The one best way to increase work motivation for an organisation is through employee reward scheme. Discuss In this essay I will be looking at different views that have been discussed in recent years on how reward schemes affect the motivation of employees and also looking at theories that have been produced by theorist backing up rewards as a positive form of motivation and disregarding reward schemes as a helpful form of motivation.
By looking at these different views and theories I will gain an understanding of where they think motivation through reward schemes stands in the work place, this will help me to gain a strong answer to whether rewards schemes is the one best way to motivate an employee in the workplace. I will be giving my own views on the information that theorist have already gathered, this will help me to see and understand both sides of the argument so that I will have a strong judgement to conclude the statement.
An important part of helping employees so that the work they carry out is efficient is through motivation. Motivation helps give employees an extra edge to work harder, complete tasks faster and well. In an employee’s view motivation can be seen as the inner power that can help them achieve goals that they are set by their employers, give them a sense of direction when they are trying to find out important information and to help bring them out of depression or stress that their work may be giving them. It is very important that managers keep their staff motivated or else they may act lazy towards work.
Demotivation eventually leads into arguments breaking out between employees within an organisation as well as work efficiency decreasing as there is no work put into the end product the organisation is trying to achieve. There are two types of motivation linked with rewards these are extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic is normally referred to as being motivated by your interests for example if you are undertaking football you enjoy it therefore you’re motivated to play the sport. Extrinsic motivation is normally referred to external sources outside of a person like money or school grades.
According to Cameron, J. , & Pierce, W. D. (2002). How rewards got a bad reputation. In: Rewards and intrinsic motivation: Resolving the controversy. United State of America: Bergin and Garvey. p11-22, intrinsic motivation refers to actions for which no reward is given but actually taking part in the activity is rewarding in its self. Extrinsic motivation refers to actions that are externally being controlled variable that can be willingly identified. There are many theorists that feel that motivation through reward schemes is harmful in a way that it takes away the interest in the activity that an employee is undertaking.
According to Reeve, J. (2005). Intrinsic motivation and types of extrinsic motivation. In: Understanding motivation and emotion. 4th ed. United States of America: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p134-135 it is said that when being rewarded for doing tasks that are already interesting or basic, then a person starts to lose intrinsic motivation because they are not carrying the task for the interest but they are carrying out the task for the reward. This could be harmful because if interest is lost in a task e. g. f an employee is meant to be serving on the tills and he is rewarded for serving twenty customers an hour then the employee may get distracted by the fact that he is getting rewarded which could lead to him rushing customers so that he can serve twenty customers in an hour which will then lead to mistakes made on the till. This example shows how rewards may distract an employee’s interest therefore making mistakes which could de-motivate the employee.
According to Reeve, J. (2005). Intrinsic motivation and types of extrinsic motivation. In: Understanding motivation and emotion. 4th ed. United States of America: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 145 extrinsic rewards also distract and employee from learning and understanding, because they are more focused on the reward and less focused on the goal that they are trying to achieve. An example of this statement could be if an employee was being trained to use SAGE for the organisations network and is being rewarded for being able to use the software, the employee may be distracted by the reward and therefore not understand the basis of the technology. This would mean that the software is not used properly which could lead to the employee being punished meaning he would lose motivation.
In contrast towards claim that extrinsic rewards distract people from learning and take away intrinsic motivation, according to Reeve, J. (2005). The Motivated and Emotional brain. In: Understanding motivation and emotion. 4th ed. United States of America: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p62, the dopamine theory suggested that when a reward is given to a person they release dopamine that releases positive feelings within the brain. It also carried on to say that when a person is expected to gain a reward, high levels are dopamine are released which help to give that person a lot of motivation within the activities they are carrying out.
For example when you smell cookies baking you would release dopamine but the levels of dopamine would not exceed the level of dopamine when actually eating the cookies. However the theory further went on to say that when an unexpected reward was given the dopamine released is greater than when being promised a reward. This suggests that when given unexpected rewards you have higher motivation than when promised a reward prior to the task given. Extrinsic rewards are seen to help motivate people in tasks that they do not find interesting. According to Reeve, J. (2005). Intrinsic motivation and types of extrinsic motivation.
In: Understanding motivation and emotion. 4th ed. United States of America: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p131 the government were trying hard to get people to use their seat belts when they were driving because of the increasing amount of injuries from people not wearing seat belts whiles they were driving. Advertisements campaigns of injuries without seat belts were not working and were only increasing seat belt usage by a minor percentage. Several programs were used to try and get more people to use their seat belts; one successful campaign was the sweepstakes program test at the University of Virginia.
Several posters were put up around the university explaining that if you were seen wearing your seat belt by the police that were monitoring the car park, then you would be entered in a weekly raffle were you could win $20 to $450 worth of prizes. The results from this program were that seat belt usage had doubled after three weeks of the sweepstakes program. This program showed that when using extrinsic rewards when tasks are seen to be not interesting then people are more inclined to take part in the task because they have a chance to gain a reward from participating in the activity.
