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Different motivation theories and techniques for encourage team

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In an ideal situation, every organization needs to ensure that the full potential of each employee is utilized for reaching the organizational goals or objectives. One of the approaches to realize the latter may be that the focus should not only be on employees as individuals but rather as members of the team(s).
A team is a group of people with complementary skills required to achieve a particular goal. Members of a team will not always be in good terms with each other and thus the team’s performance may be negatively affected (among other contributing factors) in those instances. The manager will need to motivate, build and encourage this team to perform at its best. The motivational theories, techniques, and team building will be discussed in detail in this portfolio, as part of the broader aspects of team motivation.

1.Motivational theories

9) define motivation as the will and desire that a person has to engage in a particular behavior or perform a particular task. Coggburn and Kearney (2016:183) define the motivation as the drive individuals experience to satisfy perceived need deficiencies. The process of motivation or motivation cycle consists of three interdependent elements which are the need, drive, and goal. The motivation theories fall into three categories which are the content, process theories, and reinforcement theories.
Content motivation theories focus on identifying people’s needs in order to understand what motivates them (Personnel Development and Communication in the Public Sector: (Motsoeneng, 2015:73).
The process theories of motivation attempt to explain why people with a particular need move in a particular direction, persistently to reduce tension created by a need (Gómez-Mejía et al 2010:511–516). Coggburn and Kearney (2016:185) mention that process motivation theories explore how different motivational forces interact in ways that motivate the individual. The examples of this theory are the expectancy theory and the equity theory.
The reinforcement theory highlights how subordinates’ needs are to be satisfied because it motivates them to increase their performance. The reinforcement theory plays a prominent role in changing behavior to satisfy needs and to repeat positive behavior (Gómez-Mejía et al 2010:516–520). This theory uses behavior modification (to persuade subordinates to do what you want them to do) and operant conditioning (types and schedules of reinforcement). The two important considerations in modifying behavior are the types of reinforcement and the scheduling of such reinforcement (Personnel Development and Communication in the Public Sector: (Motsoeneng, 2015:73).
For the purposes of this portfolio, the content motivation theories will be discussed.

2. Content Motivation Theories

The Alderfer’s ERG theory, Herzberg’s Hygiene two-factor theory, Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs and McClelland theory of motivation are the four theories of motivations that are the pillars of the content motivation theories.

2.1 Alderfer’s ERG theory

Alderfer’s ERG theory groups human needs into three broad categories, namely existence, relatedness and growth (Gómez-Mejía et al. 2010:509–510). These needs correspond with Maslow‘s physiological and security needs (Personnel Development and Communication in the Public Sector: (Motsoeneng, 2015:74). According to this theory, an employee’s behavior is motivated by more than one need simultaneously.
The team members who are not in good terms with each other may have been affected by the frustration-regression need that they did not satisfy the higher order need and thus regress to the lower level need. The manager must find out as to what the higher order needs of each employee are so that he/she can address those that are possible to address. The manager must also put systems in place to recognize and reward the positive accomplishments.

2.2 Herzberg’s Hygiene two-factor theory

Herzberg (Gómez-Mejía et al. 2010:508) conducted a study of motivation among accountants and engineers, using the critical incident method to collect data for analysis. The participants of the study were asked about their positive and negative feelings about their work. Herzberg came to a conclusion that, the motivator and hygiene factors, are the two factors (intrinsic and extrinsic) that influence the employee motivation and satisfaction (Burke et al. 2013: 218). While motivator and hygiene factors both influenced motivation, they appeared to work completely independently of each other, according to Herzberg’s findings. While motivator factors increased employee satisfaction and motivation, the absence of these factors did not necessarily cause dissatisfaction. Likewise, the presence of hygiene factors did not appear to increase satisfaction and motivation but their absence caused an increase in dissatisfaction.
In order to optimize the operations towards reaching the goals of the organization, the manager must first deal with the issues that cause dissatisfaction by providing the benefits offered by the organization to satisfy the hygiene needs of the employees and then focus on the individuals and what they want out of their employment in an organization. The manager must make the employees feel appreciated and supported and make sure they understand how they can grow and progress through the organization. The employees are different in that what motivates one person might not motivate the other. The employees need the best possible working conditions and a fair salary. The manager must make sure that he/she continually pays attention to the team and forms supportive relationship with them.

2.3. Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs

The core of the Maslow’s theory is that individuals’ most basic needs must be met before they become motivated to achieve higher level needs (Nwanko and Gbadamosi, 2011:28). These basic needs physiological (e.g. food), safety (e.g. health), social needs (e.g. friendship), esteem needs (e.g. need to be respected) and self-actualization needs (e.g. full development of individuals potential). According to the hierarchy of needs, an individual must be in good health, safe and secure with meaningful relationships and confidence before he/she is able to be the most that he/she can be (Swanepoel et al. 2014:361-362).
The team that is not performing well can be made to realize the importance of the job that they are doing, as individuals and as a team, with the impact that their job has on those that are receiving their services/products. The manager needs to assess the origin of the conflict(s) between the team members that are not in good terms with each other and address it with the relevant team members, with the agreements (from the conflict resolution) recorded in writing. The manager needs to support the team members (where relevant) in other aspects outside work. An example may be that of being flexible in terms of working hours so that the employees/team members can also focus on their social lives. The manager needs to show the team members the value of their role in their organization and also make the team member feel respected and motivated to work harder and as a team.

