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Organizational success it is said always counted on delivering output or results through teamwork and the contribution of each individual in a team. In current organizational landscape, the need for highly-motivated teams and individual become more critical. As this paper tries to explore, it is assumed that motivating an individual compared with a group may be similar but different in some ways. To decipher this issue, it will be best to first define some terms and then we look at the keys in understanding motivation before finally making a comparison of the difference in the approaches to motivating individual and group.

Understanding keys to motivationIn order to understand the keys to motivation, it will help that we define what motivation is. As some scientists have defined the term, they refer to motivation as that “process of arousing, directing, and maintaining behavior toward a goal” (Greenberg, 1999). By implication, the way a leader treat his staff or group may pose direct effect on the degree of effort his constituents will be prepared to exert in getting a project or task done. Meeting Basic NeedsAs the definition of motivation suggests, it is people’s desire to satisfy his or her needs that compel or motivate him or her to work.

Thus, understanding motivation calls for a leader to learn to appreciate that his or her constituents’ basic needs must be satisfied through earning to live, feeling to be part of a social group, and accomplishing personal ambitions (Druckers, 1994). In his seminal work, What America Does Right: Learning from Companies that Put People First, Robert H. Waterman Jr. (1994) echoes this assertion and advices that in order for organizations to attract the best people and motivate them to do the best work, the same should meet their employees’ needs.

In this regard, Maslow’s (1970) need hierarchy theory may add some insights as to how this may come about. His theory puts to fore the very basic idea that people look for their needs to become well-adjusted and healthy in a particular situation. His well-discussed five categories of needs – physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization – were claimed only activated in a specific order, starting at the lowest most basic needs, then working upward to higher-level needs.

According to him, each need is triggered only after the one beneath it in the hierarchy has been satisfied. Ensuring FairnessBut it should be noted that satisfying the individual or team’s needs will not necessarily mean that people are fully motivated already. Some literatures reviewed for this study revealed that some people are highly motivated to seek equity. People react when they believe they have been unfairly treated so they redress the iniquities they face on the job, it is said however.

Organizational scientists are calling to describe such as equity theory (Adams, 2000). In such case, people make judgment by comparing themselves with fellow colleagues, and then bases this on the outcomes or what they get out of their job, and inputs or what contributions were made by themselves with others.

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