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Stimulating Work Definition Essay

1 Who is responsible for employees’ motivation at work? Critically examine this question drawing on scholarly articles and theories discussed during your tutorials and lectures. Employee stimulation and the concept of motivation itself have been subjects of great debates throughout history. Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Freud, Maslow and many other philosophers and psychologists, analysed in their studies the process behind human behaviours, in particular what drives and motivates mankind (Madsen, 1968). Motivation has been agreed to be crucial for good management and a critical determinant of behaviour in organisations, yet no universal definition has been attributed to his term (Feldman and Arnold, 1983; Wright, 2003). Rahimić et al. (2012, p.536) delineates motivation with the following definition: “Motivation is an aggregate term that comprises all factors that influence, intensify, organise and conduct human behaviour; in other words it relates to an action of a limited intensity and duration. On the other hand, motivation is influenced by numerous factors, notably personal character, work characteristics and the organization itself. External factors (including living standards, the system of morals and values, socio-economic development, etc.) can also influence employee motivation.” Among all the definitions found throughout the development of my research, Rahimić et al.’s appears to firmly enclose the basic empirical findings on the topic. As stated in the above quote, motivation can derive from both external and internal factors. The misconception to which the title of the essay may lead us is that of people being the only means capable of motivating employees: this is partially correct. In the following dissertation, I’ll start by analysing the different types of motivation. Following, I will focus on motivation conveyed by managers, the employee itself and the environment: these three are the basic factors exerting an influence on work motivation. Before I start explaining the concept of who and what motivates the employee, we must identify the two main types of motivation. First, we find controlled (or extrinsic) motivation, which is induced by extraneous incentives such as tangible and verbal rewards, provided by managers, leaders and the surrounding environment. As a matter of fact, satisfaction doesn’t derive from work itself, but from the consequences of a well-performed job. Workers act with a sense of pressure, employing their energies into something which is considered more like a duty rather than an entertainment (Brundin et al., 2006; Gagné and Deci, 2005; Wang and Hou, 2014). In contrast to controlled motivation, we find autonomous motivation (also known as intrinsic). This is driven by internally evoked incentives and acting with a sense of dedication; in this case, employers find their job satisfying as it contributes to self-interest and enjoyment (Brundin et al., 2006; Ga- 2 gné and Deci, 2005; Wang and Hou, 2014; Wright and Pandey, 2008). This type of motivation is entirely generated by the being (in this case the employer), who is willing to attain and achieve his goals without the clout of peripheral forces and brings us to the development of the Self-Determination Theory (Gagné and Deci, 2005; Wang and Hou, 2014), explained in the later paragraphs. First though, I will examine extrinsic motivation exerted by managers on employees. What is a manager and what role does a he play in motivating his subordinate? According to Sayles and Strauss, “a manager is one who is responsible for getting a job done that is too big to do by himself–a job that he can accomplish only through other people” (Sayles and Strauss, 1966, p.133). In other words, he has to create the perfect workplace culture and environment by improving communication and treating his workers with equal dignity, respect and recognition (Sayles and Strauss, 1966). To make sure his subordinates perform their work at its finest, he must motivate them. How? Unfortunately motivation is still considered to be a difficult task for managers and as the result of a survey conducted by Rahmić et al. showed, 25% of them are still lacking these skills (2012). Sayles and Strauss believe “[…] management has a certain degree of social responsibility to provide work opportunities which are psychologically meaningful” (1966, p.28). In point of fact, leaders must be able to stimulate their workers, by finding out what motivates them. Appointing them to important – sometimes even difficult– and useful tasks, expecting excellence and giving them the chance to work on their own, is a good way to test their limits and potentials, maximising work output (Sayles and Strauss, 1966). Furthermore, caring, leading and training them to do better, establishes a healthy connection between the two. The foundation of a relationship promotes trust and good communication. Keeping employees informed on the business’ activity, is also an effective way of motivating them: for instance, if the company is experiencing a period of great achievements and economic wealth, workers will feel proud and fulfilled in seeing that their hard work has lead the business to this position (Herrera, 2002). Moreover, a leader’s personality is an extremely important factor that can turn out to