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Motivation in the South African context

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IntroductionWe all want to achieve something in our lives and for our dreams to come true, we need to have a very strong desire, the true hunger for success. It doesn’t end here; circumstances are rarely favorable for working on desires and we therefore need motivation to drive us to right path. Motivation may be explicit or may be sometimes implicit. Motivation may be internal or may be external. The definition of the word motivation is broad. It is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal- oriented behavior.

It causes you to act whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge. There are many forces that guide and direct our motivations (Nevid, 2013). Motivating people to perform better and thus to achieve organizational objectives has been considered as the greatest challenge to managers. According to Zedeek (2015) motivation is a tendency to act in a specific good- directed way. This essay will assist in understanding deeply the context of motivation, identify the challenge the South African workforce is experiencing and ascertain how the issue of motivation feature in this situation.

Also exposing the theoretical and empirical issues that are core to the motivation challenge. Theories of motivationOne of the most important factors to achieving success with your small business is the ability to motivate your employees. No two workers are alike. A number of motivational theories have been developed over time that can help you get the most out of your workers (Heryati, 2014). Hierarchy of NeedsThis theory was developed by Psychologist Abraham Maslow. It places human needs into five categories ranging from basic survival needs like food and shelter to the need for self-actualization.

According to Erasmus et al. (2016:356), once one need is satisfied, an individual seeks to achieve the next level. When applied to work, this theory implies that you the employer must understand the current need level of each employee to know what will motivate them. A new hire who has been unemployed for an extended time will likely be motivated by the need for basic survival. On the other hand, a worker concerned with career advancement may be looking to achieve self-actualization, so assigning higher-level tasks may be in order (Erasmas, 2016).

Carrot and StickThis a traditional motivational theory, attributed to philosopher Jeremy Bentham, dates back to around 1800 during the Industrial Revolution. It breaks down motivation into two basic components: incentives and fear. Some workers are motivated by the desire to attain additional compensation, a yearning to achieve status and power by “moving up the ladder,” or the need for praise. But some workers act out of fear: the fear of losing a job, being reprimanded by a supervisor or not being able to adequately perform an assignment (Williams, 2013).

Motivation-Hygiene TheoryAlso known as the Two Factory theory, Frederick Herzberg developed this in 1959. It postulates that different factors in the work environment result in either satisfaction or dissatisfaction; Herzberg referred to these as “hygiene” factors. Factors that lead to satisfaction include achievement, recognition and advancement, while those causing dissatisfaction include work conditions, salary and peer relationships. In general, the theory puts forth that supervisors must be able to effectively manage factors leading to satisfaction and dissatisfaction to successfully motivate employees.

Management must look for ways to provide job enrichment for work. Small business owners and their employees face many challenges in the workplace. While a company owner can strive to make their working environment as ideal as possible, there are still many examples of challenges at the workplace that may affect their employees. By being aware of these challenges, company owners can set up policies to handle different issues as they occur (Strydom, 2016:358). Challenges experienced by South African firms.

Motivation is important in the firms because it impacts mental and physical human reactions. Highly-motivated individuals and staff have a willingness to get the job done efficiently and effectively, resulting in higher productivity, increased revenue, cost savings and satisfied employees and business owners. Employees and staff with low motivation tend to work slower, without regard for productivity or efficiency, and end up costing the firm money. Low motivation can be caused by a lack of direction or purpose, and can sometimes be reversed by the introduction of goals (Williams, 2013).

Small business owners and their employees face many challenges in the workplace. While a company owner can strive to make their working environment as ideal as possible, there are still many examples of challenges at the workplace that may affect their employees. By being aware of these challenges, company owners can set up policies to handle different issues as they occur (Heryati, 2014). Though the workforce have changed greatly over the years and many employers prefer female employees, there are still few imbalances that remain.

It is true that it’s often harder for women and especially single mothers to have these two ‘jobs’ but there’s no reason for it to minimize from her performance in either. It may mean harder work and higher demands, but any driven individual regardless of gender will rise to these occasions and aspire to the success of all aspects of their life. In fact, this duality in their lives can be an advantage that makes women more suitable for certain leadership roles.

Another common perception in the workplace is the assumption that women are not able to handle stress as well as their male counterparts or that women are not educated enough. Furthermore, when women temporarily leave the workforce to have children they are often not provided with the same opportunity when they return, as it is now assumed that their family will take top priority (Barselaar, 2013). In this regard motivation has to take its course, women should understand that they also can be able to stand up on their toes and do what they are not considered to be able to do.

