Motivation and Satisfaction in Workplace, Essay Example in HRM

Published: 2022-04-15
Motivation and Satisfaction in Workplace, Essay Example in HRM
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Management Human resources Motivation
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1034 words
9 min read

The term motivation can be defined as a drive to engage in an activity (Willis-Shattuck et al., 2008). Motivation arises when an individual has unmet or unsatisfied needs. The unmet needs drive the need to attain specific goals. Motivation can either be classified as intrinsic or extrinsic. In intrinsic motivation, a person wants to do something because of the pleasure or the reward that comes with doing it. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is the desire to spend energy to attain goals external to the work itself, such as recognition and rewards (Grant, 2008). Enhancing employee motivation in the workplace is necessary for realizing employee job satisfaction and in improving productivity.

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Psychological theories of motivation have been hailed by organizational psychologists as essential elements of employee motivation. Examples of these theories include Herzberg's two-factor theory and Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. One of the similarities between these theories is that they are based on needs (Lambrou, Kontodimopoulos, & Niakas, 2010). The hygiene factors in Herzberg's theory correspond to Maslow's lower levels of need and must be met for dissatisfaction not to occur. Additionally, Herzberg's motivators have a close relationship with Maslow's esteem and self-actualization needs while Herzberg's hygiene factors are similar to physiological, safety, and social needs (Ozguner & Ozguner, 2014).

There are also differences between two-factor theory and Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. First, the order of needs in Maslow's hierarchy is hierarchical, while in Herzberg's two-factor theory, it follows no sequence. Secondly, in Maslow's hierarchy, unmet needs stimulate individuals while in Herzberg's two-factor theory gratified needs regulate behavior and performance. Third, the source of motivation in Maslow's hierarchy is unsatisfied needs while in Herzberg's two-factor theory, it is higher order needs.

A comparison of Herzberg's two-factor theory and Maslow's hierarchy of human needs and impacts on employee motivation shows that Herzberg's two-factor theory more effective in improving employee motivation because it provides practical solutions for organizations.

How to Improve Employee Motivation

The manager can assess employee motivation in the workplace by using valid and reliable workplace motivation questionnaires. These surveys are useful in establishing if the employees are motivated and performing at their best. Therefore, motivation data can be collected through self-administered survey questionnaires. These questionnaires can be obtained from previously validated surveys, with established reliability and validity. One of the examples of validated employee motivation questionnaires is the Multidimensional Work Motivation Scale. The Multidimensional Work Motivation Scale has been reported to have strong convergent and discriminant validity (Gagne et al., 2015). Therefore, it is a valid measure of the construct of employee motivation.

Data collected using the employee motivation questionnaires can then be analyzed with the aim of determining every employee's level of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The results of such analysis can then be used as a baseline for improving their motivation. If the motivation level of employees is low, devising programs meant to satisfy emerging or unmet needs can help enhance employee motivation. Similarly, implementation of support programs for dealing with employee stress is also helpful in improving motivation (Ramlall, 2004).

How to Improve Employee Satisfaction

Improvement of employee satisfaction will be achieved through two major ways: enhancing managerial trustworthiness and maintenance of goal-directedness. According to Cho and Perry (2012), trustworthiness is an antecedent of trust. As an important managerial resource, perceived trustworthiness is manifested through integrity, benevolence, and ability. The manager should strive to uphold integrity by ensuring that he or she treats employees fairly, communicate transparently, and uphold honesty and fairness. On the other hand, benevolence involves manager's efforts to pay attention to the well-being of the followers and provision of personalized care. Lastly, ability refers to the competence in one's role in the organization.

One of the ways through which managerial trustworthiness enhances employee satisfaction is through its ability to build trust between the managers and followers (Cho & Perry, 2012). Additionally, trustworthiness has been found to be useful in improving employees' intrinsic motivation and in suppressing employee turnover - thus enhancing employee satisfaction. Specifically, when managers are highly trustworthy, the influence of intrinsic motivation on satisfaction is strengthened.

Goal-directedness is manifested through manager's ability to effectively and communicate the vision of the organization, thus mitigating goal ambiguity. Through their ability to communicate vision via written statements and individualized communication, managers motivate employees and enhance their performance. Additionally, goal-directedness strengthens the influence of intrinsic motivation (Cho & Perry, 2012).

Managers can also enhance employees' job satisfaction by improving their working conditions. The managers should ensure that the employees are provided with the conducive and friendly environment (Raziq & Maulabakhsh, 2015). An example of a good working environment is one which is characterized by supervisory support enhances job satisfaction by decreasing job-related stress. Another way in which managers can boost employee satisfaction is through employee involvement. This means that employees should be given opportunities to contribute to the company's decision-making process. Moreover, giving employees flexible working time, encouraging teamwork, and appropriate workload (Raziq & Maulabakhsh, 2015).


Cho, Y. J., & Perry, J. L. (2012). Intrinsic motivation and employee attitudes: Role of managerial trustworthiness, goal-directedness, and extrinsic reward expectancy. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 32(4), 382-406.

Gagne, M., Forest, J., Vansteenkiste, M., Crevier-Braud, L., van den Broeck, A., Aspeli, A. K., ... Westbye, C. (2015). The Multidimensional Work Motivation Scale: Validation evidence in seven languages and nine countries. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 24(2), 178-196.

Grant, A. M. (2008). Does intrinsic motivation fuel the prosocial fire? Motivational synergy in predicting persistence, performance, and productivity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(1), 48.

Lambrou, P., Kontodimopoulos, N., & Niakas, D. (2010). Motivation and job satisfaction among medical and nursing staff in a Cyprus public general hospital. Human Resources for Health, 8, 26.

Ozguner, Z., & Ozguner, M. (2014). A managerial point of view on the relationship between of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Herzberg's dual factor theory. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 5(7).

Ramlall, S. (2004). A review of employee motivation theories and their implications for employee retention within organizations. Journal of American Academy of Business, 5(1/2), 52-63.

Raziq, A., & Maulabakhsh, R. (2015). Impact of working environment on job satisfaction. Procedia Economics and Finance, 23, 717-725.

Willis-Shattuck, M., Bidwell, P., Thomas, S., Wyness, L., Blaauw, D., & Ditlopo, P. (2008). Motivation and retention of health workers in developing countries: a systematic review. BMC Health Services Research, 8(1), 247.

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