CHAPTER NINE UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE IN PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS Motivation and Motivation Theory bviously the people in an organization are crucial to its performance and to the quality of work life within it. This chapter and the next one are concerned with the people in public organizations. They emphasize public employees’ motivation and work-related values and attitudes. This chapter defines motivation and discusses it in the context of public organi-zations. It then describes the most important theories of work motivation. Chapter Ten describes concepts important to the analysis of motivation and work attitudes, including concepts about people’s values, motives, and specific work attitudes such as work satisfaction. It covers the values and motives that are particularly important in public organizations, such as the desire to perform a public service, and values and attitudes about pay, secu-rity, work, and other matters that often distinguish public sector managers and employees from those in other settings. These topics receive attention in every textbook on organizational behavior because of their fundamental importance in all types of orga-nizations. In public organizations and public management they have been receiving even greater attention in recent years than in the past. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) (2013) surveys fed-eral employees and managers (687,000 in 2012) about their perceptions and attitudes about leadership in their agencies, their work satisfaction. 257 258 Understanding and Managing Public Organizations The OPM Web site for the surveys encourages agency representatives to compare their agency ’s results with the government-wide results and with those of other agencies. Obviously, OPM representatives and OPM stake-holders regard employee attitudes and perceptions as very important, and regard the surveys as a valuable diagnostic resource. One such stakeholder is the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote and support public service. The Partnership uses the results of surveys of large samples of federal employees to develop rankings of the “best places to work” in the federal government (Partnership for Public Service, 2013a). Federal agency administrators take these rankings very seriously. Agencies that do well in the rankings post this information on their Web sites (see, and ). Other agencies acknowledge the importance of the topic by setting objectives of becoming “a best place to work.” The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (2013, p. 24) strategic plan includes the strategic objective of making the IRS the best place to work in government. The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board also conducts periodic federal employee surveys, and uses the results to produce reports on such topics as “employee engagement” in their work and their agencies (U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, 2012). Some of these surveys have used ideas and questions based on motivation theories that we will cover in this chapter. State and local governments conduct employee surveys as well (for example, State of Washington, 2012). These developments make it important for persons preparing for roles in gov-ernment service, or serving in such roles, to gain a firm grounding in the theories, concepts, and methods for analyzing the attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors of human beings in their organizations and workplaces. This and the next chapter aim to support such efforts. Motivation and Public Management Human motivation is a fundamental topic in the social sciences, and moti-vation to work is similarly a basic topic in the field of organizational behav-ior (OB). The framework presented in Figures 1.1 and 1.2 in Chapter One indicates that the people in an organization, and their behaviors and atti-tudes, are interrelated with such factors as organizational tasks, organiza-tional structures and processes, leadership processes, and organizational culture. With all of these factors impinging on people, motivating employ-ees and stimulating effective attitudes in them become crucial and sensitive challenges for leaders. This and the next chapter show that, as with many Understanding People: Motivation and Motivation Theory 259 topics in management and OB, the basic research and theory provide no conclusive science of motivation. Leaders have to draw on the ideas and apply the available techniques pragmatically, blending their experience and judgment with the insights the literature provides. These two chapters show that OB researchers and management consul-tants often treat motivation and work attitudes as internal organizational matters influenced by such factors as supervisory practices, pay, and the nature of the work. Such factors figure importantly in public organizations; however, motivation in public organizations, like the other organizational attributes discussed in this book, is also greatly affected by the public sector environment. The effects of this environment require public managers to possess a distinctive knowledge of motivation that links OB with political science, public administration, and public policy processes. The effects of the political and institutional environment of public organizations on the people in those organizations show up in numerous ways. In recent decades, governments at all levels in the United States and in other nations have mounted efforts to reform governmental adminis-trative systems to improve the management and performance of those sys-tems (Gore, 1993; Peters and Savoie, 1994; Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2011; Thompson, 2000). Often, the reformers have sought to correct allegedly weak links between performance and pay, promotion, and discipline, claim-ing that these weak links undermine motivation and hence performance and efficiency. These reforms have not been attempted just because of pub-lic and officials’ concerns about government performance. Government managers have for decades complained about having insufficient authority over pay and discipline, and other managerial responsibilities that they have (Macy, 1971; National Academy of Public Administration, 1986). The reforms also reflect, then, the context in which public managers and orga-nizations operate, that earlier chapters have described. That such reforms have often foundered (Ingraham, 1993; Kellough and Lu, 1993; Perry, Petrakis, and Miller, 1989) raises the possibility that these constraints are inevitable in the public sector (Feeney and Rainey, 2010). Many analysts and experienced practitioners regard the constraining character of govern-ment personnel systems as the critical difference between managing in the public sector and managing in a private organization (Thompson, 1989; Truss, 2013), and for decades