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Motivation Notes

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Pip Reeve

8/5/10 TT 10 W3 Is there a link between work design, motivation, job performance and job satisfaction?

I think that there is a link between work design, motivation, job performance and job satisfaction, however, this link may not be as simple and clear cut as originally thought. Much of the literature adopts the motivational approach which 'recommends job enlargement and enrichment to enhance the motivational nature of jobs,' 1 meaning that job redesign should lead to enhanced job satisfaction, motivation and job performance. I will begin by discussing whether or not work redesign has an effect on job performance, job satisfaction or motivation. Work redesign can mean a variety of things, for example, job rotation where 'operators moving at regular intervals to perform different tasks, either on an obligatory or a voluntary basis.'2 In theory this should lead to an increase in flexibility and a decrease in boredom which should increase job performance, job satisfaction and motivation. Parker and Wall suggest that there is a 'now-accepted view that repetitive work is dissatisfying and, if taken to extremes, is not necessarily more productive.' 3 And Torrington and Hall claim that 'workers in jobs with more variety were generally more satisfied with their jobs, and performed better in some respects than those with less variety.'4 So, it seems that a decrease in the repetitiveness of a task through work redesign almost always increases job satisfaction and, at the extreme, can increase job performance. This is contrary to the thoughts of Ford and Taylor who suggested that specialisation and extreme repetitiveness will increase job performance. The 'most common assumption is that work redesign promotes better performance via a motivational mechanism.' 5 So, if employees enjoy their job more as it is more interesting, they are likely to have a higher level of job satisfaction which will motivate them to perform better. Other forms of work redesign include job enlargement and job enrichment. Kerr discusses the case of US nurses, who have a job dissatisfaction which is four times higher than the average US worker. However, if their jobs are redesigned so that there are fewer patients for each nurse, 'favourable patient-to-nurse ratios are associated with lower burnout and higher job satisfaction.'6 In the job characteristics model there are five job characteristics including skill variety and task identity which are said to lead to critical psychological states which can lead to high motivation, satisfaction and work effectiveness. In this model, 'job satisfaction and job performance are posited to be joint outcomes of job design in the job characteristics model, yet this does not account for findings that these outcomes are typically not empirically associated.'7 However, there are perhaps 'stronger and more consistent relationships between job redesign and job satisfaction than there are between job redesign and productivity.'8 Furthermore, the 'relationship may work the other way round and that increased job performance may lead to increased job satisfaction.' 9 As 'conventional wisdom of job redesign stresses the social or self actualising needs and expectations of individuals,'10 some individuals may be motivated by performing well in 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Cummings & Blumbergs 1987 'Job and Work Design' Parker & Wall 'Job and Work Design' Parker & Wall 'Personnel management' by Torrington & Hall 1991 'Job and Work Design' Parker & Wall 'On the folly of rewarding A, while hoping for B' by Kerr 1995 'Job and Work Design' Parker & Wall 'Job and Work Design' Parker & Wall 'Personnel management' by Torrington & Hall 1991 'Job redesign' Knights, Willmott, Collinson

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