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Organizational Behavior (OB): Motivation Theories

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Organizational Behavior (OB): Motivation Theories

Motivation is one of the areas in management where maximum research works have conducted. Several theories are proposed in different times to explain the employee motivation. As the motivation process is complex and unpredictable, none of these theories are out of criticism. Here, theories are explained under two categories on the basis of their basic assumption i.e. need or process.

  1. Need based (Historical perspective) theories of motivation: These theories are historical theories in the field of motivation. These theories explain the dynamics of human needs i.e. why people have different needs at different times. These theories are based on human needs.
  2. Process based (Contemporary) theories of motivation: Process based theories explain how needs are translated into behavior. Process based theories helps to understand, predict and influence employee performance, attention, job satisfaction, etc. 

1. Need-based theories (Historical perspectives)

In the initial days, researchers focused only the needs to motivate people. They claim that only unsatisfied needs of employees motivate them. Need based theories are described as below:

 a. Abraham Maslow's need hierarchy theory

This theory was propounded in 1943 A.D. by Abraham Maslow, a psychologist. He argues that it is the needs of the individual that causes motivation. People have various types of needs and to fulfill these needs they stimulate and direct their efforts. According to this theory, these needs form a hierarchy i.e. a ladder or levels emerging on after another, these needs form a hierarchy i.e. a ladder or levels emerging one after another. Once the lower level of need is satisfied, consequently higher level of needs is emerged. Motivation is directed to fulfill the hierarchy of human needs, thus, this theory is known as need hierarchy theory. This theory argues that only the unfulfilled needs of human being motivate them.

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Maslow has divided human needs into five levels and they are fulfilled in an ascending order in a hierarchy from lower level to the higher level. Manager has to identify these levels of needs and create motivation on employees for the need fulfillment. According to Maslow, following major assumptions are important to create motivation in person:

  • Each individuals has different needs. 
  • Needs are established in hierarchy. 
  • Needs can be divided into fulfilled and unfulfilled. 
  • People are motivated only through unfulfilled needs. 
  • People's need and motivation are complex and unpredictable. 
  • People wish to fulfill their lower level needs at first. After the fulfillment of lower level needs, subsequently higher level of needs go on creating. 
The major theme of this theory is that need is the major factor for change in human behavior. People keep on putting their efforts with a desire for fulfilling their needs. Employees are motivated for fulfilling their unsatisfied needs. Hierarchy of needs according to Maslow can be shown as follows:
i. Psychological needs
Human being requires food, shelter, clothes, health needs, human cannot survive. Therefore, these needs are basic needs for life. These needs should be fulfilled at first. According to Maslow, without, fulfilling these needs next level of needs cannot be created. In order to satisfy these needs, organization has to provide sufficient salary and wages at right time, bonus and overtime payments in such a way that their basic expenses must be covered. Likewise, leisure time should be allocated for refreshment in between working hours. 

ii. Security/Safety needs
Once the psychological needs are satisfied people desire to mitigate security or safety needs. Employees want to be safe from various risks and dangers like accidents, financial insolvency and being jobless. They start feeling the need of security from incidents and accidents like ill health, physical and emotional imbalance, poor economic condition, etc. Needs to be secured from such cases are known as safety needs and they are emerged after fulfilling the physiological needs. Safety needs can be categorized into three types as economic safety, physical safety and social safety. Organization must ensure to fulfill such security needs. Following minimum wage pay act, timely increment in wages and salary, provision of provident fund and pension facility, gratuity, life insurance and health insurance facilities and ensuring job security can fulfill these needs. 

iii. Social needs
After fulfillment of physical and safety needs, social needs are emerged. People deserve living in group, valuing one's identity in group or society, like being recognized or praised by other, prefer to achieve collective goal or work in group. Such needs of people are known as social needs. Social needs comprises of affection, belongingness, friendship and social acceptance. In order to fulfill social needs, managers need to increase values of employees integrity, guidance and supervision with respect, creating environment for social interaction, informal groups for collective goal determination, allowing employees for employees unions, sports, picnic, social gathering, etc. 

