Work Motivation. Can the Productivity Measurement and Enhancement System (ProMES) motivate employees?


Academic Paper, 2016
17 Pages, Grade: 1,7

Excerpt

Table of contents

List of figures

List of tables

List of abbreviations

1. Introduction

2. The Productivity Measurement and Enhancement System
2.1. The idea of ProMES
2.2. Development and implementation in an organization

3. Motivational aspects in ProMES
3.1. Pritchard’s motivational approach
3.2. Key elements of ProMES intervention
3.2.1. Team work
3.2.2. Participation
3.2.3. Goal setting and feedback

4. Can ProMES motivate employees? A critical appraisal

Appendix A - Description of the implementation of ProMES in an organization

Appendix B - A contextual introduction to Pritchard’s motivation theory

Appendix C - Pritchard-Ashwood motivation process: determinants of the connections strength

References

List of figures

Figure 1 - Basic ProMES approach

Figure 2 - Pritchard-Ashwood motivation process

Figure 3 - Effects of ProMES intervention on motivation

Figure 4 - Meta-Analysis of ProMES: Average improvement curve of 83 studies conducted between 1987 and 2007

Figure 5 - Overview of the 7 steps for the implementation of ProMES

Figure 6 - Example of Objectives and Indicators

Figure 7 - Example of ProMES contingency

Figure 8 - Pritchard-Ashwood motivation process: determinants of the connections strength

List of tables

Table 1 - Connections in the motivation process: examples of high and low relationships vii

List of abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1. Introduction

In a meeting with several managers, you discuss low customer satisfaction scores, high staff turnover rates and concerns over upcoming performance appraisals. You want to do something about it! But what? Hire new staff? Get better IT system? You don’t know. It’s so frustrating and your boss reminds you that motivation is your job as a manager. (Based on Pritchard and Ashwood (2008, p. 1) Such situation is commonly experienced by managers and reflects the main challenge in the current economic environment: how do you motivate employees to maximally contribute to the overall organization? As a matter of fact, the management philosophy of “doing more with less ” has been reinforced in many companies during the economic crisis.

The fundamental purpose of most business firms is to generate profits. In today’s increasingly globalized and competitive environment, one of the key components of a successful business resides in its ability to continuously innovate as well as to improve its productivity to keep a competitive edge. Increasing productivity means to accomplish more with less. The role of employees in the organization has become critically important through the increasing recognition that human capital is the key source of knowledge and innovation leading to sustainable growth and that inputs of employees strongly contribute to the productivity of a company. In this context, effective management of people at work, especially the motivation of employees, have become key factors for successful companies.

Management is about managing “behavior”: management practices and systems are designed to improve effectiveness through changes in some aspect of behavior (Pritchard and Ashwood (2008, pp. 2-3)). Accordingly, understanding motivation, defined as the process that determines how people behave, is a prerequisite to change behavior. A worker may be immensely capable of doing some work, but nothing can be achieved if the employee is not willing to work. In this regard, the major task of every manager is to motivate his/her subordinates by creating the “will to work” environment in order to make employees satisfied and committed to their jobs in the company. To be effective, managers need to understand what motivates employees within the context of the roles they perform.

Of all the functions a manager performs, motivating employees is arguably the most complex, but can be considered as the most cost effective to increase the productivity of a company. This complexity can be partly explained by the fact that motivators evolve constantly along the life whereas most of the managers have been focusing on motivating employees through economic incentives (Kovach (1987, p. 65)). In contrast, other incentives can be more valuable motivators such as recognition, quality of working conditions and perceived fairness of promotion system.

This leads to the core question: how is employee motivation developed and how can it be used to drive productivity? The Productivity Measurement and Enhancement System (ProMES) from Pritchard shall give a response to this question, which is addressed in this assignment. The first part presents an overview of the development and the implementation of ProMES in an organization. The second part explores how ProMES intervention can motivate employees through the application of motivational theories. In conclusion, a critical appraisal is presented based on gained experience from implementation in business.

2. The Productivity Measurement and Enhancement System

2.1. The idea of ProMES

In the current economic environment, improving productivity in organizations is one of the main challenge. In the area of organizational psychology, many tools have been developed to make these improvements. Among these management systems, the Productivity Measurement and Enhancement System, has been established by Dr. Robert D. Pritchard and firstly published in 1990 (Pritchard (1990)). “ProMES is an intervention aimed at enhancing the productivity of work units or teams within organizations through performance measurement and feedback.” (Pritchard et al. (2008, p. 540)). In this context, Pritchard defined productivity as how effectively an organization uses its resources to achieve its goals.

