (2013). The theory of purposeful work behavior: The role of personality, higher-order goals, and job characteristics. Academy of Management Review, 38(1), 132-153.

Caraway, B. (2016). OUR Walmart: a case study of connective action. Information, Communication & Society, 19(7), 907-920.

Colbert, A., Yee, N., & George, G. (2016). The digital workforce and the workplace of the future. Academy of Management Journal, 59(3), 731-739.

Coleman, A. (2016). Is Google's model of the creative workplace the future of the office?. The Gaurdian.

L?z?roiu, G. (2015). Employee Motivation and Job Performance. Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations, (14), 97-102.

Miner, J. B. (2015). Organizational behavior 1: Essential theories of motivation and leadership. Routledge.

Mullins, L., & Christy, G. (2013). Management & Organisational Behaviour.

Taillie, L. S., Ng, S. W., & Popkin, B. M. (2016). Walmart and Other Food Retail Chains: Trends and Disparities in the Nutritional Profile of Packaged Food Purchases. American journal of preventive medicine, 50(2), 171-179.

Wood, J. M., Zeffane, R. M., Fromholtz, M., Wiesner, R., Morrison, R., Factor, A., ... & Osborn, R. N. (2016). Organisational behaviour: Core concepts and applications. John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd..

Young, A. (2014). Google and Facebook. In Brand Media Strategy (pp. 7-14). Palgrave Macmillan US.

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[Accessed 01 March 2024].

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