Sunday, February 28, 2010

What role have goals played in your life?

I think that you can do nothing if you have no goal in your life. It is important for me to have goals, objectives; they enable me to go ahead. 
There are many ways to reach one goal. But if you decide to do well, you do not have that many options. My main goal is to act fairly and honestly. Therefore, all the objectives I have in my life will have to be fulfilled in fair and honest ways.

This main goal helps me to reach the smaller ones. I know what to do. 
For instance, before entering a business school in France, I did two years of preparatory school, which is very hard, because you hv-ave to study a lot. But I wanted to do that, and to succeed, because my goal was to pass the final exams, and I did not want to fail. I wanted to be fair with myself, not to be disappointed by myself. That's why I worked hard, and I succeeded in my exams. 

This goal I had to manage my studies helped me to work hard without losing hope. Though it was often difficult, I kept tis idea in my mind. The main point when you decide something is not to forge it. It helps you to go ahead.

360 Degree Feedback

In chapter 9, the concept of 360 degree feedback was introduced. 360 degree feedback is made up of anonymous, goal oriented reviews of fellow employees. Trust is the key behind this type of feedback because the work environment must be supportive in writing these types of reviews. The goal of 360 feedback is to review the performance rather than the personality of a person, and having this type of constructive feedback is very effective in any work environment. Another goal is to motivate employees to improve their performance by using the suggestions provided. Sometimes directly telling somebody what you think them or their performance is difficult, especially in a corporate environment and many organizations. 360 degree feedback provides a method of providing feedback which is not only based off of constructive criticism, but also applauding successes.

In another article I found on EBSCO, discussed whether or not 360 degree feedback, or really any type of employee feedback, should be simply used for development of employees, or whether it should be tied to administrative decisions such as compensation or work hours. Recently, the amount of firms which use employee feedback tied to these types of decisions has been increasing. It is questionable whether standard feedback systems are even good; that is, managers who review employees below them, a top down approach, rather than having every mixed level employee revies. One idea is combining the feedback outcomes, making them develop employee performance levels, as well as tying the feedback to salary and other job design factors.

Kreitner, Robert. Organizational Behavior. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2010.

Maylett, Tracy. "360-Degree Feedback Revisited: The Transition From Development to Appraisal." Compensation & Benefits Review 41.5 (2009): 52-59. Business Source Complete. EBSCO. Web. 1 Mar. 2010.

Chpater 9

Chapter 9 talked a bit about goals and motivation like in chapter 8, but went more in depth and talked about positive reinforcement. Being able to work in a friendly/ family environment give an employee excellent motivation to do well for the company. The book said if the company takes care of the employee, then the employee is going to take care of the company which is very true. I believe that it helps employees be more productive when having that trust with their company.Chapter 9 also talked about positive and negative reinforcement. Everyone has a different way of doing well, and sometimes if you give negative reinforcement to a person who needs a positive way of doing better it’s only going to weaken his or hers performance, especially at a young age. This article talked about coaches singling out a player and other teammates also do the same to the same kid, but the kid who’s getting singled out is more often worried what his peers think rather than the coach. The father then helps the son by using the negative feedback and turning it around to make the kid feel better about himself and to use the feedback to make himself work harder.

Chapter 9

One of the concepts discussed in this chapter was the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Extrinsic rewards are those that we can get from others, such as money or social recognition. Intrinsic rewards, on the other hand, are rewards that we feel inside of us. Examples of this include sense of accomplishment or a feeling of competence. To be honest, it always seemed to me that extrinsic rewards were the ones that motivated us to work harder. After watching that 18 minute video a week ago, though, I realized that intrinsic rewards may play a bigger role than we think.
According to a research study done by Judy Cameron and W. David Pierce, rewards immensely helped motivate teams and people to work harder. In their study, they decided to test how it would be if a team never got a compliment nor rewards for the task they have done. The results showed that the quality of work decreased over time. At the same time, both Cameron and Pierce pointed out, rewards (moreso extrinsic than anything else) could be seen as something else rather than positive. “Promises linked to noncontingent reward may function as bribes rather than positive incentives.” (Cameron and Pierce) In a way, they were basically saying that extrinsic rewards, especially promising them to workers, did not really help bring about more positive energy to the group.
In my opinion, though most extrinsic rewards sound very enticing, it is that feeling of accomplishment that I feel when we finish a job that truly motivates me to work harder.

Source: Cameron, Judy and W. David Pierce. "Reinforcement, Reward, and Intrinsic Motivation: A Meta-Analysis." Review of Educational Research (1994): pp. 362-423.

Chapter 9 Goal Setting

One of the most intriguing sections of chapter 9 was the section about goal setting. I was shocked to learn that 56% of working don't understand what their organizations goal is and 81% don't have clearly defined goals. How on earth are you supposed do work hard and do a job correctly if you're not sure what you are working towards? Employees who clearly understand what their organizations goals are know what strategic actions they need to take in order to be more productive and efficient. I also learned that there are two types of goal-setting methods, performance outcome goals and learning goals. Performance outcome goals target a specific outcome goal i.e. "we need to sell 10,000 reams of paper this quarter." Where as learning goals focus on learning and creativity, i.e. "Lets come up with new ideas on how to sell more paper." In doing more research on the two, I learned that both types of goal setting are used, just in different scenarios. "Outcome goals are used more when confronting a simple task, where as the learning goals are used to face complex tasks." This is mainly because when faced with a complex task, we don't always know what the outcome will be, so we try our best to learn from it. Latham, Gary

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Check-In, Check-Out Process

Chapter 9 explores how the feedback loop increases positive communication and promotes betterment in the way a business is run. By listening to employees' concerns and ideas, management can alter the way the business is run in order to increase employee satisfaction and overall job performance. This idea is used in our class as well. John Stayton takes our advice into account and revises the syllabus accordingly. Feedback should not just be a once-in-awhile occurance. It needs to be an ongoing process so that there can be ongoing change and improvement within a firm, or classroom.