iv. Ego or esteem needs
Self respect needs get raised after the fulfill of social needs. Needs like self confidence, self respect, freedom, respect, position, power, prestige, authority and participation in decision making, etc. are related to ego or esteem needs. Employees think that such needs give a sense of pride to be an important employee of the organization. Employees with ego needs can be motivated by assigning them various challenging responsibilities. Providing attractive position, involving or participating in decision making process, providing various types of training and development programs, providing incentives, rewards and promotions by appraising performance positively and fairly, providing financial facilities for transportation, telephone, newspaper etc. can motivate employees with ego or self esteem needs.

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v. Self actualization needs
Self actualization needs are achievement oriented needs rather than economic prosperity. Employees having such needs are in search of creative results. They want to work psychologically. They want to present themselves free from formalities like following regular work hours, being responsible and taking permission from director or supervisor, etc. They want to work in a free environment and hence determine their performance level themselves, evaluate and control their activities themselves and initiate corrective actions themselves. Organizations can motivate them by providing work autonomy, leadership opportunity for challenging job performance, praising them for their creativity, providing freedom to present their opinion and plans.

Implications of Maslow's need hierarchy theory
Maslow's need hierarchy theory is considered as the first theory in the filed of motivation through its purpose was to find out the factors required for the general motivation rather than employees in organization. It's implications can be listed as below:

  • Needs of employees can be leveled as lower and higher order needs and hence different motivational techniques can be used to motivate employees having different needs. 
  • This theory advocates that satisfied needs do not motivate employees. Therefore, managers can work out to create new needs to motivate employees. 
  • This is simple to understand and administer. 
Criticism of Maslow's need hierarchy theory
Through this theory is widely used throughout the world, it has some limitations because of which this theory is criticized. Some of the limitations of this theory are as follow:
  • This theory stressed to the sequential creation of needs, only after the fulfillment of one level of need. This means two different level of needs cannot be emerged at a time. But, in reality, employees may have different level needs at a time. 
  • This theory advocates that satisfied needs cannot motivate employees for performance. But, without satisfying needs, job satisfaction will be low and hence employee turnover and absenteeism rate becomes high which further decreases the motivation level. 
  • People have deprived lower level needs but they may have self actualization needs in the real sense.
  • This theory does not explain the direct relationship between need and behavior of the people. 
  • In many cases, people do not concern about their needs and hence for motivation, needs not be identified. 

b. Herzberg's motivations hygiene theory

In the decade of 1950, American management export Fredrick Hertzberg propounded the theory by studying what satisfy human being? And what dissatisfies human being? For this, he studied hundreds of engineers and accountants in his research. Before propounding the theory, it  was believed that by fulfilling employee's need, they could be motivated. Some of the managers were fed up with the situation that employees were not actively involved in their job responsibility though they economically benefited along with other facilities. At that time, Herzberg proposed two factors satisfying the employees and motivating them. He argued that the situation of employee satisfaction cannot be sufficient to motivate them. Thus, Herzberg categorized all factors into two categories as hygiene factors and motivating factors. This theory is also called two factors theory. 

i. Hygiene factors
Hygiene factors satisfy employees but they don't motivate. In simple word, in the absence of hygienic factors, employees get dissatisfied but the presence of this factor doesn't lead to motivation. Since hygiene factors protect from dissatisfaction, they are also known as maintenance factors. After identification of the these factors, the traditional concept employees being satisfied as also motivated came to an end. Hygiene factors help to avoid employees from dissatisfaction. This is just like as the enzymes for the body which protect not to be ill but cannot make fit (cure) from any illness. Hygiene factors are related to job context. These factors are also known as dissatisfier. Following factors are considered as the hygiene factors: 
  • Company policy and administration
  • Work condition
  • Relationship with peers
  • Position
  • Supervision 
  • Relationship with supervisor
  • Salary
  • Personal Life
  • Security
  • Relationship with subordinates
ii. Motivation Factors
Those factors which motivate employees are known as motivation factors. The presence of these factors provides self satisfaction to employees and motivates them for better performance. These factors are related to job content. Following factors are considered as motivation factors:
  • Achievement
  • Challenging job
  • Recognition 
  • Accountability
  • Advancement
  • Job growth
Herzberg's two factor theory can be closely compared to Maslow's need hierarchy theory. Maslow's need hierarchy's lower three levels i.e. physiological needs, safety needs and social needs can be compared to Herzberg's factor whereas top two levels of needs can be compared with motivation factors. 

