With reference to a minimum of four named theories of motivation, discuss how a knowledge and understanding of these can assist the hospitality manager understand his/ her workforce. Illustrate your answer with practical examples.
This paper aims to use four named theories of motivation to discuss how theoretical knowledge and understanding can assist a hospitality manager to understand his / his workforce and make relevant decisions to motivate subordinates for accomplishment of business goals and targets. The paper will use references to four different content and process theories used in motivational research such as those contributed by renowned academicians and scholars namely Maslow (1954), McClelland (1961; 1971), Herzberg, Mausner & Snyderman (1967) and Adams (1963). This research paper will incorporate both content (focusing needs) and process (focusing cognitions and thought processes) theories to examine their impact on a manager’s understanding and decision-making pertaining to workforce motivation.
The major content theory is known as Maslow’s (1954) hierarchy of needs that identify ‘deficiency’ and ‘growth’ needs of an individual in a pyramid. For instance, there are three major deficiency needs such as ‘physiological, safety / security and belongingness’, which need to be fulfilled first for an individual’s survival. The two growth needs at the top of pyramid are known as ‘self-esteem and self-actualization’ that are essential for personal development and worldly accomplishments. Steers, Mowday & Shapiro (2004) reveal that another theorist Clayton Alderfer also used Maslow’s model to develop ERG theory that incorporated Maslow’s five core needs into three factors namely ‘existence (material needs), relatedness (social relationships), and growth (esteem and actualization)’.
Another content theory is known as McClelland (1961; 1971) achievement and acquired needs theory that elaborates that a worker’s motivation and performance effectiveness depends on fulfillment of three core needs such as achievement, affiliation and authority / autonomy. McClelland argues that achievement-oriented individuals accept challenging and competitive realistic goals and demand constructive feedback for their work. In addition, the workers also seek power, authority and autonomy to become influential personalities in their careers. Finally, the affiliation motivated individuals are those who prioritize social and external relationships / affiliations and interactions to enhance their work motivation and performance.
Herzberg et al (1967) have highlighted their motivation-hygiene theory that explains two unorthodox factors such as ‘motivating’ and ‘hygiene’ in determining employee motivation, need fulfillment and job satisfaction. Motivators are intrinsic or internal factors that are employee controllable such as job responsibilities, personal interests, career motives and relationships with co-workers. In contrast, the ‘hygiene’ are extrinsic or external factors that are administered by supervisors, employers, customers, team members and other stakeholders. DeShields Jr, Kara & Kaynak (2005) stress that both motivating and hygiene factors must be met, especially external factors are more influential on job satisfaction, employee commitment, dedication and turnover rates despite complete fulfillment of motivating factors. For instance, the lack of job satisfaction may also mean zero satisfaction rates but no dissatisfaction. Similarly, the job dissatisfaction could also be converted into zero dissatisfaction but no satisfaction (neutral phase). The important point here is that Herzberg’s theory did not define satisfaction and dissatisfaction as being at opposite ends of the same continuum. The opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction, but no satisfaction. The opposite of dissatisfaction is not satisfaction, but no dissatisfaction.
Among the process theories is John Adams’ (1963) Equity Theory that emphasizes on the organizational justice by highlighting how employees perceive and respond to injustice, unfair treatment, discrimination and prejudice in a corporate environment. For example, the factors that could affect employee behaviors are glass ceiling, underpayment, racial / ethnic / religious discrimination in promotional decisions and retrenchment policies for specific work class. According to Mowday & Colwell (2003), the theorists and scholars have used contributions of Equity theory to develop organizational justice theory and define three main types such as distributive, procedural and interactional justice.
Use of Theories by Hospitality Manager in Understanding Workforce
The knowledge of above mentioned theories could largely impact understanding of workforce of a hospitality manager in tourism and hotel services industry, which attracts customers who have very high service expectations. To meet or exceed customer expectations, a hospitality manager needs employees who are not only extremely motivated and dedicated but also have strong awareness about buying behaviors and service expectations. Indeed, a motivated worker only could understand that every customer in hospitality industry has distinct needs, tastes, preferences and affordability power. Some may opt for high priced services with exceptional facilities and experiences, while others may go for normal services with reasonable discounts but no compromises on service experience. In short, there are certain variations in needs and demands in hospitality industry in which performance results from how strong employees develop friendly and prolific relationships with customers. From a manager’s perspective, the organizational performance is an outcome of employee efforts and performance, which depends on motivation and dedication.
The Maslow’s needs theory will help a hospitality manager in understanding basic survival and growth needs of workforce; hence, he or she could remain vigilant in meeting those needs to develop a pool of motivated workforce. For example, the manager could increase motivation by enhancing recognition and belongingness with one’s organization, trusting on abilities on retaining existing business (self-esteem), and linking career advancement with new business development to meet actualization need. McClelland’s theory will be more beneficial for a hospitality manager because it specifically focuses on achievements, affiliations and autonomy. Indeed, the manager could motivate employees by providing positive feedback on building satisfied and loyal customer base, by offering additional incentives to workers who use their social networks or affiliations in generating new clientele and by offering greater autonomy and powers to make on-spot decisions for satisfaction and fulfillment of value propositions promised by organizations. Employee empowerment is foremost in hospitality sector to ensure workers could meet distinctive needs of diverse customers.
Herzberg’s theory will help understand internal and external factors, thus allowing a hospitality manager to effectively managing his supervisory role in meeting expectations and needs of subordinates. For example, the manager could avoid use of Authoritarian leadership style and focus more on relationship-orientation coupled with task-orientation to increase trust of workers on supervisor and employer. Another example is of assigning unrealistic target about generating new clientele, which falls into hygiene factors uncontrollable by employees. The outcome will be decline in motivation and high job dissatisfaction that eventually lead to job switch.
Finally, Adam’s theory provides most crucial insights to a hospitality manager about avoiding discriminatory tactics and unfair treatment with workers to maintain a consistent, motivated, dynamic and loyal workforce. Lack of information on employee behaviors and responses to injustice will eventually lead to poor motivation and high turnover rates, which will subsequently reduce service performance. Unequivocally, the employee word-of-mouth and networks play more vital role in business development for a hospitality business than any other venture. Organizational injustice will ultimately lead to high absenteeism and job turnovers, which will further aggravate service quality, operational efficiency and business growth.
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