As we all know, under the interacting and developing society situation, the study of what people do and think in an Organisation is becoming more and more essential, thus we need to get a thorough understanding of organisational behaviour and the theories it argues. This essay will define three important topics: motivation, leadership and personality. It will also present the application of them and examine how they work in contemporary Organisations. A significant point that will be made is that the three topics are connected with each other internally. Now we will analysis them respectively.
According to Buchanan and Huczynski (2004, p.244) “motivation is the cognitive, decision-making process through which goal directed behaviour is initiated, energized, directed and maintained.” The application of motivation has been widely used in economic practicing. It is quite common to see a group of people in an Organisation who are doing similar and identical jobs finally come to different consequences –some perform better than the others. We know that their motives are main causes of their behaviour. In this way, managers can make the best use of the theory of motivation to develop employees’ high-quality performance.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is probably the most famous and fundamental content theory in this area. Maslow proposed that people have a built-in set of five basic needs, which can be arranged in a hierarchy (Bratton et al 2010), from lower level to higher level, they are:
Biological and physical needs
In his theory, once the lower-level needs are almost satisfied, people begin to pursue the higher-level, for they have an inner need of realizing their potential and going up the hierarchy. It has been demonstrated (Pugh1991) that “a need is not effective as a motivator until those before it in the hierarchy are more or less satisfied. You are not likely to worry about the sharks if you are drowning, for example. ”
Firstly ,in the economic environment, we can specify biological and physical needs as some motivating factors, such as bonus, welfare, therefore the management strategy can be¼šImprove the system of bonus and loan, ameliorate the facilities of welfare and so forth.
Secondly, we can see from the list above, safety need is the second lowest of the five, that is to say, managers should pay enough attention to work safety, for example, and they can make investigation of different levels of safety that employees need, then propose the corresponding safety management regulations, like medical insurance and supplementary commercial insurance.
Thirdly, with the lower-order physiological and safety needs are satisfied, managers have the responsibility to offer employees support, encouragement and recognition to help them exploit their advantages and abilities, besides, a degree of autonomy is also necessary(Lau 1975) .Microsoft was started 27 years ago and was built into the most profitable technology company in the world. To be better able to respond to environment changes, its top executives created several new divisions, like Business and Enterprise Division, Home and Retail Division and so on. The heads of the eight divisions are given the freedom and authority to run the business and spend their budgets as they fit, provided they meet revenue and profit goals, which makes the new structure revolutionary and effective (Daft 2004). The autonomy given to them is a symbol of reliance and appreciation, in this way the heads of the new divisions are definitely highly motivated.
All in all, although it is not easy to find which need is prior over a period of time, “managers have to know where their employees are located on the needs hierarchy, and ensure that their lower-order needs are satisfied before appealing to their higher-order needs”(Bratton et al 2010). The “need” may change with age, increased knowledge and experience.
However, the theory of Maslow has its limitation, it was put forward “as a typical picture of what might happen under ideal (and therefore rarely attained) conditions.”(Pugh1991).To some extent, it is ambiguity and vague, we cannot define the clear-cut point of the hierarchy needs. An individual may prefer being recognized by others to fulfilling his hunger, or may be a person would like to seek for several needs at the same time. We should make analysis of specific issues and avoid using the theory blindly.
American psychologist Herzberg advocated another theory of motivation-two factor theory, it is better known as “motivator-hygiene model”. One factor is called hygiene factor and the other is motivator. Hygiene factors include company policy, salary, security and working conditions. These factors are associated with an individual’s negative feelings about the job and are related to the environment in which the job is performed. (Hellriegel & Slocum 2007). Motivator factors include achievement, recognition and the work itself. Compared with Maslow theory, hygiene factor is similar to the lower-level needs (physical, safety and social needs), while motivator is more or less the same as the higher-level needs (self- esteem and self- fulfillment) (Hellriegel&Slocum2007).
Herzberg’s theory makes a great contribution to the scientific management approach. The application of hygiene factor by managers can remove dissatisfaction of employees, what is more important, managers can take full advantage of motivator to increase their motivation and performance, in doing so, material incentive and spiritual incentive should be combined with each other. For example, managers can adopt reasonable and competitive salary system and give employees honor or care at the same time. We will take Kingston Technology Co for example, the vice president David Sun and its president John Tu always say,”business is not about money, it is about relationships”. When the two sold 80 percent of Kingston to Softbank Corp, of Japan for $1.5 billion, they set aside $100 million of the proceeds for employee bonuses. However, when people ask why they like working for Kingston, they talk about personal acts of gentleness and kindness performed by the two top leaders instead of mentioning money and benefits. And because employees are treated with care and respect, they pass that attitude on in their relationships with each other and with customers. We can see that employees are highly motivated to meet organisational goals and keep the company’s reputation for doing the right thing. (Daft 2004)
Nowadays we are surrounded by cut-throat competition of business, Organisations face major difficulties in motivating employees to be competitive, adaptable and effective. Martin (1998) has implied that “Motivation is a concept that may be intuitively attractive in explanatory terms and offer some opportunity for managers to enhance the nature of work for individuals. However, it is not possible to offer a definitive definition of the concept or how it is and should be used by managers. It is a social and a political concept as well as being a psychological one.”