The main purpose of the management system is to increase productivity by changing the behavior of organizational members. But Pritchard also considered the employee side: “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” (Pritchard (2016)). In this regard, one of the key elements in ProMES is feedback: giving feedback on the measured productivity indicators, which are directly linked to certain behavior of the workers, should influence their behavior, so work performance will be more effective and efficient.

2.2. Development and implementation in an organization

An overview of ProMES approach can be seen in Figure 1. The development of the measurement system starts with the identification of the organizational objectives. Once the measurement system is implemented, the results linked to each objective are evaluated and a feedback is regularly given to employees and management in the form of formal feedback reports. Based on the performance assessment, feedback discussions involving both workers and managers lead to changes in order to increase productivity and thus to achieve organizational objectives.

Figure 1 - Basic ProMES approach

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Rademacher (2012, p 4) based on Pritchard (¡990, pi 19)

Similar in terms of goal to other performance management systems such as Balanced Scorecard or Dashboards, the steps of ProMES yet differ. Pritchard described the ProMES process as a bottom- up approach: the implementation is approved by higher management whereas the development itself is handled by the lower levels of the organizational hierarchy (Pritchard (1990, p. 20)). The implementation of ProMES within an organization follows a series of steps, which are described more extensively in Pritchard’s publications (Pritchard (1990, pp. 20-28), Pritchard et al. (2012, pp. 17-26)) and are summarized in Appendix A.

3. Motivational aspects in ProMES

The theoretical foundation of ProMES comes from the motivational aspects of the Naylor, Pritchard and Ilgen (NPI) and the Pritchard-Ashwood (P-A) theories (Naylor et al. (1980), Pritchard and Ashwood (2008)) as well as literature and research on team work, participation, goal setting and feedback. This section discusses how ProMES operationalizes key features of the motivation theory and analyzes the motivational aspects in ProMES intervention. For better understanding, Appendix B gives an overview of the context in which Pritchard’s motivational theory has been developed.

3.1. Pritchard’s motivational approach

According to Pritchard, “motivation is the process used to allocate energy to maximize the satisfaction of needs” (Pritchard and Ashwood (2008, p. 6)). The basics of the Pritchard-Ashwood theory are shown graphically by Figure 2: people have a certain amount of energy (energy pool), which varies across people and across time for any individual, and have needs such as food & water, achievement, safety and power. Motivation is defined as a resource allocation process through which energy is allocated across actions or tasks to maximize the person’s anticipated need satisfaction. In this context, a person must determine how much of its energy he/she should exert, where he/she allocates that energy and how long he/she uses that energy to satisfy a desired need. In Pritchard’s definition, the term “maximize” reflects also the economical perspective: energy of a person is a scarce resource which is naturally allocated according to the optimum satisfaction of needs.

The motivation process can be broken down into a series of components, as shown in Figure 2. According to P-A theory, the strength of a person’s motivation is determined by the strength of the relationship between each component, which is in turn influenced by specific determinants. Appendix C further explains these determinants and gives an example to illustrate the motivation process.

Figure 2 - Pritchard-Ashwood motivation process

illustration not visible in this excerpt

In the workplace, one of the most basic and important needs is to perform well on the job (Schmerling (2013, p. 13)). Furthermore, ProMES management system is aimed at affecting the productivity of the organization by influencing the behavior and motivation of the employees. Accordingly, ProMES operationalizes key features of the motivation theory as illustrated by Figure 3. Indicators are the operationalization of results while contingencies operationalize the results-to- evaluations connections. The action-to-results connections can be considered as the work strategies which determine how effort should be allocated across actions.

Figure 3 - Effects of ProMES intervention on motivation

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Adapted from Pritchard et al. (2008, p. 561)

Note: The center column shows the components of the motivation process The effects of developing the ProMES measurement system are shown on the left side of the figure, and the effects of implementing feedback are shown on the right side

On the other hand, feedback meetings focus on developing better work strategies (a more optimal set of action-to-results connections). In other words, the feedback system is designed to help the employees to allocate their efforts to the tasks which deliver the most valuable results for the organization, resulting in higher outcomes and thus maximizing the satisfaction of the needs. In conclusion, ProMES aims at increasing productivity through motivation by strengthening each component of the motivation process.