An article titled "The Check, Connect, and Expect Program: A Targeted, Tier 2 Intervention in the Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support Model", the effects of a type of feedback loop are explored. Students who are having difficulty functioning within a school environment or just need some help were introduced to a system called 'Basic' where they met daily with 'coaches' who helped identify the areas they needed and wanted to improve in, supplied feedback and advice, and helped track their progress. One component of the feedback loop they used was: "[students] then rate their own performance on expectations and compare their selfscores with their teacher’s scores. The goal is for students to accurately evaluate their own behavior by scoring themselves within one point of their teacher" (Cheney 4). At the conclusion of the study, they found that students performed better and were more socially and academically responsible. By identifying their own goals and receiving support they needed or by listening to constructive criticsm, students became driven to perform better. Such ongoing, constant communication about what is working, what is not, what other issues need to be addressed, what new goals are being set, etc. lead to positive outcomes in not only schools and classrooms, but in firms as well.

Cheney, Douglas, et al. "The Check, Connect, and Expect Program: A Targeted, Tier 2 Intervention in the Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support Model." Preventing School Failure 54.3 (2010): 152-158. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2010.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Building Blocks of Intrinsic Rewards & Motivation

In the TED video, Dan Pink talks about the ineffectiveness of extrinsic motivators in comparison to intrinsic motivators. While he gives us reasons as to why we are usually less prone to exceed expectations with an extrinsic motivator being offered, he doesn't touch base as to why intrinsic motivators serve us better. In Chapter 9, the book partially focuses on this by using Thomas's Building Blocks for Intrinsic Rewards and Motivation.

In "The Effects of Self-Esteem, Task Label, and Performance Feedback on Task Liking and Intrinsic Motivation," Tang and Linda create a study that observes the effects of Self-Esteem on American undergraduates. Results showed that the more positive feedback the students got, the higher their self esteems were, thus leading them to enjoy and complete the task on a higher level.

When looking at the four building blocks (choice, competence, meaningfulness, and progress), it seems as if intrinsic motivators are the only factors in how well you perform in the workplace. What we often forget to take into account, however, is those who control the workplace environment. If managers do not understand this concept, they may stifle the possibility of intrinsic
motivation in the workplace. A lot of people believe that extrinsic motivators are the most effective in getting ahead. They may not be able to realize that they have the choice to find something more meaningful in what they do if managers don't realize the meaningfulness in what they, themselves, do.

Source: Thomas Li-ping, Tang, and Linda Sarsfield-Baldwin. "The Effects of Self-Esteem, Task Label, and Performance Feedback on Task Liking and Intrinsic Motivation." Journal of Social Psychology 131.4 (1991): 567-572. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2010.

Chapter 9

In the chapter, feedback serves the function of being instructional and motivational. Instructional feedback clarifies a role or teaches a new behavior. An example of this would be that my boss instructs me to make the counselors’ projects a priority over Admission’s projects. Therefore, when I check into work, I should ask for projects from the admissions counselors before taking up any jobs or projects from the other Admission’s staff. Motivational feedback gives or promises a reward for work done by pairing specific challenging goals with specific feedback results. A good example would be when I was given a project to arrange IQ cards from hundreds of different students into same-school groups. I was rewarded a week later with praise from the counselor and a treat for completing the task in a short amount of time.

In an online blog, ‘Motivation Booster Shots: 2 Tips on Motivational Feedback,’ it provides two important tips on motivational feedback. First tip is that if you’re giving positive feedback to someone, your feedback should only be positive. If you include something negative in it as well, the negative feedback will stick more than the positive one. Tip number two is to give feedback using descriptive language to avoid sounding patronizing. These two tips are good advice for all us when we’re giving motivational feedback to our peers in school and in our future jobs. By knowing what to do and not to do, we will become more effective people when providing this type of feedback.

Works Cited
Fairweather, Alan. Motivation Booster Shots. 9 October 2009. 26 February 2010 .

"SMART" Goals

“SMART” goals will allow an individual to reach their set goals. “SMART” is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, results oriented, and time bound. Goals should be stated precisely, not vague. A measuring device will allow an individual to assess the extent to which the goal is accomplished. Make sure to set attainable goals that are realistic, yet challenging. End-results should support the accomplishment of your goals. In order to make your goals results orientated, start with the word to, followed by a verb such as complete, acquire, or produce. Time bound allows an individual to set a date for completion.

In the article, “Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals”, by Paul J. Meyer, it explores a similar tactic and approach to setting your goals. In order to set specific goals, an individual must answer the six W questions: who, what, when, where, why, and which. The ability to measure your goals allows people to stay on track and reach a sense of exhilaration for being on your way to achieving your goal. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true, which become attainable for you. In this article, R represents realistic, not results orientated. A realistic goal is one where an individual believe they can achieve it through willingness and work. Lastly, the article says that T stands for both time and tangible. Time frames are important to get your goals accomplished faster and tangibility lets you experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. The importance of setting SMART goals will allow you to advance when you are setting personal goals, job orientated goals, or learning goals.

Meyer, Paul J. "Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals." Top Achievement Articles. Goal Setting Articles. Web. 26 Feb. 2010. .

