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Siemens – Motivation within a creative environment

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Motivation is an internal process that directs and maintains behavior as well as actions and can cause someone to move towards a certain goal or satisfy a need. Examples for motivation are for instance a person who is willing to spend many hours studying and doing internships during holidays, because he or she is motivated by the desire for achievement or status. A further example is the motivation of money or for example the desire to buy a new car that motivates a person to work more hours for higher pay. In contrast to that a person can also accept to have a job with lower pay but therefore with a higher meaning, because he or she is motivated by the need to find meaning in life. Creative surroundings stimulate and motivate people who work in the field of design like engineering. Siemens tries that by empowering them to improve processes as well as they are given the opportunity to learn new things and to progress within the company. Explain why Taylorism is an inappropriate theory of motivation for engineers within a modern workplace setting.

Taylorism refers to methods of management developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor in early twentieth century. This theory focuses on the idea that workers are motivated mainly by pay and that the incentive in form of additional pay for additional work motivates workers and results in greater output. This system rewarded those who produced the most. The adoption of this approach to motivation leads to an improvement in productivity. However, an engineer’s job is more about thinking and designing. The creation of a product is very different from its production. Engineers need to think about new ways to do things in order to get innovations. Often money isn’t the main motivator for them, but more non-monetary things like training to handle new technologies. The result, respectively the output, of the designing process may be an innovation that reduces costs of producing a product and be therefore valuable for the company. In contrast, Taylorism requires people to work at a very fast pace, encouraging the employee not to have to think as their managers had break down production into a series of small tasks for which they get proper training and tools. So Taylorism focuses on physical work than on thinking.

Furthermore, the simple equation of Taylor to pay for output is not for many types of work applicable, because the output or results cannot be measured easily, especially if they are intangible. For example, the output of work involving application of intellectual capabilities, like for engineers, cannot be measured easily. Moreover, it is often difficult to determine the contribution of individuals when they work in teams and therefore the reward system of Taylor is not applicable for engineers. Motivation is an essential part of the modern workplace, but Taylorism would not encourage the creative thinking of skilled employees like engineers. What are the similarities and differences between the theories of Maslow and Herzberger? Both theories, Frederick Herzberg’s two factor theory and Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, determine the criteria of what motivates people. The similarities of these theories are that Herzberg’s hygiene idea corresponds with Maslow’s lower needs (psychological, safety) i.e. they both have the same criteria (basic pay, work conditions etc…).

Also, Herzberg’s idea of motivators corresponds with Maslow’s upper needs (self-esteem and self-actualization) i.e. they both have the same criteria (recognition, growth, achievement etc…). Furthermore, as seen in the case, both theories can be applied in modern engineering environment In contrast to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which he derived from long experience about human needs, Herzberg’s theory has been developed on empirical basis. While his theory is based on the use of motivators (achievement, recognition, promotion), which are external factors to motivate individuals, Maslow’s concept is based on self-motivation (self-esteem, self-fulfillment) and the satisfaction of human needs. The five levels have to be fulfilled consecutively, whereas Herzberg identifies two levels, the hygiene factors (lower level) which dissatisfy employees and the motivating factors. Herzberg’s theory has no hierarchical arrangement of needs within the factors.

His theory is more applicable to developed countries, whereas Maslow’s theory is quiet popular and applicable for both developed and undeveloped countries, where money is still a main motivation. Further, all the needs of Maslows’s hierarchy can act as motivators, unlike to Herzberg’s model, where hygiene factors are not motivators. The fulfilling of the lower level needs doesn’t lead to satisfaction or motivation, only to not being dissatisfied. How does a company like Siemens benefit from the use of motivation theories to influence its management. The right understanding and use of motivation theories can influence the management style, decisions and strategies of corporations like Siemens. The theories help to develop and implement effective policies and strategies for attracting the right employees for the organization, to retain them in the organization, and to motivate them by identifying and meeting their needs so that as a last consequence the employees help to achieve the organizational objectives.

Furthermore, motivation theories determine the compensation and rewarding schemes of the company and support the management to design jobs that provide maximum job satisfaction to the employees. Using the motivation theories right can lead to motivated employees which means low absenteeism, better performance, more efficiency and productivity, good reputation as well as loyal employees who can pass their know-how. A company can benefit from the result of motivated employees. So Siemens motivates its employees according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs by providing opportunities to fulfil their higher-order needs, which is very important to especially skilled and creative workers like engineers. In order to improve self-esteem, Siemens runs schemes in order to reward suggestions and projects for improvement.

To achieve the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization, engineers take responsibility for their own jobs. Further, Siemens offers staff training and development opportunities. Siemens managers also try to balance dissatisfiers against satisfiers according to Herzberg’s theory. To reduce this factor, Siemens knows that they have to manage policies and procedures that may cause dissatisfaction. As a main motivator for engineers, Siemens uses the empowerment. To sum up, Siemens employees are motivated by being recognized for their achievements and by having opportunities for progression, regardless of the level at which they started working for Siemens.

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