3.2. Key elements of ProMES intervention

3.2.1. Team work

Team work is an important factor to motivate the employees, which is reflected in modern motivation theories. In his acquired-needs theory, McClelland stated that a person’s motivation is influenced by three needs: achievement, affiliation and power (McClelland (1987)). The two latter ones can only be demonstrated in groups. Furthermore, respect within a group is positioned at high level within the Maslow needs pyramid (Maslow (1943, p. 381)). Concepts such as brainstorming and problem solving within a team lead to creativity and self-actualization of the members, which both are strong motivational needs according to Maslow.

To work effectively in team, the team members have to clarify the objectives, work closely together and meet regularly to review the performance and how it could be improved (West and Sacramento (2006, p. 39)). ProMES aims at operationalizing these three team characteristics through a participative setting of the objectives and regular feedback meetings. However, organizational case studies have shown that team work can result in decreasing motivation depending on the population of the group. Personal achievement can lead to conflicts within the team and dominant members can prevent others from speaking resulting in lower recognition. Furthermore, it requires a lot of commitment and effort from the team members to implement the system and once installed, constant efforts are needed to keep the system ongoing (Janssen et al. (1995, p. 60)). In conclusion, motivational aspect arising from the team work strongly depends on the group population and its willingness to commit to ProMES.

3.2.2. Participation

The importance of participation in ProMES is reflected by its German translation: “Partizipatives Produktivitätsmanagement”[1]. Participation on issues which are important to employees can have positive effects on performance and attitudes, especially acceptance, and it also enhances perceptions of fairness (Cawley et al. (1998, p. 628)). Furthermore, Herzberg stated that hygiene factors such as company policy and working organization can lead to dissatisfaction if not applied well (Herzberg (1987, p. 9)). Participation improves the role perception as well as clarification on perceived value of reward, which are important factors in Porter and Lawyers motivational theory (Lawler and Suttle (1973, pp. 482-484)).

Participation is operationalized in ProMES through the involvement of workers into the definition of objectives and indicators of the unit as well as into the determination of the contingency functions. Moreover, the design team develops the feedback system and the entire team participates in the feedback meetings. The participation is a key part of ProMES: it ensures the overall acceptance of the program by creating a sense of ownership and it increases the perception of fairness. Whereas the members of the design team are encouraged to discuss the development process with those not on the design team, these latter are not involved, leading to lower motivation. In addition, heavy involvement in the implementation phase can be frustrating due to long and indistinct process.

3.2.3. Goal setting and feedback

“ProMES implicitly, if not explicitly, includes many aspects of goal setting.” (Pritchard et al. (2008, p. 544)) Goal setting theory postulates that challenging, specific and achievable goals lead to higher levels of performance when employees are aware of the goals and have participated in defining them (Locke and Latham (2002, p. 714)). Goal setting is operationalized during the implementation of ProMES, especially at the identification of objectives, indicators and contingencies. Setting these specific goals allow the employees to understand how different levels of results will be evaluated and how to achieve better performance. The concept in goal setting helps to strengthen the Actions-to-Results connection (in reference to P-A theory) because employees will know what actions lead to what results.

“For goals to be effective, people need summary feedback that reveals progress in relation to their goals.” (Locke and Latham (2002, p. 708)) Criticism for poor work but no recognition for good work, no feedback, and lack of performance standards all contribute to decreased motivation.

[...]


[1] The English translation is participative management of productivity.

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Details

Title
Work Motivation. Can the Productivity Measurement and Enhancement System (ProMES) motivate employees?
College
University of Applied Sciences  (European University for Economics & Management (EUFOM))
Course
Human Resource Management
Grade
1,7
Author
Year
2016
Pages
17
Catalog Number
V374871
ISBN (eBook)
9783668520660
ISBN (Book)
9783668520677
File size
806 KB
Language
English
Tags
work, motivation, productivity, measurement, enhancement, system, promes
Quote paper
Thibaut Wautelet (Author), 2016, Work Motivation. Can the Productivity Measurement and Enhancement System (ProMES) motivate employees?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/374871

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