Motivate me to be satisfied

There are so many ways to motivate your workers. You could crack the proverbial whip (or a real one), you could coddle them and always tell them they're doing a good job, or you could concoct an elaborate Saw-style death-laden scenario in which your employees have to complete TPS reports or risk the gruesome deaths of family members and pets before their very eyes. This strategy, while extremely effective, violates a few societal taboos, and... you know... laws...

That presentation better be on my desk by 4:00, or THIS happens
(image courtesy of

All horrific off-color humor aside, chapter eight of the renowned text Organizational Behavior by legendary battle-mages Kreitner and Kinicki is a valuable source for learning "motivate character" spells. Just make sure the target of your spell is under level 21, and has at least 5 less charisma than you, excluding enchantments (yes, I'm a nerd).

Once again, putting all nerdy and horror-related jokes to one side, let's get down to business on this whole concept of motivation and satisfaction. Of course, we are all going to get jobs at some point. I could make all kinds of snide remarks about the economy, and how job interviews are going to be more like episodes of American Gladiator in order to land even a fry-cook job; but, once the economy turns around (and it will), we are all going to be working somewhere, and for most of us, that "somewhere" is going to be an office of some kind. Not everyone is going to get a job headbutting sharks or knife-fighting terrorists.

Just another day at the office... for ME anyway
(image courtesy of

As stated in my previous post, working in an office tends to be awful. But not always. This brings us to the precipice of an important workplace topic: motivation. What motivates an employee to do well in his job? The answer won't surprise you. Of course, it's job satisfaction, but what contributes to job satisfaction? What makes us satisfied- or dissatisfied, for that matter- with our jobs?

Everyone goes to work for different reasons. Some people simply want steady income, while others want to contribute to something bigger than themselves. Others enjoy the teamwork, and still others want to be part of a unit and feel wanted. All of these reasons are equally valid, and they all satisfy psychological needs of some kind. The book covers multiple models of needs and interpersonal dynamics in Chapter 8, but I want to focus this discussion to laser-point accuracy on one aspect that I found very interesting: the concept of iniquity on the job.

When on the job, one thing we will inevitably do is compare ourselves to others, as a gauge of our performance and other factors. It comes down to a theory called Adams's Equity Theory of Motivation. This theory has two primary focuses: inputs and outcomes. As stated in the book,

"An employee's inputs, for which he or she expects a just return, include education/training, skills, creativity, seniority, age, personality traits, effort expended, and personal appearance. On the outcome side of the exchange, the organization provides such things as pay/bonuses, fringe benefits, challenging assignments, job security, promotions, status symbols, and participation in important decisions." -Pg. 218

So it comes down to a really simple concept that all of us have been grappling with our entire lives- you give something and expect to get something back. Your inputs should determine your outcomes. When you put something into an activity, you expect the reward to be, at least, on par with your commitment. You want to be recognized and rewarded for the things that you do. In essence, rewards should match effort.

There are exceptions
(image courtesy of

This is where the concept of iniquity comes into play. Sure, you get a paycheck and plush cubicle, but you want to FEEL like you're be recognized for you achievements. Once you start to feel that you're being passed up for less-qualified-but-better-connected coworkers that keep getting promoted above you, you'll start to become less motivated. This is a slippery slope that can lead to a low self-image. Imagine if you came in two Saturdays in a row last quarter to help out John from accounts payable with some work he was unable to do while skiing in Tahoe. He helped you out a few months ago, when your mother died and you went to her funeral, so it was only fair. Well, you come into work only to find that he gets promoted because of his "stellar effort." Chances are, you'd start to get really pissed off, and you might even have a word with corporate about it, to explain that the awesome presentation he gave at the last quarterly meeting was actually the result of two of YOUR Saturdays, and on one of them, you couldn't be with your kids. All while that douchebag John was skiing.

(Image courtesy of

This lovely little scenario is called "negative inequity." Essentially, you both did similar amounts of work. He covered for you while you went to a funeral, and so you covered for him while he went skiing. Of course, he got promoted and you didn't (and he got promoted for YOUR work, which is absurd). So you're inevitably going to compare yourself to him and say, "Hey, we've been doing just about the same amount of work, and that douche gets promoted over me!" It makes you so mad, you could mock a toddler and punch a puppy. Or punch John.

(Image courtesy of

Because this scenario would undoubtedly discourage you, you are now less motivated. You now feel that your inputs are not met with the same outcomes when you compare yourself to John. He has a nice corner office, and you're still in your cubicle. This would actually lead to less inputs on your part. Since you feel that the hard work you did on those Saturdays went largely unnoticed, guess how likely it is that you'd do it again? Not very. That's correct- you have lost your motivation, because your hard work was practically ignored.

This is an important lesson to learn, both for employees and those that manage them. From the standpoint of the employees, it's important to realize that your outcomes are often directly tied to the inputs that management PERCEIVES you are contributing. If you did John's work on those Saturdays and didn't tell anyone about it, then management would logically assume it was John that did it (even while he was away skiing, which makes him look even better). From the management standpoint, it's important to know where those inputs are coming from. Did the employee have help? If they did, then it's important to acknowledge and reward all involved in a project, no matter how small, because this makes the employees feel as though their inputs are being recognized, and that they matter in the workplace.

This has to do with a term I'm inventing right now as I'm writing this called, "Input Opacity." Input opacity is the visibility of your inputs in the workplace. If you're going above and beyond your job description, it's your responsibility to make sure that someone knows about it. I'm not saying you should parade around the office lauding every one of your accomplishments, but sometimes it's as easy as saying to your boss, "Hey, I'm going to come in on Saturday to help John out with his presentation, OK?" If your contributions are invisible, then management is going to wonder what you're doing there in the first place. Therefore, make them opaque and visible.

