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One of the toughest motivational challenges faced by managers is how to motivate
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LaTrobe University

Faculty of Law and Management

School of Management

MGT1FOM: Foundations of Management

Tutorial Review Questions: Answer Guide

Topic 9: Theories of Motivation


Low-paid service workers are a motivational problem

for many organisations.

Consider the ill-trained and poorly motivated X-ray

machine operators trying

to detect weapons in airports. How might these peop

le be motivated to reduce

boredom and increase their vigilance?

One of the toughest motivational challenges faced b

y managers is how to motivate

unskilled workers undertaking repetitive jobs for l

ow pay. Offering more pay is usually

not a realistic option. In fact, Herzberg would arg

ue that extrinsic factors such as pay

(‘hygiene factors’) are not necessarily the key iss

ue anyway. Intrinsic factors that

influence job satisfaction (‘motivators’), such as

achievement, recognition,

responsibility and opportunity for growth, may also

play a part. One way to enhance

motivation would be to introduce an employee recogn

ition program, such as an

‘employee of the month’ award plus an annual employ

ee performance award ceremony.

Perhaps changing their job titles from X-ray machin

e operators to Security Patrol

Officers would be helpful (status). Give the employ

ees decision making authority

(responsibility) to take action when potentially ha

zardous items are detected (ensuring

they are properly trained first). Make them respons

ible for themselves. Positive

reinforcement such as sincere ‘pats on the back’ by

management and others would also

contribute to motivation in this situation.


One small company recognises an employee of the mon

th, who is given a

parking spot next to the CEO’s space near the front

door. What theories would

explain the positive motivation associated with thi

s policy?

An ‘employee of the month’ is a common form of empl

oyee recognition, particularly in

service organisations. Using Maslow’s hierarchy of

needs, this recognition would


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satisfy the high-level need of esteem, and thus be

an appropriate reward if trying to

motivate workers seeking to satisfy this level of n

eeds. In terms of Herzberg’s two-

factor theory, recognition is categorised as a moti

vator, and thus positively influences

the level of employee satisfaction. In terms of rei

nforcement theory, this recognition is

an example of positive reinforcement, a pleasant an

d rewarding consequence of desired

behaviour. In expectancy theory language, if the em

ployee of the month award and the

associated parking space are viewed as a valued or

desired outcome (i.e. high valence)

and have been the expected outcome of successful pe

rformance (i.e. P–O expectancy)

by the recipient, then this has a positive influenc

e on motivation.


A survey of teachers found that two of the most imp

ortant rewards were the

belief that their work was important and a feeling

of accomplishment. Is this

consistent with Hackman and Oldham’s job characteri

stics model?

Hackman and Oldham’s job characteristics model has

been developed to guide

managers in applying job enrichment in their organi

sations. Teaching would score high

on the core job dimensions of skill variety, task i

dentity, task significance and feedback.

These latter two dimensions are related to the teac

hers’ belief that their work is

important and their feeling of accomplishment. Teac

hers are also likely to have at least

a moderate degree of autonomy. In terms of the crit

ical psychological states, the

teachers obviously find their work satisfying and i

ntrinsically rewarding (‘experienced

meaningfulness of work’). They would also likely ex

perience at least a moderate degree

of responsibility for work outcomes, and would know

the results of the work and thus

be able to change their work performance (e.g. unde

rtake additional training to improve

their skills) to increase their desired outcomes. M

oreover, teachers would likely be high

in terms of ‘employee growth-need strength’, meanin

g they have a desire for personal

challenge, growth and development, so that the core

job dimensions are especially

effective in meeting these needs. Thus, it would be

reasonable to determine that the

survey findings are consistent with Hackman and Old

ham’s job characteristics model.


The teachers in Question 7 also reported that pay a

nd benefits were poor yet

they continued to teach. Use Herzberg’s two-factor

theory to explain this


The teachers feel that the hygiene factors in the t

eaching job are poor. Of course,

hygiene factors are probably good enough to meet th

eir basic needs, but perhaps pay

and benefits are not as high as in other jobs held

by university graduates. Moreover,


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