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Concepts Case

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The following paper will explore the motivational concept of Hull's Drive Theory as it applies to practical experience in two different applications in the workplace.

Hull's Drive Theory focuses on the principal that behavior can be predicted before it occurs based on a consequence of reinforcement and that reinforcement will cause learning and thus future predictable behavior. The concept that Drive causes energy only supports the theory to a point. It is what happens with the energy and the reward that impacts learning and then behavior.

In the case of work related experiences, motivation of employees to reach higher levels of performance are key to an organizations growth and success. As a manager and leader of a work team, it is critical to find points of stimulus that will match well with the individuals needs. In the article Don't let them be like Mike, the author made the statement "the best thing you can do when trying to motivate very successful people is ask them how they want to be rewarded"(Alonzo, 1999, p. 22). This statement helps focus attention on what an employee sees as important. Once a manager understands what the source of energy is, they can apply a stimulus to cause behavior that will drive success. The learning that will occur by the employee over time will then reinforce the desired behavior to reach the goal.

Work Example 1 - Restructure

The company has just undertaken a major restructuring to focus closer attention on its dealer body. This restructuring is being done at a time in which the industry was in the middle of its worst downturn, yet the company just recorded its best year ever. As part of the restructuring, a significant number of employees will be put into new positions and many will even have to relocate. The news of the restructuring has impacted the work force in many ways. .According to Schneider, Gunnarson, and Niles-Jolly (1994) "One risk of change is that the organization will operate less effectively for a while as the new climate is being created; when the practices and procedures are changing, employees become less certain about what management has as its priorities" (p. 18). Fears, concern, excitement, are just what could be seen on the surface. The restructuring announcement was made in mid-September, yet will not be fully be in place until January. The need for the company to keep everyone engaged and focused on their current position while also laying the groundwork for the future was critical. How the company met the challenges of both communicating and driving the needed behavior were imperative.

The company set specific time aside to communicate the plan. The first step was to get key mangers in 100% agreement with the new direction. Managers then engaged each employee to discuss the change and seek input on both a personal and companywide level. The phrase that was used to start most of the conversations was "we are building a bridge to the future, but we are walking on it at the same time". Employees we asked about their current position, how they saw the position align in the new structure, if the had any thoughts on where their talents could be used in the new structure and potential relocation. The need to provide direction/stimulus to the energy

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