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In the progressively competitive business environment, establish the most appropriate ways of motivating employees has turned out to be a pressing issue for many managers (Mikkelsen, Jacobsen & Andersen, 2017, p. 201). As a result, various research and motivational methods have been developed stretching from the financial incentives such as money or office supplies, to strengthen workers’ to increased empowerment and involvement. For small enterprises, employee incentive can be problematic especially in a situation where the owner of the business has spent many years establishing an organization that she finds hard to delegate important responsibilities to others. However, entrepreneurs ought to be careful of these pitfalls since the impacts of low worker incentive on small businesses tend to be overwhelming. Some of the problems that are commonly associated with unmotivated employees include widespread discouragement, declining morale, and complacency. If allowed to go on, these issues can reduce the competitiveness, earnings, and productivity of an organization.

However, small businesses can also create an ideal atmosphere for fostering worker motivation. This is because most employees can see the outcomes of their efforts in a manner that is more immediate than in large companies. Apart from increasing the competitiveness and productivity, highly motivated employees can permit the owner of a small business to relinquish short-term daily business activities to the employees. By relinquishing these responsibilities, the owner of a small business could have more time to focus on the company’s long-term strategic goals on how to make the business better. According to various business coaches, most employees want to be motivated about their work, and when they are motivated, they work harder, smarter and better.

Moreover, businesses that formulate and implement effective ways to reward good workers find that it can be a significant instrument in employee retention. These ways can either be tangible or intangible. Tangible ways include financial bonuses while intangible ways include a profitable consignment for an upcoming project. According to business researchers, most individuals enjoy working, and they tend to thrive in companies that establish positive work environments for them. This is because they tend to thrive in work environments that allow them to make a difference as well as in environments where most of the workers in the company are competent and can pull together to grow the organization together. This implies that a well-structured recognition and reward programs are important components in the mix. There are different of worker benefits such as company cars, availability of child care, subsidized meal plans, exercise facilities, work stock ownership plans, profit sharing, life insurance, and healthcare. These mixes are used by organizations to maintain motivated employees since they believe that happy workers are motivated workers.

Due to the current competitive corporate environment, every organization regardless of its markets and scales is struggling to acquire competitive advantages, to realize efficiency and productivity and to perform better (Mostafa, Gould‐Williams & Bottomley, 2015, p. 751). To realize these goals, it is crucial for a company to define its objectives clearly and to know the manner in which to do it effectively with the application of the available resources. In this case, a company’s resources refer to the human resources that occupy the gaps between every step towards success. Employees are responsible for making use of their knowledge and competencies to offer support to the organization as a way of realizing its objectives. Across the world, all the organizations that consider their employees as a fundamental part of their businesses and unceasingly increase their employees’ level of performance and motivation are likely to be more efficient.

Research Questions and Objectives


  1. What is employee motivation?
  2. What are some of the methods and concepts of employee motivation?
  3. What is the connection between employee motivation and organizational efficiency?
  4. What are some of the factors that motivate employees most?
  5. What are some of the methods that both the managers and the companies use to enhance employees’ motivation?


An efficient company is defined through its competencies to realize its proposed objectives (Shahzadi et al, 2014, p. 161). This is because an organization is made up of various elements that ought to be supported and coordinated for it to realize its efficiency and productivity. These elements are classified as soft and hard components. Hard components comprise systems, organization, and approach while soft components comprise workforce, style, expertise, and shared values. However, this study will concentrate on the employees’ element as well as with the focus on the employee motivation. This is because there is a strong correlation between the efficiency of an organization and employees’ motivation. Workers with high motivation are perceived to possess better work performance leading to a better, more efficient and productive company performance.

Recognizing the significance of employees’ motivation in the daily work of an organization, this research will be conducted with the aim to:

  1. Study the meaning of employee motivation,
  2. Study the methods and concepts of employee motivation
  3. Study the connection between employee motivation and organizational efficiency.
  4. Establish some of the factors that motivate employees most.
  5. Provide proposals for both the managers and the companies on how to enhance employees’ motivation.

Literature Review

In every study, the literature review section is important since it plays a major role of orienting the reader to the entire process of the study. Apart from helping the researcher to understand his variables thoroughly, it provides him with a framework for analyzing data. On this research, this chapter begins by defining motivation and outlining its methods and concepts. The chapter also outlines the importance workers’ motivation on the efficiency of an organization. Additionally, the chapter discusses some of the motivation theories.


Motivation is defined as factors that sustain, direct and activate foal-directed behavior (Deci & Ryan, 2014, p. 31). Motivation is also defined as a process or an act that provides an individual with the reason to do things in a given way (Massenberg, Spurk & Kauffeld, 2015, p. 171). Additionally, motivation gives an explanation for desires, needs and repeated behaviors. In an organization setting, motivation is defined as the sum of all the processes that effect the maintenance, direction and arousal of all the behaviors that are relevant to the work settings (Lazaroiu, 2015, p. 97). In an organization, employee motivation is taken to be a crucial drive since it generates action and effort towards job-related activities such as the willingness of the employees to work towards realizing reward or a common goal. When employees are motivated, they tend to eagerness and enthusiasm towards work and strong determination to implement as well as to accomplish various tasks.