be an effective advantage, able to increase stimulus in workplace (Wright, 2003). To boost employee motivation, good managers are endowed with emotional intelligence: this is the ability to display certain types of emotions depending on the situation and on what they are trying to attain from their workers (Brundin et al., 2006). For example, displayed confidence and determination will lead employees to build up motivating forces. On the other hand, negative feelings such as stress, frustration and worry are usually avoided in order to prevent the transfer of corresponding emotions, and consequently disrupting the work balance (Brundin et al., 2006). To conclude this overview on controlled motivation, “management showers workers with high wages, fringe benefits, good working conditions, good supervision, and all the rest, in the hope that 3 they will have higher morale and therefore work harder” (Sayles and Strauss, 1966, p.143). Incentives are a materialistic way for leaders to effectively gain employee’s interest; for example, pay – which is considered a psychological need– has a submissive power and a temporary effect on output (Sayles and Strauss, 1966). Controlled motivation isn’t the only catalyst that induces employees to work diligently; internal motivation too plays a role of great impact on the being. Oldham (1976, p.559) defines it with the following terms: “Internal motivation refers to the degree to which an individual experiences positive internal feelings when performing effectively on the job. Therefore, it follows that the concept should substantially relate to an employee’s actual work performance. That is, an individual experiencing high internal motivation should perform at high levels, since by doing so he is receiving many personally valued rewards” The Self-Determination Theory is one of the many conjectures based on the concept of autonomous motivation. (Pinder, 2008). Wang and Hou claim that “several studies that adopt SDT indicate that autonomous motivations play a more important role than controlled motivations in facilitating knowledge sharing behaviours in various contexts” (2014, p.5). Additionally, the theory posits that the fundamental psychological needs supply the “nutriments” for the intrinsic motivation behind the individuals’s behaviour unaffected by external influences (Pinder, 2008). According to the SDT, there are three fundamental needs at the basis of intrinsic motivation: autonomy, competence and relatedness (Sayles and Strauss, 1966). In his achievement theory, David McClellan suggests the employee’s planning and striving for excellence; the higher the necessity for attainment, the stronger the wish to obtain personal responsibility for completing a task (Arnold et al., 2010; Wilson, 2013). As part of self-perseverance and dedication, highly motivated employees set difficult goals and desire performance feedback in order to improve their imperfections and ameliorate their labour. For motivational factors to be considered intrinsic, they must arise in the individual and should be driven by an interest or enjoyment of the job itself. Other than managerial and self-determinate motivation, we find one last manipulating element: environment. Environment is the third factor responsible for employee motivation. The latter is a controlled catalyst, as it influences the individual’s behaviour and actions. In fact, it is proven that the characteristics of a worker’s job, are some of the critical sources of internal motivational level. An enriched 4 work environment determines specific conditions in which the employee may or may not reach personal fulfilment and attain gratifying experiences (Oldham, 1976). Job satisfaction seems to have a fair importance on employee motivation (Sayles and Strauss, 1966): in some cases, conducted observations show a positive association between individuals’ social fulfilment at work and their motivation and performance levels (Wilson, 2013). The business affects the employer’s level of operativeness, moving cognitive and mental capacities and their attitude towards work (Porter, 1975). The individual seeks for achievements and goal-attainment, which are determined not only by the job, but by the associates as well (Oldham, 1976). Whatever the work environment is, whether it is through competition –where employees rival for a better pay or a more significant role or duty in the business– or through harmony –where employees support and encourage each other and work together for a better company– there is always a way to build up motivation. Goal generalisation is something that should be avoided: for instance, not everyone aspires to the same objectives. Some employees may strive for financial stability while others look towards a more internal and abstract form of fulfilment. This is determined by one’s personality. Personality plays a great role in employee motivation (Wright, 2003). Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Y (Arnold et al, 2010; Pinder, 2008; Wilson, 2013) suggests a first type of worker who is unmotivated and finds no interest in his job, and a second type who discovers motivation and pleasure in his occupation. This theory was originated with the intention of helping managers bargain with their subordinates. Theories focusing on personality act as an origin of conceptions or classifications that scheme different types of individuals and how they each vary from each other (Wilson, 2013). According to Wilson (2013, p.192) “most research concerning the effects of personality on job performance is based on five personality factors, or the ‘Big Five’: neuroticism, extraversion; openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness.” With the use of this model, a leader is able to choose the most suitable mean to extrinsically motivate his employees which may be driven by different goals. Personality also affects the way someone perceives recognition: for instance, a worker can be motivated by pay, while another may be motivated by the use that will be made of the wage. Furthermore, another example –connected to the environmental factor– is that brought up by Wright and Pandey (2008, p.503) who said: “public service motivation suggests that public employment can be seen as fulfilling a calling or vocation and not merely performing a job.” As a matter of fact, this type of motivation would be valid for people gaining satisfaction in helping others; this proves us that rewards aren’t always materialistic. All things considered, humans aren’t the only source of motivation. This concept is convoluted and even when it is analysed from different perspectives, a global agreement can’t be reached. Scott My- 5 ers’s conclusion to the question of what motivates employees to work effectively is “a challenging job which allows a feeling of achievement, responsibility, growth, advancement, enjoyment of work itself and earned recognition” (Willings, 1968, p.62–3). Material goals and emotions arising in the individual spur the employee to work harder. Furthermore, these combine to external forces such as the environment and the surrounding people; all of these factors merge to form motivation (Arnold et al., 2010; Rees, 1991). Encapsulating, managers need to take care of their employees: aren’t the latter considered to be the biggest asset of a company and the only source of competitive advantage? (Rahimic et al., 2012). Nonetheless, shouldn’t employees be able to find motivation only and unassisted? Employees have presumably reached the adult stage of decision-making and self-motivation, driven by interests and self-set goals; moreover, managers’ duties don’t comprise parenting workers, but it involves the guidance towards great achievements and the transmission of their passion and love for their job and company. However, motivation belongs to people with great personalities: only who is determined to fight for what they desire, is able to attain it. References ARNOLD, J et al. (2010) Work psychology. 5th ed. Harlow: FT Prentice Hall BRUNDIN, E. et al. (2006) Managers' emotional displays and employees' willingness to act entrepreneurially. Journal of Business Venturing. [Online] Science Direct. 23(2). pp.221– 243. Available at: [Accessed: 17th February 2015]. DUBRIN, A.J. (1978) Fundamentals of organizational behavior: an applied perspective. 2nd ed. New York: Pergamon Press Inc. FELDMAN, D., ARNOLD, H. (1983). Managing Individual and Group Behaviour in Organizations. United States: McGraw-Hill Inc. GAGNÉ, M., DECI, E.L. (2005) Self-determination theory and work motivation. Journal of Organizational Behavior. [Online] InterScience. 26(4). pp.331–362. Available at: [Accessed: 17th February 2015]. HERRERA, F. (2002) Demystifying Employee Motivation. Wiley Periodicals. [Online] InterScience. 28(4). pp.37–52. Available at: [Accessed: 17th February 2015]. MADSEN, K.B. (1968) Theories of Motivation. 4th ed. Copenhagen: Munksgaard. OLDHAM, G.R. (1976) Job Characteristics and Internal Motivation: The Moderating Effect of Interpersonal and Individual Variables. Human Relations. [Online] Sage Journals. 29(6). pp.559–569. Available at: [Accessed: 17th February 2015]. 6 PINDER, C. (2008). Work Motivation in Organizational Behavior, 2nd ed (2nd ed.). United States: Taylor & Francis, Inc. PORTER, L. et al. (1975) Behaviour in Organizations. New York: McGraw-Hill. RAHIMIĆ, Z. et al. (2012) Determining the Level of Management Competences in the Process of Employee Motivation. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. [Online] Science Direct. 41(2012). pp.535–543. Available at: [Accessed: 17th February 2015]. REES, W.D. (1991) The Skills of Management. 3rd ed. London: Routledge. ROBBINS, S.P., JUDGE, T.A. (2015) Organizational Behaviour. 16th ed. London: Pearson SAYLES, L.R., STRAUSS, G. (1966) Human Behaviour. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall WANG, W. HOU, Y. (2014) Motivations of employees’ knowledge sharing behaviors: A selfdetermination perspective. Information and Organization. [Online] Science Direct. 25(2015). pp.1–26. Available at: [Accessed: 17th February 2015]. WILLINGS, D. (1968) The human element of Management. London: B.T Batsford Ltd. WILSON, F. (2013) Organizational behavior and work: a critical introduction. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. WRIGHT, T.A. (2003) What Every Manager Should Know: Does Personality Help Drive Employee Motivation?. Academy of Management. [Online] JSTOR. 17(2). pp.131–133. Available at: [Accessed: 16th February 2015]. WRIGHT, B.E. PANDEY, S.K. (2008) Public Service Motivation and the Assumption of Person– Organization Fit: Testing the Mediating Effect of Value Congruence. Administration and Society. [Online] Sage Journals. 40(50). pp.502–521. Available at: [Accessed: 17th February 2015].