Implication of Herzberg's two factors theory
Herberg's two factor theory is applicable in many jobs. Its implications are listed below:
  • It focuses in the job enrichment as factor of motivation. So, managers can be aware of job. 
  • The two factor theory stresses upon guaranteeing the hygiene factors to avoid employee dissatisfaction. 
  • This theory encourages managers to make the job stimulating and rewarding so that the employees get motivation to perform harder and better. 
  • This theory emphasize upon job-enrichment so as to motivate the employees. 
  • Focusing on the motivational factors can improve work quality. 
Limitations of Herzerg's two factors theory
This theory has the following limitations:
  • This theory overlooks situational variables. 
  • Herzberg assumed a correlation between satisfaction and productivity. But the research conducted by Herzberg stressed upon satisfaction and ignored productivity. 
  • The theory's reliability is uncertain. Analysis has to be made by the raters. 
  • No comprehensive measure of satisfaction was used. An employee may find his job acceptable despite the fact that she/he may hate job. 
  • This theory is not free from bias as it is based on the natural reaction of employees. Employee may blame dissatisfaction on the external factors such as salary structure, company policies and peer relationship. They may give credit to themselves for the satisfaction factor at work. 

c. McClelland's need achievement theory

This theory propounded by McClelland and associates in 1990 A.D. They studied the reason or factors that motivated human being and identified three factors responsible for motivation. They forwarded three elements that affected motivation. Thus, this theory is also known as three factor theory. According to the theory, following elements needs are required to motivate the people:

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i. Need for achievement
Once, the employee enters in the organization, they give priority in achieving organizational goal rather than their own goal. They focus their effort in the hope of fulfilling, various achievements after accomplishing their determined goal or targets. This means, they have achievement needs which motivate them to work. According to this theory, more the achievement from job performance higher will be the level of motivation. Generally, employees like to do easy and regular jobs because the achievement is like to do easy and regular jobs because the achievement is predetermined to fixed and known and is received spontaneously after the completion of job. 

ii. Need for affiliation
Employees are social being so they like to live and work in group and share their ideas, love and affection. This need is known as affiliation need. Employees work in the hope to establish harmonious relation and receive affection form other employees and managers. In another words, employees are motivated to establish social relationship in organization. Organization has to focus on group effort. Managers should be aware for creating such an environment that each employee, supervisor or managers of any level feel the family relation in the organization. Employees expect guardianship behavior from the supervisors and managers. In summary, this theory highlights on the harmonious relationship among employees and management so that employees can be motivated. 

iii. Need for power
Each people wants to influence other by using their power and authority. So, they think certain authority is necessary in the organization along with the responsibility. With such authority, they want to supervise, inspect and direct subordinates. If it is certain to receive the power, they will be motivated for job performance. They wish for certain responsibility and authority. Therefore, to motivate employees with power need, responsibility has to be ascertained on the basis of qualification, capability, skill, experience and desire. On the basis of importance of relevancy of responsibility, specific authority should also be provided. 

