Report on Case Study

Published 27 Feb 2017

Within a given workplace environment it is every manager’s desire to get the best out his or her employee(s) have a job done in a desired manner. It’s the efficiency as well as effectiveness of employees in terms of output that determine the overall output of an organization. However, it is not an easy task to achieve if the morale of employees is downward they do not feel motivated (Adair, 1996:2). Motivation can generally be defined as the innate forces within an individual that drives his or her and as such influences the path, intensity and his or her persistence toward voluntary behavior. Morale on the other hand refers to the level of confidence or an employee(s) level of optimism toward performing a task. An employee with high morale is a motivated one and vice versa.

Motivation forms one of the essential component drivers in individual performance and behavior and as such is considered as an integral part of the engagement level of the said employee (Allison: 236). For any organization to be competitive one of the key indicators is normally an engaged workforce however, it is not easy to motivate an employee rather it is a near impossibility. All that is possible is how to influence the motivation of an employee. The search to have a motivated workforce that is very engaged in its work has become very challenging indeed.

There seems to be a lack of understanding of how employers can motivate their staff. This paper thus concerns itself with the task of improving motivation and morale. It draws relevance from various researches while also taking into consideration a case study and answering questions posed about motivation.

Firstly, I will discuss the various individual characteristics that are likely to influence the behavior of a member of staff. For instance, the level of self-esteem would be influential on the behavior of staff. Self-esteem is one of the indicators that would impact on the performance as well as behavior of a staff member. Self esteem can be defined generally as the amount of value an individual attaches or rather places on themselves. There are two kinds of self-esteem; Low and high self esteem. A high self-esteem staff is one who places a lot of value on him or herself, while a person with low self esteem place or attaches very little on him or herself. It is usually not very easy and at certain times impossible for any individual to remain unmoved and indifferent to information that has a bearing on their self-esteem. Instances of a decrease or increase of the level of self-esteem have resulting emotional reactions.

These resulting strong emotional reactions may cause a staff member to either be receptive or very unreceptive to others and might to a certain degree affect their level of performance within the workplace. Besides, the fluctuations in the level of self-esteem may coincide with success or failures. Employees with a high self esteem are likely to give better output in terms of job done but may also be affected.. Self esteem may also make employees develop social groups that would hinder effective interaction between employees.
The other individual characteristic that will definitely affect behaviors of staff within a given workplace is that of attitude. Attitude can basically be defined as the hypothetical construct representing a person’s preference

and/dislikes for a particular thing. There are three kinds of attitude; positive, neutral and negative. In certain instances people can become very ambivalent about objects that they are neither positive nor negative about the particular item. A person’s attitude is born out of his or her personal judgment of a situation, place or thing. A negative attitude would be a hindrance to good performance level.

Another characteristic that would influence the behaviors of staff member is the social behavior. There are basically two types of social behavior i.e. pro-social or antisocial. The pro-social employee is able to interact freely and communicate effectively with the rest while an anti-social one will not.

It is of great importance for an employer to have a clearer understanding of his or her employees as well as perception so as to be able to influence their motivation. This is because human beings are different and their needs and expectations vary like their personalities. Considering Maslow needs hierarchy theory, every individual is triggered virtually by more than just needs but rather these needs come at varying hierarchy with vary effect on the individual’s particular behavior. According to him, the hierarchy model theory pursues a holistic path, with the idea of merger the long list of needs into five fundamental categories of hierarchy The psychological needs in this case include such things like water, air, food shelter among many others and are usually at the base of the pyramid. However, individuals are different and due to the difference in personality would mean that there would b e differences of the individual’s preferred physiological needs in order to priority would be important. Since you might want to promote someone by giving him or her physiological need she does not prefer.

The next level is that of safety needs which involves an individuals desire to be in secure and stable environment with the absence of pain, illness or threat to his or her life. According to Maslow, human beings are motivated by various needs but the origin is usually the lowest unsatisfied need at that particular ((McShane, 2007:100). At the initial stage the physiological needs are to be first satisfied to as to move up the hierarchy. This means that the physiological needs do then become the primary motivator to every employee. It is then of great importance for every human resource management/employer to understand to help them satisfy their primary needs that would be primarily motivate them toward high level of performance. Even though it is not always easy for people to always this needs hierarchical theory model in satisfaction of needs, it however presents a good case to launch form.

For instance, the realization that one would actually self actualize even in a place considered insecure can offer better explanation to employers to help them understand the various employees within their workplace so as to get the best out of them in order to optimize their potential and increase productivity. Moreover, it can take like forever for one to satisfy his or her needs and the needs keep on changing with time meaning without a better understanding as well as perception it is not possible to influence the level of motivation.

The third aspect of the article that would tackle involves the values that would affect productivity as well as satisfaction (Allison: 237). In essence the values that affect the level of productivity are usually directly or indirectly with the management but effectively with the employees. A highly motivated employee would most likely give his or her best to help push up the level of production. Equally an employee with high morale would be driven to exert his or her effort to ensure that the task assigned to him or she is effectively and efficiently performed. On the other hand, when these two aspects are missing it is not possible for the employees to give their best. When it comes to the level of satisfaction there are two basic values that are related to satisfaction are expectation as well as needs of an employee.

