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Motivation, Morale, and Productivity

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Motivation, morale, and productivity are all closely linked in that a change to one can have an impact on the other two. Pritchard, Paquin, DeCuir, McCormick, and Bly (2002) broadly define motivation as a cognitive construct, yet the term can be specifically defined as a driving force which causes individuals to strive to achieve their goals, fulfill a need, or uphold a value (Mullins, 2002). This driving force is affected by four main factors: situational factors like environmental and external stimulus, temperament of the individual, the purpose behind the behavior, and the tools required to achieve the goal (Pakdel, 2013). According to Child (1941) morale can be defined using different terms depending on how the concept is viewed; however, it can be broadly defined as the perception towards the accomplishment of a task through a display of confidence, discipline, and willingness. Productivity is considered to be the effective and efficient utilization of all resources which include: materials, labor, capital, information, and time (Shaban, Al-Zubi1, Ali1, & Alqotaish, 2017).

The relationships between motivation, morale, and productivity can differ between workplaces as different work places have different goals and values. However, while the level of connection between the three concepts can differ, the existence of the connection itself does not. Rodríguez-Carvajal et al. (2010) found that positive psychology workplace practices and positive psychological outcomes could have a direct impact on motivation, morale, and productivity. Motivation, morale, and productivity are closely linked with how the motivation of employees can have a direct effect on the productivity level of the employees; morale can also have an effect on both motivation and productivity, as a low morale might mean less motivation, which would likely mean less productivity for a business.

Morale and Productivity

Morale is an intangible quality that involves feelings, emotions, attitude, and perception, while productivity is the effective and efficient utilization of all (Shaban et al., 2017). These two concepts may seem unconnected in that one is intangible, while the other is quantifiable, but the two concepts connect quite often in workplace environments. A low morale can be caused by a variety of factors including job insecurity, unfair compensation policies, unreliable business conditions, and excessive outsourcing (Shaban et al., 2017). A low morale can also be caused by supervisors and managers utilizing a top-down command management style as this style of management communication tends to result in a gap between the employees and the leadership; this gap can lead to employee distrust, disrespect, low morale, and low productivity (Chungsup, Jarrod, Robin, & Laura, 2012). When this occurs, the low morale typically causes employees to lose interest in their performance, especially when their efforts are not recognized by the leadership (Zeynep & Huckman, 2008). The effect of low morale can be seen in the result it can have on a company’s income, productivity, financial competitiveness, and organizational objectives (Sauermann & Cohen, 2008).

A low morale can have a profoundly negative effect on productivity as a low morale can lead to a high employee turnover rate. A high employee turnover rate means that the employer has to devote resources to advertising, hiring, and training new employees; the constant intake of new employees means that the resources devoted to training the new employees has to be diverted away from normal production. The employees who leave take with them the knowledge, skills and abilities which they gained as part of their job; the newly hired employees take time before they are able to contribute to the goals, profit and performance of the employer (Lee & Liu, 2009). While a low morale can lead to a high employee turnover rate and, in effect, a lower level of productivity, a high morale can do the opposite.

A high morale can lead to a lower employee turnover rate as a high morale can help keep employees in their current positions or aspiring to achieve a higher position within the organization (Shaban et al., 2017). Employers who cultivate a high morale work environment likely have an effective leadership team who communicates with the employees, offer incentives for certain levels of productivity, and/or praise the work efforts of the employees so that they feel valued and respected. These efforts can lead to employees feeling proud of their high level of productivity. Such employees will likely strive to continue to maintain a high level of productivity or raise their own productivity for reasons of self-respect, respect from co-workers, praise, or offered incentives.

Motivation and Productivity

The motivational levels of the employees can influence productivity in a work environment. Motivation is what causes employees to strive to meet the goals of their employers, yet it can also indicate how much or little they strive to achieve a high level of productivity. Organizations and employers typically consider employees the main tools of attaining a high level of productivity and, for this reason, most strive to keep their employees motivated (Shaban et al., 2017). According to Stephen (2014), there is a positive correlation between motivation and productivity; companies tend to make use of this correlation to enhance productivity. Employers or organizations can make use of consequences in the form of rewards or punishments to effect motivation, as the motivation of employees can be increased by making use of goal theory by offering rewards which correspond to what the employees want (Locke & Latham, 1990).

While a high level of motivation typically translates into a high level of productivity that is not always the case as there are certain issues that can contribute to lower productivity among highly motivated employees. A staff of highly motivated employees will not lead to a high level of productivity if the employees lack the skills needed to perform the job. Likewise, if the employees lack to resources they need to complete the job, then not only is motivation not a factor in the level of productivity, but the lack of resources might also lead to less employee motivation. Another issue, which could affect the productivity of highly motivated employees, is the leadership’s communication of job requirements. If the specifications of each task are not adequately explained, then the employees might not be completing each task in the manner in which it needs to be completed which would cause a lower level of productivity.


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