government officials have sought to decen-tralize government personnel systems to provide them with more flexibility in human resource management (for example, Gore, 1993). If anything, the focus on the management and motivation of public employees intensified as the new century began. A human capital movement 260 Understanding and Managing Public Organizations got under way in the federal government, with implications for the other levels of government. This emphasis on human capital reflects the assump-tion that the human beings in an organization and their skills and knowl-edge are the organization ’s most important assets, more important than other forms of capital such as plants, machinery, and financial assets. Accordingly, organizations must invest in the development of their human capital. The U.S. General Accounting Office, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget joined in trying to develop human capital policies and models and to get fed-eral agencies to adopt them (see, for example, U.S. General Accounting Office, 2002a, 2002b). The legislation authorizing the creation of the new Department of Homeland Security in 2002 contained a provision requir-ing each federal agency to appoint a chief human capital officer, to engage in strategic planning for human capital, and to engage in other steps to maintain and develop human capital. In 2013, public controversies and political conflicts erupted over the compensation of state government employees and over the allegedly expensive retirement benefits they receive. “Sequestration,” or withhold-ing of federal funding for agencies and programs, raised the possibility of furloughs for federal employees, who had been subject to pay freezes for several years. The sequestration of funds caused cutbacks in federal programs that affected state and local governments involved in the deliv-ery of those programs. Cutbacks and pay freezes obviously can hurt the morale of federal employees, and represent an example of how develop-ments in the political process can affect the working lives of government employees. These developments all suggest that motivating people in govern-ment, and encouraging their positive work attitudes, raises challenges that can be distinct from those faced by business and nonprofit organizations. They indicate that the political and institutional context of government can influence motivation and work attitudes in government in distinctive ways. As with other topics in this book, however, another side argues that government differs little from business in matters of motivation. Businesses also have problems motivating managers and employees, because of union pressures, selfish and unethical behaviors, ineffective bonus and merit-pay systems, and other problems. In addition, according to Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon (1995), one of the most influential contributors to public administration theory and arguably the world ’s preeminent behavioral sci-entist, reward practices in public, private, and nonprofi t firms do not differ: Understanding People: Motivation and Motivation Theory 261 “Everything said here about economic rewards applies equally to privately owned, nonprofit, and government-owned organizations. The opportunity for, and limits on, the use of rewards to motivate activities towards orga-nizational goals are precisely the same in all three kinds of organizations” (p. 283, n. 3). For this reason, the discussion to follow in the next two chapters will pay attention to evidence about whether public organizations and management are distinctive with regard to motivation and work values and attitudes. This dispute over whether government is different makes it impor-tant to look at evidence about it, because the evidence often undercuts negative popular stereotypes and academic assertions. Observations about the distinctive character of government often suggest problems with the motivation and performance of people in government. As we will see, however, evidence often indicates high levels of motivation and positive work attitudes in many government organizations. Executives coming to government from business typically mention how impressed they are with how hard government employees work and how capable they are (Hunt, 1999; IBM Endowment for the Business of Government, 2002; Volcker Commission, 1989). In surveys, government managers have mentioned frustrations of the sort discussed earlier, but have also reported high levels of work effort and satisfaction (see, for example, Light, 2002a; U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 2013). In this debate over whether there are similarities or differences in managing people in the public and private sectors, in a sense both sides are right. Public managers often do face unique challenges in motivating employees, but they can also apply a great deal from the general motivation literature. The challenge is to draw from the ideas and insights in the litera-ture while taking into consideration the public sector context discussed in other chapters, while basing one’s conclusions on as much actual evidence as possible. The next section reviews the assertions about the public sec-tor context discussed in earlier chapters before the discussion turns to the concept of motivation itself. The Context of Motivation in Public Organizations Previous chapters have presented observations and research fi ndings that suggest a unique context for motivation in public organizations (Perry and Porter, 1982): 262 Understanding and Managing Public Organizations • The absence of economic markets for the outputs of public organiza-tions and the consequent diffuseness of incentives and performance indicators in the public sector • The multiple, conflicting, and often abstract values that public organiza-tions must pursue • The complex, dynamic political and public policy processes by which public organizations operate, which involve many actors, interests, and shifting agendas • The external oversight bodies and processes that impose structures, rules, and procedures on public organizations, including civil service rules governing pay, promotion, and discipline, and rules that affect training and personnel development • The external political climate, including public attitudes toward taxes, government, and government employees, which turned negative during the 1970s and 1980s Earlier chapters have also related these conditions to various character-istics of public organizations that in turn influence motivation: • There are sharp constraints on some public leaders and managers that limit their motivation and ability to develop their organization. Politically elected and appointed top executives and their appointees turn over rapidly. Institutional oversight and rules limit their authority. • The turbulent, sporadic decision-making processes in public organiza-tions can influence