Motivation through ProMES

A motivational approach to analyze the productivity measurement and enhancement system

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2012

23 Pages, Grade: 1,3


List of Contents

List of Figures

List of Abbreviations

1 Introducing the topic

2 From work to motivation and ProMES
2.1 The term motivation
2.2 The management system ProMES
2.2.1 The idea of ProMES
2.2.2 The development and implementation in organization

3 Finding motivational aspects in ProMES
3.1 Pritchard motivational approach NPI
3.2. The key elements in ProMES
3.2.1 Group work
3.2.2 Participation
3.2.3 Goal setting and Feedback

4 Weighting motivational aspects in ProMES

List of Literature


List of Figures

Figure 1: Process of ProMES

Figure 2: Process of NPI

List of Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1 Introducing the topic

It is in the nature of humans to increase own welfare. Profit orientation of shareholders and demands of employees are reflected by the same target: prosperity. Successful companies yield profit for shareholders, but also secured working places, good salary and wage developments, even shareholding is possible (cf. Kleinbeck et all 2001, p. 24). In order to be successful productivity continuously has to be improved. Increasing productivity means to accomplish more with less. This movement is driven by the concept of scarce resources as well as the growing competition on the markets, enabled by globalization.

The productivity of a company strongly depends on the input of employees. Until the 60s it was assumed that employees are firstly motivated by economic incentives and only later through security of employment and fair working conditions. With the human relation movement abandoning wage incentives it appeared that there should be more factors that influence the productivity of employees. It was assumed that employee satisfaction and intrinsic motivation lead to success (cf. Spender 1961, p. 426).

The core question is: how are employee satisfaction and motivation developed and how can they be used to drive productivity? The productivity measurement and enhancement system from Pritchard shall give a response to this question. Pritchard states, “the idea is to give people the tools to do the work better while at the same time help them feel a sense of ownership in the resulting system and empowerment in determining important aspects of their work” (cf. Pritchard 2011). Lean manufacturing concepts, such as world class manufacturing, are built upon this idea.

The paper on hand raises the question if employees are being motivated by the productivity measurement and enhancement system? In order to answer this question the concept of motivation will be closer defined. In a second step, a solid knowledge foundation on the productivity measurement and enhancement system is needed. Literature on the Pritchards system concentrates on the outcome productivity rather than motivation itsself. Therefore a theoretical analysis is made upon the system by means of application of motivational theories. Under the assumption that productivity is a result of motivation the question will also be answered through gained experience from implementation in business. In conclusion motivation increasing and decreasing aspects will give weight on answering the question.

2 From work to motivation and ProMES

According to Lewin in 1920, work is defined by two characteristics. On the one hand it is described as an effort, a burden: work is indispensible to living1. On the other hand individuals are looking for something to do; work makes live worth living (cf. Lewin 1920, p.11 et sqq. in Kleinbeck 1996, p. 12).

Work is reflected in literature through the term performance, which can be task and/or target oriented2. Vroom has identified two major components of performance, which are personal ability and skills on the one hand, working motivation on the other (cf. 1964, p. 209). Former can be developed through training and exercise, therefore investments are economically worthwhile. Working motivation is the willingness to use the ability and skills target oriented. Therefore the return of investment in training and exercise strongly depends on the willingness to use it (cf.Kleinbeck 1996, p. 14).

2.1 The term motivation

Motivation comes from the latin word “movere”, meaning to move (cf. Steers et all 2004, p. 379). The term motivation is defined in literature based on different approaches and theories. According to Beck, the definition of motivation cannot be isolated from other concepts, such as learning (cf. Beck 1978, p. 24). It is agreed among literature that the term describes the process of an emerging action, a behavior (cf. Heckhausen 1980, p. preface). Vroom identified the nature of motivation in two questions: where does the energy for actions come from and secondly how is the direction of actions explained. More research was done on latter point, leading to a development of three subareas: direction, persistence and vigor of the behavior. Other authors see a link between direction and energy origin, so for example Estes 1958 (in Vroom 1964, p. 8) and Naylor, Pritchard and Ilgen (cf. Naylor et all 1980, p. 159). An overview of motivational theories is found in appendix one.

2.2 The management system ProMES

The productivity measurement and enhancement system, abbreviation ProMES, was developed by Dr. Robert D. Pritchard and firstly detailed published in 1990. The measurement system follows the target to increase productivity by changing the behavior of organizational members. Gathered information of the system can be used for further processing in management information systems. Still the primary concept is a motivational approach to increase productivity (cf. Pritchard et all 1993, pp. 13-14). The following chapter will introduce the idea of ProMES and describe the typical implementation in organizations briefly.