Implication of McClelland need achievement theory:
McClelland's need achievement theory has important implications for the motivation of employees in the following context:
  • Managers can understand the basic or dominant needs of their employees to be able to motivate them. 
  • This gives idea regarding the people who have a high need for achievement may respond to goals, those with a high need for power may attempt to gain influence over those they work with, and individuals high in their need for affiliation may be motivated to gain the approval of their peers and supervisors. 

d. ERG theory

Clayton Alderfer has propounded this theory of motivation in 1969. This theory is also based on the needs of employees. This theory is also taken as an improved version of Maslow's need hierarchy theory of motivation. He has stated that factors affecting three needs i.e. existence need, relatedness need and growth need come in a hierarchy. He has classified need into hierarchy of three levels which Maslow has classified into five stated that more than one need could be seen at a time. Another important aspect of this theory is the presence of frustration regression dimension. This assumes that someone who is frustrated by the growth opportunities in his or her job and progress toward career goals may regress to relatedness need and start spending more time socializing with coworkers. This points out that lower and higher level needs can be emerged together in a person and if a needs. But, this theory is unable to direct the human behavior prediction.

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i. Existence need
Existence is the state of survival or being alive which is the primary need of human being. Other activities are possible only when one survives. Thus, the primary need of the employees is the guarantee of factors required for their survival. Employees require food, shelter, clothing, health, education, etc. to protect their existence. For the fulfillment of these factors, employees continue putting their effort. Appropriate salary, bonus, wages etc. fulfill the minimum level of needs for survival. Likewise, employees feel the need of job security. Employees are motivated to perform their responsibility at the optimum level for security of their job. This means, for the employees having existence need should ensure that their job will be secured. Economic, physical and job security should be guaranteed for the motivation of employees. 

ii. Relatedness need
Employees prefer to work in a familiar environment i.e. the environment with mutual respect and trust. As social being, they want to establish harmonious relationship with employees and management. They want to be recognized, praised and preferred by others. Their efforts must be trusted and acknowledged by supervisors, managers and overall management team. They can be motivated by providing congenial environment for group work, providing collective responsibility and goal, collective benefits and existence to fulfill this level of needs. 

iii. Growth need
Growth is related to the personal development of individual in terms of career and economic status. Every employee targets to achieve something in terms of position, responsibility and authority, social and economic status in their life. Growth need is associated to prestige, power, creativity, self development etc. To achieve these goals, they desire for various type of career development opportunities. Maslow's ego and self actualization need are kept as growth needs in this theory. 

Implications of ERG theory of motivation
This theory of motivation has the following important implications: 
  • This theory has give the relaxation of Maslow's assumptions of need hierarchy theory. 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. 
  • This theory has a "frustration regression hypothesis" which suggests that individuals who are frustrated in their attempts to satisfy one need may regress to another need. 
  • Most important implication of this theory is that managers need to recognize the multiple needs that may be driving individuals to their behavior and properly motivate them. 

2. Process based or contemporary theories of motivation

Need based theories do not explain the process of motivation. They explain only factors which affect on the motivation. But process based theories of motivation explain who employees get motivated. Some process based motivation theories are explained below:

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a. The equity theory

This theory is propounded by J. Stacey Adams. In this theory, he has focused on the similar or justifiable behavior rather than need fulfillment for the motivation. Every person desires to be behaved or treated in an equitable and justifiable manner. Every person evaluates own effort and outcome ratio with those of others. If the ratio is equal to sell before, ratio of other's within organization and other's outside the organization are equal, there is a situation of equality. In this situation, employees are motivated. In the ratio are dissimilar, they may be demotivated. Some of the important elements of this theory are explained as below:

i. Input
The effort for job performance given by employees in the organization is the input. Education, skill, experience, job effort, training, age, personality, time, work efficiency, job performance, presence etc. are the input of employees. 
ii. Output
Economic and non-economic benefit received by an employee from the organization for job performance is the output. Salary, bonus, recognition, appreciation, promotion, freedom, values and assumption, job environment, job security, responsibility, authority, facility etc. are some examples of output. 
iii. Referents or comparison
Reference person is the main element of this theory. The person with whom the employee compares the ration of input to output is known as reference person. Sometimes, a group also can be reference. Reference person can be as under:
  • Self - inside: Own experience and output at other position inside the current organization. 
  • Self outside: Experience and output at the same position in previous organization. 
  • Other inside: Other person or group inside the current organization. 
  • Other outside: Other person or group outside from the current organization. 
iv. Comparison
Each person compares input-output ratio with reference ratio. This is to note that the comparison is not on the individual input and output but it is with the final ratio. Any person is not concerned with how much he/she and other gets but is concerned with how much I got from the effort given with others effort and output or benefit.

