The Evolution of Motivation

Everyone talks about ‘motivation’ – the purpose of this post is to briefly track the key concepts and theories.

The framework for modern management is firmly rooted in the concepts of scientific management developed during the industrial revolution, formalised by Frederick Taylor and the Gilbreths. Workers were closely supervised, the method of working designed in detail (time and motion studies) and payments were based on work accomplished (piece rates). Where piece rates were not practical, supervision was intensified[1].

This approach aligns with ‘Theory X’ developed by Douglas McGregor[2] in the 1960s, in which managers believe individuals are inherently lazy and unhappy with their jobs, and as a consequence an authoritarian management style is required to ensure fulfilment of objectives.

X-Y

The first steps towards McGregor’s ‘Theory Y’ (which assumes given the correct leadership, employees can be ambitious, self-motivated, exercise self-control and are willing to take on some amount of professional responsibility to achieve the objectives) came from the work of Henry Gantt.

Gantt’s approach to motivating workers involved training and paying bonuses for achieving production targets. A worker received a reasonable wage, was paid whilst being trained and both the worker and his foreman received bonuses once the worker had learned to achieve the production target. Gantt was fully aware of culture and the need for people to want to succeed but did not develop a ‘motivational theory’ as such[3]. The other limitation is this type of motivation is ‘extrinsic’ and can be very effective in the right circumstances. However, this type of motivation only works where the work items can be counted

One of the first people to develop a true motivational theory was Abraham Maslow.

 

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs[4]

In his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”, Maslow states the five levels of the hierarchy of needs as Physiological, Security, Social, Esteem, and Self-actualizing.

  • Physiological needs are described as those needed for survival such as food, water, and sleep.
  • Security needs include safety, steady employment, and shelter from the environment.
  • Social needs include the need for love, affection and being part of a team or group.
  • The need for esteem is centred on the individual’s personal worth, social recognition, and accomplishment.
  • The highest need is self-actualization, which is where the individual is less concerned with other’s opinions and is more focused on achieving their full potential.

maslow-hierarchy

A point worth noting is that Maslow stated that the predominance of a need assigned by the individual determines its’ importance not the order presented.  This point is brought up because Maslow’s theory is commonly represented as a pyramid and the assumption that the first need must be satisfied before the next need is even addressed.

 

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory of Motivation[5]

Vroom developed his Expectancy theory (1964) through his study of the motivations behind decision making. It proposes that an individual will decide to behave or act in a certain way because they are motivated to select a specific behaviour over other behaviours due to what they expect the result of that selected behaviour will be (ie, their expectations based on pervious experience or observation).  This theory emphasises the needs for organisations to align rewards directly to desired performance and to ensure that the rewards provided are both deserved and wanted by the recipients[6].

Vroom

 

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation[7]

Herzberg (1965) theorized that satisfaction and dissatisfaction were affected by different factors and thus could not be measured on the same scale. This theory is known as the two-factor theory; Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory; and/or the dual-factor theory.

  • Hygiene factors are those that pertained to the job and were comprised of supervision, interpersonal relationships, work conditions, salary, and company policy. Hygiene factors cannot produce motivation only satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
  • The motivational factors are such items as recognition, a sense of achievement, growth or promotion opportunities, responsibility, and meaningfulness of the work itself.

Herzberg

Hygiene factors need to be removed (cleaned up) before motivation factors can take effect. This theory was developed in the same timeframe as McGregor’s ‘Theory X – Theory Y’.

 

McClelland’s Theory of Needs[8]

McClelland’s theory of needs (1995) is a motivational model that attempts to explain how the needs for achievement, power, and affiliation affect the actions of people from a managerial context:

  • Achievement discusses how people with different levels of achievement needs seek tasks with a corresponding level of risk. The higher the achievement need the higher the risk.
  • Affiliation need is similar to achievement and differs only in the fact it is the need to be associated with or accepted by a specific group.
  • The power portion of the needs theory actually has two sub-sets, personal power and institutional power. Personal power describes the individual who wants to direct others and institutional power describes the individual who wants to organize the efforts of others for the betterment of the institution.

