Work and motivation

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categorie: Engleza

nota: 9.99

nivel: Facultate

In The Human Side of Enterprise, Douglas McGregor outlined two opposing theories of work and motivation. What he calls Theory X is the traditional approach to workers and working which assumes that people are lazy and dislike work, and that they have to be both threatened (for example, with losing their job) and rewarded. It assumes that most people are incapable of taking responsibility for thems[...]
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In The Human Side of Enterprise, Douglas McGregor outlined two opposing theories of work and motivation. What he calls Theory X is the traditional approach to workers and working which assumes that people are lazy and dislike work, and that they have to be both threatened (for example, with losing their job) and rewarded. It assumes that most people are incapable of taking responsibility for themselves and have to be looked after. Theory Y, on the contrary, assumes that people have a psychological need to work and want achievement and responsibility.

Later theorists argued that Theory Y makes much greater demands on both workers and managers than McGregor realized. Abraham Maslow, for example, spent a year studying a Californian company that used Theory Y, and concluded that its demands for responsibility and achievement are excessive for many people. He pointed out that there are always weak and vulnerable people, with little self-discipline, who need protection against the burden of responsibility. Even strong and healthy people need the security of order and direction. Managers cannot simply substitute Theory Y for Theory X. They have to replace the security provided by Theory X with a different structure of security and certainty.

It is logical to suppose that things like good labour relations, good working conditions, good wages and benefits, and Job security motivate workers. But in Work and the Nature of Man, Frederick Herzberg argued that such conditions do not motivate workers. They are merely 'satisfiers' or, more importantly, 'dissatisfiers' where they do not exist. 'Motivators', on the contrary, include things such as having a challenging and interesting job, recognition and responsibility, promotion, and so on. However, even with the development of computers and robotics, there are and always will be plenty of boring, mindless, repetitive and mechanical jobs in all three sectors of the economy, and lots of unskilled people who have to do them.

So how do managers motivate people in such jobs? One solution is to give them some responsibilities, not as individuals but as part of a team. For example, some supermarkets combine office staff, the people who fill the shelves, and the people who work on the checkout tills into a team and let them decide what product lines to stock, how to display them, and so on. Other employers ensure that people in repetitive jobs change them every couple of hours, as doing four different repetitive jobs a day is better than doing only one.
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