People undergo different experiences at different times, and these experiences can have inevitable effect on their motivation. In other words, an individual’s motivation is shaped by different experience to which he/she is exposed. As part of this assignment, I recorded my personal experiences in a reflective journal over a period of two weeks so as to identify when I am highly motivated to achieve something or not motivated to get moving. In the first phase, this paper will provide an overview of the experiences recorded in the reflective journal and also give a more developed account of the experiences analysed. In the second phase, the paper will discuss two motivational theories and use the chosen theories to evaluate the experiences recorded. In the third phase, it will describe how the motivational theories chosen could be applied to enhance the work performance of employees in an organisation. For this paper, the motivational theories used are Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and cognitive evaluation theory. In order to understand the applicability of these theories in enhancing employee performance, it is crucial to explore the link between employee motivation and work performance of employees.
Overview of experiences
While going through my experiences recorded in the reflective journal over a period of last two weeks, it is observed that I had a set of mixed and varying feelings during this period. In the first two days of the Week 1, I was weak a little physically and mentally, as I had developed a cold. In addition, I was anxious and excited over the whole two week period as I had been looking for a new job. Excited in finding a new job but sad because I was finding it very hard to find one. In most times, I was in a sad state because I was not getting any response to most of the jobs I applied for.
In the first few days of the Week 2, I was really in a depressed state as I broke up with my girlfriend. I felt better when I got a causal job at a café making coffee. In the remaining days, I was extremely dull due to the inconsistency of work. I was not really satisfied in my new work because the pay was low and I did not get many hours when I was told it was a part time job. In the final days of the week, I was sad and stressed because my grandmother’s health deteriorated, and she was hospitalised. Overall, I was very busy throughout these two weeks and went through a large array of emotions and feelings.
Analysis of Experiences
While analysing my experiences over the last two weeks, it is clear that I was much nervous during this period. As I had a cold in the beginning of the first week, I was not feeling well and I could not perform my routine tasks effectively. As a result of weak health status, I missed a few job interviews. It made me really depressed as I had been searching for a job. Although I had sent my resume to many companies and attended a series of interviews in the past, I was yet to be employed by a company. I was sad because most of my school mates had been employed in some quality companies and therefore I remained often reluctant to interact with them. In the second day of the Week 2, I came to look through the text messages sent by my girlfriend and found that she had an affair with her classmate. It made me furious and we had a serious fight that ended up in break up. This incident really hurt me and I fell to a state of depression. On the following day, I received a call and I got a job interview for the place I had wanted to work at. To worsen the situation, my grandmothers’ BP rose abnormally high she had a temperature and consequently she was hospitalised immediately they found out she had phenomena.
When the Maslow’s theory arranges the human needs in the order they influence motivation, the cognitive evaluation theory focuses on two primary sources of human motivation. A theoretic analysis of the experiences recorded is really beneficial for individuals to understand the ultimate reasons of their mood fluctuations at different points of time. This study is really helpful to evaluate the validity and authenticity of the motivational theories chosen. In an organisational context, this research paper is helpful to recognize the ways that can promote employee motivation, which is the key factor determining their worksite performance. Evidences from the literature suggest that employee performance is the key determinant of organisational effectiveness and overall organisational performance. In short, this research work can help the audience to evaluate concepts such as motivation and performance in the light of well-established motivational theories.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a well popular motivational theory, which states that there is a hierarchical order by which an individual attempts to meet his needs. In this theoretical framework, different motivational factors are arranged in a pyramid shape as they have varied importance in an individual’s life. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (as cited in Darby and Walsh, 1994, p.26) arrange five basic needs in a pyramid shape, including psychological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualisation needs. As the pyramid arrangement indicates, Maslow states that humans give first priority to their psychological needs such as breathing, food, water, secretion, and sex. The second priority needs are safety and security needs, which include personal safety, financial security, and availability of quality health care. As Wood (2010) points out, once an individual meets his first and second priority needs, he wants to satisfy his love and belonging needs such as family, friendship, and sexual intimacy that are vital to enjoy a relaxed social life.In the fourth level, individuals try to meet their self-esteem needs, which indicate that humans have a strong desire to feel respected. According to Czinkota and Ronkainen (2012), the self-actualisation needs in the Maslow’s hierarchy reflect “the highest level in the hierarchy of needs and refer to the desire for personal growth and the ability to achieve one’s full potential” (p.187).
