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Case Study: Amalgamated Biscuit and Federated Biscuit

Misty103 is a pen name for a psychology graduate who enjoys writing about and sharing psychology knowledge.

The motivational levels at Amalgamated Biscuit and Federated Biscuit could not be more different even though both work places conduct similar types of work. The employees at Amalgamated Biscuit are generally happy, motivated, and productive, whereas the employees at Federated Biscuit seem discouraged and unmotivated. The chief executive officers of both companies have become interested in quantifying the relative levels of motivation and morale in their workplaces. The quantifying of motivation and morale in the workplaces can be done using different methods; two such methods that can be used in this situation are: questionnaires and performance methods.

Method 1: Questionnaires

One method that is often used by workplaces for quantifying the relative levels of motivation and morale in the workplace is questionnaires. Companies can make use of generic proven employee engagement tools, like the Gallup Q12. The Gallup Q12 allows for the company to compare their employee engagement against similar organizations (Stoneman, 2013). Alternatively, companies can create their bespoke employee engagement surveys with questions that are tailored specifically for the company’s own employees and work environment (Stoneman, 2013). In the case of Amalgamated Biscuit and Federated Biscuit, the Gallup Q12 would be the best option as it would allow both companies to compare the motivation and morale of their employees against not just each other, but also data collected from similar companies.

The Gallup Q12 was developed with 80,000 in-depth interviews with managers interviewed from more than 400 different companies by the Gallup Organization (Buckingham & Coffman, 1999). The Gallup Q12 features 12 questions that were developed with the intent of not only being able to measure employee motivation and morale, but also offer bench mark comparisons from similar workplaces (Stoneman, 2013). The answers to the 12 questions will assist the chief executive officers of Amalgamated Biscuit and Federated Biscuit in quantifying the relative level of motivation and morale in their respective workplaces. The answers to the questions will provide insight into what actions Federated Biscuit should take in order to improve their employee motivation and morale.

Method 2: Performance

Performance can also be used to measure motivation as level of performance at a goal-related task if performance is variable and integral to the goal (Touré‐Tillery & Fishbach, 2014). A research study conducted by Bargh et al. (2001) tested the ability of performance to measure motivation by having primed and non-primed participants complete a five word search puzzles; the results of the study showed that the participants whom were primed with achievement found more words in the puzzle than the non-primed participants. Bargh et al. (2001) study showed that people who are motivated tend to have a higher level of performance than those whom are not motivated. The chief executive officers of both companies could make use of the performance method to compare the motivation of their employees by providing the employees at both companies with the same set of performance based goals and measuring the performance of the employees during a specific time period for their performance or production at reaching the different goals.

Strengths  

The two methods of measuring motivation both possess their own strengths, which make them well suited for measuring motivation and morale at Amalgamated Biscuit and Federated Biscuit. The questionnaire method of using the Gallup Q12 has the strength that it was developed with 80,000 in-depth manager interviews (Buckingham & Coffman, 1999). Additionally this method is considered to be a well-proven employee engagement tool as it has been successfully utilized by numerous companies to provide benchmark comparisons (Stoneman, 2013). The performance method’s biggest strength is its’ ability to collect production based statistical data, which allows for quantitative analysis. The ability to test the performance of the employees means that the data will be based on actionable factors and not just perceived opinions (Bargh et al., 2001).

Weaknesses 

The two methods of measuring motivation both possess their own weaknesses, which could make them less suited to measuring the motivation and morale at Amalgamated Biscuit and Federated Biscuit if the weaknesses are not accounted for. The utilization of the Gallup Q12 questionnaire method has the weakness of being better suited for providing qualitative data than quantitative figures (Stoneman, 2013). This weakness means that the chief executive officers will need to read each questionnaire and attempt to measure the motivation and morale of their employees from their responses. This deficit means the method is not suited for the allowance of statistical analysis. The performance method is weak in that it relies upon the fact that an employee’s performance is directly based upon their level of morale and motivation. If instead an employee performs well even if he or she has a low motivation or morale, it would throw off the ability of the method to successfully measure motivation and morale at the two companies.

Insights 

This week’s assignments and readings provided many insights into how motivation and morale can be measured in the workplace. Previously the readings and assignments had primarily focused on the different motivational theories, which left me wondering at how these theories were able to be proven effective or ineffective. This week allowed me to learn about the methods which could be used to actually test the effect these theories could have on motivation and morale. I found the Gallup Q12 particularly interesting though I was left wondering if the data would prove to be more qualifying than quantifying as the questions were open ended, which offered descriptive statements instead of statistical data. My personal opinion is that for statistical purposes it might be beneficial to have the employees rate their answers on a 1-10 scale in addition to their open-ended answers as numeric data would prove more beneficial in terms of direct comparison between companies. Additionally, I found it intriguing that there is not currently a set of universal tolls to measure employee motivation or morale as each method has its own strengths and weaknesses.

References

Bargh, J. A., Gollwitzer, P. M., Lee-Chai, A., Barndollar, K., & Trotschel, R. (2001). The

automated will: Nonconscious activation and pursuit of behavioral goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 1014–1027.

Buckingham, M. & Coffman, C. (1999). First, break all the rules: What the world’s

greatest managers do differently, Simon & Schuster.

Stoneman, S. (2013). What is the best way of measuring employee engagement.

Strategic HR Review, 12(6). https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1108/SHR-05-2013-0053

Touré‐Tillery, M. & Fishbach, A. (2014). How to measure motivation: a guide for the

experimental social psychologist. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 8(7).

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