Essays on Universal Theory of Work Motivation Report

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The paper "Universal Theory of Work Motivation" is a wonderful example of a report on management. There are many theories that have been proposed for work motivation in order to enhance productivity. Various theories are applicable in specific situations and culture defines how adaptable the workers can be to a given theory. Goal-setting theory of one of the theories proposed for work motivation and is widely applied although it has its own limitations in various situations. Goals that are unambiguous motivate people to work towards them using well-defined strategies.

No one theory can be applied across all people at all times in all situations. However, goal setting theory is widely accepted owing to its ability to emphasize on employee participation and performance measurement (Gerhart & Fang, 2014). Despite its limitations, goal setting theory seems to be universally accepted as a theory of motivation. Goal setting sets the roadmap of attainment of organizational goals and objectives within a specific timeframe and reward schemes can be used to motivate the workers more. The goals to be set have to be verifiable, tangible, and measurable (Latham & Pinder, 2005).

The overall objectives of the organization are translated into objectives that are specific for every succeeding level. Goal setting can happen in virtually all circumstances but the challenge is to ensure that individual goals and organizational goals complement each other in the attainment of the overall mission. This essay explores the extent to which goal-setting theory is a universal theory of work motivation. Discussion Expectancy theory states that an employee is bound to work harder or smarter when he knows that his additional efforts will occasion valued results.

Expectancy theory can be aptly applied in the designing of a reward system within an organization that can complement goal-setting theory after the attainment of the set goals (Parker, 2014). Theories of motivation interlock and sometimes compliment each other and there could no single theory that explains motivation comprehensively at the workplace or the competitive world. A motivated workforce is an ingredient to a competitive advantage. A motivated workforce is crucial for economic productivity, as well as societal well-being. Motivational is usually volitional and an indicator of well-being. Motivational theories are evaluated with regard to validity, testability, comprehensiveness, parsimony, applicability, and specifying links between performance and motivation.

Validity describes how well does a certain theory captures motivation. Testability is the ability of a theory to be tested. Comprehensiveness refers to how widely applicable can the theory be across situations, people, and various outcomes. Applicability is the ability of the employee or the manager to use the theory in practical situations (Gerhart & Fang, 2014). Goal-setting theory as proposed by Dr. Locke and task motivation has become an important element of the process of employee management.

People are more productive if they are motivated using distinct goals and appropriate feedback. Performance and perseverance in attaining the goal are determined by how realistic, specific, and difficult the goal can be. Measurable stretch goals occasions improved employee productivity as well as enhanced self-confidence. Dr. Edwin Locke demonstrated that there is a correlation between the setting of goals and motivation. In the modern world goal setting and the theory entrenched behind it is universally accepted as crucial to motivating people not only at the workplace but in many aspects of the society.

A lot of research concerning goal setting is emphasized on the workplace goals or the competitive world of sport (Locke & Latham, 1990). Goals which are specific motivate people more than vague goals. Goals that are challenging are more motivating as compared to easy goals. When people receive positive feedback while in the course of working and after working on certain tasks of their goals, they are inspired to achieve more. In goal-setting theory, the complex goals are attainable where individuals are given time, clarity, and learning.

Learning is the opportunity to train as well as learn to attain whatever is needed to reach the defined goal. Goal setting focuses emphasizes on the manner in which individuals come up with goals and respond to them as well as the overall effect on the process of motivation (Parker, 2014). Specific areas focus on by the goal-setting theory is the goal difficulty, the goal specificity, level of involvement in goal setting, the role of objective, and timely feedback in the course of achieving the goals set.

As compared to other theories, goal-setting theory has evolved and shaped over time.


Arnold, J. 2010, Work Psychology: Understanding Human Behaviour in the Workplace. Harlow: Prentice Hall/Financial Times. Chapter 8 – Approaches to understanding work motivation and job design.

Gerhart, B., & Fang, M. 2014, Pay for (individual) performance: Issues, claims, evidence and the role of sorting effects. Human Resource Management Review, 24(1), 41-52.

Latham, G. P. & Pinder, C.C. 2005, Work motivation theory and research at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Annual Review of Psychology, 56, 485-516.

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. 2002, Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57(9), 705-717.

Locke, E., & Latham, G. 2009, Has goal setting gone wild, or have its attackers abandoned good scholarship? Academy of Management Perspectives, 23(1), 17-23.

Locke, E.A. and Latham, G.P. 1990, Work motivation and satisfaction: Light at the end of the tunnel. Psychological Science, 1(4): 240-246.

Parker, S. K. 2014, Beyond motivation: Job and work design for development, health, ambidexterity, and more. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 661-691.

Pinder, C.C. 2008, Human nature: Needs and values as motives at work. Chapter 3 in Pinder, C.C. ‘Work motivation in organizational behavior’. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

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