What Are The Factors Affecting The Employee Motivation Business Essay

This chapter gives general information and theories about motivation. The need to increase productivity and efficiency in the work place of any organization has led to increasing academic interest in the area of motivation over the years. The business environment is becoming more and more competitive all the time and managers feel pressured to find new ways to motivate their employees in order to keep them committed to the company and give their full performance. Writers have been keenly interested in knowing what factors are responsible for stimulating the ability to work. Many different theories and methods of employee motivation that range from monetary incentives to increased involvement and empowerment have come out over the years and some of these theories are introduced in this thesis.

Background of the study

Motivation relates to a range of psychological processes that guide an individual toward a goal and cause that person to keep pursuing that goal. Motivation often is described in terms of direction (the choice of one activity over another), intensity (how hard an employee tries) and persistence (how long an employee continues with a behavior, even in the face of obstacles or adverse circumstances). Motivated employees work harder, produce higher quality and greater quantities of work, are more likely to engage in organizational citizenship behaviors, and are less likely to leave the organization in search of more fulfilling opportunities. Moreover, highly motivated employees strive to produce at the highest possible level and exert greater effort than employees who are not motivated (Schultz & Bagraim, Potgieter, Viedge, and Werner ( 2003:53). Employees need a range of motivators in order to remain engaged in their work. In response to this demand, employers are looking at how to satisfy their employees on both an extrinsic, financial level as well as an intrinsic, psychological level.

There are plenty of motivational theories emphasizing what it is that motivates people, two of these theories included in this thesis, were Maslow’s need hierarchy and Hertzberg’s two factor theory. Moreover, Maslow (1970) offered his “need hierarchy” according to which human beings have their needs arranged in a hierarchy such that they are motivated to seek satisfaction of the lower levels of need first. Once that level of need is satisfied it is no longer a motivator, and the person is motivated by the next level up the hierarchy. Referring to figure 1, the basic needs such as shelter, food and warmth are at the bottom level of Maslow’s hierarchy, which then progresses through physical well-being, social acceptance, self-esteem, to “self-actualization” (realizing one’s own potential).


Figure : Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

The first four levels are:

Physiological: hunger, thirst, bodily comforts, shelter;

Safety and security: out of danger;

Belongingness and Love: affiliate with others, be accepted;

Self-esteem: to achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition.

According to Maslow (1970), an individual is ready to act upon the growth needs if and only if the deficiency needs are met. Maslow’s initial conceptualization included only one growth need self-actualization. Self-actualized people are characterized by:

Being problem-focused;

Incorporating an ongoing freshness of appreciation of life;

A concern about personal growth; and

The ability to have peak experiences.

Maslow and Lowery (1998) later differentiated the growth need of self-actualization, specifically identifying two of the first growth needs as part of the more general level of self-actualization and one beyond the general level that focused on growth beyond that oriented towards self.

These needs are:

Cognitive: to know, to understand, and explore;

Aesthetic: symmetry, order, and beauty;

Self-actualization: to find self-fulfillment and realize one’s potential; and

Self-transcendence: to connect to something beyond the ego or to help others find self-fulfillment and realize their potential.

Maslow’s basic position is that as one becomes more self-actualized and self-transcendent, one becomes more wise (develops wisdom) and automatically knows what to do in a wide variety of situations. Daniels (2001) suggested that Maslow’s ultimate conclusion that the highest levels of self-actualization are transcendent in their nature may be one of his most important contributions to the study of human behavior and motivation.

A second well-known theory in this category is Hertzberg’s two-factor theory. According to Herzberg (1959), work motivation is dependent on “hygiene” factors (salary, prestige) and motivators (achievement, responsibility). A person is motivated if both kinds of needs are satisfied. Herzberg (1987) declared that “real” motivation is only reached when a person experiences self-growth, which can only be satisfied through work enrichment.


Figure : Herzberg´s Two Factor Theory

Herzberg’s two-factor theory of job-satisfaction is not new, as a matter of fact; it dates back to 1959 and is the outgrowth of a research study project on job attitudes conducted by (Herzberg, Mausner & Snyderman, 1969). Herzberg (1959) addresses the problem of job satisfaction in terms of those factors which cause satisfaction (motivators) and those which cause dissatisfaction (hygienes).