Leadership is influencing, motivating and enabling others to contribute towards the effectiveness and success of the Organisations of which they are members (Bratton et al 2010).As we all know, it is a kind of necessary ability in our social work and Organisations, leaders need to motivate others to achieve goals by using leadership skills, we have to say that leadership is an effective factor of organisational development.
Leaders should take the advantage of their leadership skills and demonstrate relevant ability, Daft (2004) once argued that “it can offer important values to employees to enhance organisational effectiveness, actions speak louder than words.” Leaders could exploit theories of leadership to achieve this. The leaders of MTW Corp use leadership skills to reform the company, they craft an expectations agreement with each employee to make sure all of them understand what their needs and ambitions are, which spells out both professional and personal goals. Some employees might want challenge and opportunity above everything else, whereas others highly value job flexibility to handle their family and personal needs, it helps to guarantee that employees live up to their commitments as well as that managers follow through on their promises (Daft 2004). The effectiveness of leadership make MTW adapt to the competition and the changing economic environment better.
Fiedler’s contingency theory maybe one of the most well-known and oldest theories in this area. It reveals a perspective that leaders must adjust their style in a manner consistent with aspects of the context (Buchanan & Huczynski2004).The theory classifies leaders into two sorts: task oriented and relationship oriented. Task oriented leaders are aimed at achieving goals and accomplishing the work, while relationship oriented leaders are concentrated on constructing good and harmonious relationship with their subordinates. As the theory assumes there is no general best method in management, or to say, “there is no one ideal set of traits or best behavioral pattern.(Buchanan&Huczynski2004)” leaders have to be clearly aware of the variable factors in each situation and grasp the complicated relationship between cause and effect, then take measures of different position flexibly. It is obvious that the study of leadership should involve not only a study of leaders but of situations (Wilson2004).
Many contingency theories suggest that leaders need to change their leadership style to fit the situation. However, Fiedler’s theory argues that leaders should change the context to make the best of their ability, in this way, management could be more effective. Another point that leaders need to pay attention to is “innovation”, with the rapid development of economy, larger scale of enterprise and the shorten of update cycle, the external environment become more and more uncertain, thus leaders need to adopt some creative strategies. We can see the example of Goldlion, the leader of the brand have considered the future development condition at the beginning of setting it up. It changed its advertising words from “tie of Goldlion, world for man” to “Goldlion, world for man”, it reveals that once its position of tie is established, it can develop into two directions: brand promotion and enterprise expansion, in this way, Goldlion become stronger in the increasingly heated competition and find its own direction of progressing.
Another widely used and highly influential theory — situational leadership theory was proposed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, it comes from the expectancy theory of motivation and suggests that leaders should alter their behaviour to match the need of the followers. As Pugh (1991) delivers, “situational leaders is an approach to determining the most effective style of influencing which takes into account the amounts of direction and support the leader gives, and the readiness of followers to perform a particular task.” What different from other theories is that situational leadership theory is based on the followers, not leaders. It requires leaders to help followers set goals and handle the value of the objective, in the process of doing this, leaders can develop their ability and make them satisfied. We also need to pay attention to two principles: first, leaders should adopt the leadership style which followers are willing to accept. Second, the leadership style must be motivating, also leaders need to trust and reward the followers, Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves to be great.” Since the sense of recognition is quite essential, followers always need to be motivated and appreciated.
The theory shows there are four types of leadership behaviour: directive leadership, supportive leadership, participative leadership and achievement-oriented leadership. It is flexible and the four can appear on one person. Leaders should be able to change their style to fit to the current situation. Meanwhile, improve followers’ sense of identification is very essential, that means, if a leader who holds clear and definite values can appeal the same values of the followers, his leadership behaviour would be more impactful.