Motivation Concept

As a psychological force, motivation determines the direction of an individual’s behavior in a company, as well as his level of persistence and effort (Bozeman & Su, 2015, p. 707). Although the concept of motivation can be wide, there are three key components. These components include persistency, intensity and direction.

Direction refers to a goal that forces a person to perform to achieve a certain objective (Ritz, Brewer & Neumann, 2016, p. 417). An individual chooses this goal either unconsciously or consciously. When it comes to selecting a goal, an individual is influenced by both the external and the internal factors and the most appropriate goal is the one selected among the potential alternatives. On the other hand, intensity refers to the level of effort or determination that an individual puts in the process of realizing the selected goal. Persistence refers to an individual’s ability to uphold motivation even in times when obstacles are prevalent.

According to scholars, motivation plays a major role towards the success of an organization (Cheng & Yeh, 2018, p. 601). This is because motivated employees are always willing to commit their efforts towards doing things that they are expected to do. When the selected goal is realized, it drives a feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction among employees leading to a positive working attitude in the organization.

Motivation can also be classified into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation originates from an individual’s desire to challenge oneself and to seek out new things (Berridge, 2014, p. 201). It is defined as the eagerness to explore capabilities and self-values, to acquire knowledge and to learn. When an individual intrinsic motivation, it implies that this individual carries out his responsibilities with enjoyment and interest. Such an individual is characterized by the tendency to continuously improve his abilities and skills, to strive towards achieving self-reward and best results and to carry out his responsibilities with willingness and passion. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is defined as the performance of various activities to realize the desired results. This type of motivation can arise from both the external and the internal factors. However, in most cases, extrinsic motivation is associated with the impact of the external factors (Delton, & Sell, 2014, p. 117). Some of these factors include punishment, external rewards, appraisals and competitions.

Methods of Motivation

In the current work environment, there are different methods of employee motivation (Locke & Latham, 2010, p. 241). Different companies have been making use of different approaches and strategies to enhance employee motivation. Nevertheless, it is seems as if the best employees’ motivator is something that is significant to their lives. This is because different employees have different approaches and values. This implies that the ability to understand employees’ needs and to make use of the most suitable methods of motivation can lead to higher levels of motivation.

However, money is considered to be the best motivator. This is because even in the historical times, money was the only factor that caused differences between workers working in unconducive environment during industrial revolution and those working in slave-conditions in the rural area (Lindner, 2018, p. 7). For the individuals who were involved in the paid worker system, money meant more than just itself. This is because money was associated with prosperity and wisdom. As a result, most individuals migrated to the industrial areas with the hope to enhance their working conditions and lives. With this prospect of salary, even today, young individuals continue to strive from poor to better living conditions and to higher levels of education since they perceive that education is the only way towards a prosperous future.

However, some individuals are aware that apart from money, there are other types of motivators. Some of these types of motivators include responsibility, growth, advancement, recognition and achievement (Tabassi & Bakar, 2009, p. 477).

Employee empowerment have also been promoted as another method of increasing employee motivation (Zhang & Bartol, 2010, p. 121). This is because empowerment creates a feeling of impact, efficiency and control among employees. It also creates a sense of freedom especially when it comes to decision-making, a feeling of achievement especially when the intended task is completed as per the expectations leading to the desired outcomes as well as a feeling responsibility. Studies show that workers with high levels of empowerment motivation have high work motivation leading to better organizational performance and productivity.

Achievement motivation is defined as the need to achieve (Lin, 2017, p. 141). It is also defined as the need to succeed and it indicates the desire to attain excellence. Depending on different people, achievement tends to differ. For instance, achievement may involve the need for fulfillment or enjoyment to achieve a work-life balance, to feel satisfied and engaged with work and to enjoy meaningful life. It may also involve the impact that a person’s life has made on the environment or on the society.

As a motivator, advancement shows the chances of being promoted to a higher position, thus having more company benefits and a higher salary. Since different employees share different advancement motivations, it is important for the managers to understand the needs of every employee to assist them in reaching the satisfied drivers.

Growth motivation is also important since it plays a major role towards employee retention. Apart from company benefits, better salary and career promotion, growth motivation also involves better opportunities to widen their network, to learn new skills, to get more knowledge, to grow and to challenge themselves with various positions.