Make sure that your contributions can be linked back to you, and chances are that you'll be recognized for them. Keep in mind that managers have to keep track of a lot of people and a lot of tasks, and they aren't known for going out of their way to track down who did the middle 7 slides of a Powerpoint presentation. Making sure that management knows who did what ensures recognition for accomplishments, which will make you more satisfied with your job, which will.... MOTIVATE YOU TO KEEP DOING A GOOD JOB!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Foundation of motivation

In chapter 8 it talked about motivation and one part that I really connected was the goal setting portion of the chapter. Setting a goal is a great motivator, its steers you in the right direction and you don’t lose focus on it. I do believe that you have to be specific and have a slight challenge with your goal or else you’ll find a way to be lazy or cheat. It’s always good to tell someone your goal because then they can give you feedback if you’re on track or procrastinating. It’s also always good to check back and see how you’re doing yourself by keeping a mental note or writing down what you accomplished as each week goes by. Being committed to your goal is also important, can’t lose focus or else you’re going to have the habit of setting a goal and forgetting it after a while.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maslow's Hierarchy

Abraham Maslow developed a pyramid structure of needs that describe his personality theory. His theory involves 5 steps, starting at the bottom of a pyramid and working there way up. First, is the physiological need, biological needs such as oxygen, water, and a consistent body temperature. Second, is the need for safety. Safety may include have a home, trusting friends, and a secure family life. Third, is the need of love, affection, and belonging. Maslow states that people seek to overcome feelings of loneliness and alienation. This involves both giving and receiving love, affection and the sense of belonging. Next, is the needs for esteem. This includes both self-esteem and esteem from peers. The last is the need for self-actualization, doing what a person was born to do.
After taking a deeper look into Maslow's pyramid, I became interested in reasons why people do not reach the top. One article I found written by Janet Simons, Donald Irwin, and Beverley Drinnien discusses how education can at times stop students from reaching self-actualization. Maslow believes education should be switched from usual person-stunting tactics to person-growing approaches. "Maslow states that educators should respond to the potential an individual has for growing into a self-actualizing person of his/her own kind" (Simmons). Maslow also gives 10 ways that educators can do this:
1. We should teach people to be authentic, to be aware of their inner selves and to hear their inner-feeling voices.
2. We should teach people to transcend their cultural conditioning and become world citizens.
3. We should help people discover their vocation in life, their calling, fate or destiny. This is especially focused on finding the right career and the right mate.
4. We should teach people that life is precious, that there is joy to be experienced in life, and if people are open to seeing the good and joyous in all kinds of situations, it makes life worth living.
5. We must accept the person as he or she is and help the person learn their inner nature. From real knowledge of aptitudes and limitations we can know what to build upon, what potentials are really there.
6. We must see that the person's basic needs are satisfied. This includes safety, belongingness, and esteem needs.
7. We should refreshen consciousness, teaching the person to appreciate beauty and the other good things in nature and in living.
8. We should teach people that controls are good, and complete abandon is bad. It takes control to improve the quality of life in all areas.
9. We should teach people to transcend the trifling problems and grapple with the serious problems in life. These include the problems of injustice, of pain, suffering, and death.
10. We must teach people to be good choosers. They must be given practice in making good choices.

If all educators followed this 10 step guideline, then young people would feel free to express themselves and not hold back. Starting at a young age, kids go to school and are taught things one way. Not all people learn at the same pace,and some people learn better by seeing or hearing. We go to school and think we have to graduate high school and then go to college in order to be successful. If people were taught to believe in themselves and strive to accomplish what really makes them happy, then the fifth need of self-actualization would come more naturally. people would still go to college because there are still going to be people who want to be doctors. I think more people would like school of they felt they could express themselves without feeling they are wrong.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Maslow's hierarchy: Inaccurate?

Maslow offers his model in a pyramid form. On the bottom is what Maslow says "we" strive to satisfy first. The physiological needs like food, water, breathing, etc. It continues with: safety, love/acceptance, self-esteem, and self-actualization. Although many people find this to be dead-on accurate, I find it off. I think that his model is the ideal order people should satisfy needs rather than the way people do. Think of the people who spend hundreds of dollars on a purse. Are these people putting their safety of physiological needs before their need to "look good" or feel accepted? To some people, safety comes second to their material wants. For this reason, his model seems to be outdated. I know many people who will eat poorly because they are saving up for their next big purchase, which is not a new stove or refrigerator, but something satisfying their self-esteem needs. This can be seen in college students on a tight budget quite often. Ramen noodles for dinner every night is worth it for a student who can't afford something they want and normal food shopping.

Perhaps Maslow thought that this was a good order for people to satisfy their needs, it does after all make sense. It puts people's needs before their wants, which is what most people have trouble doing. A lot has changed in people since this was created in 1943. People have become liberated and more free, more open about certain beliefs and the ability to buy whatever they want. I also believe people lived by his model more often at the time it was presented. However now, it seems to be more of the ideal rather than the widely practiced.


Thorndike's Law of Effect/ Skinner's Operant Conditioning Model

Edward L Thorndike observed in his lab that when placed in a small box with a trip lever a cat would behave randomly and wildly. Once the cat accidentally trips the lever and got out, the animal would go right to the lever when placed back in the box. He then came up with the law of effect, which says, " behavior with favorable consequences tends to be repeated, while behavior with unfavorable consequences tends to disappear." Skinner took this law and went further into depth and called it behaviorism because he strictly dealt with observable behavior. He said behavior has two types: respondent and operant behavior. Unlearned reflexes are respondent behavior. Examples of respondent behaviors are things like crying when you peel an onion or putting up your hands when someone yells heads up. Operant behavior is learned when one "operates on" the environment to produce desired consequences. Skinner did an experiment with pigeons, where he had the pigeons learn to fly in a figure-eight and how to bowl. He did this by giving the pigeons food whenever they more closely approximated the behavior he was looking for. Skinner's work has significant implications for organizational behavior because most of organizational behavior is under the operant category.
I found a website that talks about Skinner in more depth and goes into discussion of some of his experiments. Other than pigeons, he also did a lot of experiments with rats. One experiment was that you shock the rat for doing x behavior, the result was that the rat would do x behavior a lot less.