McClelland

 

Aldefer’s Existence, Relatedness, and Growth (ERG) Needs Theory of Motivation[9]

Clayton Aldefer developed his ERG theory as Existence, Relatedness, and Growth (2011) to bring Maslow’s needs hierarchy into alignment with empirical research. He re-categorised Maslow’s hierarchy of needs into three simpler and broader classes of needs:

  • Existence needs- These include need for basic material necessities. In short, it includes an individual’s physiological and physical safety needs.
  • Relatedness needs- These include the aspiration individual’s have for maintaining significant interpersonal relationships (be it with family, peers or superiors), getting public fame and recognition. Maslow’s social needs and external component of esteem needs fall under this class of need.
  • Growth needs- These include need for self-development and personal growth and advancement. Maslow’s self-actualization needs and intrinsic component of esteem needs fall under this category of need.

ERG

ERG Theory states that at a given point of time, more than one need may be operational and recognises the option for both advancement and frustration/regression.

 

Additional Theories:

This post only looks at a few of the theories of motivation some of the others include:

  • Theory Z (Ouchi): High levels of trust, confidence and commitment towards the workers on the part of management lead to high levels of motivation and productivity on the part of workers (based on observation of Japanese businesses in the mid 1970s – Ouchi suggests that when selecting a person for promotion to a different role [eg, a manual worker to foreman] it is better to select a person with a demonstrated commitment to the objectives of the organisation in preference to the most effective manual worker, the current demonstrated capabilities are not relevant and commitment overcomes obstacles).
  • Contingency theory (Morse & Lorsch): People need to develop a sense of competence and this need continues to motivate people after competence is achieved. A good fit between the organisation’s structure and the task leads to competence, creating motivation.
  • Goal-setting theory (Latham & Locke): Having clear, specific and challenging goals motivate people.
  • Reinforcement theory (Skinner): Human behaviour is shaped by the previous positive or negative outcomes experienced by a person as a consequence of an action. Only positive reinforcement (rewards) should be used to encourage desired behaviours.
  • Equity theory (Adams): People are motivated by their desire to be treated equitably. Perceptions of unfair allocation of rewards can lead to conflict.
  • Achievement motivation theory (McClelland) describes three relevant needs in work situations:
    • The need for achievement – the drive to succeed and achieve performance standards;
    • The need for power – the need for influence over others;
    • The need for affiliation or association – the desire for close, friendly relationships at work
  • Bureaucratic Vs humanistic value systems (Chris Argyris). Bureaucratic / pyramidal organisational values dominate most organisations (the equivalent to McGregor’s Theory X); relationships in this environment result in decreased interpersonal competence, fostering mistrust; intergroup conflict and leading to a decrease in success in problem solving; Humanistic values lead to trusting authentic relationships and improve interpersonal and intergroup cooperation.

 

Conclusion

You can judge for the number of theories outlined in this paper motivating people is a complex issue. Our White Papers on motivation and leadership try to bring these theories into a practical perspective (see WP1048 Motivation and WP1014 Leadership).

This post also supports two of the key themes in my latest book, Making Projects Work are leadership and motivating your stakeholders to help you help them by delivering a successful project. The book is based on the premise that effective motivation requires focused communication within a robust relationship.

__________________

[1] For more on the development of management theories see:
http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/PDF_Papers/P050_Origins_of_Modern_PM.pdf (page 8 to 14)

[2] For more on McGregor’s ‘Theory X – Y’ see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_X_and_Theory_Y

[3] For more on the work of Henry Gantt and access to his books, see: Henry L. Gantt – A Retrospective view of his work http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Resources_Papers_158.html

[4] For more on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

[5] For more on expectancy theory see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expectancy_theory

[6] The problem of inadvertently rewarding undesirable behaviour is discussed in:
http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Mag_Articles/SA1018_What_you_measure_is_what_you_get.pdf

[7] For more on Herzberg see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-factor_theory

[8] For more on the theory of needs see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need_theory

[9] For more on ERG needs see: http://www.managementstudyguide.com/erg-theory-motivation.htm

New Articles posted to the Web #26

BeaverWe have been busy beavers updating the PM Knowledge Index on our website with White Papers and Articles.   Some of the more interesting uploaded during the last couple of weeks include:

And we continue to tweet a free PMI style of exam question every day for PMP, CAPM and PMI-SP candidates: See today’s question and then click through for the answer and the Q&As from last week. You are welcome to download and use the information under our Creative Commons licence

PGCS 2015 is declared an outstanding success

The outstanding success of the 2015 Project Governance and Controls Symposium (PGCS), held in Canberra last week, builds on 25 years of similar events and has been the subject of a news story posted on the APM website (UK) about Steve Wake’s travels to Australia and his presentation at the PGCS:  https://www.apm.org.uk/news/apm-chairman-highlights-contribution-project-controls-global-scale

