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Motivational Pros and Cons of Teams in Organization

Introduction

Both group and individual motivation are concepts used by organizations to explain social dynamisms in an organization. In either case, motivation is the driving force that directs and maintains behavior on a particular path that its purposefully intended to draw specific results desired by the individual or the organization.

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As such, motivation plays an important role in teams’ effort by directing productive energy dissipated by workers toward achieving organization’s goals and objective outlined by the various plans. Dyer and Parker(source not listed on the list of references – see bibliography) developed refined concepts of motivation by distinguishing inborn or intrinsic motivation from motivations set by the workplace environment termed as extrinsic motivation. Three aspects of the individual’s motivation identified by Bandura in 1986 include, one in which job-environs’ conditions resonates with the individual behavior such as industriousness, work enthusiasm and determination. The other aspect is seen as a scenario in which group behavior produces responses that are typically innate to the individual’s behavior. In yet another incidence related to intrinsic motivation, is a natural condition where a personal self-assessment mechanism is functioning in the work place environment. Just like the organizational pursuits for success, the employees’ search for productive work is as a never ending expedition that is less dependent on team motivation due to in-born factors.

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is the kind of motivation that is induced by managers to their employees for performing activities that may never be a natural part of the individual or group functioning. For example, when a company trains people to form teams that serve in the functioning of an organization, the employees are bound to acquire certain aspects of orientation that is not naturally their part of their normal behavior. Consequently, the group socialization in the workplace environment facilitates the individuals’ response to tools of motivation available to managers. Hence, extrinsic motivation is produced by financial rewards, organization’s objectives, nature of the work job description, responsibility and its recognition as well.

There are various techniques of indentifying motivational benefits. Ultimately, all benefits are designed to improve organizations’ performance while minimizing possible risks which the organization may be predisposed to encounter in its path to achieving them. Some benefits are tangible while others may not necessarily be associated with the tangible properties. Depending on the situation, a manager can use either physical rewards or words as media of motivation. Some benefits of motivation are discussed in this essay. Besides, certain advantages of using teams in organizations are also evaluated before a concrete conclusion is drawn based on the relationship of group motivation in the workplace. The essay develops from a critical assessment of behaviors of motivated employees against companies’ objectives in order to identify the limitations associated with using groups in various organizations. In its totality, extensive revisions on peer reviewed articles are used in the analysis of this content, thus making secondary sources the main basis of the arguments. The concluding comments draw from the main view in the content and attempts to resolve some of the major limitations of using teams in an organizations and possible risks involved in motivational benefits.

Motivational Benefits

Motivation is considered as one of the most abstract duties of managers because of its complexity in the in which humans would wish to be motivated. Ways and forms of motivation vary from person to person as it depends on the intrinsic values of the individual. Even in a group, the degree of group influence on the morale of its members depends on the individual’s perception of the activity and how it is supposed to be done. Though such circumstances mean employing various forms and techniques of motivation, the final outcomes of motivations are the same. A major benefit of staff motivation is to have a dedicated staff that can use not only their knowledge and experience on the job, but also exploiting their talents and arrange of skills gathered from different sources. To this effect, managers and organizations may need to put their staff on training in the disciplines related to their interests. As such, the employees will be motivated to inject their relevance in the organizations’ system by performing their roles more efficiently (Sharbrough, 2006, p. 323)

In order to achieve its goals, the organization can use tools at its disposal like employee promotion based on some agreed merit (work related experience and knowledge) rather than social influence to motivate employees to do better job. In this manner, organizations motivate workers to seek activities that will lead them to promotion on the job. For example, workers may be more responsible, engage in multi-tasking duties in the company and enroll in programs that would make them more productive for the company. Motivations in the forms of increased pay, provision for allowances and bonuses have been found to enhance the productivity of on organization per worker. Enormous desired outcomes are usually accompanied with vacations or holiday grants particularly in a busy work environment where employees are under pressure to deliver on their goals in timely manner. The efficiency of teams is therefore more than doubled after motivations resulting from these rewards; Team leaders are often observed to act promptly while group members develop enthusiasm on the task assigned to them by their managers. It was noted by Wittmer that workers feel more appreciated when their efforts are rewarded by allowances. Psychologically, this monetary reward is different from their usual pay and carries with it the weight of company liability to their position as employees. Similarly, employee motivation through pay rise often leads to more work in the organization. General studies indicate a direct correlation between monetary rewards as a form of motivation and the level of work participation (Wittmer, 1991). In these findings, workers were found to spend more time working in organizations that offered additional payment for employees working overtime. In his observation, Bottger note that pay rise has the same effect on the workers, a fact that leads to increased organizations output (Wittmer, 1991, p.13).