managers’ and employees’ sense of purpose and their perception of their impact (Hickson and others, 1986; Light, 2002a). • There are relatively complex and constraining structures in many public organizations, including constraints on the administration of incentives (Feeney and Rainey, 2010). • Vague goals in public organizations, both for individual jobs and for the organization, can hinder performance goals and evaluation, and can weaken a sense of personal signifi cance within the organization (Buchanan, 1974, 1975; Perry and Porter, 1982). • Scholars have claimed that people at the lower and middle levels of public organizations often become lost in elaborate bureaucratic and public policy systems. They work under elaborate rules and constraints that, paradoxically, fail to hold them highly accountable (Barton, 1980; Lipsky, 1980; Lynn, 1981; Michelson, 1980; Warwick, 1975). • On a more positive note, the people who choose to work in government often express high levels of motivation to engage in valuable public Understanding People: Motivation and Motivation Theory 263 service that helps other people or benefits the community or society; they are often motivated by the sense of pursuing a valuable mission (for example, Goodsell, 2011). Government work is often interesting and very important. Some of these observations are difficult to prove or disprove. For oth-ers we have increased evidence, which later sections and the next chap-ter present. As we examine this evidence, it is important to look at how organizational researchers have treated the concept of motivation and its measurement. The Concept of Work Motivation A substantial body of theory, research, and experience provides a wealth of insight into motivation in organizations (Pinder, 2008). Yet in scrutinizing the topic, scholars have increasingly shown its complexity. Everyone has a sense of what we mean by motivation. The term derives from the Latin word for “move,” as do the words motor and motif. We know that forces move us, arouse us, direct us. Work motivation refers to a person ’s desire to work hard and work well—to the arousal, direction, and persistence of effort in work settings. Managers in public, private, and nonprofit organizations use motivational techniques all the time. Yet debates about motivation have raged for years, because the simple definition just given leaves many ques-tions about what it means to work hard and well, what determines a per-son’s desire to do so, and how one measures such behavior. Measuring and Assessing Motivation Motivation researchers have tried different ways of measuring motiva-tion, none of which provides an adequately comprehensive measurement (Pinder, 2008, pp. 43–44). For example, the typical definition of motivation, such as the one just provided, raises complicated questions about what we actually mean by motivation. Is it an attitude or a behavior, or both? Must we observe a person exerting effort? As Exhibit 9.1 shows, researchers have tried to measure motivation in different ways that imply different answers to these questions. As the examples in the exhibit imply, OB researchers have attempted very few measures of general work motivation. One of the few available general measures—section 1 in the exhibit—relies on questions about how hard one works and how often one does some extra work. Researchers have 264 Understanding and Managing Public Organizations reported successful use of this scale (Cook, Hepworth, Wall, and Warr, 1981). One study using this measure, however, found that respondents gave very high ratings to their own work effort. Most reported that they work harder than others in their organization. They gave such high self-ratings that there was little difference among them (Rainey, 1983). This example illustrates the problem of asking people about their motivation. It also reflects the cultural emphasis on hard work in the United States, which leads people to report that they do work hard. If, however, as in the study just cited, most respondents report that they work harder than their colleagues, there must be organizations in which everyone works harder than everyone else! EXHIBIT 9.1 Questionnaire Items Used to Measure Work Motivation 1. Job Motivation Scale (Patchen, Pelz, and Allen, 1965) This questionnaire, one of the few direct measures of job motivation, poses the fol-lowing questions: On most days on your job, how often does time seem to drag for you? Some people are completely involved in their job—they are absorbed in it night and day. For other people, their job is simply one of several interests. How involved do you feel in your job? How often do you do some extra work for your job that isn’t really required of you? Would you say that you work harder, less hard, or about the same as other people doing your type of work at [name of organization]? 2. Work Motivation Scale (Wright, 2004) I put forth my best effort to get the job done regardless of the difficulties. I am willing to start work early or stay late to finish a job. It has been hard for me to get very involved in my current job. (Reversed) I do extra work for my job that isn’t really expected of me. Time seems to drag while I am on the job. (Reversed) 3. Intrinsic Motivation Scale (Lawler and Hall, 1970) Intrinsic motivation refers to the motivating effects of the work itself. Researchers have measured it with items such as these: Understanding People: Motivation and Motivation Theory 265 When I do my work well, it gives me a feeling of accomplishment. When I perform my job well, it contributes to my personal growth and development. I feel a great sense of personal satisfaction when I do my job well. Doing my job well increases my self-esteem. 4. Reward Expectancies (Rainey, 1983) Some surveys, such as the Federal Employee Attitude Survey, use questions about reward expectations, such as those that follow, to assess reward systems but also as indicators of motivation: Producing a high quality of work increases my chances for higher pay. Producing a high quality of work increases my chances for a promotion. 