L to R: Kym Henderson (PGCS), Yvonne Butler (AIPM), Steve Wake (APM) and Pat Weaver (Mosaic)

L to R: Kym Henderson (PGCS), Yvonne Butler (AIPM), Steve Wake (APM) and Pat Weaver (Mosaic)

The PGCS is designed to make the connection between organisational governance and project controls.  Project controls cannot operate effectively without the protection of senior management. Frank and fearless reporting of status and issues cannot be assumed if the middle levels of management have the capability to restrict negative information.  Conversely, executive management decisions depend on accurate and realistic assessments of risk, schedule and cost.  Creating a culture where this type of information is not only available but accepted and used properly is the key governance issue within the project, program and portfolio domain.

To facilitate this objective, the PGCS invites prominent international and Australian speakers to its annual conference, and then works to build connections and make the knowledge available through both personal contacts and the resources section of the www.pgcs.org.au website which now has all of this years presentations uploaded.

You may have missed the Symposium, but you, and everyone on the project controls and governance communities are invited to make use of this resource, join in the conversation, and start planning for the 2016 Symposium, scheduled for the 11th and 12th May 2016.

What’s in a Name?

When it comes to effective communication, a clear, concise and easily defined name for something is essential if you want people who are not directly involved in your special disciple to understand your message.  Jargon and ambiguity destroy understanding and damage credibility.

Potentially one of the major reasons senior executives still fail to understand ‘project management’ within their organisations is the fact that the project management profession uses its special terms in a multitude of different ways……

There are four generally recognised focuses within the overall domain of ‘project management’ Portfolio management, Program management, Project management and the overarching capabilities needed by an organisation to use project, program and portfolio (PPP) management effectively.

The starting problem is implicit in the above paragraph, ‘project management’ can be used as a ‘collective noun’ and mean all four areas of management or specifically to mean the management of a project.

The next problem is if project management means the management of a project, exactly what is a project?  The current definitions for a project are very imprecise and can apply to virtually anything. A more precise definition is discussed in Project Fact or Fiction.

Program management is fairly consistently defined in the literature and involves both the management of multiple projects and the realisation of benefits for the organisation. There are still legacy problems though; the ‘Manhattan Project’ to create the first atomic bombs during WW2 was a massive program of work involving dozens of separate projects.

Similarly, Portfolio management is fairly consistently defined. The core element of portfolio management is deciding on the best investment strategy for the organisation to meet its strategic objective through investing in new selected projects and programs and reviewing current ‘investments’ to ensure the project or program is continuing to deliver value (and closing those that are not to redirect the resources to a better ‘investment option’.

Both Program management and Portfolio management are relatively new concepts and have the advantage of being developed at a time where wide reaching communication was relatively easy allowing a consistency of though and definition. Where the real problems emerge is in the realm of the overall organisational capabilities to use PPP concepts effectively.

The management space around the core PPP management functions includes:

  • Governance
  • Multi-Project management
  • Organisational enablers such as PMOs, etc
  • The ‘management of projects’ (Prof. Peter Morris)
  • Benefits realisation
  • Organisational change management
  • Value creation

In general terms this area of management responsibilities can be picked up if ‘project management’ is used as an overarching term. Some times, some aspects get absorbed into people’s definition of portfolio management and program management. But this ‘absorption’ does not really help develop clarity; for example,  whilst benefits realisation is generally seen as part of program management, this does not help deal with the realisation of benefits for the 1000s of project that are not part of a program, etc.

Apart from project, program and portfolio management as defined I believe the global project management community, including academia and the major associations need to make a focused effort to develop a ‘standard’ naming convention for these various aspects of ‘project management’ – if we cannot be consistent in our use of terms our stakeholders will be permanently confused and confused stakeholders are unlikely to be supportive!

I feel there are three distinct aspects to this ‘fuzzy space’:

  • The second is the ability of an organisation to effectively select and support its project, program and portfolio management efforts. This includes the ‘management of projects’, organisation enablers and multi-project management: The Strategic Management of Projects.
  • The third area is the link between PPP, operations, strategy and value, encompassing benefits realisation, value creation and integration with organisational change management (which is an already established management discipline). I don’t have a good name for this critical area of our professions contribution to organisations but it is probably the most important from the perspective of executive management.