Other views suggest that a significant number of employees equally value complements or non-material/tangible forms of motivations, these include, people who attach meaning to their work by considering it as a calling rather than just a mere employment aimed at making ends meet at the end of the day. In the verge of such motivations dwindling due uncertainties in the work environment, managers have only complements-“words of encouragement” as the possible resolute to their predicament. Because the productivity of such works is largely dependent on intrinsic motivation, their benefit to the organization becomes significant in motivating other workers through their leadership roles. It is no coincidence that organizations find that employees of this kind readily practice the organizations’ principle. Self-determination theory attributed to the works of Edward Deci and Self efficacy developed by Dr. Bandura indicates that intrinsic motivation leads to greater appreciation of an individual’s effort for their deliberate actions which may have good impression on the company. Therefore, working with teams where these kinds of employees are dominant often leads to much success in the organization especially in the sales and marketing departments. In this case, the most suitable form of motivations include attaching prizes to achievement and the winning team is guaranteed victory in pubic celebration on a time set by the organization(Bandura, 1986, p.303)

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Because pride associated with the achievement of the company goals is their source of motivation, this type of workers may not consider material incentives as of much importance. Therefore, this way of motivating staff actually helps the company minimize its operational cost while positioning it closer to its goals by the actions of these motivated workers. Groups and individuals working for organizations that perpetuate their ideals are also readily motivated by non-material incentives. In such circumstances, the work environment has already made it possible for them to carry out their duties. With minimal external motivation which include group outdoor expeditions sponsored the organizations may be the only necessary form of motivation leading to efficiency of the workers. In addition, norm-based motivation improves the attitudes of employees toward their jobs (Levi, 2007, p.148).

Wittmer (1991) noted that rational motivation leads to more responsible employees. These employees display constant desire to participate in the organizations’ making process. Further more, this kind of enthusiastic persons show a lot of commitment to particular organizations’ projects because they identify with it either as a career or simply a relevant field of interest. In other cases, a combination of the pursuits for organizational goals and the spirit of philanthropy in affectively motivated staff, helps move an organizations operation from current frontier where it can embark on corporate social obligation and find more relevance in the society. This way, motivation leads to reduced costs of marketing and improves the reputation of the organization while still keeping an affront production within it existing means. An organizations success is normally dependent upon, increasing productivity and efficiency. To this effect, altruistic motivation helps companies to seek the highest goal as it maintains the directed force towards the long-term or short-term plans sought by the organization (Wittmer, 1991, p. 14)

In a study of 421 managers to test their willingness to adopt IT, it was found out that motivation based on their individual belief and desire to fulfill certain environmental requirements led them to accepting the idea (Stein 1974). According to Herzberg’s two factor theory, both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators act as catalysts toward the perceptions that subordinates in an organization use to demand for challenging tasks, recognition and responsibility which they then consider as satisfaction in the end. Psychologists therefore argue that intrinsic motivation plays a role behind the hygiene factors identified by Herzberg as leading to no satisfaction. Therefore, to exploit the marginal revenues, organizations may need to emphasize staff motivation. In the theory of Abraham Maslow, if a company focuses on motivating the staff through rewarding them by what they need most in the organization’s early days, then this is followed by a commensurate effort by staff on assignments issued by the organization. The employees tend to feel that the organizations management is bent on seeking their own good. In return, they reciprocate by performing the duties of the organization effectively with more enthusiasm. In a nutshell, the benefits of employees’ motivation are as numerous as the sources of motivation can be. Hence, every manager may require motivating his workers at any one time. It is generally agreed that motivated workers always seek relevance in the organization with objectives to provide quality job (Choudrie, J & Zahir, V. 2002, p. 13)

Demerits of using groups in organizations

The use of groups in an organization undermines individual’s creativity and autonomy. By putting people to work together, the managers are only able to explore only cognitive abilities of the employee. Consequently, the company may lose the benefits which accrue to it due to development in socio-economic diversity. In group composition, sometimes even the cohesiveness of the team is almost impaired because it draws members from diverse array of personality backgrounds. Kellerman observed that there can only be a non-linear relationship between group involvement in the individual properties and groups in the organization. In reality, a homogenous team that suits an organization’s functions is non existent; teams formed by managers to act as a task force may sometimes get involved in long discussions sometimes disagreeing even on non-issues to their tasks. Eventually, are not applicable in areas where an organization needs to meet certain goals urgently. The effectiveness is normally dependent upon the group structure. In contrast, the leadership and group size are some of the leading limiting factors to the group formation because intergroup competition combined with the group rewards is a source of competition for many individuals within the same organization. Most groups are formed to facilitate the decision making processes of the organization. Unfortunately, Kellerman found that even in groups where members are required to ponder upon problems raised, individuals would still generate very few ideas. The main problem in this respect is in the coordination mechanism of the groups themselves (Wittmer, 1991, p. 110)