Thesis Statement Guide Development Tool

Follow the steps below to formulate a thesis statement. All cells must contain text.

1. State your topic.

2. State your opinion/main idea about this topic.
This will form the heart of your thesis. An effective statement will

  • express one major idea.
  • name the topic and assert something specific about it.
  • be a more specific statement than the topic statement above.
  • take a stance on an issue about which reasonable people might disagree.
  • state your position on or opinion about the issue.

3. Give the strongest reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

4. Give another strong reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

5. Give one more strong reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

6. Include an opposing viewpoint to your opinion/main idea, if applicable. This should be an argument for the opposing view that you admit has some merit, even if you do not agree with the overall viewpoint.

7. Provide a possible title for your essay.

Thesis Statement Guide Results

Thesis Statement Model #1: Sample Thesis Statement

Parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Thesis Statement Model #2: Thesis with Concession

Notice that this model makes a concession by addressing an argument from the opposing viewpoint first, and then uses the phrase "even though" and states the writer's opinion/main idea as a rebuttal.

Even though television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Thesis Statement Model #3: Thesis with Reasons

Here, the use of "because" reveals the reasons behind the writer's opinion/main idea.

parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it isn't always intellectually stimulating.

Thesis Statement Model #4: Thesis with Concession and Reasons

This model both makes a concession to opposing viewpoint and states the reasons/arguments for the writer's main idea.

While television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it inhibits social interaction, shortens children's attention spans, and isn't always intellectually stimulating.

Remember: These thesis statements are generated based on the answers provided on the form. Use the Thesis Statement Guide as many times as you like. Your ideas and the results are anonymous and confidential. When you build a thesis statement that works for you, ensure that it addresses the assignment. Finally, you may have to rewrite the thesis statement so that the spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct.

Thesis Statement Guide: Sample Outline

Use the outline below, which is based on the five–paragraph essay model, when drafting a plan for your own essay. This is meant as a guide only, so we encourage you to revise it in a way that works best for you.

Introductory Paragraph

Start your introduction with an interesting "hook" to reel your reader in. An introduction can begin with a rhetorical question, a quotation, an anecdote, a concession, an interesting fact, or a question that will be answered in your paper. The idea is to begin broadly and gradually bring the reader closer to the main idea of the paper. At the end of the introduction, you will present your thesis statement. The thesis statement model used in this example is a thesis with reasons.

Even though television can be educational , parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it is not always intellectually stimulating

Paragraph #1

First, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans.

Notice that this Assertion is the first reason presented in the thesis statement. Remember that the thesis statement is a kind of "mapping tool" that helps you organize your ideas, and it helps your reader follow your argument. In this body paragraph, after the Assertion, include any evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports this first point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Paragraph #2

Additionally, it inhibits social interaction.

The first sentence of the second body paragraph should reflect an even stronger Assertion to support the thesis statement. Generally, the second point listed in the thesis statement should be developed here. Like with the previous paragraph, include any evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports this point after the Assertion. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Paragraph #3

Finally, the most important reason parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch is it is not always intellectually stimulating.

Your strongest point should be revealed in the final body paragraph. Also, if it's appropriate, you can address and refute any opposing viewpoints to your thesis statement here. As always, include evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports your strongest point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Concluding Paragraph

Indeed, while television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Rephrase your thesis statement in the first sentence of the conclusion. Instead of summarizing the points you just made, synthesize them. Show the reader how everything fits together. While you don't want to present new material here, you can echo the introduction, ask the reader questions, look to the future, or challenge your reader.

Remember: This outline is based on the five–paragraph model. Expand or condense it according to your particular assignment or the size of your opinion/main idea. Again, use the Thesis Statement Guide as many times as you like, until you reach a thesis statement and outline that works for you.