Expectation can be defined as the value of any opportunity, which a person attaches to something and is dependent on some contingent event. According to a theory on expectation the basis of interest is effort, a person’s real exertion of energy. This theory states that the action of an individual in a given workplace is greatly dependent on the expectation that an act will result in an outcome and on the attractiveness of the outcome to the given individual (McShane, 2007:89). This theory suggests that an employee’s motivation is usually influenced by all these factors of effort-to-performance expectancy, outcome valence and preference to outcome expectancy.
In the event that any of these components weakens, so does the level of satisfaction of the individual, which in effect results in depleted level of motivation. On the other hand needs are necessities that an individual requires to live a sustainable life. A person’s needs are buttressed through the process of learning especially during childhood, parental styles and the social norms. As was put forward by one psychologist known as David McClelland there are various needs which include; need for achievement, need for affiliation, need for power among others.

Individuals who have a strong desire to achieve always want to attend reasonably challenging tasks through their individual effort. This various needs affect people in various ways, as an individual would only be satisfied if for instance his need for affiliation, power or achievement is fulfilled. Both needs and expectations have a great bearing on the level of productivity in an organization. When individual needs as well as expectation are used they tend to be very responsive and feel more motivated tasks given to them thereby increasing their level of productivity, which translates to high level of production for the organization, by its employees.

The fourth question that I will discuss borders on the various basic motivation concepts that are normally considered relevant to every organization. According to Fredrick Hezberg there are theories of motivation; hygiene theory and motivation theory. In his argument to advance motivational theory, they involve what are referred to as the hygiene factors that encompass the work as well as organizational environment. Hygiene factors cover the organization, the policies and the administration of eh company, the type of supervision, which encompasses, leadership and management that employees perceive while at the work place. Additionally, such aspects like salary and wages, status of the employee within the organization, job security, the prevailing conditions at work as well as interpersonal relations between the management and the rest of the workforce (employees). These do not necessitate employee motivation, but their essence will surely lead to a high level of dissatisfaction of the employee. The other aspects include; achievement, recognition, personal growth or advancement and interest in job. In his prospective Hezberg argued that both the two approaches must be carried out simultaneously so as to alter the aim of employee motivation. In effect he suggests that employees ought to be treated in the best way possible to limit the level of dissatisfaction.

Thus, motivation is about inducing employees to move in a certain way toward goal specifically stated by the organization. The goals as well as the motivation must be in tandem with the corporate policy of the organization. They must be designed to favor the situation and to the company. When an employee talks about personal growth he or she is looking for the chance to progress within the social, economical, spiritual as well as political growth. When the organization offers employees the chance to advance, like for instance to enter into a managerial position, they are likely to work hard.
When employees feel their job is safe and are comfortable with the wages they get and consider their status as well as salary as fair they are likely to have high morale. In instances where employees make employees feel as partners in the organization. For instances, the management shares successes as well as the failures and involves the employees in decision they would feel proud and motivated. Even though money seems to b e the greatest motivator there are other aspects that cannot be ignored.

Semler’s approach as concerns seems to work a little bit. For fact he is incorporated a few aspects of employee motivation in his management style. For instance, in this case he motivates employees by offering their autonomy in decision-making. This has a two-fold effect one, the employees feel they own the company and as such anybody who owns something will always want the best for it. It means every decision the employees make should be in the interest of the company. However, the level of autonomy that he is offered is “too much” as the employees run and make virtually every decision. What he should do is first to reverse the system by having representatives of employees or doing regular sampling on the kind of policies the employees want formulated then discuss them at board level. If semler really wants to uncover gold then he needs to try other approaches and integrate them with his.

Secondly, instead of just leaving the entire decision making process to the employees and overturning earlier discussions made by employees he should offer the employees a chance to move up in the rank to management level. For one right now the employees might not really want to grow, since there might not be any need if the managers can be overturned and the employees becoming their supervisors. Taking into consideration theory X which believes that any given set up is inherently distasteful and that people are equally inherently lazy and unambitious and then with theory Y where it is believed that everyone enjoys working, it is as natural as play, which Semco seems to be applying.

Theory Y is very good on its own but something you might find some employees who are inherently lazy so some fear needs to be instilled in their either through supervision or nay other such measure. The management of Semco can as well employ the theory of motivation based on an entrepreneur mindset. This theory would go beyond merely sharing profits and stock option with them. It encompasses the management instilling the feeling that they are partners and not just employees. Currently, the autonomy given the employees may not be enough, the management must demonstrate leadership and be involved in decision making too.

Finally, the management needs to have a better understanding of every employee within the workplace as some of them may have needs and expectation beyond mere salary likes. The effect of employees raising their own salaries may also not work. For example, the employees may be too scared of raising the salary to a satisfactory level as their accounts would be reviewed later, additionally; they might award themselves salaries they do not deserve. The salaries should be managed independently but the management needs to receive recommendation from the employees, which they will look into and make considerations.


Employee motivation remains a very significant aspect of management that any successful business or organization cannot just wish away. However, there is no single definite way to motivate employees, but rather a combination of many process. In essence any employer or manger cannot just pick on one single theory and expect to be very successful it may work for sometime and fail. He must first begin with understanding his/her employee(s). Anyhow, one of the most effective approaches would be hygiene theory approach, as it encompasses various aspects of employee motivation.


  • Adair, John, 1996: effective motivation; how to get extraordinary results from everyone. Pan books UK, pg 2-14, 30
  • Allison James, Integrative Case Study B: What makes people want to come to work on Mondays? Australian Maritime College pg 236-237 Gary P. Latham, Christopher T. Ernst 19 May 2006
  • Center for Creative Leadership, Singapore University of Toronto, Canada
  • James S, Ann Bruce, 2003, employee motivation, McGraw-Hill Roseville Australia, pg 1
  • McShane S. Travaglione T, 2007: Organizational Behaviour on the Pacific Rim.2nd McGraw-Hill Roseville Australia.
  • Susan M Hearthfield, 2007 Trust Rules: The most important secret about trust, Pg 1)
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