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Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Six


    After studying this chapter, students should be able to:

1. Outline the motivation process.

    2. Describe Maslow’s need hierarchy.

    3. Contrast Theory X and Theory Y.

    4. Differentiate motivators from hygiene factors.

    5. List the characteristics that high achievers prefer in a job.

    6. Summarize the types of goals that increase performance.

    7. State the impact of under-rewarding employees.

    8. Clarify the key relationships in expectancy theory.

    9. Explain how the contemporary theories of motivation complement each other.


    The theories we have discussed in this chapter address different outcome variables. Some, for instance, are directed at explaining turnover, while others emphasize productivity. The theories also differ in their predictive strength. In this section, we 1) review the key motivation theories to determine their relevance in explaining our dependent variables, and 2) assess the predictive power of each.

    Need theories. We introduced four theories that focused on needs. These were Maslow’s hierarchy, two-factor,

    ERG, and McClelland’s needs theories. The strongest of these is probably the last, particularly regarding the relationship between achievement and productivity. If the other three have any value at all, that value relates to explaining and predicting job satisfaction.

    Goal-setting theory. There is little dispute that clear and difficult goals lead to higher levels of employee productivity. This evidence leads us to conclude that goal-setting theory provides one of the more powerful explanations of this dependent variable. The theory, however, does not address absenteeism, turnover, or satisfaction.

    Reinforcement theory. This theory has an impressive record for predicting factors like quality and quantity of work, persistence of effort, absenteeism, tardiness, and accident rates. It does not offer much insight into employee satisfaction or the decision to quit.

    Equity theory. Equity theory deals with all four dependent variables. However, it is strongest when predicting absence and turnover behaviors and weakest when predicting differences in employee productivity.

    Expectancy theory. Our final theory focused on performance variables. It has proved to offer a relatively powerful explanation of employee productivity, absenteeism, and turnover, but expectancy theory assumes that employees have few constraints on their decision discretion. It makes many of the same assumptions that the rational model makes about individual decision-making (see Chapter 5). This acts to restrict its applicability.

    For major decisions, such as accepting or resigning from a job, expectancy theory works well because people do not rush into decisions of this nature. They are more prone to take the time to carefully consider the costs and benefits of all the alternatives. However, expectancy theory is not a very good explanation for more typical types of work behavior, especially for individuals in lower-level jobs, because such jobs come with considerable limitations imposed by work methods, supervisors, and company policies. We would conclude, therefore, that expectancy theory’s power in explaining employee productivity increases where the jobs being performed are more complex and higher in the organization (where discretion is greater).

    A Guide through the Maze. Exhibit 6-10 summarizes what we know about the power of the more well known motivation theories to explain and predict our four dependent variables. While based on a wealth of research, it also includes some subjective judgments. However, it does provide a reasonable guide through the motivation theory maze.


Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Six


    At the end of each chapter of this instructor’s manual you will find suggested exercises and ideas for researching the WWW on OB topics. The exercises “Exploring OB Topics on the Web” are set up so that you can simply photocopy the pages, distribute them to your class, and make assignments accordingly. You may want to assign the exercises as an out-of-class activity or as lab activities with your class. Within the lecture notes the graphic

     will note that there is a WWW activity to support this material.

    The chapter opens with the story of EMC data storage, which is among employers that are having employees walk on 1500 degree coals. While there is no proof that walking on coals increases accomplishment by snuffing out fear, the anecdotal evidence from some of the senior employees suggests that does motivate employees at EMC to tackle the difficult jobs.


A. What is Motivation? Notes:

1. Many people incorrectly view motivation as a personal traitthat is, some have

    it and others do not. Motivation is the result of the interaction of the individual

    and the situation.

    2. Definition: Motivation is “the processes that account for an individual’s

    intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal.”

    3. We will narrow the focus to organizational goals in order to reflect our singular

    interest in work-related behavior.

    4. The three key elements of our definition are intensity, direction, and


     Intensity is concerned with how hard a person tries. This is the element

    most of us focus on when we talk about motivation.

     Direction is the orientation that benefits the organization.

     Persistence is a measure of how long a person can maintain his/her effort.

    Motivated individuals stay with a task long enough to achieve their goal.

B. Early Theories of Motivation

1. In the 1950s three specific theories were formulated and are the best known:

    hierarch of needs theory, Theories X and Y, and the two-factor theory.

