Work Motivation

Work Motivation



Work Motivation

            Employee motivation has always been a problem for managers since unmotivated workers contribute insignificant, untimely, and poor quality work. Organizations have resorted to different needs, and motivation theorists such as Maslow and Herzberg to provide direction on ways of increasing motivation and productivity levels. The next sections of the paper address specific motivational case studies, offer theoretical explanations, and propose organizational and individual recommendations.

Elizabeth’s Pedersen’s Situation

            Elizabeth’s main reason for departing Norsk Petroleum and taking up employment at another company was she was offered a new position in a growing company with huge potential. She also mentioned that she would be in charge of several teams of engineers as well as have increased contact with suppliers. In her exit interview, Ola mentioned that she had not complaints or friction with her supervisors and team leaders within Norsk. Several aspects in Herzberg’s motivation theory can be used explain Elizabeth Pedersen’s decisions.

            Herzberg’s motivation theory argues that individuals are not easily content with the fulfillment of lower level needs in the workplace. As a result, employees seek for the indulgence of advanced psychological needs that are concerned with accomplishment, acknowledgement, responsibility, progress, and the type of the tasks awarded. This argument runs a parallel to that of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. However, Herzberg included another dimension that stated that existence of a particular set of job characteristics or enticements contributes towards employee satisfaction in the office, while another different set of job incentives creates discontentment at work (Adair, 2010). This theory will serve to explain Elizabeth’s psychological condition. Elizabeth felt the need to change her location of employment because of the discouraging incentives provided by the company. At Norsk, she was being paid standard rates and had access to most executive privileges (Adair, 2010). However, she was in need of growth and progression as petroleum engineer. Petrowest became attractive to her when compared to her current working place since the new company offered an opportunity to manage other employees and progress in her career ladder. For Elizabeth, this was more appealing when compared to the increased financial benefits offered by Norsk in her exit interview. David McClelland’s theory can also be used to partly analyze Elizabeth’s situation. McClelland prescribed the need for power, affiliation, and achievement as the main needs among most individuals. Consequently, Elizabeth exhibited the innate need for power that saw her realize it by shifting occupations to work in Petrowest at a more esteemed level and in control of more employees when compared to her previous position.

Ola Rennemo’s Situation

Ola’s main reason for leaving Norsk Petroleum and joining another company was that he could easily access his family and home. He also mentioned that working in the new company would significantly reduce the time spent in traveling to work. In his exit interview, Ola mentioned that his wife was expectant making his role as a father highly significant. Several elements in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be used explain Ola Rennemo’s decisions.

Malsow’s theory argues that human beings are motivated to realize a permanent set of needs. Consequently, he also stated that the fulfillment of on need is determined by the extent of fulfillment of the previous high priority need. To explain his point further, Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs that was presented in the form of a pyramid (Adair, 2010). This pyramid of needs will serve to explain Ola’s psychological condition. Ola felt the need to change jobs with the intention of being closer to his family. His family needs are represented by the highest priority rung in the hierarchy of needs: the psychological needs. Consequently, Ola was attempting to meet a psychological need of taking care of his family before attempting to solve the social needs (Adair, 2010). In this case, a lucrative employment opportunity represented a social need while his growing family demands represented a psychological need. Of the two needs, family needs would always take centre stage.

Difference between Three Theories

            The three motivational theories, Maslow, Herzberg and McClelland, all possess structural similarities. All of the theories suggest that human being have a specific set of five major groups of needs that they desire to satisfy: psychological, love, safety, self-actualization, and self-esteem. Maslow argued the lowest needs must be met satisfactorily before progressing on to the higher levels. He also proposes that these needs are inherent. Conversely, McClelland proposed that some of Maslow’s higher-level needs needed to be amended to increase their relevance in the contemporary world (Chevalier, 2007). Maslow’s theory of needs assumes that human beings are made up of layers of needs. The theory argues that until the lower levels are met, human beings will not satisfy the higher layer needs. For instance, unemployed and hungry individuals may not care much for health insurance or relationships (Chevalier, 2007). At the other end of the scale, Herzberg provided two sets of needs: hygiene and motivator needs. He argued that motivator needs apply to the profession or occupation while hygiene needs relate to the psychological state of the individual (Chevalier, 2007). Hertzberg proposed that if managers failed to provide encouraging motivator conditions such a good pay and flexible working conditions, individuals would be demotivated unlike the case when hygiene needs are met (Chevalier, 2007). However, in general, all the needs theories are rooted on the conceptthat individual drive originates from aperson’s desire toperform or accomplish a need.Human beings are inspired by unaccomplished needs,and specific primal needsmust be met before trivial needs can be pursued. All the three theories seek to propose several things that can be applied in assisting workers realize the ultimate level of self-actualization.

Recommendation to Lisa Bohm

            Within Norsk Petroleum, Lisa Bohn has the responsibility of increasing employee motivation. This can be achieved by increasing employee satisfaction levels. Both Elizabeth and Ola expressed displeasure at the way in which the company was handling employee relations, reimbursements, and demands. Lisa Bohn should start by investigating the current state of affairs within her company and discover the flaws and oversights. This will reveal the areas that need to be improved and in the process, help in developing relevant recommendations. Next, Lisa Bohn should have an open forum with the rest of Norsk employees that will expose the employees’ needs in a discussion. After collecting the results of the forums and investigation, Lisa Bohn can work towards reviewing the company’s policies and ensure that employees are appropriately motivated. In the process, higher motivation will result in increased productivity. Lisa Bohn should also attempt to genuinely appreciate the efforts of her employees. By failing to acknowledge the contributions and efforts of different workers, she ultimately discouraged most of them from providing efficient services (Chevalier, 2007).


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Adair, J. E. (2010). Leadership and motivation: The fifty-fifty rule and the eight key principles of motivating others. London: Kogan Page.

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Chevalier, R. (2007). A manager’s guide to improving workplace performance. New York: AMACOM, American Management Association.

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