Employee Motivation and Productivity

Employee Motivation and Productivity

Motivation –   A Theoretical Discourse – Many scholars, both contemporary and earlier scholars have written extensively on the subject of motivation. Almost all the thesis on motivation are geared towards job enhancement, no matter in whichever form the motivational strategies comes. To say that an organisation succeeds when the motivational factors are effective is not an exaggeration.

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Supporting this view Obeku (1975: 292), contends that “effective performance on the part of the employee is essential for the success of any organisation” such performance will be a greater measure, depend on their knowledge and skills possessed by the individual employee are important in determining his job performance, these factors alone are not sufficient. An understanding of what motivates the individual is needed to reveal how abilities and skills are activated and their potential released (Obeku 1975: 292).

In the words of Rension Liket (1967:45) “… all activities of any organisation are initiated and determined by the person who make up that institution – plants, offices, computers, automatic equipment and all those other things that a firm modern are unproductive except for human effort and direction.

This statement goes a long way in defining the importance of human resources element in any system and if the human resources is the facilitating factors, the central task of any system would be to co-ordinate and effectively articulate this factor.

Fajokawn (1971:118) argues that the efficiency and effectiveness of any institution depends on the quality of numerical strength and behaviour of the personal handling the affairs of the institutions. Behaviour of personnel is the central issue and most relevant to this discourse. Personnel behaviour is determined by numerous factors like needs, desire etc.

This argument was concurrent with stenner and Berelson’s view. According to them, motivation is a general term applying to the active class of drives, needs, wishes and similar forces. Likewise to say that managers motivate their subordinates into say that they do those things which they hope will satisfy these drives and desires and induce the subordinate to act in a desired manner. (Barel son & Stenner (1964: 240).

Hawold Kooutz et al, (1980: 653) uniting on motivation, contends that “it takes only a moment thought to realize that at any given time an individuals motivates may be quite complex and often conflicting therefore a person may be motivated by desire for electronic goods and services (groceries, better house, new car or a trip) and even these desires may be complex and conflicting should one buy a new house or a new car? In addition, an individual may want self esteem, relaxation (who has not felt a conflict between the time demands of a job and the desire to play ball or go to movie).

However, motivation is so complex and individualized that there can be no single best answer.                

The concept of motivation is extremely important for an understanding of individual and organisational behaviour and efficiency. It is without doubt, one of the most pervasive concerns of human endeavour. That is why Chike Nwizu (1997:294) rather put it aptly that:

“Motivation is a common concept covering all the factors that initiate, direct and organize the behaviour of the individual and determine intensity and persistence of the behaviour. It is a buss word of industry, a prevailing term in management and a conspicuous goal of education”.

Those of us concerned with productivity believe that motivation is inextricably relation to organisational performance, we are convinced that highly motivated individuals working smarter are more productive in quantity and quality. It just makes sense, productivity as achieved through excellence having an organisation of highly motivated individuals. (Nwizu 1997: 294) in consideration of the foregoing, one could be inclined to re-examine some definition of motivation as put forward by Victor Vroom (1970:4) and John Alkinson (1957:61). Vroom looks at motivation as a “process governing choice, made by person or various organisations among alternative form of voluntary activities”. The noted psychologist, Alkinson simply put it as “the immediate influences on the direction, vigour and persistence of action”.

In comparing these definitions we shall not conclude that motivation is not the only factor that determines work efficiency (which also depends on knowledge and capabilities), it is most important because it is through motivation that an individual’s behaviour is most directly influenced by a great variety of external factors and characteristics of the immediate and broader environment at the work place and community. Since motivation is a very complex and fluid concept, influenced by a great many broader social, organisational and individual factors only some of the important theories of motivation will be discussed here. Several theories of motivation have involved during recent years all of which tend to complement one another even advocates of each hold strongly to different tenets of behaviour.


Maslow contends that there was a hierarchy of needs which man would strive to satisfy Maslow (1954: 55).

The operation of these needs would be sequential and fall into two basic categories: lower order needs which on being satisfied would cease to motivate and higher order needs which on being satisfied would generate a further desire for greater experience in those areas.

  1. Higher order needs do not apply until lower needs are satisfied.
  2. Lower order needs decrease in strength as they become satisfied and cease to cause motivation.
  3. Higher order needs are fundamentally different and satisfaction leads to a further demand for even wider goals.

The basis of the theory is that the five level of needs are sequential and that as a need is satisfied a new and higher need take its place.

It is recognized that there are exceptions to this and higher needs may sometimes emerge, not as the result of satisfaction of the lower need but as the result of satisfaction of the lower need but as the result of imposed or voluntary suppression of those needs. Example of these are provided as the result of such things as PERSECUTION, REJECTION AND SUBLIMATION BUT MASLOW points out that this does not contradict his thesis as it is not claimed that gratification of need is the exclusion determinant of behaviour (Maslow 1954: 58).


Fredrick Herzberg has developed Maslows thesis into what he calls “two factors theory; His research pinports to find a two factor explanation of motivation. In one group of needs are such things as company policy and administration, supervision, working conditions inter-personal relations, salary, status, job, security and personal life.

These were found by Herzberg and his associate to be only “dissatisfied” and not motivator. In order words, if they exist in a work environment in high quantity and quality, they yield no dissatisfaction their existence does not motivate in the sense of yielding satisfaction, their lack of existence would, however, result in dissatisfaction.

In the second group Herzberg listed certain “satisfiers” and therefore motivators, all related to job content, these include the factors of achievement, recognition, challenging work, advancement and growth in the job. Their existence will yield feelings of satisfaction or no satisfaction (not dissatisfaction).

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  1. Ige oluwatosin says:

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