The argument on whether reward schemes are helpful or harmful has caught the attention of many researchers and psychologists; one of them was Edward Deci. According to Cameron, J. , & Pierce, W. D. (2002). An introduction to the rewards and intrinsic motivation controversy. In: Rewards and intrinsic motivation: Resolving the controversy. United State of America: Bergin and Garvey. p4, Edward Deci claimed that external awards shouldn’t be used in activities because it is seen to take away intrinsic motivation from an activity that a person may be undertaking.
By backing up this idea that he claimed Deci carried out experiments to prove that his claim was true. The first experiment carried out by Deci examine the effects of intrinsic motivation was with 24 college students. Deci chose to use a puzzle solving task in which 12 students were offered money to solve a puzzle and the other 12 students were asked to solve the puzzle without being offered money. His results actually showed that the students offered money to solve the puzzles spent more free time on the puzzle than the group who wasn’t offered money.
This showed that there was no real significant link with rewards affecting intrinsic motivation thus meaning that Deci’s claim was not reliable. In 1973 another well-known experiment was carried out by Lepper, Greene and Nisbett from the Stanford University. In this study Lepper, Greene and Nisbett wanted to investigate the amount of free time a group of nursery children will use if given an expected reward, unexpected reward or no rewards. The results showed that the group of children who were given an expected reward spent less free time on drawing than the group who were given an unexpected reward and the group that received no reward.
This showed that the group that were promised a reward were thinking about the Good Player certificate therefore distracting them from spending time on the actual drawing. Looking at this experiment it would be more efficient for a manager to give their employee an unexpected reward rather than tell them that they are going to get a reward for doing a task that is set for them, this will help the employee to concentrate solely on the task that has been given to them by their manager.
In contrast towards Deci’s claims on extrinsic motivation being harmful to intrinsic motivation the social learning theory was brought up by Albert Bandura to dismiss this claim. According to Cameron, J. , & Pierce, W. D. (2002). Theoretical Perspectives on Rewards as Helpful. In: Rewards and intrinsic motivation: Resolving the controversy. United State of America: Bergin and Garvey. P59-61 Bandura believed that extrinsic rewards do not affect intrinsic motivation based on how the rewards are used. Bandura felt that rewards should be given for tasks that people find not interesting.
This claim goes back to the sweepstakes program at Virginia University. As Deci stated that extrinsic rewards make people lose interest in activities that they enjoy, Bandura believed that rewards shouldn’t be given regularly or for tasks that are easy to carry, for example if an employee is expected to gain information on another business then they should not be rewarded for that because that task is easy to carry out, but an employee should be rewarded for gaining another business as a customer for their business.
An example that Bandura gave about occasionally rewarding people was the Grammies and the Oscars celebrities are rewarded twice or once a year by an Oscar or Grammy award this shows how rewards should be given occasionally. Cameron (2002) and Pierce (2002) carried out a Meta-Analysis which was basically the analysis of all theories on intrinsic motivation and extrinsic rewards and find to out whether different forms of motivation or rewards affect a person positive or negatively.
According to the results from the Meta-analysis Cameron and Pierce found out that rewards are neither bad nor good for people. They felt that rewards can have negative affects if used incorrectly for example giving rewards for tasks that are not challenging. Cameron and Pierce also gathered that if rewards are implemented at challenging tasks or at different stages of completing a skill then it will instil interest and also alter the employee’s performance. According to Latham, G. (2006). Biology, Behaviour and Money. In: Work Motivation: history, theory, research, and practice.
California: Sage Publications, Inc. p11. his claims were that pay motivates employees to carry out work within their jobs. He believed that if good performers in a job are paid for their hard work they perform better and their motivation increases. This way of motivating employees is widely used around many businesses. Gary also continues to say that if good performers in a job are paid the same as people who perform less consistently compared to them then their motivation decreases because they do not feel that their hard work is being appreciated.
By looking and analysing all the information looked at in this essay I feel that reward schemes are the one best way to increase employee motivation. The reason for this is because looking at the different theories and claims reward schemes as a positive out ways reward schemes as a negative. Looking at Banduras social theory I feel that his claims are true because if a task was set and it was not interesting promising a reward for completing that task would make that activity more interesting and will also help to complete the task to a high standard.
The results from the Meta analysis carried out on rewards also helped me to bring my answer because the results where more in favour of reward schemes being a positive rather a negative. Looking at Edward Deci’s claims that reward schemes damage intrinsic interest I feel that this claim lacked evidence to actually show that this happens also when he carried out his experiment on the nursery children his results didn’t match his claim. All these factors have helped to make my decision that Reward schemes are the best way to increase motivation in the workplace