Managerial and Organizational Challenges
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 10: . Maintaining Work Motivation During Trying Times
Parbudyal Singh1 INTRODUCTION Motivating employees is one of the most important and challenging activities that managers perform, even in normal times. Essentially, employee motivation involves getting people in the workplace to exert suﬃcient levels of eﬀort to attain organizational goals. Over time, several theories of motivation have been proposed, including needs theory (McClelland, 1961), goal-setting theory (Naylor and Illgen, 1984), the job characteristics model (Hackman and Oldham, 1975), equity theory (Adams, 1965), and expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964). However, an examination of these theories reveals that they are only partially useful in explaining human behavior and employee motivation under ‘abnormal’ conditions, such as circumstances during and after a terrorist attack. For instance, the job characteristics model (JCM), arguably the most relevant of the management theories in these circumstances, identiﬁes ﬁve key job characteristics, their interrelationships, and their impact on employee productivity and motivation. In summary, the JCM posits that job characteristics (skill variety, task identity, task signiﬁcance, autonomy and feedback) are related to critical psychological states (such as experienced meaningfulness of the work and experienced responsibility for outcomes of the work) and that these lead to personal and work outcomes, such as work motivation and satisfaction. Even though JCM provides some guidance for managers for job design in terroristic times, including the development of feedback mechanisms, it is limited in its usefulness in understanding human behavior and motivation in traumatic events. The same criticism may be applied to other theories of motivation. Thus, in this chapter, a...
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