Factors which bring about job satisfaction are commonly called satisfiers or motivators and were found from the study to be related to the nature of the work itself and the rewards that result from the

performance of that work. The most significant of these involve characteristics that promote an individual’s needs for self-actualization and self-realization in his work. These factors are essentially linked to job content, which means they are intrinsic to the job itself. Herzberg analyzed and classified the job content factors or satisfying experiences as follows:




Work itself




According to Herzberg (1959), these factors stand out as strong determiners of job satisfaction with three of them, a sense of performing interesting and important work (work itself), job responsibility and advancement being the most important relative to a lasting attitude charge. Achievement more so than recognition, was frequently associated with such long-range factors as responsibility and the nature of the work itself. Robbins, (2003) emphasized that employee recognition consists of personal attention, expressing interest, promotion, pay, approval and appreciation for a job well done. Recognition which produces good feelings about the job does not necessarily have to come from superiors; it may come from subordinates, peers, or customers. It is interesting to note that recognition based on achievement provides a more intense satisfaction than does recognition used solely as a human relations tool divorced from any accomplishment, the latter does not serve as a satisfier. Schultz, et al,(2003) stated that some ways to improve motivation include good remuneration, effective training and skills development, a proper recognition and reward system, and employee growth prospects.

Compared with the satisfiers or motivators are the factors which cause low job attitude situations or job dissatisfaction. Such factors were found from the analysis of the study results to be associated primarily with an individual’s relationship to the context or environment in which he does his work, These factors are extrinsic to the work itself and are referred to as dissatisfies or hygiene (or maintenance).


Company policy and administration


Working conditions

Interpersonal relations (with peers, subordinates and superiors)


Job security


Personal Life

Details on the methods used by Herzberg and his colleagues to reduce and analyze their research data will not be discussed in this paper. The satisfiers and dissatisfiers that have been listed are referred to as first level factors. Bassett-Jones and Lloyd (2005) suggests that the “content theorists led by Herzberg, assumed a more complex interaction between both internal and external factors, and explored the circumstances in which individuals respond to different internal and external stimuli.

There has been an enormous increase in research into motivation. Many studies have implicated relation between motivation and other behavioral and organizational variable such as workable levers over work motivation such as comparing job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment (Moynihan & Pandey, 2007). They find that managers have varying degrees of influence over these different aspects of work motivation, with greatest influence over job satisfaction and least influence over job involvement. A number of variables are important for work motivation, including public service motivation, advancement opportunities, role clarity, job routineness, and group culture.

Testing an explicit and implicit measure of motivation ( Lawrence & Jordan, 2009). Summarizing the result of the study they came to the conclusion that the distinction between two types of motives, is real and determined by different developmental histories, activation by different incentives, and prediction of different types of behavior.

Langens, Schmalt and Sokolowski (2005) indicated that, recognizing the motive structure of a person can help us get to know which incentives cause positive emotions and influence the striving for a goal, and, on the other hand, we can predict which situations can cause fear and understand how they can be avoided.

Schuler and Prochaska (2001), Zimmermann (2008) stressed that along with the cognitive abilities, general achievement motivation can be viewed as the second career relevant trait, important for both academic and career success.

Schuler (2000), Frintrup, (2002) stated that abilities and skills are important prerequisites of successful work performance. But when employees lack job-related motivation, these qualities cannot be fully revealed. Then, high achievement motivation, along with intelligence, becomes relevant and plays an especially important role in situations when no external pressure exists and people have to make independent decisions.

As previously mentioned there are many motivational theories, studies and findings about employee motivation, but this thesis will be limited to the use of some of these researches and or motivational theories.

Research question and sub questions

The research question that shall be answered by the present research is as follows: what motivates employee at their workplace? In order to answer this overarching question, several sub-questions shall be considered, namely:

What are the factors affecting the employee motivation?

How important are incentives for the employee?

To what extend does the economy of Curaçao motivates or demotivates the employee?

What are the personal factors that can motivate an employee to commit to their jobs?

How significant are the company’s standard and values to the employee?