While women are individuals foremost, we cannot stereotype what motivates them. But we can learn a lot from what women share with us. The best way to motivate women is by making mentoring a must that is providing opportunities to align themselves with a corporate leader who can coach and guide them professionally. Some women advance faster and stronger with sponsorship. When a female employee truly goes above and beyond, a cash bonus may not always be the best way to recognize the achievement (Saunderson, 2011). Lack of Confidence in the Company

If employees don’t feel the company is “going anywhere,” or perceive the business is mismanaged to the potential job loss, this feeling of insecurity can manifest as poor motivation. Signs of this lack of confidence may be demonstrated in the following ways, disinterest in long-term projects, unwillingness to cross-train or develop professionally, high turnover as people search for new jobs (McQuerrey, 2015). Workplace Conflict When employees are at odds with one another, or with management, it’s not only demotivating, it’s also unproductive and could lead to a toxic work environment.

The signs of work conflict may include bickering and open disagreement, open sabotage of the work product (McQuerrey, 2015). No One-on-One Attention Regardless of the company’s size, employees need regular feedback to be motivated to do their jobs properly, and well. Some things that might make a staffer feel left out in the cold include, no regular performance evaluations, irregular one-on-one management meetings, lack of personal goal-setting, the absence of regular feedback (McQuerrey, 2015). It is sometimes easier to motivate employees but depends on how patient you are with them.

The way you can go with this is by listening to them, having sincere respect for what they do and understanding that they have families as well (Bailey, 2018). Keeping employees motivated and engaged can help boost morale, reduce turnover and create a more dynamic and profitable operation. While different things motivate different people, there are several demotivating practices that can negatively impact your business. Recognizing and correcting these issues can help improve your organization on numerous (McQuerrey, 2015). The theoretical issues that are core to the motivation challenge.

Firm owners have always been concerned with how best to motivate employees, producing different philosophies of motivation of motivation based on rewards and punishments or inspiring employees to do more through other means (Thompson, 2003). Maslow was a clinical psychologist, and his theory was not originally designed for work settings. In fact, his theory was based on his observations of individuals in clinical settings; some of the individual components of the theory found little empirical support. One criticism relates to the order in which the needs are ranked.

It is possible to imagine that individuals who go hungry and are in fear of their lives might retain strong bonds to others, suggesting a different order of needs. Moreover, researchers failed to support the arguments that once a need is satisfied it no longer serves as a motivator and that only one need is dominant at a given time (Neher, 1991). There are many misconceptions about motivation, like although some are motivated by extrinsic rewards some are not. This idea is argued by Morse (2003) in his own view of Chip Heath’s study of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.

The conclusion is that an extrinsic incentive bias exists and is, in fact wide-spread among managers and employees. Individuals assume that others are driven more by extrinsic rewards than intrinsic ones. This has been shown to be false assumption. Some people are just not motivated. Everyone is motivated by something, the problem for managers is that “that something” may not be directed toward the job. This creates challenges for managers who must try to redirect the employee’s energies toward job-related behaviors (Manion, 2005:283). People are motivated by money.

When motivation is not high enough it is a de-motivator. In contrast, when it is too high, it also seems to be a de-motivator and results in individual performance being tempered to protect the higher compensation level. Employees tend to rank pay as less important than other motivators. This is supported by the 1999 Hay group study, where 500,000 employees ranked fair pay and benefits as the least important of 10 motivating factors that keep them committed to staying with their companies (Manion, 2005). Motivational people are born, not made.

Studies reveal that people are not born to motivate. Manion (2005) states that anyone can become an effective motivator. It simply takes an understanding of the theories and basic principles, as well as desires to develop these skills. Motivations is manipulation. Manipulation carries negative implications and in contrast motivation is positive and benefits both management and employee (Manion, 2005). Expectancy theory has a core problem, instead of describing difficulties of employee motivation it uses difficult languages to describe a simple view of why employees try.

It says that work hard to get something in return, but that something might come down the line in a way that is unrelated to the project on which they worked hard in the first place (Lander, 2005). The problem with the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. “None of these needs starting with basic survival on up are possible without social connection and collaboration…. Without collaboration, there is no survival. It was not possible to defeat a Woolley Mammoth, build a secure structure, or care for children while hunting without a team effort. It’s more true now than then.