5. Peer Evaluations of an Individual’s Work Motivation (Guion and Landy, 1972; Landy and Guion, 1970) For this method of measuring motivation, fellow employees evaluate an individual ’s work motivation on the following dimensions: Team attitude Task concentration Independence/self-starter Organizational identifi cation Job curiosity Persistence Professional identification Wright (2004) reported the successful use of the questions in section 2 of Exhibit 9.1 in a survey of government employees in New York State. The respondents’ answers to the items were consistent, and the scale con-taining these items showed meaningful relations to other variables, such as the respondents’ perceptions of the clarity of their work goals and the organization’s goals. Partly due to the problems with general measures of motivation, researchers have used various alternatives, such as measures of intrin-sic or internal work motivation (section 3 in Exhibit 9.1 ; see also Cook, Hepworth, Wall, and Warr, 1981). Researchers in OB define intrinsic work motives or rewards as those that are mediated within the worker—psycho-logical rewards derived directly from the work itself. Extrinsic rewards are 266 Understanding and Managing Public Organizations externally mediated and are exemplified by salary, promotion, and other rewards that come from the organization or work group. As the examples in Exhibit 9.1 indicate, questions on intrinsic motivation ask about an increase in feelings of accomplishment, growth, and self-esteem through work well done. Measures such as these assess important work-related atti-tudes, but they do not ask directly about work effort or direction. Researchers and consultants have used items derived from expectancy theory, described later in this chapter, as proxy measures of work moti-vation. Such items (see section 4 in Exhibit 9.1 ) have been widely used by consultants in assessing organizations and in huge surveys of federal employees used to assess the civil service system and efforts to reform it (U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 1979, 1980, 1983). Surveys have also found sharp differences between government and business managers on questions such as these (Rainey, 1983; Rainey, Facer, and Bozeman, 1995). The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (2012, p. 37), in a survey of over forty-two thousand federal employees, used questions similar to these and interpreted them as indicators of motivation. If one cannot ask people directly about their motivation, one can ask those around them for their observations about their coworkers’ motiva-tion (see section 5 in Exhibit 9.1). Landy and Guion (1970) had peers rate individual managers on the dimensions listed in the table. Significantly, their research indicated that peer observers disagree a lot when rating the same person. This method obviously requires a lot of time and resources to administer, and few other researchers have used this very interesting approach. The method does provide a useful illustration of the many pos-sible dimensions of motivation. Motivation to Join and Motivation to Work Well Another important consideration about the meaning of motivation con-cerns one of the classic distinctions in the theory of management and organizations: the difference between motivation to join an organization and stay in it, on the one hand, and motivation to work hard and do well within it, on the other. Chester Barnard (1938), and later James March and Herbert Simon (March and Simon, 1958), in books widely acknowl-edged as seminal contributions to the field, emphasized this distinction. You might get people to shuffle into work every day rather than quit, but they can display keen ingenuity at avoiding doing what you ask them to do if they do not want to do it. Management experts widely acknowledge Understanding People: Motivation and Motivation Theory 267 Barnard’s prescience in seeking to analyze the ways in which organizational leaders must employ a variety of incentives, including the guiding values of the organization, to induce cooperation and effort (DiIulio, 1994; Peters and Waterman, 1982; Williamson, 1990). Rival Influences on Performance Motivation alone does not determine performance. Ability fi gures impor-tantly in performance. One person may display high motivation but insuf-ficient ability, whereas another may have such immense ability that he or she performs well with little apparent motivation. The person ’s training and preparation for a certain task, the behaviors of leaders or coworkers, and many other factors interact with motivation in determining perfor-mance. A person may gain motivation by feeling able to perform well, or lose motivation through the frustrations brought on by lacking suffi cient ability. Alternatively, a person may lose motivation to perform a task he or she has completely mastered because it fails to provide a challenge or a sense of growth. As we will see, the major theories of employee motiva-tion try in various ways to capture some of these intricacies. The points may sound obvious enough, but major reforms of the civil service and of government pay systems have frequently oversimplified or underestimated these ideas (Ingraham, 1993; Perry, Petrakis, and Miller, 1989; Rainey and Kellough, 2000). Motivation as an Umbrella Concept The complexities of work motivation have given the topic the status of an umbrella concept that refers to a general area of study rather than a precisely defined research target (Campbell and Pritchard, 1983; Pinder, 2008). Indeed, Locke (1999), in an article reviewing and summarizing motivation research, proposed an elaborate, integrated model of work motivation that does not include the term motivation. Research and theo-rizing about motivation continue, but theorists usually employ the term to refer to a general concept that incorporates many variables and issues (see, for example, Klein, 1990; Kleinbeck, Quast, Thierry, and Harmut, 1990). Locke and Latham (1990a), for example, presented a model of work moti-vation that does not include a concept specifically labeled “motivation.” Motivation currently appears to serve as an overarching theme for research on a variety of related topics, including organization identifi cation and 268 Understanding and Managing Public Organizations commitment, leadership practices, job involvement, organizational climate and culture, and characteristics of work goals. Theories of Work Motivation This chapter reviews the most prominent theories of motivation, which represent theorists’ best efforts to explain motivation and to describe how it works. Some of the terms sound abstract, but the effort is quite practical: How do you explain the motivation of members of your organization and use this knowledge to enhance their motivation? No one has yet developed a conclusive theory of work motivation, but each theory provides important insights about motivation and can contribute to managers’ ability to think comprehensively about it. The examples provided show that reforms in government have often revealed simplistic thinking about work motivation on the part of the reformers—thinking that could be improved by more careful attention to the theories described here. One way of thinking about theory in the social and administrative sciences regards theory as an explanation of a phenomenon we want to understand, in the present case, work motivation. A theory proposes con-cepts that refer to objects or events that we need to define and include as contributions to the explanation. The theory also states propositions about how those concepts relate together to bring about the phenomenon. The theories of work motivation, then, attempt to explain how work motiva-tion