The overall architecture of the discipline of PPP management looks something like this:

WP1074_PPP_Architecture

The challenge is to start moving towards a consensus on a naming convention for these aspects of ‘project management’ so we can start communicating clearly and concisely with all of our stakeholders.  Hopefully this post will start some discussions.

New Articles posted to the Web #25

BeaverWe have been busy beavers updating the PM Knowledge Index on our website with White Papers and Articles.   Some of the more interesting uploaded during the last couple of weeks include:

And we continue to tweet a free PMI style of exam question every day for PMP, CAPM and PMI-SP candidates: See today’s question and then click through for the answer and the Q&As from last week. You are welcome to download and use the information under our Creative Commons licence

Project Governance and Controls Symposium (PGCS) Canberra

Four years ago I was looking for a name to describe the governance and controls ‘conference’ we were intending to spin out of the PMOZ conference.  There appeared to be a real opening for a ‘focused event’ looking at the mutual interdependence and almost symbiotic relationship between governance and project controls, and Canberra seemed to be the ideal location.

The synthesis between good governance and effective controls is obvious, if not well understood or implemented:

  • Project controls cannot operate effectively without the protection of senior management. Frank and fearless reporting of status and issues cannot be assumed if the middle levels of management have the capability to restrict negative information.
  • Conversely, executive management decisions depend on accurate and realistic assessments of risk, schedule and cost. Creating a culture where this type of information is not only available but accepted and used properly is the key governance issue within the project, program and portfolio domain.

Finding a name was a different challenge….

The first bit was easy if the KISS principle is applied.  ‘Project governance and controls’ – we knew the program was intended to cover a lot more than just ‘projects’; at a minimum, programs, portfolios, benefits realisation and change management were in the mix but can all fit under the general umbrella of ‘projects’.

More challenging was deciding on what type of event we wanted and therefore what name to use……   Symposium is a slightly old fashioned word but it has a long history and a quite specific meaning that fitted perfectly with the type of event we were planning.

The modern definitions are a good starting point:

  • A formal conference or meeting at which several specialists deliver short addresses on a topic or on related topics or a collection of essays or papers on a particular subject by a number of contributors. Fits perfectly, we have a clearly defined topic, internationally recognised experts, and after May, will have most of the presentations from the last four symposia indexed and freely available on our website.
  • A social gathering at which there is a free interchange of ideas or a convivial discussion. One of the key elements in the PGCS design is facilitating the exchange of ideas both within Australia and with the wider international community.

The origins of the term are slightly less focused on knowledge transfer and learning.   Symposium originally referred to a drinking party or convivial discussion, especially as held in ancient Greece after a banquet (and notable as the title of a work by Plato).

Symposium

Certainly in the late 16th century a ‘symposium’ denoting a drinking party: via Latin

  • from Greek sumposion, from sumpotēs ‘fellow drinker’,
  • from sun- ‘together’ + potēs  ‘drinker’.

The annual PGCS reception at the ADFA Officers Mess fits here although we do expect professional behaviour. The reception flows on from the conclusion of day one’s formal presentations – the hot topic for discussion this year should be the ‘One Defence’ presentation by Ms. Roxanne Kelley, accompanied by Air Vice Marshal Neil Hart.

After the reception, here is plenty of time for visitors to Canberra (not to mention locals) to move ‘down town’ and enjoy one of the many excellent restaurants in Civic or further afield. Whilst not a formal part of the conference, I can recall a number of memorable evenings for the first three years and I’m looking forward to what eventuates this year…… (but reporting on attempts, if any, to emulate the ‘Ancient Greek’ version of ‘symposium’ is proscribed by Chatham House Rules).

Certainly the three events to date have lived up to the modern concept of a ‘symposium’ and have demonstrated that both ‘governance’ and ‘controls’ can be usefully discussed in a convivial atmosphere.

It’s not too late to sign up for the next PGCS, hosted by Platinum Sponsors, UNSW Canberra; the symposium will be held at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) on the 6th and 7th May, more information see: http://www.pgcs.org.au/

New Articles posted to the Web #24

BeaverWe have been busy beavers updating the PM Knowledge Index on our website with White Papers and Articles.   Some of the more interesting uploaded during the last couple of weeks include:

And we continue to tweet a free PMI style of exam question every day for PMP, CAPM and PMI-SP candidates: See today’s question and then click through for the answer and the Q&As from last week.

You are welcome to download and use the information under our Creative Commons licence