Motivation - how Egg unleashes the power of people
An Egg case study

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Page 4: Motivational theory

Egg4Over the years, many theorists have tried to discover what motivates people. The most well-known are Taylor (1856-1917), Mayo (1880-1949), Maslow (1908-1970), McGregor (1906-1964) and Herzberg (1923-2000). Of course, motivation is so important that new theories are constantly being developed (Egg, for instance, uses McClelland's Three Social Motives) but these are all built on the work of the early theorists.

Taylor - Scientific Management

The first of these is FW Taylor's Scientific Management Theory. Taylor was an American who worked with Henry Ford and may be said to be responsible for the first production lines. He believed money was the only motivator and that there should be a 'carrot and stick' approach. This means that for those who worked hard enough there would be rewards, but for those who didn't, penalties would be imposed. Other theorists realised that this was not always the way to get the best out of people.

Mayo - Hawthorne Effect

Elton Mayo did not accept that money was the only motivator and he carried out the Hawthorne Experiments at a plant in Chicago to try to discover what really drove people. His Relay Assembly Test proved that workers were inspired by directing their own work, working in teams and having a good relationship with management. He concluded that the main reason his subjects' work rate increased was because they were being studied. Having someone show an interest in you is, in itself, a motivating factor.

He also found that people were driven when working in teams. People are also influenced by their own aspirations and by friendship groups, and managers can use these to assist in motivation. What Mayo called the psychological contract refers to the unwritten understanding between the employer and the employee - each knows what is expected of them. This can be built on to ensure that the workers and the business are reaching their potential.

Maslow - Hierarchy of Needs

Chart3AH Maslow was an American psychologist who believed that people worked in order to obtain certain things. He established a 'hierarchy of needs', as shown in the figure, stating that people would endeavour to reach each need in order, starting from the bottom. Once they had reached a level, they would then strive to achieve the next one.

McGregor - Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor studied how employers and employees could each have a view of work. He called the traditional way of working Theory X. Here, the employer pays the money, supervises the worker and gives instructions; the worker does the job, asks no questions and accepts the pay. This he balanced with what he called Theory Y. This is where most people are satisfied with their employment and take responsibility. McGregor believed that most workers are the Theory Y type and that if people could be treated this way, firms would be more efficient.

Herzberg - Hygiene factors

Frederick Herzberg came to similar conclusions to Mayo. Asking workers what motivated them, he ascertained that the main things were a 'job well done', a feeling of being appreciated, trust, responsibility and specific rewards, such as being promoted. Certain conditions, which Herzberg called 'hygiene' factors, were de-motivators if they were missing or inadequate. Pay and working conditions are two of the main ones, meaning that satisfactory surroundings are not necessarily motivators, but inferior environments are certainly de-motivators.

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