operates—how and why does it happen? How and why does a person become more highly motivated? In attempting to answer such questions, the following theories provide ideas, concepts, and propositions that can guide our thinking about motivation. They can help to guide research and analysis of motivational phenomena in organizations, as they did in the case of the Merit Principles survey, mentioned earlier (U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, 2012). None of the theories provides a conclusive expla-nation of work motivation, but each one provides important insights and ideas about how to think about it. One way of classifying the theories of motivation that have achieved prominence distinguishes between content theories and process theories. Content theories are concerned with analyzing the particular needs, motives, and rewards that affect motivation. Process theories concentrate more on the psychological and behavioral processes behind motivation, often with no designation of important rewards and motives. The two cat-egories overlap, and the distinction need not be taken as confining. It Understanding People: Motivation and Motivation Theory 269 serves largely as a way of introducing some of the major characteristics of the different theories. Content Theories Exhibit 9.2 summarizes the needs, motives, and rewards that play a part in prominent content theories of motivation. These theories not only propose the important needs, motives, and rewards, but also attempt to specify how such factors influence motivation. EXHIBIT 9.2 Categories of Needs and Values Employed in Selected Content Theories MASLOW’S NEEDS HIERARCHY (1954) Physiological needs: Needs for relief from hunger, thirst, and fatigue and for defense from the elements Safety needs: Needs to be free of the threat of bodily harm Social needs: Needs for love, affection, and belonging to social units and groups Self-esteem needs: Needs for sense of achievement, confidence, recognition, and prestige Self-actualization needs: The need to become everything one is capable of becoming, to achieve self-fulfillment, especially in some area of endeavor or purpose (such as motherhood, artistic creativity, or a profession) MCGREGOR: THEORY X AND THEORY Y (1960) Theory X: Assumes that workers lack the capacity for self-motivation and self-direction and that managers must design organizations to control and direct them Theory Y: Assumes that workers have needs for growth, development, interesting work, and self-actualization, and hence have capacity for self-direction and self-motivation; should guide management practice (continued ) 270 Understanding and Managing Public Organizations EXHIBIT 9.2 (Continued ) HERZBERG ’S TWO-FACTOR THEORY (1968) Hygiene Factors Company policy and administration Supervision Relations with supervisor Working conditions Salary Relations with peers Personal life Relations with subordinates Status Security Motivators Achievement Recognition The work itself Responsibility Growth Advancement MCCLELLAND: NEED FOR ACHIEVEMENT, POWER, AND AFFILIATION (1961)a Need for achievement: The need for a sense of mastery over one’s environment and successful accomplishment through one’s own abilities and efforts; a preference for challenges involving moderate risk, clear feedback about success, and ability to sense personal responsibility for success. Purportedly stimulates and facilitates entrepreneurial behavior. Need for power: A general need for autonomy and control over oneself and others, which can manifest itself in different ways. When blended with degrees of altruism and inhibition, and low need for affiliation, can facilitate effectiveness at management. Need for affiliation: The need to establish and maintain positive affective relations, or “friendship” with others. ADAMS: THE NEED FOR EQUITY (1965) The need to maintain an equitable or fair balance between one’s contributions to an organization and one’s returns and compensations from it (determined by comparing the balance maintained by others to one’s own); the need to feel that one is not overcompensated or undercompensated for one’s contributions to the organization. aMcClelland and other researchers do not provide concise or specifi c definitions of the need concepts. Source: Adapted from Rainey (1993). Understanding People: Motivation and Motivation Theory 271 Maslow: Needs Hierarchy. Abraham Maslow’s theory of human needs and motives (1954), described earlier in Chapter Two, advanced some of the most widely influential ideas in social science. Contemporary scholars of work motivation do not accept the needs hierarchy as a complete theory of motivation, but it contributed concepts that are now regarded as clas-sic. Maslow’s conception of self-actualization as the highest-order human need was his most influential idea. It has appealed widely to people search-ing for a way to express an ultimate human motive of fulfi lling one ’s full potential. In later writings, Maslow (1965) further developed his ideas about self-actualization, going beyond the ideas summarized in Chapter Two and Exhibit 9.2 , to discuss the relationship of this motive to work, duty, and group or communal benefits. His ideas are particularly relevant to anyone interested in public service. Maslow was concerned that during the 1960s some psychologists interpreted self-actualization as self-absorbed concern with one ’s personal emotional satisfaction, especially through the shed-ding of inhibitions and social controls. He sharply rejected such ideas. Genuinely self-actualized persons, he argued, achieve this ultimate state of fulfillment through hard work and dedication to a duty or mission that serves values higher than simple self-satisfaction. They do so through work that benefits others or society, and genuine personal contentment and emotional salvation are by-products of such dedication. In this later work, Maslow emphasized that the levels of need are not separate steps from which one successively departs. Rather, they are cumulative phases of a growth toward self-actualization, a motive that grows out of the satisfaction of social and self-esteem needs and also builds on them. Maslow ’s ideas have had a significant impact on many social scientists but have received little reverence from empirical researchers attempting to validate them. Researchers trying to measure Maslow ’s needs and test his theory have not confirmed a five-step hierarchy. Instead they have found a two-step hierarchy in which lower-level employees show more concern for material and security rewards and higher-level employees place more emphasis on achievement and challenge (Pinder, 2008). Critics also point to theoretical weaknesses in Maslow ’s hierarchy. Locke and Henne (1986) identified the dubious behavioral implications of Maslow ’s emphasis on need deprivation—that is, his contention that unsatisfied needs dominate behavior. Being deprived of a need does not tell a person what to do about it, and the theory does not explain how people know how to respond. 