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For motivation, there must be a condition of equality. If a person is motivated due to equality, there will be continuation of the current job but if there is inequality condition, employees will be motivated. The other aspect of this theory is that if there is inequality, it creates tension which motivates to change the behavior of person. 
Managers must identify the condition of equality and try to reduce the condition of inequality if any. There may be following six strategies to reduce the inequality:
  • Change in input
  • Change in output
  • Change in the understanding of input and output
  • Change in the understanding of referents input and output
  • Leave the comparing ground or keep oneself separate
  • Change the referents
Major assumptions of equality theory
  • Perceived inequality creates tension to an individual. 
  • Tension is the proportionate to the magnitude of inequality. 
  • Perceived tension motivates to reduce it. 
  • Reducing tension like that. 

b. Vroom's expectancy theory

Expectancy theory was first explained by Victor H. Vroom in 1964 A.D in his book entitled "Work and Motivation". He corrected the mistakes presented in the thought of human relatedness and argued that it was high productivity which provided the maximum satisfaction. This says that motivation can be presented in a mathematical way and further says that motivation is the result of multiplication between the expectancy value and instrumentality. 
In this theory, following three relationships are established:

i. Effort - performance relationship
Employees put their effort if they expect that they can produce a high level of performance. If they don't believe in providing high level of performance, then they won't put their effort. In another words, employees are motivated with expectancy of high level performance. Higher the magnitude of this expectancy, higher will be motivation. In conclusion, beliefs and expectations in employees high level performance create motivation. It is used as an instrument.

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ii. Performance - Reward relationship
There is expectation of high level of benefit i.e. reward from high level of performance. If employees believe that high level of benefit can be received from high level of job performance, they will be motivated for better performance. But, if they don't believe so, they won't be motivated. This means it is the expectation of benefit or reward that creates motivation within an employee. Level of motivation depends on the level of beliefs and expectation of receiving benefit or reward. This is taken as expectancy. 

iii. Reward personal goal relationship
The next important factor that affects employee's motivation is the valance. The expectation to receive reward may also make difference in their level of satisfaction or valance. Higher the level of reward expectation i.e. valance, higher will be the level of motivation. In contrast, lower the level of valance, lower will be motivation. Expectancy theory has identified following factors for high level of motivation. 
  • Strong expectation that high effort makes affective job perception. 
  • Instrumentality that effective job performance will provide attractive rewards. 
  • Value that attractive reward fulfills personal goal of employees. 

c. Goal setting theory of motivation

Ed locks has propounded goal setting theory. This theory has focused on the goal set by the individual that creates motivation. For high level of motivation, manager has to assign clear and challenging goal to the employees. For the attainment of those goals, employees have to committed with greater motivation. Commitment leads to high performance. Employee's participation must be ensured while determining the clear and challenging goals. Employees participation is a must otherwise over ambitious goals set by management above the capacity of employees attainment may create the frustration in them. Apart from this feedback mechanism should be developed. In conclusion, goal setting theory focuses on the following points:
  • Goal determination through participation. 
  • Employees self efficacy. 
  • Cultural adaptation in goal setting. 

d. Self determination theory

"Self determination theory proposes that people prefer to feel they have control over their actions, so anything that makes previously enjoyed ask feel more like an obligation than freely chosen activity will undermine motivation." "This is a theory motivation that is concerned with the beneficial effects of intrinsic motivation and the harmful effects of extrinsic motivation."  Self determination theory explains that extrinsic rewards reduce the intrinsic motivation or interest at job. For instance, if people are paid for their job, they feel more about what they have to do rather than what they want to do. Thus, managers should focus on praising and acknowledging the real effort of employees to satisfy and motivate at work.

