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Motivational Theory


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  • Level: High school
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Introduction to Motivation Theory

Motivation comes from intensity of desire or need and expectations of individual and of his/her peers. Motivation is the desire to do things. It is crucial element in setting and attaining goals and objectives of the organization (Jochems, 2011) Motivated employee perform well and feel more invested in their work. In this report discussion has been carried out regarding one of the retail organization of UK that is Sainsbury. Company is carrying out its operations in convenience, food court store, hyper market, super market and super store. Study tries to understand the motivational theories, implementation of these theories in the organization. Further, the report tries to understand about the effectiveness of the implementation of these theories in the organization (Houde, 2006).

1. Motivational Theories

Motivation presents the people's actions, desires and needs. It can also be defined as individual's direction of behavior. This concept further prompts the person to act in a certain way or develop an attitude for specific behavior (Drnyei and Ema 2013). An individual have certain needs or wants and this causes person to do certain things that satisfy those needs and wants.In motivation theory, two types of motivation were include that is Push motivation and another one is Pull motivation. Push motivations are those where people push themselves towards their goals to achieve something, such as desire for escape, rest and relaxation, prestige, health and fitness, adventure and social interaction(Meece, Eric and Lynley, 2006)Push motivation acts as a willpower and individual's willpower is only as strong as the desire behind the willpower.

Pull motivation is the opposite of push motivation. It is the type of motivation which is more stronger then push motivation. -This can be seen as the desire to achieve a goal. It’s easier to be drawn to something rather than pushing himself for desire (Cherry, 2015).In addition to this, content theories of motivation is the earliest theories of motivation. It  can also be referred to needs theories as the theory focuses on the importance of what motivate people. In other words, people try to identify what his or her need and how they relate to motivation  to fulfill those needs (Miner,  2005). Content theory of human motivation include Maslow's hierarchy of need theory and Herzberg's two factor theory.

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Maslow's Need Hierarchy theory- Maslow declared that people are motivated to achieve certain needs. When a person fulfilled his or her one need seeks to fulfill the another next one need. Maslow's hierarchy of need includes five motivational need (Weiler, 2005).The five stage model can be divided into basic needs that is physiological, safety, love and esteem and growth need that is self- actualization. Physiological needs are those which is required to sustain life such as air, water, nourishment, sleep etc. According to Maslow's theory, if such needs are not satisfied then people's motivation will arise from the search to satisfy them. Once physiological needs are met, people's attention turns to safety and security in order to free from the threat of physical and emotional harms (Parkin, Apollo and Ahmet, 2009).These needs are fulfilled by living in a safe area, medical insurance, job security etc.

Once a person has meet the lower level physiological and safety needs, higher level needs become important. Social needs are those related to interaction with other people. In this need for friends, need for belonging etc. are includes. When a person satisfied his/her social need then esteem need will arise (Spray, 2006). In this self-respect, achievement, attention, reputation etc. are included. After the fulfillment of above these needs people in the position where he/she actualized him/her self. Self-actualized person tends to have need such as truth, justice, wisdom etc. According to Maslow only a small percentage of the population reaches the level of self-actualization.

Herzberg's Motivational theory- This theory based on the assumption that, at workplace there are two factors that influence employees motivation at work place. The first on is Hygiene factor and another on is motivators or satisfiers. Hygiene factors are all about making an employee feel comfortable, secure and happy at work place. These factors are essential for existence of motivation at work place(Motivation Theories. 2015) Motivators or satisfiers include responsibility, job satisfaction, recognition, achievement, opportunities for growth and advancement. These factors motivate the employees for a superior performance at the workplace.

2. Implementation of Motivational theory at Sainsbury

Employee's motivation develops through psychological forces that determine the direction of the person's behavior in the organization (Avolio and Francis, 2013). Sainsbury is the retail based industry that have a large store and typically stock around 30,000 products. Sainsbury used maslow's need hierarchy theory and herzberg's motivation theory for motivating their employees. Implementation of these theory in Sainsbury leads to develop employee motivation.

According to the maslow's need hierarch theory employee's motivation can be influenced by his or her psychological, social, safety, esteem and self-actualization need. On the other hand, herzberg's theory says that for the enhancement of employee motivation at workplace it is essential for the organization to satisfy hygiene factor and motivational factor of employee (Evans and William, 2005). Hygiene factor is all  about making an employee feel comfortable, secure and happy at work place and motivational factors include responsibility, job satisfaction, recognition, achievement, opportunities for growth and advancement.