272 Understanding and Managing Public Organizations In spite of the criticisms, Maslow ’s theory has had a strong following among many other scholars and management experts. Maslow contributed to a growing recognition of the importance of motives for growth, develop-ment, and actualization among members of organizations. His ideas also influenced other developments in the social sciences and OB. For exam-ple, in a prominent book on leadership, James MacGregor Burns (1978) drew on Maslow ’s concepts of a hierarchy of needs and of higher-order needs such as self-actualization. Burns observed that transformational lead-ers—that is, leaders who bring about major transformations in society—do not engage in simple exchanges of benefits with their followers. Rather, they appeal to higher-order motives in the population, including motives for self-actualization that are tied to societal ends, involving visions of a society transformed in ways that fulfill such personal motives. As a political scientist, Burns concentrated on political and societal leaders, but writers on organizational leadership have acknowledged his influence on recent thought about transformational leadership in organizations (see Chapter Eleven). In addition, Maslow ’s work foreshadowed and helped to shape current discussions of organizational mission and culture, worker empow-erment, and highly participative forms of management (see, for example, Lawler, 2003; Peters and Waterman, 1982). McGregor: Theory X and Theory Y. Douglas McGregor ’s ideas about Theory X and Theory Y (1960) also reflected the influence of Maslow’s work and the penetration into management thought of an emphasis on higher-order needs. As described in Chapter Two, McGregor argued that industrial management in the United States has historically refl ected the dominance of a theory of human behavior that he calls Theory X, which assumes that workers lack the capacity for self-motivation and self-direction and that managers must design organizations to control and direct them. McGregor called for wider acceptance of Theory Y, the idea that work-ers have needs like those Maslow described as higher-order needs—for growth, development, interesting work, and self-actualization. Theory Y should guide management practice, McGregor argued. Managers should use participative management techniques, decentralized decision making, performance evaluation procedures that emphasize self-evaluation and objectives set by the employee, and job enrichment programs to make jobs more interesting and responsible. Like Maslow’s, McGregor ’s ideas have had profound effects on the theory and practice of management. Chapter Thirteen describes two examples of efforts to reform and change federal agencies that drew on McGregor’s ideas about Theory Y. Understanding People: Motivation and Motivation Theory 273 Herzberg: Two-Factor Theory. Frederick Herzberg ’s two-factor theory (1968) also emphasized the essential role of higher-order needs and intrin-sic incentives in motivating workers. From studies involving thousands of people in many occupational categories, he and his colleagues concluded that two major factors influence individual motivation in work settings. They called these factors hygiene factors and motivators (see Exhibit 9.2). Insufficient hygiene factors can cause dissatisfaction with one’s job, but even when they are abundant they do not stimulate high levels of satisfac-tion. As indicated in Exhibit 9.2, hygiene factors are extrinsic incentives— including organizational, group, or supervisory conditions—or externally mediated rewards such as salaries. Hygiene factors can only prevent dis-satisfaction, but motivators are essential to increasing motivation. They include intrinsic incentives such as interest in and enjoyment of the work itself and a sense of growth, achievement, and fulfillment of higher-order needs. Herzberg concluded that because motivators are the real sources of stimulation and motivation for employees, managers must avoid the nega-tive techniques of controlling and directing employees and should instead design work to provide for the growth, achievement, recognition, and other elements people need, which are represented by the motivators. This approach requires well-developed job enrichment programs to make the work itself interesting and to give workers a sense of control, achievement, growth, and recognition, which produces high levels of motivation. Herzberg ’s work sparked controversy among experts and research-ers. He and his colleagues developed their evidence by asking people to describe events on the job that led to feelings of extreme satisfaction and events that led to extreme dissatisfaction. Most of the reports of great sat-isfaction mentioned intrinsic and growth factors. Herzberg labeled these motivators in part because the respondents often mentioned their connec-tion to heightened motivation and better performance. Reports of dissatis-faction tended to concentrate on the hygiene factors. Researchers using other methods of generating evidence did not obtain the same results, however (Pinder, 2008). Critics argued that when people are asked to describe an event that makes them feel highly moti-vated, they might hesitate to report such things as pay or an improvement in physical working conditions. Instead, in what social scientists call a social desirability effect, they might attempt to provide more socially acceptable answers. Critics also questioned Herzberg ’s conclusions about the effects of the two factors on individual behavior. These concerns about the limi-tations of the theory led to a decline in interest in it. Locke and Henne 274 Understanding and Managing Public Organizations (1986), for example, found no recent attempts to test the theory and con-cluded that theorists no longer took it seriously. Nevertheless, the theory always receives attention in reviews of motivation theory because of its con-tribution to the stream of thought about such topics as “job enrichment” and restructuring work to make it interesting and to satisfy workers’ needs for growth and fulfi llment. Thus the theory continues to contribute to contemporary thinking about motivating people in organizations. McClelland: Needs for Achievement, Power, and Affiliation. In its day, David McClelland’s theory (1961) about the motivations for seeking achieve-ment, power, and affiliation (friendly relations with others)—especially his ideas about the need for achievement—was one of the most prominent theories in management and OB. It elicited thousands of studies (Locke and Henne, 1986; McClelland, 1961). Need for achievement ( n Ach), the central concept in his theory, refers to a motivation—a “dynamic restless-ness” (McClelland, 1961, p. 301)—to achieve a sense of mastery over