However, during the tenure period, he encountered 2 critical incidents poised a ‘concern’ and prompted him to rethink holistically about the direction of career and the value of employment. First of all, a change of company policy towards labour intensive staff occurred in his company. The company planned to expand the operation to China and outsourced for cheaper labour in order to stay cost competitive . This has caused a concern to the low skills workers. As a result, cases of absenteeism and high turn over of low skills workers increased.
The morale of the workers was badly hit. Second, the company sliced off the mid-management managers by using economic recession as reason despite the fact that the company was making substantial profits over the years. He would felt unfair for the victims, yet helpless. He subsequently didn’t work in the weekend anymore that was not in his job description requirements. He took up measures to plan and decide his own career path instead of letting the company take the lead.
He decided to broaden up his knowledge and skills by furthering his education in public university initially. The company supported his ambition and offered a loan contract on the terms to tie down for the organisation for another 2 years. The company felt that this would induce more contribution in the long run. However, later he aimed to further his study to abroad. The company felt this would be a lost, and counter offered an overseas training in Italy for the new product development project in hoping to retain him.
After a substantial weigh consideration, he felt that pursue education abroad would provide a greater employability increment in the long run. Therefore, he decided to turn down the offer of the company. Content theories of motivation such as Maslow’s needs theory organised in a hierarchy of importance in which the peak of motivation was to achieve self-fulfilment at work. While Alderfer’s existence, relateness and growth theory also carried the same notion as Maslow’s progressive needs.
This can be taken further to Herzberg’s hygiene-motivator theory where he said that hygiene factors such as rising salaries, changing company policies, improving work condition, altering management of personnel, which all these factors do not positively motivate when they are present but demotivate when they are absent. Referring to the needs theories of motivation, the sales executive felt comfortable to work as the company provided all the minimum requirements perceived to be important by him. However, the hygiene factor tends to be only a temporary effect.
That’s because factors such as actualisation provide individuals with a sense of long-term satisfaction (Phillippe Bernoux, 2001). In short, these needs theories failed to identify human needs are not necessary in progressive term. While Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory focuses on identifying factors that either contribute to satisfaction or avoid dissatisfaction, but Herzberg’s theory lacked the fact that every individual choose their own path to self-fulfilment, and this path can change course throughout lifetime and nobody can but the person involved is able to know how (Phillippe Bernoux, 2001).
In the case above, the sales executive initially found self-fulfilment by able to perform his skills and knowledge to the company, later this self-fulfilment was to broaden his skills and knowledge in education. The Tavistock Institute studies also found that employees motivated when combination of job enrichment and enlargement in auto- or semiautonomous groups. In sums, this was proven in the case above when the company increased opportunities for him to exercise more responsibilities and experience meaning at work, and give feedbacks about the results of his work.
Expectancy Theory (Waldman and Spangler, 1989) suggests that an individual will perform and expend only as much effort as is necessary to reach a desired outcome and the extent of the effort depends on the value of that outcome to them. In this context, if the sales executive perceives that performance is not a criteria for job survival, or even for reward, he will have no incentive to perform. This conclusion also supported by Reinforcement Theory (Waldman and Spangler, 1989) that people would perform well when there have been immediate positive consequences for good performance.
The consequences here also implies in parallel with the connotation of expectancy theory described earlier. Herriot, P. (1998) said that expectancy theory emphasis on individual’s perception rather than on what management or anyone else may regards as objective reality. In short, the sales executive perceived ‘attractive rewards’ as cash incentives, holiday package, and skills development developed by working in cross-functional department. He was motivated to input more effort when he perceived that he would be granted with the fair amount of cash incentives and holiday package when he achieved a positive outcomes.
Additionally, he also motivated because he was able to develop a range of skills through projects which he perceived important for his self development and career progression. The other motivation theory is Goal-setting theory by Locke, et. al. (1999). Locke proposed that motivation will be higher when individuals have clear, demanding goals to which they are committed and on which regular feedbacks about progress is given. According to this theory, it starts with goal and intention as the two conscious motivational factors closest to the action.
It then worked backward progressively to the preceding stages of evaluation and cognition. Feedback and goal commitment were identified as the two necessary conditions for goals to affect performance. First, the basic relationship of performance in relation to the goal specificity and difficulty must be established before shift into evaluation stage, and proceed into the theory development. Erez (1998) stated that feedback pertains to performance evaluation relative to goal, and it was identified as a necessary condition for goals to affect performance.
In the above case the sales executive started out to set a specific sales volume to be achieved in a specific time in order to reap the rewards offered by the organisation. This was his goal and intention. After he evaluated the probabilities of success was within his will, he further took it by formulating plans to carry out the task. He then received standard summaries of performance record each month from company. However, Kanfer (1990) stated that feedback might not bring any beneficial if the individual has low level efficacy.
Perceptions of self efficacy and expectancies determine the level of goal attractiveness which influences goal acceptance, and subsequently affect goal commitment. The sales executive perceived he could rise to the occasion, and thus motivated himself to work in his own pace either with or without the feedbacks. That’s because his ultimate aim was to clinch that incentives pay. Hence, automatically he became his own progress monitor. Feedback and goal commitment were identified as the two necessary conditions for goals to affect performance.
According to Greenberg. J. (1998), Equity theory suggested that people’s attitudes and behaviour are affected by their assessment in their work inputs and the rewards they receive. Referring to the case above, the company provided generous benefits and therefore he input more working hours to balance this inequality. This behaviour correlate with description by Organ (1998) earlier, whereby OCB will increase when he perceived of fair treatment by organization increased as he progressed in the work place.
Therefore, the sales executive went above and beyond the call of duty by volunteering to work in the weekends. However, If employees perceive unfair compensation, then they may be less likely to perform 0CB because such behaviors are discretionary, falling outside an employee’s formal role requirements (Steve Williams, et. al. , 2002; Peter Cappelli, 1998). In the case above, the sales executive eventually stopped attending to work in weekend when he perceived discrepancies occurred in workplace.