    2. These early theories are important to understand because they represent a

    foundation from which contemporary theories have grown. Practicing

    managers still regularly use these theories and their terminology in explaining

    employee motivation.


Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Six

C. Hierarchy of Needs Theory Notes:

1. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the most well-known theory of

    motivation. He hypothesized that within every human being there exists a

    hierarchy of five needs: (See Exhibit 6-1).

     Physiological: Includes hunger, thirst, shelter, sex, and other bodily needs

     Safety: Includes security and protection from physical and emotional harm

     Social: Includes affection, belongingness, acceptance, and friendship

     Esteem: Includes internal esteem factors such as self-respect, autonomy,

    and achievement; and external esteem factors such as status, recognition,

    and attention

     Self-actualization: The drive to become what one is capable of becoming;

    includes growth, achieving one’s potential, and self-fulfillment

    2. As a need becomes substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant.

    No need is ever fully gratified; a substantially satisfied need no longer


    3. Maslow separated the five needs into higher and lower orders.

     Physiological and safety needs are described as lower-order.

     Social, esteem, and self-actualization are as higher-order needs

     Higher-order needs are satisfied internally.

     Lower-order needs are predominantly satisfied externally.

    4. Maslow’s need theory has received wide recognition, particularly among

    practicing managers. Research does not generally validate the theory.

    5. Maslow provided no empirical substantiation, and several studies that sought to

    validate the theory found no support for it.

Instructor Note: At this point in the lecture you may want to introduce the TEAM EXERCISE: What Do People

    Want from Their Jobs? found in the text. The purpose of the exercise is to help students better understand the

    importance of Herzberg’s model. It illustrates the difference between what motivates individuals versus what

    causes only satisfaction.

D. Theory X and Theory Y Notes:

1. Douglas McGregor concluded that a manager’s view of the nature of human

    beings is based on a certain grouping of assumptions and he or she tends to

    mold his or her behavior toward employees according to these assumptions.

    2. Theory X assumptions are basically negative.

     Employees inherently dislike work and, whenever possible, will attempt to

    avoid it.

     Since employees dislike work, they must be coerced, controlled, or

    threatened with punishment.

     Employees will avoid responsibilities and seek formal direction whenever


     Most workers place security above all other factors and will display little



Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Six

D. Theory X and Theory Y (cont.) Notes:

3. Theory Y assumptions are basically positive.

     Employees can view work as being as natural as rest or play.

     People will exercise self-direction and self-control if they are committed to

    the objectives.

     The average person can learn to accept, even seek, responsibility.

     The ability to make innovative decisions is widely dispersed throughout the


    4. What are the implications for managers? This is best explained by using

    Maslow’s framework:

     Theory X assumes that lower-order needs dominate individuals.

     Theory Y assumes that higher-order needs dominate individuals.

     McGregor himself held to the belief that Theory Y assumptions were more

    valid than Theory X.

     There is no evidence to confirm that either set of assumptions is valid.

     Either Theory X or Theory Y assumptions may be appropriate in a

    particular situation.

Instructor Note: At this point in the lecture you may want to introduce the MYTH OR SCIENCE?: “People Are

    Inherently Lazy” found in the text and at the end of these chapter notes. The discussion of the material will provide students the opportunity to identify Theory X or Theory Y theories in practice.

    MYTH OR SCIENCE? “People Are Inherently Lazy”

    This statement is false on two levels. All people are not inherently lazy, and “laziness” is more a function of the situation than an inherent individual characteristic. If this statement is meant to imply that all people are inherently lazy, the evidence strongly indicated the contrary. Many people today suffer from the opposite afflictionthey are overly busy, overworked, and suffer from over-exertion. Whether externally motivated or internally-driven, a good portion of the labor force is anything but lazy.

    Managers frequently draw that conclusion by watching a few of their employees who may be lazy at work, but these same employees are often quite industrious off the job. People’s need structures differ. As accompanying Exhibit 6-2 illustrates, evidence indicates that work needs differ by gender, age income level, job type, and level in the organization.

    Unfortunately, work often ranks low in its ability to satisfy individual needs. Very few people are perpetually lazy. They merely differ in terms of the activities they most enjoy doing.