one’s environment through success at achieving goals by using one ’s own cun-ning, abilities, and efforts. McClelland originally argued that n Ach was a common characteristic of persons attracted to managerial and entrepre-neurial roles, although he later narrowed its application to predicting suc-cess in entrepreneurial roles (Pinder, 2008). McClelland measured n Ach through a variety of procedures, includ-ing the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). The TAT involves showing a standard set of pictures to individuals, who then make up brief stories about what is happening in each picture. One typical picture shows a boy sitting at a desk in a classroom reading a book. A respondent identifi ed as low in n Ach might write a story about the boy daydreaming, while someone high in n Ach might write a story about the boy studying hard to do well on a test. Researchers have also measured n Ach through questionnaires that ask about such matters as work role preferences and the role of luck in outcomes. McClelland (1961) argued that persons high in n Ach are motivated to achieve in a particular pattern. They choose fairly challenging goals with moderate risks, for which outcomes are fairly clear and accomplish-ment reflects success through one ’s own abilities. Persons in roles such as research scientist, which requires waiting a long time for success and recognition, may have a motivation to achieve, but they do not conform to this pattern. As one example of the nature of n Ach motives, McClelland cited the performance of students in experiments in which they chose how to behave in games of skill. The researchers had the students participate in Understanding People: Motivation and Motivation Theory 275 a ring-toss game. The participants chose how far from the target peg they would stand. The high– n Ach participants tended to stand at an intermedi-ate distance from the peg, not too close but not too far away. McClelland interpreted this choice as a reflection of their desire to achieve through their own skills. Standing too close made success too easy and thus did not satisfy their desire for a sense of accomplishment and mastery. Standing too far away, however, made success a gamble, a matter of a lucky throw. The high– n Ach participants chose a distance that would likely result in success brought about by the person ’s own skills. McClelland also offered evidence of other characteristics of persons with high n Ach, such as physi-cal restlessness, particular concern over the rapid passage of time, and an aversion to wasting time. McClelland claimed that measuring n Ach could determine the suc-cess of individuals in business activities and the success of nations in eco-nomic development (McClelland, 1961; Pinder, 2008). He analyzed the achievement orientation in the folktales and children ’s stories of various nations and produced some evidence that cultures high in n Ach themes also showed higher rates of economic development. He has also claimed successes in training managers in business firms in less developed coun-tries to increase their n Ach and enhance the performance of their firm (McClelland and Winter, 1969). McClelland suggested achievement-oriented fantasizing and thinking as a means to improving the economic performance of nations. Others have also reported the use of achievement motivation training with apparent success in enhancing motivation and increasing entrepreneurial behaviors (Miner, 2005). McClelland (1975) later concluded that n Ach encouraged entrepre-neurial behaviors rather than success in managerial roles. He argued, however, that his conceptions of the needs for power and affiliation did apply in predicting success in management roles (although there is much less empirical research about these needs to support his claims). McClelland concluded that the most effective managers develop high motivation for power, but with an altruistic orientation and a concern for group goals. This stage also involves a low need for affiliation, how-ever, because too strong a need for friendship with others can hinder a manager. Reviewers vary in their assessments of the state of this theory. Some rather positive assessments contrast with others that focus only brief atten-tion on it (Pinder, 2008) or criticize it harshly. Locke and Henne (1986) condemned the body of research on the theory as chaotic. Miner (2005), however, evaluates the theory as high on validity and usefulness, and 276 Understanding and Managing Public Organizations importance. Miner points out that McClelland’s work had a variety of infl u-ences on managerial development practices, including such procedures as “competency modelling.” McClelland ’s theory adds another important element to a well-developed perspective on motivation. Individuals vary in the general level and pattern of internal motivation toward achievement and excellence that they bring to work settings. These differences suggest the importance of employee selection in determining the level of motivation in an organiza-tion, but also the importance of designing conditions to take advantage of these patterns of motivation. Adams: Equity Theory. J. Stacy Adams (1965) argued that a sense of equity in contributions and rewards has a major influence on work behaviors. A sense of inequity brings discomfort, and people therefore act to reduce or avoid it. They assess the balance between their inputs to an organiza-tion and the outcomes or rewards they receive from it, and they perceive inequity if this balance differs from the balance experienced by other employees. For example, if another person and I receive the same salary, recognition, and other rewards, yet I feel that I make a superior contribu-tion by working harder, producing more, or having more experience, I will perceive a state of inequity. Conversely, if the other person makes superior inputs but gets lower rewards than I get, I will perceive inequity in the opposite sense; I will feel overcompensated. In either case, according to Adams, a person tries to eliminate such inequity. If people feel overcompensated, they may try to increase their inputs or reduce their outcomes to redress the inequity. If they feel under-compensated, they will do the opposite, slowing down or reducing their contributions. Adams advanced specific propositions about how workers react that depend on factors such as whether they receive hourly pay or are paid according to their rate of production. For example, he predicted that if workers are overpaid on an hourly basis, they will produce more per hour, to reduce the feeling that they are overcompensated. If they are overpaid on a piece-rate basis, however, they will slow down, to avoid mak-ing more money than other workers. These sorts of predictions have received some confirmation in labora-tory experiments. The theory proves difficult to apply in real work settings, however, because it