Our reliance on each other grows as societies became more complex, interconnected, and specialized. Connection is a prerequisite for survival, physically and emotionally” (Rutledge, 2012). Maslow’s model needs rewiring so it matches our brains. Belongingness is the driving force of human behavior, not a third tier activity. The system of human needs from bottom to top, shelter, safety, sex, leadership, community, competence and trust, are dependent on our ability to connect with others. Belonging to a community provides the sense of security and agency that makes our brains happy and helps keep us safe (Rutledge, 2012).

ERG theory’s main contribution to the literature is its relaxation of Maslow’s assumptions. For example, ERG theory does not rank needs in any particular order and explicitly recognizes that more than one need may operate at a given time. Moreover, the theory has a “frustration-regression” hypothesis suggesting that individuals who are frustrated in their attempts to satisfy one need may regress to another. For example, someone who is frustrated by the growth opportunities in his job and progress toward career goals may regress to relatedness need and start spending more time socializing with coworkers.

The implication of this theory is that we need to recognize the multiple needs that may be driving individuals at a given point to understand their behavior and properly motivate them (Alderfer, 1969). The empirical issues that are core to the motivation issueMotivational problems can lead to performance issues that cost a business thousands of rands in losses each year. A lack of motivation can lead to delays in the employee’s completion of work and simple but expensive mistakes (Nordmeyer, 2016). Low self-confidence

Confidence increases an employee’s motivation, the employee believes that he can perform the tasks necessary to achieve his goals. Confidence contributes to his willingness to persevere and complete tasks. If the employee lacks confidence, he feels unworthy and is unable to make decisions or remain motivated until an objective is done. Lacking confidence the employee is unable to form good work relationships or assert himself, both of which are important if the employee is to be successful in the workplace (Nordmeyer, 2016). Low expectations for success

Positive expectations of success enhance an employee’s motivation. If an employer has a high expectation for an employee, he likely will assign engaging work tasks to the employee. In turn, the employee’s self-esteem increases as does his confidence and on-job performance. Increased self- confidence contributes to the employee’s motivation and willingness to accept future challenging assignments. Whereas low expectations ensure the employee will remain unmotivated and will not perform as well as the employer expects (Nordmeyer, 2016).

Fear of failure If an employee fears failure, he fears a lack of success and will avoid work that he lacks the confidence to complete. The employee perceives a lack of success as a failure, which he believes is confirmation that he is flawed in some way. The more the employee fears failure, the less motivated he will be to perform work or attempt to accomplish goals because it is easier to avoid tasks than experiencing shame due to his failure to complete a task (Nordmeyer, 2016). Solutions to challenges experienced

Employee motivation can have a direct impact on productivity, quality of work and the overall profitability of a company. Keeping employees motivated and engaged can help boost morale, reduce turnover and create a more dynamic and profitable operation. While different things motivate different people, there are several demotivating practices that can negatively impact your business. Recognizing and correcting these issues can help improve your organization on numerous (McQuerrey, 2015).

The employee motivation problem can be solved by writing detailed job descriptions, creating an internal organizational chart and setting clear organizational goals, both individually and by the department. This issue can be addressed on several fronts, including the interviewing stage, when you should strive to ensure the person you hire is a good match for the job. Once someone is in their position, provide proper training and the tools the individual needs to do their job effectively.

If they appear to master tasks quickly or don’t show an interest, consider cross-training, mentoring, job- shadowing or even a different position that better utilizes their talents (McQuerrey, 2015). Resolve workplace conflict by setting clear directives about the types of behavior that will not be tolerated, and taking action accordingly. Address conflict as it arises and set in place a mediation approach to ensure employees have the ability to work out their differences in a professional setting (McQuerrey, 2015) . The issue of employees lacking confidence can be addressed by sharing corporate objectives with staffers.

Develop a strategic long-term business plan and solicit employee feedback. Demonstrate how their roles will be augmented with teamwork and growth to get buy-in about the company’s future. If gossip develops about closure, mergers or other altering factors, communicate sooner rather than later so staffers feel you are being upfront about the company’s future (McQuerrey, 2015). The issue of no one- on- one attention can be resolved by regularly scheduling brief private appointments with staffers to touch base on both work and professional development issues.

Hold regular employee performance reviews, annually or bi-annually, and in these discussions, set specific goals and objectives (McQuerrey, 2015). ConclusionEmployee motivation is directly tied to productivity and operational success. If you are concerned about whether your staffers are motivated, invite them to share their feelings on the subject via a focus group, employee committee or survey. You will generate a lot of feedback you can use to your advantage, as well as reassure employees their input is valued.

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