YESTERDAY’S DESIRES BECOME TODAY’S APPETITE
THE MYTHS OF MOTIVATION and JOB SATISFACTION
Musings on Human Resource Management
In today’s world, it is naive to assume that people work primarily to achieve professional fulfilment and job satisfaction.
As a matter of fact, they seem to work because what they get "on the job" enables them to achieve whatever they want to accomplish "off the job".
On the job, they have to “produce” - there is no time for any enjoyment.
Both Competition and Compensation levels are higher than ever before and the chief casualties are traditional so-called motivators like “job satisfaction”.
Today’s typical professional may no longer have an undivided loyalty and commitment towards his job.
Therefore, it is incorrect to believe that an employee’s work life is spent entirely in the pursuit of job satisfaction.
Perhaps, he or she is not actively seeking job satisfaction as much as aspiring towards other important needs and considerations like own career progression, standard of living, quality of life, material gain and personal gratification
For most people their job is a means to achieving their desired ends.
One of the typical propositions held by most people connected with HR is that job satisfaction is positively associated with job performance.
Does a “satisfied” employee always “produce” more?
It may be wrong to presume and take for granted a fictitious linkage between job satisfaction and employee productivity in all cases.
In some cases, one may be shocked to find that while the so-called “satisfaction” was increasing, the productivity of the individual was declining.
The reason behind this is the mistaken concept that a satisfied employee will devote his dedicated attention to his work.
A “satisfied” or “happy” employee may begin to develop an approach of self-complacency, and an overall sense of well-being, and consequently, his temperament may become one of ignorant submission and passivity rather than one of positive action and active involvement.
As a result, it is not too uncommon to see that the productivity of the employee does not always closely follow his upward satisfaction curve.
Another important aspect of this situation is the rate of constructive conflict.
If properly used and suggestively applied in the organizational context, the managerial implantation of a limited degree of constructive conflict does indeed shake these smug people and “satisfied” employees out of their lethargy and enables them to achieve a certain individuality of action.
Viewed from the perspective of the organization the key issue is not having satisfied, happy employees but maximizing productivity, the bottom line being profit and achieving organisational goals.
With changing value systems, it may be wrong to believe that increased satisfaction means increased motivation as propounded by various conventional theories of motivation ( Maslow’s Need Hierarchy, for example).
Here it is vital to understand that “need” comprises two components:
“Appetite” and “Desire”.
Appetite corresponds to that part of each hierarchical level of need, the non-satisfaction of which can be expected to normally inhibit or deter progress up the hierarchy of needs.
Desire corresponds with the greedy, relatively unjustified part of each hierarchical level of need, the satisfaction of which should not be viewed as necessary prerequisite.
With changing values, and by habit and custom, yesterday’s desires become today’s appetite. The effect of extrinsic “motivational techniques” like job satisfaction will eventually be to increase need satisfaction threshold limits and draw more energies towards the satisfaction of desires.The myth of job satisfaction exerts severe pressures upon both the employer and the employee.
The employer convinces himself that he must provide satisfaction on the job and the employee rationalizes his behaviour and anticipates satisfaction.
In this two-faceted pressure approach, the entire organization suffers from unwanted conflicts, unfulfilled expectations, and unkept promises.
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.