Boeree, George C. "B.F. Skinner"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Model of Organizational Commitment

In Chapter six I thought the model of organizational commitment was very interesting. The three components that John Meyer and Natalie Allan came up with are: affective commitment, normative commitment, and continuance commitment. They describe affective commitment as an emotional attachment to an organization. Under this commitment they continue to work for a company because they want to. They describe a normative commitment as a feeling of obligation. An employee with this characteristic may feel that they ought to remain working. The last organizational commitment is continuance in which the employee thinks about the costs associated with leaving a company. If you are working under continuance you remain working at the company because you feel you need to.

What to Expect?

Expectancy is something each one of us will encounter on a daily basis in a work environment. Expectancy is where "an individual's belief that a particular degree of effort will be followed by a particular level of performance." Effort is a key factor to the success of a company because it requires a desire to exceed expectations. Often people contribute less effort creating a lower standard when doing business. Companies can lack growth opportunities or goals for their employees which may result in co-workers poor motivation and sets their standards low. Effort is what the cooperation's need to increase efficiency within the business. Having a passion for what you do often increases the work output but unfortunately that is not the case for everyone. Some influences on employee's expectations are self-esteem, self-efficiency, previous knowledge and success completing the task, help from supervisors during the process, the necessary materials and paperwork for the project. All of these can improve what is expected by increasing the success and efficiency of the employees.

The Need for Achievement

David McClelland's research on the need for achievement has determined that achievement-motivated people have in common the following: a preference for working on tasks of moderate difficulty, a preference for situations in which performance is due to their efforts rather than other factors, such as luck; and they desire more feedback on their successes and failures.

In "A Red Flag in the Brain Game," Hamm discusses the U.S' decreasing achievement success in college programming contests. He sheds light on many factors contributing to the problem, including the : "the thrill factor, or lack thereof. Given the opportunity to make a mint on Wall Street or land a comfortable academic job, many math and science students are turning away from software" (Hamm).

This also ties in to Dan Pink's speech on motivation on how most studies showed that those who attempted to complete a task with extrinsic motivation performed more poorly in comparison to those who did not. Pink also shares some company methods that have lead to achievement success. He stresses that autonomy, mastery, and purpose are key--it's not all about the money. I think that the managers today should keep this in mind when trying to rally achievement success within the company.

Source: Hamm, Steve. "A RED FLAG IN THE BRAIN GAME." BusinessWeek 3982 (2006): 32-35. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 22 Feb. 2010.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Maslow's Need Hierachy

I found this really interesting because John discusses self motivation in class all the time and this seemed like a good topic to blog about. The psychologist Abraham Maslow came out with his Need Hierarchy Theory in 1943. The theory was based on his observations of a few neurotic individuals. Maslow came to the conclusion that motivation os based upon five basic needs. The five basic needs are the following:
1) Physiological
2) Safety
3) Love
4) Esteem
5) Self- actualization

The needs are steps; one on top of another in the shape of a pyramid. Physiological being the most basic need is on the bottom of the pyramid. It includes having enough basic essentials to survive such as air, food, and water. Once physiological need is met, the next step is safety. Safety entailing that one is safe from physical and psychological harm. Once safety is secure, the need to be love is next in the pyramid of needs. People have the need to belong and be affectionate. the next step is esteem. Esteem means recognition from others and also self confidence and strength. The last step of this hierarchy is self actualization meaning becoming the best one is capable of becoming. According to Maslow, this hierarchy process is how people are motivated. It is still just a theory, but it gives some insight to managers and employees to how motivation probably works. It allows managers to find ways to motivate his/her employees by following the steps and it allows individuals to learn how to self motivate themselves by knowing physiologically what needs are first, second, etc.
The article "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs" found on the NetMBA website goes into more detail and how it can be used by businesses.

"Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs."

Chapter 8: Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theory- an accurate depiction of human behavior

Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory seems pretty accurate when describing the order in which we satisfy our needs. His theory explains the five basic chronological needs which are achieved in the order he places them. The needs are physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization, and they exemplify the human behavior. He believed, “human needs emerge in a predictable stair-step fashion” one is not achieved before the other. Both Kreitner and Kinicki illustrate this when they explain that a manager or employer must first focus on satisfying their employees’ needs which relate to self-concepts, self-esteem and self-actualization. If an employee is not satisfied with nor has no confidence in him or herself, they will not be able to perform to the best of their ability and that will be reflect in their work. The self-esteem and self satisfaction of a person correlates with important outcomes such as “academic achievement, physical illness, psychological well-being (anxiety disorder, depression etc.), drug abuse, marital satisfaction, money and work problems, and performance at work, which is what Kreitner and Knicki mention in the book.

An example of the accuracy of Maslows Hierarchy of Need Theor is an article by Best which presents a discussion on the use of the Hierarchy of Needs of Maslow in planning for care for those who are addicted to drugs. Best explains how it is essential that providers of care should work on the physiological needs of drug addicts first before proceeding to higher levels of safety, belonging, esteem and spiritual needs. Treatments in the lowest level include detoxification, which are classified under physiological needs. It is also asserted that the treatment should focus on the goal of maintenance of the patients which also fall under physiological needs. As a result, Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory is a very accurate depiction of the order in which we explain our human behavior.