If employees' needs are not satisfied then he or she could not be motivated at the workplace. Motivational theories can be applied in Sainsbury to motivate its employees to work hard in the company. Sainsbury's employee's performance typically is influenced by motivation, ability and the work environment (Houde, 2006). Sainsbury used some techniques for the implementation of motivational theory in the organization. Organization can apply job design, provide monetary incentives to employee, develop quality of work life programs, increase employee participation, provide coaching etc. as some of the techniques that can be used by Sainsbury for implementing motivational theory in the organization.

Job Design- Sainsbury design job for its employees. This approach is to combine tasks to give the employee a greater variety of work. Sainsbury's manager give employees with different task periodically. Job with more motivational features require lower effort (Kusurkar, 2012). Redesigning a job in the organization can also  improve the quality of the product or service, increase the quantity of work, that leads to increase work satisfaction and motivation of the employees who work in the organization. Sainsbury provides jobs to its employee according to his or her capabilities as they can work more effectively in the organization. Effective job design motivate employee to work more in the organization (Meece, Eric and Lynley, 2006).

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Rewards - Sainsbury even uses reward technique as one of the motivating factor within the business.. Using reward as a motivational factor divides employee motivation into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic rewards are internal such as a sense of accomplishment or doing something that makes one feel good. Extrinsic motivation is based on tangible rewards. Extrinsic rewards are usually financial in nature (Spray, 2006) That organization give to its employees such as money, compliment, bonuses or trophies. Providing monetary incentives by the organisation have direct effect on employee’s performance within the enterprise. Employee should receive monetary bonus based on their performance (Miner,  2005) Providing monetary incentive motivate employee for a short time. Reward lays down  positive outcome which is earned by an employee's by their effective performance. Intrinsic motivation exists within individual, this powerful reward come from inside a person. Intrinsic reward is much stronger than financial rewards in terms of increasing employee motivation (Steel and Cornelius 2006) In this reward system these factors are include-

  • Sainsbury provide opportunities for employees to show their competence in the area of expertise.
  • Sainsbury offer frequent opportunities for employees to reward themselves.
  • Sainsbury facilitate professional development so that employees can expand their level of knowledge.

Quality of Work Life- Sainsbury emphasize quality of life to motivate employees towards achieving high levels of productivity (Latham and Craig, 2005). Organization can implement flexible schedules and motivate employees to periodically work from home to promote quality of work life. Incorporating quality of life strategies in the work place allows employees to remain focused on completing their duties. Work life balance is an employee's perception of how an employee proper balance between personal time, family care and work are maintained with minimum conflicts. Sainsbury can use work life balance as a motivational technique by implementing quality of work life programs (Miner,  2005) Flexible work schedule can allow an employee to work whenever they can as long as. Sainsbury allow its customers to work from home. Quality of work life and job satisfaction is very significant for ensuring sustained commitment and productivity from the employee of Sainsbury.

Provide Training- Employees lack motivation when they are not performing well. Sainsbury provide personalized training that helps employee in improving their performance and achieve organizational goal. Sainsbury provide feedback to its employees as that employee improve their performance. Feedback should occur when employee completes a task (Schunk, Paul  and Judith,  2008). Sainsbury should provide feedback based on actual performance. Employees who sense, a manager is biased when offering feedback that will further lack the motivation needed to achieve goals and objective.

Employee participation- Sainsbury uses open book management technique to implement motivation in the organization (Gagné and Edward,  2005). Open book management is a system in which a company share important financial data with employees. Sharing the information empowers employees by putting trust into them. Employee of organization become personally and meaningful involved with the organization by doing their assigned tasks which increase employee's motivation and production (Miner, 2005)

These techniques will be used by Sainsbury to implement motivational theory in the organization.

3. Effectiveness of Motivational theory

Sainsbury used job design, reward system, quality of work life, training and employee participation techniques to increase employee motivation in the organization. These factor also affects the employees way of working. Properly design jobs for the employees are more productive and more satisfied (Hawks, 2013). Well designed jobs have a positive influence on employee motivation and performance. Work motivation improve employee satisfaction and performance and therefore increase organizational productivity and efficiency. Well designed jobs in the Sainsbury leads to creativity and innovation quality in the employees.

Sainsbury used reward system as to motivate employees. Reward system seeks to attract people to joint the organization to keep them coming to work and motivate employee to perform high level. Reward system develops decision making ability in the employees (Gagne and Edward, 2005).Through reward system employee influence to work more as he or she get more incentive. Employees who see the rewards as worth the effort will be more motivated to work hard to obtain monetary incentive.