Importance of Motivation on Organizational Efficiency

Regardless of technology, market and size, all organizations desire to become successful and to uphold constant progress even in the competitive business environment (Manzoor, 2012, p. 11). To achieve these objectives, managers are responsible for developing strategies and ensuring that these strategies are well implemented through effective use of the available resources. According to managers from various organizations, employees are part of the company’s important assets as they play a major role in helping organizations overcome challenges, exceed limits and reach prosperity. Additionally, organizations that place their staffs at the center of the business through maintain a strong and a positive relationship with them and encouraging them to work towards fulfilling their goals are characterized by high productivity as these employees are efficient.

However, companies are today experiencing challenges especially when it comes to employee retention. Acknowledging the important roles that employees play as well as the influence that they bring towards the efficiency of an organization, many organizations are trying to retain their employees through creating a healthier and a motivating workplace (Amabile, 2017, p. 45). This is crucial because if staffs are not well-focused, it can lead to a decline in both the efficiency and productivity of a business. Research shows that until and unless employees are satisfied and motivated, it is hard for an organization to foster success.

Studies have also shown that motivated workers carry out their responsibilities better as compared to demotivated ones. This is because motivated workers tend to be more innovative since they tend to be always looking for better means of completing tasks. Additionally, these employees are goal-oriented and self-directed. This implies that they can lead to high-quality work with maximized productivity and efficiency.

Employee motivation is associated with a strong influence on organization efficiency. Although organizational efficiency is a wide term this study follows the concept of discovering targets and attaining them in a proficient manner in energetic and spirited surroundings. This is because an efficient organization makes sure that there is a sense of satisfaction and commitment and a spirit of cooperation in the range of its influence. However, no fixed parameters have been established to calculate an organization’s efficiency since it differs from one organization to another. Nevertheless, organizational efficiency can be used to measure different things in an organization such as the delivery system, human performance, accountability, communication and leadership. In this study, focus is mainly placed on human performance and especially on the aspect of employee motivation (Lin, 2017, p. 141). The aim of this study is to prove the connection that exists between employee motivation and organizational efficiency.

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s theory describes five different stages of human needs organized in a hierarchic order descending from the most basic to the most complex ones (Koltko-Rivera, 2016, p. 305). The theory suggests that there are some human needs that there are fundamental needs which without them, nothing else matters. Abraham states that human beings consider those needs as a motivator to work. And in order to satisfy those needs, they start with lowest needs then strive for the high-ranked ones. The hierarchy of needs is described in a pyramid shape with the largest levels of need at the bottom and the need for self-actualization (Hall & Nougaim, 2018, p. 17). The theory is objective to outline the process of getting to the highest ranked human needs which are self-actualization. At the very bottom of the pyramid is the physiological needs which include breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, ex-creation. Then the safety needs which include security of body, employment, resources, morality, family, health, and property. The third level from bottom is love and belonging. The needs at these level includes family, friendship, and sexual intimacy. The next level is the esteem which includes confidence, achievement, respect of others, and respect of others. At the apex of the pyramid is the self-actualization. The needs at this level are morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts.  

Herzberg’s two-factor Theory

According to this theory, the behavior of a human being tends to be influenced by the dissatisfaction and the satisfaction factor (DeShields, Kara & Kaynak, 2015, p. 133). Fredrick Herzberg believes that these factors lead to job satisfaction and human motivation in organizations. He also points out two components that lead to dissatisfaction and satisfaction. These factors include the hygiene factors and the motivator factors. The motivator factors include personal achievement, status, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, growth, promotion, and opportunity for advancement. They are also called the intrinsic factors. The characteristics of these factors are that they are intangible and deal with more emotional needs. With the motivation, satisfaction is achieved and therefore one puts more commitment. The extrinsic factors on the other hand includes hygiene factors, interpersonal relationships, company culture, working conditions, job security, salary and wages. Unlike the intrinsic factors, the extrinsic factors are tangible and form the basic needs (Maidani, 2017, p. 444). With the motivation and demotivation elements, a factor like hygiene may not motivate but lead to satisfaction instead, but if hygiene is absent demotivation will prevail.

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory

This theory explains the procedure on how an individual chooses to execute a group of behaviors over others as well as how the decision he makes relates to his goals (Van Eerde & Thierry, 2016, p. 575). Vroom states that the motivation of an individual to realize desired results is determined by valence, instrumentality and expectancy.

Expectancy refers to an individual’s belief that his efforts will lead to desired results like success or performance (Lee, 2017, p. 791). It is also defined as an individual’s evaluation on the kind and amount of effort needed to achieve higher performance or better results. Instrumentality is defined as an individual’s belief that his performance is associated with later results such as punishment and reward. On the other hand, the valence component validates the perception of an individual on the amount of punishment or reward received from performance. If an individual feels that the punishment or reward is well-earned with his performance and effort, she is likely to put more effort in realizing it. According to Vroom, people are motivated to work towards realizing a certain goal if they perceive that that goal is worthy and if they feel that their efforts are likely to lead to the achievement of that objective.


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