2.2.1 The idea of ProMES

Pritchard states that the idea for ProMES arose from the need of a practical method to measure productivity. The usefulness of the method was stressed due to the continuously changing organizations and environments. Development and maintenance had to be cost effective (cf. Pritchard 2011).

Measuring leads to productivity increases, which are of value to the organization. But Pritchard also considered employee side: “[…] it was important to develop something that would help people doing their work. In other words, we wanted to avoid developing techniques that simply squeezed more work out of people, while making their working lives more difficult. The objective was an approach where everyone benefited“ (Pritchard 2011).

Giving feedback on productivity data that are directly linked to certain behavior of the organization members shall influence their behavior, so work performance will be efficient and effective. Feedback in ProMES is designed to guide the members in their behavior to meet goals and criteria that are value for the organization. Based on the set goals and criteria, substantiated decisions on how to approach work should be made by the members (cf. Pritchard et all 1993, p. 14).

2.2.2 The development and implementation in organization

Briefly described, the identification of organizational objectives is the base for the development of the measurement system. The results are evaluated and feedback is given to employees as well as management. This shall lead to increasing productivity and in consequence achieving organizational objectives. Similar in goal to other performance management systems such as Balanced Scorecard or Dashboards, the steps yet differ. Figure one on page 4 illustrates the process.

Figure 1: Process of ProMES

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Source: Pritchard 1990, p. 19)

Pritchard describes the process as a “bottom up development”. The implementation is approved by higher management, but the development itself is done by the lower levels in the organizational hierarchy (cf. Pritchard 1990, p. 20-21). In his 1990 presentation of ProMES Pritchard split the process into four steps; in more recent literature he describes seven steps (see Pritchard 1990 in comparison to Pritchard 2011). Regardless the split of steps the described process has not changed. The increase in step numbers might underline the importance of pre and post activities. Due to the actualization a brief description of the seven steps will be given. A more detailed description is found in appendix two.

In a first step a design team will be formed. It consists of workers and their supervisors as well as a moderator. This team identifies the objectives of the unit in line with business objectives. In a third step the objectives will be transferred to nominal indicators. These indicators then will be put in relation to effectiveness for the business. The creation starts with the agreement on the zero point, which is the amount of the indicator that perfectly meets expectations, meaning the effectiveness is zero.

Indicator results that are higher will lead to higher effectiveness, complementary lower results lead to negative effectiveness. After internal agreement on the measurement indicators and further specifications such as measurement periods the system is presented to higher management for discussion and approval. Once it is approved by the management, a feedback system is created. The sixth step reflects the operational usage of the feedback system while the seventh step promotes a continuous monitoring of the objectives and indicators for the unit (cf. Pritchard 2011).

3 Finding motivational aspects in ProMES

Within the research on information on ProMES another motivational theory called NPI was identified and will be closer analyzed on the creation of motivation. The description of the ProMES further has shown three key elements, which are participation, group work as well as goal setting and feedback. These elements are analyzed for motivational aspects and compared to gained experience from case studies on ProMES, reflecting the practicability.

3.1 Pritchard motivational approach NPI

ProMES is based on the motivation theory called NPI Model - the theory was designed by Naylor, Pritchard and Ilgen in 1980. Pritchard as well as other authors that have taken further research underlining the link between NPI and ProMES (cf. Pritchard 1990, p. 19).

According to the NPI theory, motivation is shortly described as the “process used to allocate energy to maximize the satisfaction of needs” in alliance to Hull’s drive theory (Pritchard et all 2008, p. 6). Allocation of energy that is the direction, the effort and persistence on an action, in other words what action is done, how hard it is done and for how long. The usage of the verb “maximize” indicates the economical perspective: energy of a person is a scarce resource that individuals naturally allocate according to the optimum satisfaction of needs. Needs of individuals differ in strength, thus vary in effort and persistence.

Hence creation of motivation means to go through a process. Pritchard breaks down the process into five components that are shown below (cf. Pritchard et all 2008, p. 25).

Figure 2: Process of NPI

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Source: Pritchard et all 2008, p. 25)

Within this process the transparency and clearness of the connections of the steps determine the motivation level.


1 “so arbeitet man wohl notgedrungen, um zu leben” (Lewin 1920, p.11f in Kleinbeck 1996)

2 Becker differentiates the aspects target vs. task oriented performance (cf. 2003, p. 47) while Mellerowicz has defined performance involving both aspects (Mellerowicz 1963, p. 188).

Excerpt out of 23 pages


Motivation through ProMES
A motivational approach to analyze the productivity measurement and enhancement system
University of Applied Sciences
Human Resource Management
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
505 KB
motivation, productivity, PPM, participation
Quote paper
Anne-Kristin Rademacher (Author), 2012, Motivation through ProMES, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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