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The Nature of Work Motivation

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There are many ways to define work motivation; however, to be clearly explained, we make it simple and easy to interpret what work motivation is. Work motivation is the psychological forces that determine the direction of a person's behavior in an organization, a person's level of effort, and a person's level of persistence. (R. Kanfer, 1990). Moreover, Motivation is a set of energetic forces that originates both within as well as beyond an individual's being, to initiate work-related behavior, and to determine its form, direction, intensity and duration. (Pinder, 1998).

Definition and types of motivation measure

Many researchers still are working on the influences of individual factors in work motivation. Therefore, there are some differences when measuring work motivation, it can be personality, affect, interest and values. Within the organizational psychology literature, there are four major measurement systems used to assess work motivation. These include projective, objective, implicit/explicit, and subjective measures; however, these assessments are not specific and not make it construct valid, the use in organizational setting has diminished in the past few decade.

In the early 1990s, Blais, Lachance, Vallerand, Brière, and Riddle (1993) were amongst the first to provide empirical support for a SDT-based self-assessment of work motivation.

Self-Determination Theory focus on the nature of motivation, it means that "why of behavior." The theory made an assumption that "human beings are active, growth-oriented organisms who are naturally inclined toward integration of their psychic elements into a unified sense of self and integration of themselves into larger social structures" (Deci & Ryan, 2000, p. 229).

Meaningful Motivation and Work Motivation Theory

Sometimes we may curious about why we should motivate workers to work. That is, what is the motivation for work motivation theory? The answer for managers is to boost productivity and the answer for researchers to support theories is to enhance individual and group performance. The ethics of work motivation theory are important because motivational efforts can exert control over individual moral autonomy. Factors that individual workers regard as are valuable need to be redirected to augment organizational productivity. The approach to leverage the value of motivational strategies is "pulling" and "pushing." Pulling is that proponents recognize values that motivate particular individuals and seek to align them with organizational performance. "Pushing" is compelling productivity by force with little or no regard for employee autonomy--will, at best, have a temporary positive influence on the direction of action while draining it of vigor and persistence. (Steers, Mowday& Shapiro, 2004).

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

One of the founding father of humanist approaches to management--Abraham Maslow wrote an important paper that set five fundamental human needs and their hierarchy nature. From lowest-level needs to highest-level needs that are Physiological needs, Safety needs and Belongingness needs and finally, Self-actualization needs. From Maslow's theory of motivation, modern leaders and executive managers find means of employee motivation for the purposes of employee and workforce management.

The introduction of Southwest Airlines

The feature of Southwest Airlines is very simple, come to work dressed in shorts, polo shirts, and sneakers. They're encouraged to tell jokes and have fun on the job. There's a reason Southwest Airlines is known as the fun-in-the-sky airline. Herb Kelleher, the airline's longtime CEO and now chairman, has always believed that "a company is stronger if it is bound by love, rather than by fear." Because of this, Southwest has based its culture around a deep respect and comes from freedom. That's why the company has become one of the most admired companies in the world. The company's mission is simple: Employees are our first customer.

Seven key elements in Southwest Airlines employee motivation along with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

1. Strong set of values

Values are the most important and sacred attitude for people. This is about how people behave themselves, and values are also the behavior guidelines. Southwest Airlines set the company's values for staff to obey. Not only for the front line workers must behave according to these values but also top managers as well. These values are strictly enforced across the company. The top three SWA values are Employees, Customers and Stockholders. In other words, SWA organization first, should exceed its employees' expectations; second, to exceed its customers' expectations; third, to exceed its stockholders' expectations.

2. Employees come first--Safety needs& Belongingness needs

Just underneath SWA mission statement - on the SWA web site - it reads:

"The SWA organization is committed to provide their employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same



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