The main concern of keeping workers happy has been a problem for businesses for a long time. This has led to a number of people producing theories as to what keeps workers motivated. The main ones are:
- Taylor's scientific management
- Mayo's Human Relations Theories
- Maslow's Hierarchy of needs
- Herzberg's two factor theory
Taylors scientific Management
F.W Taylor (1856-1917) was the first to analysw the nanagement of workers. His scientific approach was to:
- Select workers to perform a task
- Observe them and then note the key elements
- Record the time taken to do each part of the task
- Train all workers to fo the task in the quickest way
- Supervise workers to ensure they use this method
- Pay workers on the basis of results
Taylor thought that workers were motivated solely by money. He promoted the idea of "A fair day's pay for a fair days work.
Many of taylors ideas were originally adopted by businesses. However his ideas became less popular after te 1960's for a number of reasons:
- Not all workers were in it for the money
- His 'best method' ideas would not suit all workers or industries
- The piece rate system of payment was not always appropriate
Taylors theory has brought limited and more repetitve jobs as well as more planning based on the pace of work the manager wants the production to be . This theory has supported mass production and even the use of conveyor belts. However it has led to rebellion of wokrers who disliked being treated like machines
Taylors theory was therefore dropped in favor of other theories
Elton Mayo (1880-1949) is best known for his study of the HAwthorne elctrical factory in chicago. He tested his theory based on how he thought that motivation was affected by
- Working conditions
- The skills of workers
- Financial Incentives
He tested his theory on 6 volunteer female assembly staff that worked at the factory. Every 12 weeks the volunteers work methods would be changed to see if it had any affect on the production rate. This new work methods were:
- Different bonus methods, such as individual versus group bonuses
- Different rest periods
- Different refreshments
- Different work layout
Mayo found that productivity increase with every change and when the women were out back to their original work method, the output became its highest yet.
Mayo therefore concluded that:
- The women gained satisfaction from their freedom and control over their working environment
- What actually happened was that 6 individuals became a team and the team gave itseld wholeheartedly and spontaneouslyto cooperation in the experiment
- Group norms(expectations of one another) are crucial and may be influenced more by informal than official group leaders
- Communication between workers and managers influences moale and output
- Workers are affected by the degree of interest shown in them by their managers; the influence of this upon motivation is known as the 'Hawthorne effect
Mayo's findings influenced may researchers and writed effectively opening up the fields of industrial psychology and industrial socialogy. In Taylors era, the key person was the engineer. The winners from Mayo's work were personnal departments. They grew throughtout America and Britain as companies tried to achieve the Hawthorne effect.
Maslows hierarchy of needs
Maslow believed that every worker had the same needs, all of which can be organised into a hierarchy. At the base of the hierarchy are physical needs such as food, shelter and warmth. When unsatisfied this is an individuals primary motivation. Once these are fulfilled their motivating power withers away. Maslow from this came to the conclusion that there are higher needs than this that should be applied to keep an individual motivated.
His hierarchy is arranged like this (Bottom to top):
- Physical needs, e.g. food shelter and warmth
- Safety needs, e.g. sercurity, a safe stuctured enviroment, stability, freedom from anxiety
- Social needs, e.g. belonging, friendship, contact
- Esteem needs, e.g. strength, self-respect, confidence, status and recognition
- Self actualisation, e.g. self-fulfilment (to become everything that one is capable of becoming)
The lower level needs of the hierarchy represent what is most necessary in order for an individual to physically survive (hence why physical needs are at the very bottom).
However the lower they are on the hierarchy, the less they motivate the individual once they are achieved. Therefore while self actualistion is one of the higher needs (and therefore one of the less necessary needs), it produces the most motivation for the individual.
While his theory was accepted by many, there was still a number of questions that were brought up
- Do all humans have the same set of needs?
- Do different people have different degrees of need?
- Can anyone's needs be ever fully satisfied?
Maslow's work has been a huge influence on the writers who followed him, espicially Mcgregor and Herzberg. His research has also helped in Psychology and socialogy as well as business studies.
Herzberg's two factor theory
Herzeberg's theory came from the research conducted ub the 1950's into factors affecting workers job satisfaction and dissatisfaction. It was carried out on 200 accountants and engineers in Pennsylvania, USA. Herzberg asked employees to describe recent events that had given rise to exceptionally good feelings about their jobs and why, He found 5 factors that stood out most of all.
- Recognition for achievement
- Work itself
He pointed out that each of these factors concerned the job itself. He called these the motivators.
The researchers went on to ask about the event fiving rise to exceptionally bad feelings about their jobs. This revealed a seperate set of 5 causes.
He found that the main dissatisfiers were:
- Company policy and administration
- Interpersonal relations
- Working conditions
He found that the common theme was factors that 'surround the job' rather the job itself. The name he gave this dissatisfiers was 'hygiene factors'. It was called this as fulfilling them would prevent job dissatisfaction, rather than causing positive motivation. Careful hygiene prevents disease; care to fulfil hygiene factors prevents job dissatisfaction.
To summarise: Motivators have the power to create positive job satisfaction, but little downward potential. Hygiene factors will cause job dissatisfaction unless they are provided for, but do not motivate. Herzberg actually saw pay as a hygiene factor as being underpaid could lead to grieve but high pay would be taken for granted.