is hard to measure and assess inequity, and some of the concepts in the theory are ambiguous (Miner, 2005). People vary in their sensitivity to inequity, and they may vary widely in how they react to the same conditions. Understanding People: Motivation and Motivation Theory 277 Regardless of the success of this particular theory, equity in contribu-tions and rewards figures very importantly in management. As described later, more recent models of motivation include perceptions about equity as important components. Equity issues also play a role in debates about civil service reforms and performance-based pay plans in the public sector. Governments at all levels in the United States and in other countries have tried to adopt performance-based pay plans. Supporters of such plans have often cited equity principles akin to those stressed in this theory. They have argued that people who perform better than others but receive no bet-ter pay perceive inequity and experience a loss of morale and motivation, and that the highly structured pay and reward systems in government tend to create such situations. The more recently popular alternative involves broadbanding or paybanding systems. In these systems, a larger number of pay grades and pay steps within those grades are collapsed into broader bands or categories of pay levels. Better performers can be more rapidly moved upward in pay within these bands, rather than having to go through the previous, more elaborate set of grades and steps one at a time. People promoting and designing these plans also point to pay equity as a major justification for such plans. For example, the Internal Revenue Service implemented a carefully developed paybanding system for their middle managers, in part because some of these managers had commented in focus group sessions that they felt demoralized when they worked and tried very hard but received the same pay raises as other managers who did so little that they were “barely breathing” (Thompson and Rainey, 2003). Equity theory has influenced a stream of research on justice in orga-nizations (Greenberg and Cropanzano, 2001). This research examines employees’ perceptions of two types of justice in organizations. Distributive justice in organizations concerns the fairness and equity in distribution of rewards and resources. Procedural justice concerns the fairness with which people feel they and others are treated in organizational processes, such as decision making that affects them, layoffs, or disciplinary actions. For example, are they given a chance to have hearings about such decisions? In general, researchers have found that perceptions of higher levels of justice in organizations tend to relate to positive work-related attitudes such as work satisfaction and satisfaction with supervision and leader-ship. Kurland and Egan (1999) compared perceptions of organizational justice on the part of public employees in two city agencies to those of employees in seven business firms. The public employees perceived lower levels of procedural and distributive justice than the private employees did. For the public employees, higher levels of perceived distributive and 278 Understanding and Managing Public Organizations procedural justice were related to higher satisfaction with supervisors. For the private employees, only higher levels of procedural justice were related to higher satisfaction with supervisors. Lee and Shin (2000), con-versely, compared employees in public and private R&D organizations in Korea and found no differences between the two groups in perceptions of procedural justice, but the public employees perceived less distributive justice in relation to pay. For most managers, trying to ensure that people feel they are rewarded fairly in comparison to others is a major responsibility and challenge. A manager often fi nds it easier to rely heavily on the most energetic and competent people than to struggle with the problem of dealing with less capable or less enthusiastic ones. If a manager cannot or does not appropri-ately reward those on whom he or she places heavier burdens, these more capable people can become frustrated. Managers in government organi-zations commonly complain that the highly structured reward systems in government aggravate this problem. In work groups and team-based activi-ties, too, the problem of a team member’s not contributing as well as others can raise tensions. Many of the motivational techniques described later in this chapter, and the leadership and cultural issues discussed in the next chapter, pertain to the challenge of maintaining equity in the work setting. Process Theories Process theories emphasize how the motivational process works. They describe how goals, values, needs, or rewards operate in conjunction with other factors to determine motivation. The content factors—the particular needs, rewards, and so on—are not specified in the theories themselves. Expectancy Theory. Expectancy theory states that an individual considering an action sums up the values of all the outcomes that will result from the action, with each outcome weighted by the probability of its occurrence. The higher the probability of good outcomes and the lower the probability of bad ones, the stronger the motivation to perform the action. In other words, the theory draws on the classic utilitarian idea that people will do what they see as most likely to result in the most good and the least bad. Although the theory draws on classic utilitarian ideas, it assumed an important role in contemporary OB theory. Vroom (1964) stated the theory formally, with algebraic formulas (see Figure 9.1 ). The formula expresses the following idea: the force acting on an individual and causing him or her to work at a particular level of effort (or to choose to engage Understanding People: Motivation and Motivation Theory 279 in a particular activity) is a function of the sum of the products of the per-ceived desirability of the outcomes associated with working at that level (or the valences) and the expectancies for the outcomes. Expectancies are the person’s estimates of the probability that the expected outcomes will follow from working at a particular level. In other words, multiply the value (posi-tive or negative) of each outcome by the expectancy (perceived probabil-ity) that it will occur, and sum these products for all the outcomes. A higher sum reflects higher expectancies for more positively valued outcomes and should predict higher motivation. FIGURE 9.1. FORMULATIONS OF EXPECTANCY THEORY A FORMULATION SIMILAR TO VROOM’S EARLY VERSION F i = ∑ (E ij V j ) where F = the force acting on an individual to perform act i E = the expectancy, or perceived probability, that act i will lead to outcome j V = the valence of outcome j and V j = ∑ (V kI jk ) where V = the valence of outcome j I = the instrumentality of outcome j for the attainment of outcome k