There are many instances where teams are set up by organizations to facilitate the decision making process of the organization. In such a case, the organizations’ liability may be limited to the group members who may run into conflict due its individual perceptions about risk taking. Worse still, the organization’s plight is made more challenging by the fact that it emphasizes extrinsic motivation in monetary terms as opposed to intrinsic motivations. Lack of cohesiveness and too much diversity may also lead to conflict in the group. In the event that this occurs, the group risks low output. It is equally challenging for an organization to focus on group motivation through emphasizing the same old way of working instead of the end results (Kellerman, 2007, p. 85).

The general out come of a group based think tank in an organization may be reduced to the group thinking if the group agrees to unanimously endorse an idea without significant empirical evidence. Therefore, instead of a company obtaining an objective perspective of solving the problem, the company ends up with a subjective opinion of the group members. Group functions also present strong sense conformity because subordinates do not want to confront their bosses by telling that they are knowledgeable. At the same time, the bosses want to reassure their position by showing their expertise proposing resolution for the organizations’ plans. In the end the outcome is never a true reflection of the group’s intention at all. This can be very detrimental if it leads to losses because the group can fail to take responsibility of the liabilities it can be realized long after the group was resolved (King, &, Anderson, N. 1990, p. 88).

Quite often, people acting in groups may make extremely radical decisions which may have adverse effects when implemented in the organization leading to group polarization. In addition, it is expensive for the organization to employ groups in its activities because it requires more money to pay for the members’ allowances, and other extrinsic rewards besides their basic salaries. In addition, group facilitation requires extra facilities and space that may not be readily available in the organization. Consequently, the costs of the organizations are likely to be expensive in the long run.

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Using teams in an organization is bound to cause competition, due to the rewards associated with the winning teams, unhealthy or unfair completion when the organizations’ rewards motivates individuals in the group and not just the group alone. Lack of objective purpose is a common problem in groups caused by conspicuous absence of the group leader or one such potential leader. This usually led to vague decisions or quite ambiguous plans to carryout. The company therefore ends up with the risk of great losses even collapse if the organization was left in the hand of the groups in totality. Individual group members with over ambitious behavior may take this opportunity by imposing their view on the others while claiming that other’s arguments are extremely flowed. Eventually, they may end up leading the group because of fake tactics used as a ploy by arrogantly showing their expertise and prowess. Furthermore, competition usually wears out the morale of unintended staff who may not participate in the activities as required by the organization (Deci, E. & Ryan, R. 2000, p. 28)

Conclusions

Worker motivation is an important part of an organization’s role because it is a requisite to achieving the goals and objectives of the organization as outlined in its strategic plans. Both extrinsic and intrinsic motivations are important for the organization. Though studies indicate that managers keen to recognize individuals with intrinsic motives relevant to their organization tap more of their employees’ potential as opposed to managers who recruit haphazardly. Despite of many limitations of using groups in an organization, there are a myriad of advantages of using groups in effectively planning and executing company goals, from which these drawbacks stem.

Reference

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Bottger, P.C. & Yetton, P.W. (198)7. Improving Group Performance by Training in Individual Problem Solving. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72, 651-657

Choudrie, J. And Zahir, V.(2002) Teams and their Motivation for Business Process Reengineering: A Research Note. The International Journal of Flexible Manufacturing Systems, 14, 99-107.. (I think this journal volume should be 14, 99-107)

Deci, E. L, & Ryan, R. M. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 7, 14-23.

Dyer, L. & Donald, F. (1975). Classifying outcomes in work motivation research: An examination of the intrinsic-extrinsic dichotomy. Journal of Applied Psychology. 60(4), 455-458.

George, J. M., & Jones, G. R. (2008). Understanding and Managing Organizational Behavior (5th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice Hall.

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Kellerman, B. (2007). What every leader needs to know about followers. Harvard BusinessReview, 85, 84-91.

King, N. & Anderson, N. (1990). Innovation in Working Groups. pp.81-100. Chichester, England: Wiley. I think these should be separated.

Levi, D. (2007). Dynamics for Teams, 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Sharbrough, W.C., Simmons, S.A., & Cantrill, D.A. (2006).Motivating language in industry: It’s Impact on Job Satisfaction and Perceived Supervisor Effectiveness. Journal of Business Communication, 43(4), 322-343.

Stein, M.I. 1974. Stimulating Creativity, Vol 1. New York: Academic Press.

Wittmer, D. (1991). Managerial Values in Public, Private, and Hybrid Organizations. Personnel Research Highlights, 3, 13-14.

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