Similarly, as Shaw, Gorely, and Corban (2005) purport, the cognitive evaluation theory suggests that there are two types of factors such as intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence the motivation level of an individual (p.98). The intrinsic motivators mainly include achievement, responsibility and competence whereas extrinsic motivators represent rewards such as pay, promotion, and positive feedbacks. For an intrinsically motivated person, achievement and satisfaction may be his major source of motivation. If the person begins to think that he is doing his job for pay or other extrinsic reasons, he will lose intrinsic motivation. The core idea of this theory is that the presence of powerful extrinsic motivators may negatively affect an individual’s intrinsic motivation.
Theoretical Analysis of the Experiences
My experiences recorded in the reflective journal can be explained using the motivational theories discussed. According to the Maslow’s theory, health and wellbeing constitute the second priority needs of individuals. When my health condition was bad in the first week due to cold, I could not satisfy my safety needs (second priority needs) and the situation motivated me negatively. In the mean time, I was also struggling to meet my self-esteem needs, as I was not satisfied with my previous job. Since my classmates had been employed in more reputed companies, my professional ego was hurt badly and I strongly believed that I should have been hired by more potential employers so as to share a high social status with my friends. Maslow’s hierarchical needs theory states that self-esteem needs can influence human motivation significantly because every individual wants to feel respected and better treated in the community. This is the reason why lack of a better job affected my motivation badly (Engler, 2013, p.324).
When I broke up with my girlfriend in the start of the second week, I failed to meet my sexual intimacy need, which is a crucial need described under ‘love and belonging needs’ by Maslow. According to the theorist, the sexual intimacy needs comes third in the pyramid hierarchy and it is a key social need of human beings. When I was hired by the café the next day, I could meet my self-esteem needs to some extent and resultantly I felt better. However, I was still mentally down because self-esteem needs are less important than love and belonging needs that I was yet to meet adequately. Although I was employed, I could not find proper motivation because of the poor pay structure and not many hours. Referring to the cognitive evaluation theory, I am an extrinsically motivated person and therefore extrinsic factors such as pay, job tasks, and working conditions can have significant influence my motivation. Needless to say, poor pay and the inconsistent hours negatively impacted my motivation in the Week 2. Family is an important aspect of love and belongingness, and hence my grandmother’s hospitalization affected my mental health negatively. While analysing the overall experiences recorded, it is obvious that I am yet to meet my self-actualization needs and this situation really hurts my motivation level. It is important to note that every individual is different from one another in terms of physical, psychological and emotional attributes. The ‘big five’ personality dimensions such as extroversion/introversion, emotional stability, openness to experience, conscientiousness, and agreeableness can define the personal attributes of an individual. Hence, individual differences also affect the way a person perceives or approaches different things/events. For instance, I am very sensitive to events happening around me, and even silly issues can affect my confidence badly.
Application of Theories to Enhance Work Performance
According to Bruce (2003), “there is a direct link between employee motivation and employee performance” (p.17). As cited in Sullivan (2009, p.277) a highly motivated employee would derive higher job satisfaction and in turn he would perform his best. The Maslow’s theory clearly explains the different human needs (psychological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualisation needs) influencing human motivation in the order of their priority. An employer who is well conversant with this hierarchy of needs can effectively motivate his employees and thereby enhance their worksite performance. To justify, an employer/manager can keep his employees motivated through helping them meet their love and belonging needs, self-esteem needs, and self-actualisation needs. By promoting interpersonal relationship between employees in the workplace, the manager can encourage employees to make friendship with their colleagues and to meet their belonging needs. In addition, the manager can aid employees to meet self-esteem and self-actualisation needs by providing them with an extensive exposure to achieve their long-term career development goals.
Similarly, the cognitive evaluation theory can assist the manager to identify various intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting employee motivation and to make necessary changes to the firm’s employee management approach. To be more specific, this theoretical framework can help the leader apply motivational tools such as reward and punishment effectively according to the personal attributes of employees. Undoubtedly as Haneberg (2010) points out, sensible use of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation techniques would enhance employee performance markedly in the organizational environment (p.162). It is the prime responsibility of managers to achieve organisational effectiveness by enhancing the overall employee performance. When the managers enhance employee performance notably, the overall organisational performance will be improved certainly. Hence, it is clear that better knowledge of the motivational theories is vital for managers to identify the different factors affecting human motivation. This will help them change their operational strategies accordingly to keep employees motivated constantly. To illustrate, my manager at the new worksite environment allowed me to choose my flexible working hours to help me maintain an effective tie between my job responsibilities and academic requirements. Thus, the thoughtful use of motivational theories can help managers enhance organisational effectiveness and the overall organisational performance.
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