Also the differences in work motivation in different level of education, age groups and nationalities will be studied. This will be possible through analysis of information gathered from employees working at the three local airlines, using the method of a quantitative research. Local airlines count 3 airlines, namely Insel Air, Dutch Antilles Express and Divi Divi Air N.V. A brief introduction of the local airlines will follow.

Insel Air is an IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) certified airline, operating 16 international destinations in 11 countries within the Pan-American region. In South America InselAir operates on destinations Caracas, Valencia, Barquisimeto and Las Piedras in Venezuela, Medellin in Colombia and Suriname. Destinations within the USA include Miami, Charlotte and Puerto Rico. Other destinations in the Caribbean are Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Kingston, St. Maarten, St. Domingo and Haiti. Destinations Miami, Charlotte, St. Maarten Curacao and Aruba are used as hubs. Insel-Air ‘s international destinations and hub service give it great strength in creating connectivity within the Pan-American region while focusing on safety, on-time performance and great customer service. Insel-Air offers a Comfort Class next to an Economy Class, free on-board food and beverages, first two checked bags for free and seats with a maximum of 34 inch legroom in Comfort Class. Insel-Air operates approximately 46 flights per day with a crew of 165 employees.

Dutch Antilles Express has been providing cargo services since April 2005. With two Fokker 100s DAE operates out of the “hub” Curacao Hato International Airport to numerous locations across the Caribbean and South America. “DAE Cargo” has adopted the same principles as its on-time and quality passenger services. Parallel to their expanding flight network, DAE is providing effective and quality services to more and more new locations. With the support of 134 employees, DAE carries passengers and cargo to Aruba, Bonaire, St. Maarten, Sto. Domingo, Caracas, Valencia (Venezuela), Bogotá, Cartagena (Colombia), Paramaribo (Suriname) and Panamá City.

Divi Divi Air N.V., is a small efficient airline giving big services with a team 12 employees. Established in 2001 and based on Curaçao, with a ticket office in Curaçao as well as Bonaire. Divi Divi Air N.V., locally known as “e Divi Divi” (The Divi Divi) operates about 7 to 9 flights daily between the islands. They can also cater to your specific needs with charters on demand in the region. Divi Divi operates 3 twin-engine aircraft of which two are nine seat Britten-Norman Islanders.

Purpose of the study

The following are objectives of this research:

To investigate the causes of low employee motivation at the workplace.

To identify factors that could improve the level of motivation of employees at the workplace.

To suggest strategies that could improve the quality of work-life of their workplace.

There are many factors that motivate people intrinsically. The motivational factor of these matters is based on human´s urge to fulfill certain needs. Not all of them can be applied in work motivation, but the ones that are executable for this purpose are introduced next. The inner motivation factors include; acceptance, the need for approval; curiosity, the need to learn; honor, the need to be loyal to the traditional values of one’s clan/ethnic group; idealism, the need for social justice; independence, the need for individuality; order, the need for organized, stable, predictable environments; power, the need for influence of will; saving, the need to collect; social contact, the need for friends (peer relationships); status, the need for social standing/importance; tranquility, the need to be safe; and vengeance, the need to strike back/to win. Reiss (2004) said that these basic desires give people inner work motivation when they seek to fulfill some of these needs.

Limitations and delimitations

The limitation is being considered in relation to the natural explanation to which the researcher has limited the study and the active choices to limit the study area. This study is limited to existing theories and models, and their influence and limitation on motivation of the employee. The focus will be on independent variables that the airlines and or their employee in one or another way can influence, with exception of the external factors which one cannot control directly but monitor, delimitated in local airlines.

Variables that will be used are personal needs, organizational structure and external factors. Of the individual factors, the most important factors will be chosen. For organizational factors it will be limited to study the organizational culture and the incentives, the external factors, the economy will be touched. Approximately 100 employees will be studied in different education levels, age groups and nationalities.

Setup of the thesis

In chapter 2, a motivation factors model is presented and explained. In this part, the definition of work motivation, factors that influences the work motivation, and different work motivation theories used in the thesis are discussed. Further, different work-related behaviors are introduced and some general information. Chapter 3, the methodology used is explained e.g. the research method, procedures, instruments and representativeness is presented.

Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 ………..

On the last page(s), a reference list of the journals used in this thesis is included.

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