2.4 McClelland theory of motivation

This theory states that people are motivated by their needs, but it defines needs as achievement, power, and affiliation. This theory states that needs are based on personality and are developed as people interact with the environment. All people possess the need for achievement, power, and affiliation, but in different degrees (Personnel Development and Communication in the Public Sector: Motsoeneng, 2015:79).
The manager must make sure that he/she provides concrete feedback on the performance of the team and its individuals and also encourage the team and its members to take responsibility for solving problems. The manager also needs to motivate the team members by encouraging creativity and supporting new ideas. Furthermore, the spirit of confronting others within the team members who are not in good terms with each other must also be aligned to the good motives from the confrontation in pursuit of a good and positive outcome. The need for affiliation must also be met by the manager via providing time for social/team activities and building a close relationship (creating positive team spirit) among the team members.

3. Motivation techniques

There are multiple techniques that can be applied to assist the team members who are not in good terms with each other. In this portfolio, the motivation techniques of giving praise and job enrichment will be discussed.

3.1 Giving praise

In the 1940s, Lawrence Lindahl conducted a survey which revealed what people want most from a job is a full appreciation for work done. One simple and powerful way to increase productivity is through praise and recognition. Developing a technique that involves giving one-minute feedback of praise is important (Blanchard & Johnson, 1998). The manager of the organization must make it a habit to continue recognizing good performance by giving praise at any given time where it is due. This praise giving may also motivate other employees to want to perform better for the praise recognition. Giving praise is also considered to be a better motivator than giving raise or another monetary reward.

3.2 Job enrichment

Job enrichment is the process of building motivators into the job itself by making it more interesting and challenging (Personnel Development and Communication in the Public Sector: (Motsoeneng, 2015: 94).
The manager of the organization referred to in this portfolio may propose to the employees to come up with the ideas on how they can make their work exciting with autonomy. All the proposed ideas from the employees may be discussed by all the team members (inclusive of the manager) and the feasible ones implemented.

4. Team building

Team building is a collective term for various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, often involving collaborative tasks (Hackman, 2002).
In most situations, a team building programme is undertaken when a concern, problem, issue, challenge or set of symptoms leads the manager to believe that the effectiveness of the department is not at par (Dyer, 1994:103-103). Team building focuses on intact work groups and strives to develop the ability of managers to work together with groups on the type of tasks they face each day (Swanepoel et al. 2014:605). The team members in this portfolio are not in good terms with each and they are not performing well. This is also part of the motivation for the manager to undertake the team building programme.
The team referred to in this portfolio, does not properly carry out the work and also show a general lack of interest towards its performance. This statement is also supportive as a trigger for the team building as part of the organizational development techniques. The difficulty among team members is also one of the most widely observed symptoms of a negative and unmotivated team. This difficulty has manifested itself in this portfolio group in that there are characteristics of personality conflicts and that the team members might have different philosophies, goals, and values as they do not perform well.
The team-building programme begins when a problem is identified. The manager should gather his team to determine the causes of the problem analyze the problem and make a referral on what is wrong and the cause of the problem. After this conclusion, the team should then engage in planning and problem-solving. Actions should be planned and roles and functions assigned to team members. The team building activity will assist the team to come up with more effective ways of working together if every team member buys into the concept of the team building. Team building activity is not a single event, but an on-going process that should take place until the team members find a common ground (Personnel Development and Communication in the Public Sector: (Motsoeneng, 2015: 144).



Employees are the main resource in any organization and are vital to the achievement of the organizational goals. The manager/leader needs to be a good communicator, use different combinations of motivational theories, motivational techniques and adapt them to his/her motivation strategy towards his organization, for achieving great results. Teams and individuals need to be continuously motivated and supported in order to contribute to the growth of the organization. Managers need to be flexible and open-minded to accommodate the different needs of the employees and also provide an enabling environment for the maximum performance of the team members (individually and as a collective) to achieve better results.

List of references

Blanchard, K. and Johnson, S. 1998. The One Minute Manager. New York, N.Y.: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Burke R.J., Noblet A.J. and Cooper C.L. 2013. Human Resource Management in the Public Sector. United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.
Coggburn, J.D. and Kearney, R.C. 2016. Public Human Resource Management: Problems and Prospects. USA: SAGE publications.
Dyer, W.G. 1995. Team Building: Current issues and new alternatives the USA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
Gómez-Mejίa, L.R., Balkin, D.B. and Cardy, R.L. 2010. Management. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Hackman, J. R. 2002. Leading teams: Setting the stage for greater performances. New York: Harvard Business School Press
King, D. and Lawley, S. 2013. Organizational behavior. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Nwanko, S. and Gbadamosi, A. 2011. Entrepreneurship Marketing: Principles and Practise of SME Marketing. Ney York: Routledge.
Swanepoel, B.J., Erasmus, B.J., Schenk, H.W. and Tshilongamulenzhe H.C. 2014. South African Human Resource Management. Cape Town: Juta and Company Ltd.
UNISA. 2015. Personnel Development and Communication in the Public Sector. Study Guide. Florida: UNISA.

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