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e. Self efficacy theory

Albert Bandura proposed the self efficacy theory. Self efficacy is an individual's belief that the he or she is capable of performing the given task. The higher efficacy of employees increases their confidence level to accomplish job at given standard of quality and time. "In difficult situation, people with low self efficacy are more likely to lessen their effort or give up altogether, which those with high self efficacy will be harder to master the challenge." "Self efficacy can create a positive spiral in which those with high efficacy become more engaged in their task and then, in turn, increase performance, which increases efficacy further." Many researchers have found that people with high self efficacy increases their level of effort after getting negative feedback while people with low self efficacy reduce their effort if they get negative feedback. Thus, managers need to improve the self efficacy of their employees from low level to high. This can be done by integrating the goal setting theory and self efficacy theory. 

Reinforcement Theory

Reinforcement theory of motivation is propounded by well known psychologist B.F. Skinner. This is based on notion that behavioral can be controlled by manipulating the consequences of behavior. This theory argues that behavior of individual largely determined by its consequences.  

According to this theory, we can use rewards, punishment and extinction to reinforce and change behavior of people. Rewards reinforce the expected behavior i.e. we can change the behavior of people as our wish with rewards. Punishments are used to prevent the behavior which we do not want from people. Extinction stops someone to perform its learned behavior. The technical term for these processes is called operant conditioning.

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Reinforcement can be divided into positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement assures that the desired behavior will be continuing. Positive reinforcement can occur if desired behavior is rewarded. For example, if there is a provision of getting commission or bonus is the positive consequence which reinforces the desire of salesperson to increase the sales volume. 

Negative reinforcement helps to continue the desired behavior or change the undesired behavior by withholding negative consequence. For example, if there is provision of not including salesperson in commission or bonus system whole performance remains below the particular level, then each employee tries to sale maximum to participate in commission or bonus plan. 

Let's take another example, suppose your company is going to establish new branch in remote area where no one wants to be transferred. The company decides that bottom ten employees on the basis of their poor performance will be transferred to the new location. In such situation, every employee works very hard to be top performer intending not to be transferred or new location so that each employee can avoid the negative consequence of transfer. Here, negative reinforcement is not the same as punishment. 

Punishment is imposing a negative consequence to reduce or discourage an undesirable behavior of individual. For example, if late employees need to write up an apology letter to their super ordinate committing not to repeat the same behavior i.e. being late. This discourages workers from being late i.e. an undesirable behavior. Here, asking to write letter is punishment. Punishment can be positive or negative. Suppose any student does not submit assignment or project, she/he is asked to stand in front of class and reminded the consequence of not submitting the assignment or project is positive punishment. But, if the student is marked not qualified to attain final examination, the punishment is negative punishment. Positive punishment reduces the frequency of undesired behavior of people while negative punishment reduces the stimulus of such behavior. 

Extinction is the means to stop someone's learnt behavior. Under extinction, we attempt to extinguish a learnt behavior by withholding the positive reinforcement that encouraged the behavior. For example, if a production manager gets demand of 1000 units extra than regular supply. For additional supply, he should manage over time work and announces the allowances for overtime work. Employees start working overtime and learn the behavior of working overtime. When the additional demand will be seized, overtime allowances will also be seized. This action results stopping the learnt behavior of working overtime. Their learned behavior has been extinguished.

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Positive reinforcement is followed to continue the desired behavior. For extinction of undesirable behavior, extinction is followed as they have low adverse consequences. For some sort of special behavior like stealing inventory, deliberately hurting co-workers, etc., punishment is essential. Dismissal, suspension, demotion, etc. help to maintain sense of equality. 

Schedules of Reinforcement in Organization

A reinforcement schedule is a tool in operant conditioning that allows the experiment or trainer to control the timing and frequency of reinforcement in order to elicit a target behavior series from a participant. A schedule of reinforcement allows psychologists to mimic learning patterns in the real world by manipulating controlled environments in various ways, both simple and complex. Different research studies have identified schedules of reinforcement suggesting that scheduling the reinforce affects learning more than the size of the reinforcer. Reinforcement schedule can be as follows:

1. Continuous reinforcement

This is the condition in which individual receives the continuous rewards i.e. reinforcer every time she/he performs desired behavior. Continuous reinforcement increases the motivation till its continuation, but it gets decline when the reinforcement is stopped. For example, if an employee conducts good manner and provides desired level (behavior) service, guest provides tips (reinforcement). But when the reinforcement will be stopped, employee stops performing same behavior. 