    Class Exercise:

    1. Before reviewing this situation, discuss with students the task of working on team projects. 2. What constitutes working hard on a team project?

    3. What motivates them to work hard?

    4. Why would a team member not work hard? Not carry his/her fair share?

    5. How could they make the team project as important to the other team members as it is to them?


Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Six

E. Two-Factor Theory Notes:

1. The Two-Factor Theory is sometimes also called motivation-hygiene theory.

    2. Proposed by psychologist Frederick Herzberg when he investigated the

    question, “What do people want from their jobs?” He asked people to describe,

    in detail, situations in which they felt exceptionally good or bad about their jobs.

    These responses were then tabulated and categorized.

    3. From the categorized responses, Herzberg concluded:

     Intrinsic factors, such as advancement, recognition, responsibility, and

    achievement seem to be related to job satisfaction.

     Dissatisfied respondents tended to cite extrinsic factors, such as

    supervision, pay, company policies, and working conditions.

     The opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction.

     Removing dissatisfying characteristics from a job does not necessarily

    make the job satisfying.

    4. Job satisfaction factors are separate and distinct from job dissatisfaction

    factors. Managers who eliminate job dissatisfaction factors may not necessarily

    bring about motivation.

    5. When hygiene factors are adequate, people will not be dissatisfied; neither will

    they be satisfied. To motivate people, emphasize factors intrinsically rewarding

    that are associated with the work itself or to outcomes directly derived from it.

    6. Criticisms of the theory:

     The procedure that Herzberg used is limited by its methodology.

     The reliability of Herzberg’s methodology is questioned.

     No overall measure of satisfaction was utilized.

     Herzberg assumed a relationship between satisfaction and productivity,

    but the research methodology he used looked only at satisfaction, not at


    7. Regardless of criticisms, Herzberg’s theory has been widely read, and few

    managers are unfamiliar with his recommendations.

     The popularity of vertically expanding jobs to allow workers greater

    responsibility can probably be attributed to Herzberg’s findings.

     Contemporary Theories of Motivation

Contemporary Theories of Motivation Notes:

The following theories are considered contemporary not because they necessarily

    were developed recently, but because they represent the current state of the art in

    explaining employee motivation.

A. ERG Theory

1. Clayton Alderfer reworked Maslow’s need hierarchy to align it with the empirical

    research. His revised need hierarchy is labeled ERG theory.

    2. Alderfer argues that there are three groups of core needs: existence,

    relatedness, and growth.


Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Six

A. ERG Theory (cont.) Notes:

3. The existence group

     Provides our basic material existence requirements

     They include Maslow’s physiological and safety needs.

    4. Relatedness

     The desire we have for maintaining important interpersonal relationships

     These social and status desires require interaction with others.

     They align with Maslow’s social need and the external component.

    5. Growth needs

     An intrinsic desire for personal development

     These include the intrinsic component from Maslow’s esteem category and

    the characteristics included under self-actualization.

    6. In addition to collapsing Maslow’s five into three, Alderfer’s ERG theory also

    differs from Maslow’s in that:

     More than one need may be operative at the same time.

     If the gratification of a higher-level need is stifled, the desire to satisfy a

    lower-level need increases.

     ERG theory does not assume that there exists a rigid hierarchy. A person

    can be working on growth even though existence or relatedness needs are

    unsatisfied, or all three need categories could be operating at the same


    7. ERG theory also contains a frustration-regression dimension.

     Maslow argued that an individual would stay at a certain need level until

    that need was satisfied. ERG argues that multiple needs can be operating

    as motivators at the same time.

     ERG theory notes that when a higher-order need level is frustrated, the

    individual’s desire to increase a lower-level need takes place.

    8. ERG theory is more consistent with our knowledge of individual differences

    among people.

     Variables such as education, family background, and cultural environment

    can alter the importance or driving force that a group of needs holds for a

    particular individual.

     The evidence demonstrating that people in other cultures rank the need

    categories differently would be consistent with ERG theory.

B. McClelland’s Theory of Needs

1. The theory focuses on three needs: achievement, power, and affiliation.

     Need for achievement: The drive to excel, to achieve in relation to a set of

    standards, to strive to succeed

     Need for power: The need to make others behave in a way that they would

    not have behaved otherwise

     Need for affiliation: The desire for friendly and close interpersonal



    Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Six

    B. McClelland’s Theory of Needs (cont.) Notes:

    2. Some people have a compelling drive to succeed. They are striving for

    personal achievement rather than the rewards of success per se. This drive is

    the achievement need (nAch).