Source: Best, D., et al. "The Hierarchy of Needs and care planning in addiction services: What Maslow can tell us about addressing competing priorities?." Addiction Research & Theory 16.4 (2008): 305-307. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 21 Feb. 2010

why would high achievement lead Mr. Raju to commit these crims?

Mr. Raju, the creator of Satyam, was condemned because he committed fraud in his company. Why did he act like that? Because he had a high need for power and a high achievement. Those two factors lead to many actions that are not always very fair. For instance, a person who has a high achievement wants to succeed in his work without doing many efforts. But he wants to succeed in what he has started. If this person also has a high need for power, he will be able to do anything to manage.
I think that Mr. Raju has both a need for power and for achievement, because he behaved as if he did not care about the wellness of his company: he did things that could have made his company fail. He wanted short-terms results instead of working hard to get long-terms results. The long-terms results are harder to get, but they are often more honest. They also have more benefits for the personal satisfaction: you have made your duty fairly. Otherwise if you rely on short-term results, you may have to use bad ways to succeed in getting them, and you are not very proud of yourself.
Therefore, Mr. Raju behaved following his needs for power and for achievement.

Chapter 8- McClelland's Need Theory

In reading chapter 8, I came across McClelland's need theory, and after reading it, I agreed that people usually yearn for the following needs. The first one mentioned is the need for achievement, which is the desire to accomplish something difficult. The second need is for affiliation, the desire to spend time in social relationships and activities. The last one is the need for power, the desire to influence, coach, teach, or encourage others to achieve. Personally, I find that I follow all of those needs. Through these needs, people gain more motivation.

On the site NetMBA: Business Knowledge Center site, I came one of McClelland's need theory tests. It's called the Thematic Apprecitation Test (TAT), and through it, the person taking the test is shown a series of ambiguous photos and is asked to tell a story each that photo. From this test, it is assumed that the person will make up a story that targets their own personal needs. The scoring of the TAT can be used for job searches.

The theory of needs can also exhibit what kind of management a person would need. For those with high achievement needs, management must be challenging and contain a lot of feedback. Those with high affiliation needs would consider participating in group efforts with cooperative environments. Lastly, those with high power needs would want to be the ones managing others. I think that I personally am one with a high achievement need, and I definitely look for a lot of challenges and projects.


Chapter 8- Needs

One of the most interesting sections of chapter 8 was the section where they connected motivation to one’s needs. I had never myself made the connection that, “needs are physiological or psychological deficiencies that arouse behavior.” (Org. Behavior, Kreitner) In other words, in order to motivate someone, you need to give them a motive which appeals to their needs. If you are being chased by a lion, you are motivated to run fast because of your need to live. Same thing in the work place, you can be motivated to produce high quality work because of your need to boost your esteem.

All needs can be found on Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Pyramid. From the bottom to the top (bottom being the most essential need) they go in this order: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. Maslow has suggested that all motivation is a function of these five basic needs.

After doing some outside research on motivation theories and I found one that is very similar to Maslow’s theory. The “Acquired Needs Theory” focuses on every humans underlying hunger to acquire power. I think that this theory is just a small portion of Maslow’s already existing theory, because “power” would fall under the category of “self-actualization”.

“Acquired Needs Theory”, McClelland

Goal Setting

A goal is what an individual is trying to achieve and accomplish. According to Edwin Locke, he believes goal setting has four motivational mechanisms. The four motivational mechanisms are: goals direct attention, goals regulate effort, goals increase persistence, and goals foster the development and application of task strategies and action plans. These motivational mechanisms strive individuals to complete and achieve their goal.

In the article, “The Importance of Goal Setting” by Alex Cleanthous, a cquote stuck out to me saying, “Setting goals is like having a destination before takeoff. If you know where you're going, you can focus on the end result and get back on track if any obstacles get in the way. ” This article then further classifies five areas in your life where you have set, clear goals for yourself. The five areas in your life are finances, career, health, family, and friendships. By setting goals in different parts of our lives it can bring positive impact. Also, goals give us the ability to measure our process of attaining out goals. You discover what is working for you and what is not. I think this is important because it will allow you to set realistic goals that you can actually achieve. Also, I believe that this will allow you to better monitor yourself so you don’t feel intimidated by failure.

Cleanthous, Alex. "The Importance Of Goal Setting." Ezine Articles. 9 Nov. 2005. Web. 21 Feb. 2010. .

Chapter 8: Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theory- an accurate depiction of human behavior

Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory seems pretty accurate when describing the order in which we satisfy our needs. His theory explains the five basic chronological needs which are achieved in the order he places them. The needs are physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization, and they exemplify the human behavior. He believed, “human needs emerge in a predictable stair-step fashion” one is not achieved before the other. Both Kreitner and Kinicki illustrate this when they explain that a manager or employer must first focus on satisfying their employees’ needs which relate to self-concepts, self-esteem and self-actualization. If an employee is not satisfied with nor has no confidence in him or herself, they will not be able to perform to the best of their ability and that will be reflect in their work. The self-esteem and self satisfaction of a person correlates with important outcomes such as “academic achievement, physical illness, psychological well-being (anxiety disorder, depression etc.), drug abuse, marital satisfaction, money and work problems, and performance at work, which is what Kreitner and Knicki mention in the book.