2. Fixed interval schedule

In this type of reinforcement, reinforcement is given at a constant interval no matter how many times the individual performs desired behavior. Fixed interval schedules use a set time period, during which only one response will be reinforced. Fixed interval schedule exist in payment systems when someone is paid hourly, weekly or monthly i.e. one interval. No matter how much work that person does in one interval (behavior), she/he will be paid the same amount (reinforcement). 

3. Variable interval schedule

In this schedule, reward is given after a randomly distributed interval of time. This is way of reinforcing unpredictably. Promotion, praise, job enrichment, etc. are given at any time without schedule. Such reinforcement produce higher rate of response and more consistent performance.

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4. Fixed ratio schedule

Int his type of schedule, reinforcement is given only at completion of desired behavior or response. Contract based or piece ratio payment system provides reinforcement only after completion of their contract work.

5. Variable ratio schedule

In this types of schedule, reinforcement is given only at variable or ratio i.e. at completion of variable rate of completion of response. For example, first reinforcement is given after completion of first response, second reinforcement is given after completion of ten responses. Here, distribution of reinforcement is not given at equal or fixed interval but in variable interval. Variable ratio schedules use a specific proportion but do not guarantee reinforcement in the same set pattern as in fixed ratio schedules. In humans, variable ratio reinforcement is used by casinos to attract gamblers. A slot machine pays out an average win ratio, say five to one, but does not guarantee that every fifth bet (behavior) will be rewarded (reinforcement) with a win. 

Motivation Theories: Implication for Managers

Variables issues in the organization like absenteeism, turnover, productivity, efficiency, etc. are directly related to satisfaction and motivation of employees. Managers need to predict the level of satisfaction of employees and apply appropriate motivation tool. Motivation theories help them to predict and apply motivation tool at correct way, though every theory focus to a particular variable only. Managers can be benefited from the knowledge of these theories to improve productivity and efficiency of organization. 

There are different theories of motivation presented. It is always danger to synthesize a large number of complex ideas. 

1. Recognize individual differences

Different individual have varieties of needs. Their needs guide their attitude, perception and behavior. Thus managers must be sensitive to recognize individual differences. This allows individualizing goals, level of involvement, and rewards to align with individual needs, design jobs to align with individual needs and maximize their motivation potential. For example, employees from Asian cultures prefer not be singled out as special because it makes them uncomfortable. They prefer more financial compensation rather than physical facilities but that is not applicable to the European individual. 

2. Use of goals and feedback

Employees should have specific goals, and they should get feedback on how well they are performing in pursuit of those goals. Timely and accurate feedback plays vital role to direct their efforts in the direction of achieving goals. 

3. Allow employees to participate in decisions that affect them

Employees can contribute to setting work goals, choosing their own benefits packages, and solving productivity and quality problems. Participation in decision making increases the self efficacy of employees and hence they will be more confident in accomplishing the task. It can increase employee productivity, commitment to work goals, motivation, and job satisfaction. 

4. Link reward to performance

Reward should be contingent on performance, and employees must perceive link between the two. Regardless how strong the relationship is, if employee perceive this is weak, the results will be low performance. Lower perception leads decrease in job satisfaction, increase in absenteeism and turnover. Thus, to increase job satisfaction, productivity and efficiency of employees, managers need to link rewards and performance in such way employees perceive the relationship is strong and of highly reliable. 

5. Check the system of equity

Employees always compare the ratio of output to input with different referent. They believe that the experience, qualification, skills, abilities, effort and other obvious input affect on performance. Therefore, they expect the differences in pay, job assignments, and other obvious rewards (output). Managers should try to establish the system of equity in organization. 


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