at workNeed-Theories at Work

Kurt Lewin says that history of apparent reinforcement cannot be taken as a sole predicator of behaviour because individuals expected certain values from certain actions. Similarly, Porter and Lawler assert that one of the major determinants of effort is the individual’s perceived value of rewards. Human beings at work have always been expected psychological satisfaction along with monetary benefits, which has been ignored for centuries.

According to Skinner, “few people work very hard. This does not mean that they have grown lazy; it means that economic incentives are no longer very effective” Individuals evaluate, consciously and/or unconsciously, as to who will be benefitted by their actions and how they will be rewarded in return; Equity theory deals with the same phenomenon. According to the theory, the perceived equity or inequity occurs when a person compares his input/output ratio with others during the interaction. There will be perceived equity when a person perceives the two ratios to be equal, that is, what one is spending, one is getting. The classical rational theorist Taylor, in a way, also believes in this theory. We can see his reflection on this thought when he mentions that workers do not work hard because they perceive that working hard will result in layoffs. He asserts that they work less efficiently because of two fears: first, they fear that if they work hard to increase the productivity, they may lose their job; and second, they work less efficiently to protect their best interests.  However, it cannot be said that perceived equity in the exchange relation¬ship is static. Human beings expectations change with time: if they are satisfied today with one thing does not mean that the same thing will continuously provide the same satisfactory level forever. In this context Maslow views cannot be ignored. Maslow pin points a very important human phenomenon which tells that human beings needs are changed according to time and circumstances. He says that human needs are hierarchically arranged. When individuals satisfy lower level of needs they go on to satisfy higher level desires. At the primary stage, human beings strive for satisfying biological needs like thirst or hunger. When these needs are satisfied, they go on further to satisfy psychological needs.

As a matter of fact, individuals’ change of demands (needs) affects organizational life at the macro and micro levels. Analysing concept of the welfare state as an organization between developed and developing countries depicts a change of demands among the inhabitants of the two regions. This modification of demands and expectations bring change in behaviour and relationship with the state organizations. The same happens within the micro level the organization. For example, unemployed desperately look for a job but when they achieve the goal they seek other sources of satisfaction at work.

The learning point from the need-theories is that employees’ affiliation and commitment with work is largely depend upon how needs are fulfilled. The management must accept human beings as changing-beings, whose demands are not static. It is largely accepted that monetary benefits only satisfy limited needs and organizations must find the means to satisfy higher orders needs to improve effectiveness and efficiency in organizations. Porter’s investigation sup¬ports the idea that the higher level managers give more import¬ance to the opportunities for personal growth and devel-opment, oppor¬tunities for independent thought and action, oppor¬tunities for participation in setting goals, and authority connected with their manage¬ment position. Similarly Herzberg argues in his Two Factor Theory that monetary benefits are Extrinsic factors, which do not necessarily increase satisfaction level, but the absence of them will be a source of dissatisfaction. On the contrary, intrinsic factors are a source of increasing satisfaction, which includes sense of achievement, recognition, responsibility and advancement opportunities. Although the first type of factors are weak, they should not be neglected because they are primary factors. The other type, though, is considered as secondary factors, they are as essential as primary for increasing employees’ motivation.

A validity of the need-theories can be challenged on the grounds that relationship between employers and employees in developing countries is though exploitative but workers continue to work. This relationship does not invalid the need-theories rather strengthen the validity of these views. Since employers do not meet the demands of employees therefore level of employee commitment and product quality is low in the developing countries. Consequence of this exploitative relationship can easily be assesed at the state organization; it is because of this selfish relationship these countries have been facing so many hitches in converting their status from developing countries to the developed countries.

Nadeem Yousaf

24 July 2012

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