An example of the accuracy of Maslows Hierarchy of Need Theor is an article by Best which presents a discussion on the use of the Hierarchy of Needs of Maslow in planning for care for those who are addicted to drugs. Best explains how it is essential that providers of care should work on the physiological needs of drug addicts first before proceeding to higher levels of safety, belonging, esteem and spiritual needs. Treatments in the lowest level include detoxification, which are classified under physiological needs. It is also asserted that the treatment should focus on the goal of maintenance of the patients which also fall under physiological needs. As a result, Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory is a very accurate depiction of the order in which we explain our human behavior.

Source: Best, D., et al. "The Hierarchy of Needs and care planning in addiction services: What Maslow can tell us about addressing competing priorities?." Addiction Research & Theory 16.4 (2008): 305-307. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 21 Feb. 2010

Chapter 8

Goal setting seems to exist in everyday life and the workplace. We set goals for ourselves to get a homework assignment done before it’s due, we sets goals to get a promotion at work, and we set goals to have a family one day. Goals are everywhere. In the book, a goal is defined as ‘what an individual is trying to accomplish; it is the object or aim of an action plan.’ In order to have a goal, we have to set one through a process called goal setting or management by objective (MBO). Goal setting works to direct attention, regulate effort, increase persistence, and foster the development and application of task strategies and action plans. In my workplace, we have a yearly goal of meeting a certain amount of student contacts. This goal directs attention because we are aware of the deadline and the task at hand. It promotes all of my co-workers and I to work together and individually to meet this goal, which in turn regulates out efforts. Usually the goal is around 15,000 students, which is considered a difficult goal considering we never quite reached that number. This difficult goal is a constant reminder to us to keep working towards the goal and to increase persistence. This goal helps us to foster the development and application of task strategies and action plans because we set up nightly and weekly student contact goals that will hopefully add up to the bigger goal.

In Schweitzer (2009), he blames the recession on faulty goal setting. The author states that goals have to be specific and fit the company’s line of business, have clear limitations, and are monitored. He also claims that companies like Enron failed because they had over ambitious goals and focused on the wrong measure of goal achievement. Schweitzer agrees that challenging and specific goals do indeed boost performance; however, they have ‘powerful and predictable side effects.’ He compares goal setting with prescription, saying that it can’t be offered as an ‘over-the-counter’ drug, instead, it has to be ‘prescribed selectively, presented with a warning label, and closely monitored.’ If goal setting is carelessly applied, it could lead to ‘systematic problems in organizations due to narrowed focus, increased risk taking, unethical behavior, inhibited learning, decreased cooperation, and decreased intrinsic motivation’ (Schweitzer, 2009). Before reading this article, I never realized that goal setting would be considered a bad thing. However, now I see that, like everything else, it must be carefully thought through before being applied. This article will be very helpful when we write our first team project paper.

Schweitzer, Maurice R. "Beware the Harmful Effects of Goal-Setting." BusinessWeek Online (2009): 6. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 21 Feb. 2010.

Vroom's Expectancy Theory

Vroom's expectancy theory was the most intriguing and appealing theory of motivation for me. It holds legitimate value in its argument that the level of effort an individual will put forth is based on the intended or desired results that will be achieved with that effort. The expectancy is that effort will be followed by sustained performance, which will lead to higher productivity. If individuals are motivated to achieve specific goals, they will be more effective in putting forth the effort required of the goal. Another section of the chapter discusses goals and what they do for individuals. Goals focus attention on a specific task, regulate the effort an individual will put into certain tasks, and increase the sustained effort that goes into a task. Goals with action plans are formulas for achieving success. Group goals which have a high level of commitment from members are very effective because having many individuals working together successfully creates an efficient business. Motivation is a large determining factor of the success of companies because without it, employees won't feel as though the companies goals are their own, and they will have no connection with the results of their efforts.

Successful leaders are not only motivated themselves, but they also motivate and inspire others around them. Each person's level of motivation is found within, and to find this motivation, life goals must be aligned with career and other goals. This will make each person more willing to expend effort for their goals because achievement will lead to personal advancement.

Kreitner, Robert. Organizational Behavior. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2010.

Komives, Susan R. Et al. Exploring Leadership. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. San Francisco: 2007.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Self-Control Influence on Performance

By watching the TED video, I learned that more incentives do not necessarily inspire good job performance. People who are monetarily motivated to complete a task within a certain time frame will get the task done, but not do it well. Such incentives only work, as our textbook mentioned, when they reflect the end results wanted. If the goal of the incentive is to make people complete more quality projects, then monetary gains should be rewarded to the people who complete the least amount of projects because then they will be forced to spend time on their projects and make sure they are completely and correctly done.

In "Lack of autonomy and self-control: Performance contingent rewards lead to greater depletion" by Mark Muraven, Heather Rosman, and Marylene Gagne, they explore how self-control comes into play in the workplace. People who have ever been addicted to cigarettes know that it takes a lot of self-control when trying to stop. This depletes their energy and will-power over other things. Same thing with dieting. People exert self-control by not eating any sweets and forcing themselves to go to them gym. This wears them out and, oftentimes, there is a breaking point and they just can't do it anymore and eat a huge piece of cake and give-up. That is why I believe dieting doesn't work. It's tons more effective to just limit your intake of sweets than to completely shun them and hit the gym in moderation. The study I found says the same thing applies in business. People who are given rewards to complete projects have to exert self-control over their time, forcing themselves to complete as many projects as possible in the least amount of time. The study found that "self-control that feels more externally determined is more depleting than self-control that feels more personally chosen" (Muraven 8). This makes the quality of their later assignments in, say 2 months time, of worser quality than projects completed towards the beginning of that time because projects are no longer something that employees are personally motivated about, but rather feel pressured to complete for money.