Thompson and McHugh (2002) argue that “The study of leadership is then directly to the improvement of management control strategies and to the refinement of the tactical options open to managers in the day-to-day practice of regulating workplace behavior.” Leaders need to adjust their leadership style time to time. Effective leadership behaviour is assessed by the ability of adjusting the action of an Organisation and inspiring, motivating followers; therefore the Organisation can come through difficulties and achieve its goals.
Personality is an indispensable factor that we have to pay close attention to in an Organisation. If a manager is capable of identifying individuals’ personality, he will be able to know how to arrange the positions properly. A variety of measures like personality test and behavior assessment are used by managers to identify employees’ temperament. Buchanan and Huczynski (2004) indicate that “personality is the psychological qualities that influence an individual’s characteristic behaviour patterns in a stable and distinctive manner.”
Both genetics and social context influence personality(Pugh1991). We are born with a particular characteristic; it is decided by genetic factors, while we will also be affected by the external factors, like living environment and individual experience. Ellis and Dick (2003) propose that “the nature of personality is a highly contested domain in psychology, and there are other approaches that suggest the human character is likely to change and develop”, as individual personality can be influenced by situational factors, we can say that personality appears to be dynamic and flexible.
An American psychologist Cooley provided a theory of personality: looking- glass self. It argues that we begin to see ourselves as others see us through the responses that we generate from others(Martin1998).Other people’s opinion on you is just like a mirror, which can reflects the impression back to you. During this process, we can have a better understanding of our own personality and learn to adapt to the environment more easily. If someone responds to you with disagreement or other negative emotions, we may have appeared to have a “bad” image, and then we know we need to improve our interacting skills and present a “positive” personality to others. It can be widely used in working Organisations by both managers and employees to build better self-images.
Another theory of personality named emotional intelligence was developed by Daniel Goleman. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, integrate, understand and reflectively manage one’s own and other people’s feelings (Buchanan &Huczynski 2004).It seems to be more essential than certain working skills, especially for senior managers and other leaders. They can use this concept to develop better relationships with others, create harmonious atmosphere and finally consolidate their management. There are five dimensions of emotional intelligence (Martin1998):
1. Self-awareness. It is an ability to know our emotion and recognize our personality, be aware of our behaviors.
2. Regulating feelings. It is a rational ability that can control our own emotion and do something in a well -organized order.
3. Motivation. It is a kind of passion that motives us to do something and keep up consistently.
4. Empathy. It is an ability to understand other people’s emotion and be able to deal with it.
5. Social skills. It is an ability to deal with social relationships and build up teamwork.
When adopting emotional intelligence, individuals should spend time getting to know each other better and tell others what you are thinking about actively. The group should think of methods to creative a relaxing atmosphere and discuss the “negative” emotion problems. There is no doubt that Organisations should deliver training programmes to improve emotional intelligence.
In nowadays’ changing business condition, people’s performance in the work place is closely related to their personality. Each type of personalities can bring its positive or negative dimension to the Organisation. Hence, it is better to have a wide variety of personalities, for they can exploit their advantages to the full in certain positions. Actually there is no specific “good” or “bad” personality in an Organisation, you may find someone with so-called “bad” personality is just the kind of person you need. We can obviously conclude that each type of personality will definitely be suited to particular situations and positions, the point is: make sure they are playing to their own strength (Martin1991). We should use the knowledge of personality to create a more productive environment to achieve goals more effectively.
Choosing the right candidate for a job, or selecting the right person for promotion, is also a critical organisational skill (Pugh1991). A leader who makes a wrong decision will make employees de-motivated and frustrated. In order to avoid selecting inadequate employees and making wrong decision, managers in an Organisation would adopt a series of measures, like personality test, interviews, e-assessment and so forth. A leading gas company called Lebnskraft is settled in Nigeria, one of the most populous countries in Africa. It is German-owned and has developed into an international gas company. Since its arrival in Nigeria, Lebnskraft’s most positions are filled by employees from Germany. As a way of broadening its choice of candidates, Lebnskraft’s senior manager decided to consider people from Nigerian. The company has always used personality test for assessing employees during promotion and other related projects. For this planned management recruitment, the company adopted the method again; it was applied to compare the abilities, personality traits of the whole candidates, and then chose proper ones for the current positions, the new employees got into their roles efficiently and showed their advantages of personality in their own position (Bratton al2010).We should know that different people have different personality, and each personality can give its play to strong points in a certain area, leaders need to master the skills of observing and judging one’s personality in order to make right decisions. Lebnskraft’s senior manager adopted a correct strategy for recruiting new employees, he used personality test to assess candidates’ personality and trait, in this way, the employees can take advantages of their own temperament and make the best contribution to the company. From this, we can clearly figure out the benefits of applying good personality strategy.