Involving all employees will encourage communication between employees. Employee motivation is the level of energy, commitment and creativity that a company's worker apply on their jobs. Sainsbury giving employees more responsibilities and decision making authority to motivate employee. Through this employee do more work and become more responsible towards job (Steel and Cornelius, 2006)

Sainsbury increase its productivity by providing proper motivation to its employees. Motivation of a staff is directly linked to employee commitment, personnel productivity and business profit. Motivation level within the workplace have direct impact on employee productivity. Through motivation Sainsbury gain employee trust (Miner, 2005). Employee who motivated they get more satisfaction from their work, low absenteeism, enhanced productivity, work with more enthusiasm, encourage discipline among the employees. On the other hand, unmotivated employees are likely to spread little or not make efforts in their job, they avoid the work place as much as possible.

Sainsbury allowed employee in work related decision and improvement activities that affect employee motivation (Huang and Cathy, 2009). Involve employee in decision making process increase trust and commitment in the employee, Improve employee communication and attitudes, involved employees are more likely to generate new ideas and achieve a higher quality of work life and reduce the workload of Sainsbury's managers. Allowing employee in decision making process is long term motivation for  an employee.

Motivation is a human psychological characteristic that contributes to a person degree on commitment in an individual behavior. Job satisfaction in Sainsbury is crucial to high productivity, motivation and low employee turnover (Evans and William,  2005)  Sainsbury face the challenges such as productivity, profitability as well as keeping their workforce engaged and satisfaction with their jobs. To overcome these challenges Sainsbury follow the process that is  provide a positive working environment, providing rewards and recognition, involve and increase employee engagement, develop the skills and potential of employee workforce and evaluate and measure job satisfaction.

Sainsbury will need to create an environment that gives people flexibility and variety of working.Through this employee of the organization motivate to work more at work place as the environment of organization is flexible (Cherry, 2015). Highly motivated employee do more work in the organization that leads to increase in sales volume, profitability, market share, employee satisfaction and decrease employee turnover.

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4. Recommendation

Sainsbury keep its employee motivated by providing training, value individual contributions, ask questions and listen to answer, keep engage employee in solving business issues, recognize efforts and praise employees. It is recommended that Sainsbury have to provide continuous learning to its employees (Keblawi, 2006). Investing in employees will increase employee engagement and commitment to the organization. It is also recommended that once a new idea is identified, engage  a cross- functional team to develop solutions. Sainsbury have to praise those employees who work well in the organization.

Sainsbury have also be developed employee advisory work group that should be set up to address a number of challenges faces by the employees in the organization. Employee's attitude typically reflects the motivation of the company (Kusurkar, 2012) In area of customer service and sales, happy, motivated and satisfied employee are extremely important as they represent the company.

Sainsbury have to observe employee performance by giving regular feedback. Sainsbury have to promote employee with performance records that consistently exceed the company's expectation (Jochems, 2011). Promoting employees to show their talents and further improve their skills. Motivating employees can also improve employee retention, which reduce Sainsbury's cost to replace workers. Engaging employees in organization's wide projects motivates them by showing confidence that they can perform challenging tasks. Sainsbury have to addressing performance issues as soon as possible rather than later can lead to immediate and improvement (Avolio and Francis,  2013).


From the above report it be concluded that motivation is the individual's desired action. Maslow's need hierarch theory depends on five factors that is physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization need. These need motivate employee to work more in an organization. Herzberg's theory depends upon two factors that is hygiene and motivational factor. Motivational factors are all about responsibility, job satisfaction, recognition, achievement, opportunities for growth and advancement. These factor motivate an employee for superior performance at work place. Sainsbury used job design, reward, quality of work life and coaching techniques to implement motivation in the organization. These technique helps in motivating employee in the organization. Sainsbury keep their employees engaged in critical task for the development of confidence and satisfaction.


  • Cherry, K., 2015. Theories of Motivation. [Online]. Available through: . [Accessed on 25th March 2015].
  • Hawks, D., 2013. Workplace Motivation: Theories, Types & Examples. [Online]. Available through: Accessed on 23rd March 2015].
  • Motivation Theories. 2015. [Online]. Available through: [Accessed on 24thn March 2015].
  • Books and Journals
  •  Jochems, C., 2011. A critical analysis of the utility and compatibility of motivation theories in psychiatric treatment. Current Psychiatry Reviews. 7(4). pp. 298-312.
  • Avolio, B. J. and Francis, J. Y., 2013. Transformational and Charismatic Leadership:: the Road Ahead.  Emerald Group Publishing.
  • Dornyei, Z. and Ema, U., 2013. Teaching and researching: Motivation. Routledge.
  • Evans, J. R. and William, M. L., 2005. The management and control of quality. Mason, OH: South-Western.
  • Gagne, M. and Edward, L. D., 2005. Self‐determination theory and work motivation. Journal of Organizational behavior. 26(4). pp. 331-362.
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