In the corporate world of today, profit margins are shrinking in every industry and it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain one’s customers due to the phenomenal increase in competition levels, employees and their intellectual capital are difficult to retain by satisfying them both monetarily and psychologically, and the investors are becoming increasingly demanding over long-term and short-term gains.
This dissertation is focussed on the employees of the organisation and deals with motivating them at their jobs. It seeks to identify ways of motivating employees within the organisation through social interaction and informal means, thereby encouraging them to give their best as they work towards achieving organisational goals.
This proposal begins with listing out the research aim, objectives and research questions. It then provides the rationale for the specific research topic chosen by the author, listing out the possible avenues where its results can prove significant and be put to use. Finally, it details the research methodology that will be used by the researcher in the course of this dissertation.
Research Aims and Objectives
The research aim is to identify informal ways to motivate employees and assess the effectiveness of this kind of motivation.
The above research aim translates to the following research objectives:
The research will accordingly aim to answer the following research questions:
- Is it possible to motivate employees of an organisation in their work through informal means, over and above the formal channels used by organisations such as remuneration, bonuses, promotions and recognition?
- What are the informal methods available to organisations to motivate their staff? Is there a specific way in which these methods should be used to maximise the effect of these motivational methods?
- What is the extent to which these informal motivation methods are successful in achieving what they seek to, namely encouraging a better performance from the employees? How can the effectiveness of these methods be measured on an ongoing basis?
This section lists the rationale for the researcher undertaking this study:
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – In his theory, Maslow proposes that humans are motivated by a number of basic needs, constituting a total of five levels as detailed below (Miller, 2005):
Level 1 – Living wage to purchase food and clothing Level 2 – Physically safe working conditions Level 3 – Affiliation or social relationships with co-workers Level 4 – Esteem Level 5 – Self actualisation or work allowing the worker to exercise creativity
The author seeks to assess the extent to which social interaction promotes team building, which appears as Level 3 and above on Maslow’s hierarchy. While it is essential to ensure that the lower level needs are met, as otherwise, the focus of the employees will never get elevated to the desire to affiliate with their co-workers through social interactions, this research will assume that the lower level needs of employees are already satisfied by the organisation considering informal forms of motivation.
Every organisation needs to inculcate a corporate culture among the employees, orienting all of them to what exactly is expected of them from the organisation, making them realise the part they play in the final product or service produced by the company and aligning their personal goals with those of the organisation. A well-motivated team of employees contributes towards a positive overall corporate culture, thereby emphasising the significance of this research.
The author is personally interested in the field of Human Resources, and the way in which the human psyche can be encouraged to take interest and do better at a job, which is otherwise a dull nine-to-five affair. This is one of the reasons for the author choosing to undertake this specific research.
Even though the theory of the research approach is commonly understandable in the appearance in the final findings and conclusions, there is diminutive evidence that it is clarified in the design of the research (Saunders et al. 2000). Among all existing research tactics, two major approaches are recognized by philosophy: inductive and deductive (Gill and Johnson 1991, Saunders et al. 2000; 2003, Collis and Hussey 2003). The inductive research can be described as a study in which theory is developed from observation of experiential reality; thus general inferences are induced from particular instances, whereas deductive research in which a conceptual and theoretical structure is developed and then experienced by empirical observation; thus particular instances are deduced from general inferences (Hussey and Hussey, 1997).
Further, depending on the approach accepted by researcher, research can also be differentiated. The most common approaches used are qualitative and quantitative. The former contains collecting and analyzing numerical data and applying statistical tests, while the latter is more subjective in nature and involve examining and reflecting on perceptions with the intention of achieving an understanding of social and human activities (Collis and Hussey, 2003).
For the present dissertation, the author proposes to use the inductive approach to the research, mainly given the fact that this research is more exploratory in nature, and seeks to identify the informal motivation techniques that can be used by organisations in general to get them to perform better at work.
Secondary Research – Review of literature on marketing communication techniques:
An exhaustive analysis and review of the literature available on the informal motivational techniques in use by firms will be conducted. Various frameworks and theories on the field of motivation will also be reviewed. The secondary research is the dominant mode of research used for this dissertation, and will also form the basis for formulating the questionnaires that will be employed in the Primary Research.
Primary Research – Semi structured Interviews and Questionnaires:
The secondary research detailed above will be complemented by information sought from Human Resources Managers at selected organisations by way of semi structured interviews. In addition, questionnaires will be administered to a stratified sample of respondents, who are employed at these organisations to assess the perceived effectiveness of the informal motivational techniques.
Research participants will be given considerable freedom to express themselves as they wish (French et al., 2001). Semi structured and in-depth, or non-standardized, interviews are used in qualitative research in order to conduct exploratory discussions not only to reveal and understand the “what” and the “how” but also to place more emphasis on exploring the “why” (Saunders et al. 2000). In addition, survey questionnaires will be administered to fifty respondents, the purpose of the researcher being to collect information about the perceived effectiveness of motivation through social interaction.
The author believes that the qualitative form of data analysis is more appropriate for the following reasons:
- It is consistent with the research philosophy and approach, and can provide intricate details and understanding when studying on an event or a social process.
- Qualitative data collecting is quite suitable for studying organizations, groups and individuals (Strauss and Corbin, 1990).
- It is generally accepted that, for inductive and exploratory research, qualitative methods are most suitable, as they can lead us to hypothesis building and explanations (Ghauri et al., 1995).
- Given the number of variables and the diverse way in which motivational techniques can be used by organisations in different industries, the results of this research cannot be generalised across geographical boundaries and industries.
Code of Ethics
- Respondent bias is expected to be considerable, as respondents will obviously tend to view all questions and give their responses from the perspective of their specific organisation. The researcher will not however, introduce bias to the data collection exercise, and will take the responses of all interview and survey respondents at face value.
- The researcher will collect the qualitative data using semi-structured interviews from the Human Resources Managers using a tape-recorder or a dictaphone with the permission of the participants. This will allow the researcher to concentrate on the interview without pressure of struggling to get the interviewee’s words down on paper (Flowerdew and Martin, 2005).
- In order to respect the privacy of the respondents, both the interviewees and the survey respondents, as part of the survey, the identity of the respondents will not be revealed.
The level of complexity of the issues around the concept of motivation is apparent from the various motivational theories available on the subject. This dissertation seeks to open up possible avenues for companies as they go about trying to retain their best employees and motivate them to continue to do their jobs to their best abilities. In conclusion, it would seem that if organisations were to implement these methods of motivating employees through social interaction, then more work needs to be done to evaluate and establish their effectiveness, which is precisely what this dissertation seeks to achieve.