All people at work have needs that need satisfying within their job in order to continue to work effectively and be motivated to do a job to the best of their ability. Employees on the shop floor at Wyevale will only have the lower needs of safety and physiological fulfilled, due to the fact that Wyevale pays minimum wage of i?? 5. 30 per hour to general shop assistants which therefore enables them to maintain basic human needs such as eating everyday and having somewhere to live and sleep.
Their jobs at Wyevale are also secure at the current time, as the York branch itself is performing second best throughout the whole chain, providing a stable income for all employees and job security, allowing employees to have little disposable income for many social needs, but also due to the company’s lack of attention and care for its employees, often making employees work long overtime hours and bank holidays with no extra pay, and asking them to work 6 day weeks during peak times of the year (i. e. Christmas).
However, the senior store managers and the four supervisors may experience belongingness from the company and feel that their work is more highly valued due to new bonus schemes for meeting budget, introduced with recent new contracts, and also due to recognition and personal sense of pride and competence in their work, as they require the respect of fellow employees who they are in charge of and can delegate tasks, therefore boosting their own self esteem to meet esteem needs. However this level of motivation is not always beneficial for the organization.
This is due to senior managers and supervisors somewhat abusing their authority and power over others by making employees perform repetitive, mundane and sometimes needless tasks, by not giving recognition to employees when they’ve done well, and by talking down to and patronizing the general staff, which results in employees questioning their superiors’ competence and management capabilities and style, so while they are fulfilling their own motivational needs at work, there are actively de-motivating other employees by showing lack of care for their need to rest and be in a healthy relationship with their superiors.
Employees will also look at their jobs in terms of how well they satisfy the basic needs, and once the low order needs are satisfied on a basic level, the relationships and belonging needs are activated. At Wyevale the main way this need can be met is through working as part of a wider team with peers, whilst in the job, socializing in the staff room and enjoying and embracing fellow employees company during the day, as they are now part of an employees routine and life, where everyone must accept one another and respect one another in order for everyone to carry out their jobs efficiently.
Teamwork is promoted in this case, through regular staff social events outside work and regular staff meetings for employees to discuss issues openly that they think need changing. Overall, this theory is very applicable to Wyevale, as stated in the examples above. Many of the employees I work with, I have observed to be only fulfilling the low order needs on the hierarchy, and few of the managers and supervisors fulfill their esteem needs.
Because of this morale is generally down and workers are reluctant to follow instructions given and their attitude to work is generally lethargic, seeing work as a chore and only come to work for their need to survive. I believe this view has reinforced since the appointment of the new store manager in September 2005. His management style and technique has done little to lift morale and inject confidence and pride in the employees. However despite this, since April 2006 and the takeover, the York branch itself has improved performance and productivity significantly.
My evidence for this is mainly gathered from sales figures and indications of budget targets given at staff meetings. However last week (week beginning 13th Nov, 2006) all staff received a weeks wage in bonuses, as a reward for being 10% up on sales from this time last month. These indications lead me to believe that the store is beginning to gradually improve its productivity and profitability, which therefore contradicts the management teams approach to motivating and organizing staff, which I will therefore discuss later in this essay.
The next motivational theory I will look at is McGregor’s (1960) Theory X and Theory Y. My interpretation of Theory X and Y, gathered from looking at various texts (see bibliography), is that there are 2 different kinds of workers; Theory X states that people are pessimistic about work, lazy by nature, that they are not capable to work unsupervised, that people dislike work and see to avoid responsibility and only work because they have to earn money and are not ambitious or have potential.
It says that employees are self centered and must be supervised closely and are not to be trusted or left to use their own initiative and prefer to be led by a superior. Theory Y states that people are optimistic about work and are capable in their work, that people will enjoy work more if they are given responsibility and are empowered are trusted to carry out a given task.
It says that workers have self control and are innovative in producing new ideas, and that if workers are enjoying their work, it will became natural and not seen as a chore and that they will work harder for the company, through being trusted and empowered and can improve and become more efficient in their job through this approach. It also says that people have become passive and resistant in an organization and their needs because of past experiences (Kempton, 1995, p. 37). This theory is said to be a “highly influential motivational theory as the ideas on leadership and empowerment recur in other areas of HRM” (Kempton, 1995, p.38).
However it may be argued that this theory is in fact quite static as it states that enhancing human satisfaction always leads to improved task performance and that individuals seek to satisfy all their needs, stating that all people who work are either Theory X or Theory Y workers, with no middle ground, and this is only one theory of many that contradict one another, so cannot be taken as fact.
At Wyevale at the current time, I believe at least 80% of the workforce are Theory X workers, who as well as showing many of the characteristics listed above, also are resistant to change and dislike new procedures and regulations (e.g. the introduction on new contracts require all employees to work one weekend day every alternate week if required to, and wages now being paid monthly instead of weekly), and lack ambition and the desire to learn and improve their skill set within their job description.
The main reasons for these attitudes and mindsets are because 70% of the full time workforce are over the age of 40 and therefore feel they are too old to look for a new career path and have accepted that their current job will be sufficient to meet their basic needs for shelter, food and provision for their families until they retire.
Also, the current management style deployed by the current store manager himself often gives workers good reason to be anti-establishment and resistant to seemingly pointless changes and take the attitude of laziness and being selfish, which I will discuss later under management theory. They may also feel that now they company has a new board of directions, they may introduce new practices to improve working conditions and introduce more benefits and opportunities for employees, so they may view it as a fresh chance to build a better career and work their way up the organization.
However, since June/July 2006, I have observed that workers attitudes are beginning to shift from the extreme of Theory X, towards Theory Y, even though the approach of the store managers has not changed. Evidence of this is that employees are now acting more enthusiastic towards their work, taking pride in being part of the company and often enjoy the company of their fellow workers. This was boosted by the introduction of new, smarter and more comfortable uniforms, helping workers to take pride in their working appearance.
The main reason for this new worker attitude may be the new performance related bonuses that the new board has introduced, for things such as improved sales performance operating under budget and saving electricity, designed as an incentive scheme to motivate and stimulate employees who have become disinterested in their work, and also re-allocating of working hours, allowing workers to work 6 or 4 hour days if they are needed to work a 6 days week or a weekend the following week, or if they have children to care for, allowing them to take school holidays off as part of their holiday time, showing that the company is taking a more considerate approach towards its workers, seeing them as people with feelings and needs, and not just laborers who only respond to discipline and orders. There are other motivational theories I could look at, including Hertzberg’s motivator-hygiene theory, which says that hygiene factors, such as the working environment and setting, are more important to gaining job satisfaction than the actual job itself. “Hertzberg found that low salary makes people dissatisfied, but that paying them more does not satisfy or motivate them. Improved working condition (e. g. special offices, air conditioning) act in the same way”(Schermerhorn, Hunt and Osborn, 1994, p. 174).
Hertzberg concluded that improving a hygiene factor, such as supervision or working conditions, doesn’t make people satisfied with their work, it only keeps them from becoming dissatisfied. Hertzberg found that to improve satisfaction, a manager must use motivator factors (or what people actually do in their job), such as responsibility, advancement or growth, and that a lack of these opportunities will lead to poor performance and workers will not be satisfied (interpreted form Schermerhorn, Hunt and Osborn, 1994, p. 174-5). The main store manager at Wyevale does not take these satisfying and motivating factors into account as he rarely delegates responsibility to others, gives opportunity for skills advancement or recognizes and praises achievements made by his staff.