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Corporate Culture: How to Motivate Employees - Essay Example

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Corporate Culture: How to Motivate Employees

This paper discussed and analyzed several theories of motivation that are available to the manager. The lessons learned from the discussion and the analyses were then synthesized to determine the most effective method of motivation.
Analyzing the methods of motivating employees requires discussion on the theoretical foundations of employee motivation. Scientific research concerning management and motivation is a relatively new phenomenon in spite of the fact that management of people is as old as history. In the following discussion, the theoretical foundations of modern day motivational methods will be provided and the knowledge of these can provide us a measure of evaluating the effectiveness of motivational techniques.
There have been several attempts to provide a theory that would explain and capture the essence of how employees can be made to perform. In Deci et al (2005), it is stated that the first significant theory is the traditional Theory X attributed to Sigmund Freud. This thought considered people as lazy, irresponsible individuals who will work only if coerced, intimidated, punished or promised with a reward. In management, this is more termed as 'carrot and stick' style where managers would need to constantly police workers to 'motivate' them to work. (p. 13)
Mc-Gregor formulated the Theory Y and has principles that are in sharp contrast to the Theory X. In this line of thinking, the individuals are considered to be self disciplined and hungry for self and professional development. Motivation does not come by financial compensation alone but also in the feelings of competence when a work is successfully accomplished. The manager's job is to provide measures that can fulfil and address this innate desire for self-development.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
The most celebrated theory regarding motivation today is that of Abraham Maslow with his work entitled "A Theory of Human Motivation". In this composition, Maslow argued that individuals have a hierarchy of needs which he depicted with a pyramid composed of five levels shown in Figure 1. The lower the level, the greater is its influence to a person's behaviour but is not necessarily the governing factor.

Figure 1: Maslow's Pyramid of Needs (Wikipedia Illustrated Online, 2009)
Physical needs are the foremost concern of every individual but these changes over time. Maslow considers human behaviour to be dominated by 'unsatisfied needs'. Individuals are considered to be a 'perpetually wanting animal' and will aspire for the next higher levels of needs once satisfied with his previous concerns. He will seek perfection and constantly develop himself. The manager's job is to determine the needs of the employees and be able to address them properly.
Maslow later added two levels namely aesthetic needs where people desire to create and experience balance and beauty in life and cognitive needs where employees desire to acquire knowledge.
Following Maslow's work, motivational factors should consider the following:
Physiological needs - Lack of adequate compensation and long working hours resulting to the degradation of an employee's physical health. This renders him ineffective in making decisions and accomplishing tasks.
Safety needs - Employees need to feel secure and protected from arbitrary exercise of authority as ...Show more


Corporate culture is defined by the Washington Corporate Leadership Council (2009) as the set of beliefs and value systems existing within a company and developed through time. It can either be based on the mission statement or it can be implicitly understood…
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Corporate Culture: How to Motivate Employees essay example
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