    3. McClelland found that high achievers differentiate themselves from others by their desire to do things better.

     They seek personal responsibility for finding solutions to problems.

     They want to receive rapid feedback on their performance so they can tell

    easily whether they are improving or not.

     They can set moderately challenging goals. High achievers are not

    gamblers; they dislike succeeding by chance.

     High achievers perform best when they perceive their probability of

    success as 50-50.

     They like to set goals that require stretching themselves a little.

    4. The need for power (nPow) is the desire to have impact, to be influential, and to control others.

     Individuals high in nPow enjoy being “in charge.”

     Strive for influence over others

     Prefer to be placed into competitive and status-oriented situations

     Tend to be more concerned with prestige and gaining influence over others

    than with effective performance

    5. The third need isolated by McClelland is affiliation (nAfl).

     This need has received the least attention from researchers.

     Individuals with a high affiliation motive strive for friendship.

     Prefer cooperative situations rather than competitive ones

     Desire relationships involving a high degree of mutual understanding

    6. Relying on an extensive amount of research, some reasonably well-supported

    predictions can be made based on the relationship between achievement need and job performance.

     First, as shown in Exhibit 6-4, individuals with a high need to achieve

    prefer job situations with personal responsibility, feedback, and an

    intermediate degree of risk. When these characteristics are prevalent, high

    achievers will be strongly motivated.

     Second, a high need to achieve does not necessarily lead to being a good

    manager, especially in large organizations. People with a high

    achievement need are interested in how well they do personally and not in

    influencing others to do well.

     Third, the needs for affiliation and power tend to be closely related to

    managerial success. The best managers are high in their need for power

    and low in their need for affiliation.

     Finally, employees have been successfully trained to stimulate their

    achievement need. Trainers have been effective in teaching individuals to

    think in terms of accomplishments, winning, and success, and then helping

    them to learn how to act in a high achievement way by preferring situations

    where they have personal responsibility, feedback, and moderate risks.


Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Six

C. Cognitive Evaluation Theory Notes:

1. In the late 1960s, one researcher proposed that the introduction of extrinsic

    rewards, such as pay, for work effort that had been previously intrinsically

    rewarding due to the pleasure associated with the content of the work itself,

    would tend to decrease the overall level of motivation.

    2. This has come to be called the cognitive evaluation theory. Well researched

    and supported theorists have assumed that intrinsic motivations, such as

    achievement, etc., are independent of extrinsic motivators such as high pay,

    promotions, etc.

    3. Cognitive evaluation theory suggests otherwise. When extrinsic rewards are

    used by organizations as payoffs for superior performance, the intrinsic

    rewards, which are derived from individuals doing what they like, are reduced.

    4. The popular explanation is that the individual experiences a loss of control over

    his or her own behavior so that the previous intrinsic motivation diminishes.

    5. Furthermore, the elimination of extrinsic rewards can produce a shiftfrom an

    external to an internal explanationin an individual’s perception of causation

    of why he or she works on a task.

    6. If the cognitive evaluation theory is valid, it should have major implications for

    managerial practices.

     If pay or other extrinsic rewards are to be effective motivators, they should

    be made contingent on an individual’s performance.

     Cognitive evaluation theorists would argue that this will tend only to

    decrease the internal satisfaction that the individual receives from doing

    the job.

     If correct, it would make sense to make an individual’s pay non-contingent

    on performance in order to avoid decreasing intrinsic motivation.

    7. While supported in a number of studies, cognitive evaluation theory has also

    met with attacks, specifically on the methodology used and in the interpretation

    of the findings.

    10. Further research is needed to clarify some of the current ambiguity. The

    evidence does lead us to conclude that the interdependence of extrinsic and

    intrinsic rewards is a real phenomenon.

    11. Its impact on employee motivation at work may be considerably less than

    originally thought.

     First, many of the studies testing the theory were done with students.

     Second, evidence indicates that very high intrinsic motivation levels are

    strongly resistant to the detrimental impacts of extrinsic rewards.

     The theory may have limited applicability to work organizations because

    most low-level jobs are not inherently satisfying enough to foster high

    intrinsic interest, and many managerial and professional positions offer

    intrinsic rewards.


Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Six

D. Goal-Setting Theory Notes:

     1. In the late 1960s, Edwin Locke proposed that intentions to work toward a goal

    are a major source of work motivation.

    2. Goals tell an employee what needs to be done and how much effort is needed.

    The evidence strongly supports the value of goals.

    3. Specific hard goals produce a higher level of output than do the generalized


    4. If factors like ability and acceptance of the goals are held constant, we can also

    state that the more difficult the goal, the higher the level of performance.

    5. People will do better when they get feedback on how well they are progressing

    toward their goals. Self-generated feedback is more powerful a motivator than

    externally generated feedback.

    6. The evidence is mixed regarding the superiority of participative over assigned

    goals. If employees have the opportunity to participate in the setting of their

    own goals, will they try harder?

     A major advantage of participation may be in increasing acceptance.

     If people participate in goal setting, they are more likely to accept even a

    difficult goal than if they are arbitrarily assigned it by their boss.

    7. There are contingencies in goal-setting theory. In addition to feedback, four

    other factors influence the goals-performance relationship.

     Goal commitment: Goal-setting theory presupposes that an individual is

    committed to the goal.

     Adequate self-efficacy: Self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief that he

    or she is capable of performing a task. The higher your self-efficacy, the

    more confidence you have in your ability to succeed in a task.

     Task characteristics: Individual goal setting does not work equally well on

    all tasks. Goals seem to have a more substantial effect on performance

    when tasks are simple, well-learned, and independent.

     National culture: Goal-setting theory is culture bound and it is well adapted

    to North American cultures.

    8. Intentions, as articulated in terms of hard and specific goals, are a potent

    motivating force. However, there is no evidence that such goals are

    associated with increased job satisfaction.

E. Reinforcement Theory

     1. In contrast to Goal-Setting theory, which is a cognitive approach,

    Reinforcement theory is behavioristic approach. It argues that reinforcement

    conditions behavior.

     Reinforcement theorists see behavior as being environmentally caused.

     Reinforcement theory ignores the inner state of the individual and

    concentrates solely on what happens to a person when he or she takes

    some action.

    2. The two theories are clearly at odds philosophically. Reinforcement is

    undoubtedly an important influence on behavior, but few scholars are prepared

    to argue that it is the only influence.


Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Six

F. Flow and Intrinsic Motivation Theory Notes:

     1. A state of absolute concentration that occurs when doing a favorite activity.

    You lose yourself in the task and often lose track of time. Athletes call this

    being “in the zone.”

    2. A key element of the flow experience is that its motivation is unrelated to end


     When a person experiences the flow he or she is completely intrinsically


     There is extreme concentration during the activity. It is when the individual

    looks back on the experience he or she is flooded with feelings of gratitude

    for the experience.

     It is the desire to repeat the experience that creates continued motivation.

    3. Conditions likely to produce a flow state:

     Task is challenging and require high level of skill

     They were goal directed and received feedback on how they were doing.

     Task demanded total concentration and creativity.

     More often to occur at work than home (flow is not associated with leisure.

    4. A Model of Intrinsic Motivation, as described by Ken Thomas, is an extension

    of the flow concept. He identifies the key elements that create intrinsic

    motivation as:

     Choice: The ability to select task activities that make sense to you and

    perform them as you think appropriate.

     Competence: The accomplishment you feel in skillfully performing task

    activities you have chosen.

     Meaningfulness: The opportunity to pursue a worthy task purpose, that

    matters in the larger scheme of things.

     Progress: Feeling you are making significant advancement in achieving

    the task’s purpose.

    5. Studies with managerial staff demonstrate that these four components are

    significantly related to improved job satisfaction and increased performance.

G. Equity Theory

     1. What role does equity play in motivation? An employee with several years

    experience can be frustrated to find out that a recent college grad hired at a

    salary level higher than he or she is currently earnings, causing motivation

    levels to drop. Why?

    2. Employees make comparisons of their job inputs and outcomes relative to

    those of others. (See Exhibit 6-7).

     If we perceive our ratio to be equal to that of the relevant others with whom

    we compare ourselves, a state of equity is said to exist. We perceive our

    situation as fair.

     When we see the ratio as unequal, we experience equity tension.


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