In my opinion, the same goes for school. Students that understand the importance of what they are learning and enjoy the subject are more likely to take more time on assignments because they are personally motivated to spend their time on them and not try to just get the assignment done soon and not focus on the quality or content of the assignment. They do it just to keep their grade up (which is similar to the incentives in the workplace that don't work).

Muraven, Mark, Heather Rosman, and Marylene Gagne. "Lack of autonomy and self-control: Performance contingent rewards lead to greater depletion.." Academic Source Complete. Dec 2007. Web. 20 Feb 2010. .

Friday, February 19, 2010

Satisfied workers don't mutiny

Job satisfaction is key to maintaining sanity. Workers need jobs that they find interesting and fulfilling. While some managers promote stupid things like "wacky tie Friday" and think that they've done all they can to ensure an insanity-free workplace, it may come as a shock that their employees are on the brink of stabtastic mutiny. "Wacky tie Friday" is like deep-frying tofu: yeah, it's deep fried, but nobody cares. I may be able to wear wacky and tacky ties, but I bet I'd still have to go see HR if I wore a tie with a flaming eyeball on it. That's why those stupid "fun" days at work are just little gimmicks to prevent a mutiny. More popular fun days at work, like "cage match Wednesday," always bring out the best in our hard-working friends in the office. Who wouldn't want to work in an office that turned into Thunderdome every Wednesday?

Pictured- "cage match Wednesday"
(image actually courtesy of

Seriously, though...

We've all seen little office satire comics or jokes about how the workplace is a dull and lifeless wasteland of cubicles and (if you're lucky) a little break room where you can make awkward advances at the receptionist. And every so often, corporate higher ups will allow a manager to do something completely insane like let people wear piano key ties to work ( wait... yawn). Like all stereotypes, this one came from somewhere, and carries a light (but noticeable) load of truth. Office culture normally sucks. There's no other way to put it. When you work at a place with a "corporate lemming" organizational structure, and you work in a small cubicle all day, you begin to lose interest in your awesome data entry job that you bragged to everyone about. Seeing as how you spend eight hours a day in that hellhole, which comprises most of your waking life, you begin to realize that you're fighting a war of attrition with your job, and you're quickly turning into a casualty.

The workplace is a dangerous battlefield
(image courtesy of

The reading for this week's post comes from an ancient text unearthed during an archaeological dig in Iceland. The ancient Viking text, called Organizational Behavior, was written by two Viking warlords, whose names roughly translate into English as Kreitner and Kinicki, and was oddly printed in 2008. Because I was able to secure a government grant to study this text, I will now bring you its wisdom.

Sanity on the job is a big deal. As stated earlier, depressed employees can turn to insane ones, and insane ones can turn into stabby ones. But where does the conflict lie? Well, Kinicki and Kreitner talk at great length about the things that can cause conflict in the workplace. Unfortunately, they don't talk a lot about stabby employees (which would have been good for a few laughs), but they certainly talk about important aspects of the workplace and interpersonal relationships that can lead to a stabarrific workplace (which is something to avoid).

This is obviously a stabarrific workplace
(Image courtesy of

Conflict comes in a variety of flavors. You have your classic intrapersonal conflict (internal conflict born from the unholy matrimony of big pipe dreams and a really awful reality), interpersonal conflict (sexual harassment, racism, that dude in the next cubicle who listens to Oprah podcasts without headphones on), and value conflicts with your organization. These are fundamental to job satisfaction.

To some extent, a large portion of this is in the employee's hands. For instance, a wimpy vegetarian that goes an hour out of her way just to eat a "garden burger," probably shouldn't work in franchising operations for Burger King. Having values that are consistent with your company's values is the first step to enjoying your job and not losing your mind. A company that has values that are widely consistent with your own can also lead to having better co-workers, because they will likely share values with you.

Unfortunately, this world we live in is awful, and my rosy picture of the workplace isn't entirely accurate. In reality, there are companies out there who perform necessary services, but there's almost no way in hell to attract energy and creativity for these positions. I am speaking, of course, about mid-level paper sales offices.

(image courtesy of

All Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute references aside, think about what the workplace on THE OFFICE would be like without all the time-wasting antics that occur there. It would literally be worse than hell. To be honest, the hijinks of Michael Scott would be one of the only things keeping many of the employees alive. Sitting in that office all day and trying to be productive would literally drive me to commit a terrorist act.

I want to tie this into what I was talking bout before, about what our Viking friends Kreitner and Kinicki say about "Organizational Commitment." In the ancient text (the textbook, if you haven't figured it out yet), they describe this as

"...the extent to which an individual identifies with an organizationa and is committed to its goals. It is an important work attitude because committed individuals are expected to display a willingness to work harder to achieve organizational goals and a greater desire to stay employed at an organization." Pg-166

This applies to almost every business. There are companies out there whose employees are galvanized and focused workers simply because of what the company does or represents. For instance, people working for a company that fights breast cancer or other diseases are motivated to contribute to something bigger than themselves, and in essence, bigger than the company. They believe they are making a difference, and the difference they want to make is reflected in their choice to work for that particular company. People working for companies with whom they share values and goals are more likely to go out of their way to contribute and excel at their jobs. It's not a stretch to assume people working for these companies are happier people overall.

Certain behaviors where people go above and beyond the call of duty are called Organizational Citizenship Behaviors, and they are directly linked to workplace happiness and promotions (according to the book). If you love a company and your values fit nicely together, you're more likely to go out of your way to do extra for the company. This is good for everyone involved, because promotions are really measures of how well you work, and how much people like you. You help the company a little more than anyone else in your division... you get promoted.

A very simple life strategy.