Purpose: To deepen your understanding of theories and principles of motivation by conducting research to identify and assess the motivational strategies and methods of a specific organization.
Assignment Overview: All organizations rely on employee motivation in order to achieve organizational goals. Because of the central impact of employee motivation on organizational productivity and effectiveness, firms often go to great lengths in order to motivate and incentivize their employees. However, organizations’ motivational strategies and methods vary widely. This assignment provides you with an opportunity to explore in-depth the motivational strategies and methods of a particular organization, and analyze their effectiveness through the lens of motivation theory.
Instructions: In this assignment, you will select a publicly traded organization to analyze. You will then conduct research on the firm to gather information about the organization’s motivational strategies and methods. Focusing on 3 or 4 specific aspects of the firm’s motivational strategy in combination with the nature of the work itself, you will analyze and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s motivational approach by drawing on existing theories of motivation. Finally, informed by theory, you will make specific recommendations for how the organization’s motivational strategy could be improved.
Examples of Observable Components of Company Motivation Strategy
Compensation (pay, bonuses, raises, company expense accounts, other incentives, etc.) Benefits (vacation, insurance, childcare, club memberships, retirement, etc.)
Organizational Culture (organizational mission and vision, larger sense of purpose, people-oriented, team-oriented, competitive, etc.) Training & Development (learning and growth opportunities, mentorship, paid training & degrees, advancement opportunities, personal development, etc.)
Assignment Guidelines: This paper will be written in the form of a detailed research paper. The paper should be 4-5 pages in length (not including extra pages for your title page and references list), single-spaced, 10-12 pt. font, Microsoft Word format. The paper should include the key elements listed below. This assignment will be worth 12.5% of the total course grade, and is due electronically to the D2L Dropbox on Monday, September 29. A rough draft is also due in class on Friday, September 26 (bring a hardcopy).
Grading: Generally speaking, your paper will be assessed on the following criteria:
• Company profile and background (10%)
• Description of motivation components – 3 or 4 (15%)
• Analysis of motivation strategy including support of ideas and application of theory (50%)
• Conclusions and recommendations (15%)
• Overall presentation, organization and quality of writing (10%)
Motivation Analysis Paper Elements
Your paper needs to include:
1. Title page
2. Company Profile: Brief identification and introduction of the company you have chosen to analyze. Describe the company and its industry in your own words. Suggestions of items you may want to include are:
a. Company Mission Statement* and a discussion of its role in motivating the organization:
b. Brief industry analysis* and a short discussion of how it drives competition for all companies in the industry:
c. Briefly identify what the company needs from its employees in order to achieve its goals*:
3. Company Background and Statistics: Overview of the relative size of the organization and how it provides goods and services. There should also be a review of its competitive situation including the number and relative size of key competitors and any trends in the marketplace that could have an impact on its motivation strategies. Suggestions include:
a. Major product/service offerings*:
b. Discussion of the type of work performed to provide goods and services*:
c. Number of employees*:
d. Annual Sales Revenue*:
e. Annual Income (Earnings)*:
f. Competitive Situation*:
4. Observable Components of Company Motivation Strategy: Using the “Observable Components” categories listed above (as well as class discussion and readings), identify and discuss 3 or 4 key components of the organization’s motivational strategy and methods that you believe influence the effort and quality of work that employees put forth (see Helpful Hints).
a. Component 1 (Briefly describe the component) *:
b. Component 2 (Briefly describe the component) *:
c. Component 3 (Briefly describe the component) *:
d. Optional Component 4 (Briefly describe the component) *:
5. Analysis of Company Motivation Strategy: In this section, you will analyze the overall impact of the motivation strategy at your chosen organization. Your challenge is to identify the theory (or theories) of motivation that best explain the firm’s approach to motivating its employees. You must then identify the strengths and weaknesses of its overall strategy (some components may be more effective/ineffective than others; some may conflict with one another). Finally, suggest improvements to the organization’s motivational strategy and methods. NOTE: THIS SECTION IS WORTH THE MOST POINTS IN THE PAPER.
a. State what theory or theories best explain the organization’s motivation approach. Define the theory and explain in detail how it relates to the company’s approach*:
i. Component 1 link to theory*:
ii. Component 2 link to theory*:
iii. Component 3 link to theory*:
iv. Component 4 link to theory*:
b. What are the strengths of the organization’s motivation strategy? (Identify 3-4 strengths, and explain why they are strengths in terms of their positive impact on employee performance. Be sure to link your analysis to theory)
i. Strength 1: Why is this a strength, how does it positively impact employee motivation and performance? Provide support from motivation theory and a business example.
ii. Strength 2: Why is this a strength, how does it positively impact employee motivation and performance? Provide support from motivation theory and a business example.
iii. Strength 3: Why is this a strength, how does it positively impact employee motivation and performance? Provide support from motivation theory and a business example.
iv. Strength 4: Why is this a strength, how does it positively impact employee motivation and performance? Provide support from motivation theory and a business example.
c. What are the weaknesses of the organization’s motivation strategy? (Identify 2-3 potential weaknesses, and explain why they are weaknesses in terms of their negative or negligible impact on employee performance. Be sure to link your analysis to theory)
i. Weaknesses 1: Why this is a weakness, why does it have a negative or negligible impact on employee performance? Provide support from motivation theory and a business example.
ii. Weaknesses 2: Why this is a weakness, why does it have a negative or negligible impact on employee performance? Provide support from motivation theory and a business example.
iii. Weaknesses 3: Why this is a weakness, why does it have a negative or negligible impact on employee performance? Provide support from motivation theory and a business example.
d. Suggest 2-3 improvements to the organization’s motivation strategy. Draw explicitly on motivation theory and best practices from other companies.
i. Recommendation 1. Based on motivation theory, how would this help?
ii. Recommendation 2. Based on motivation theory, how would this help?
iii. Recommendation 3. Based on motivation theory, how would this help?
6. Summary and Conclusion: In this section, you should briefly summarize your main points and share brief personal observations about what you have learned from your research and the completion of this assignment. This is a chance for you to reflect on the process and your “take-aways” from this assignment.
a. Briefly summarize 3-5 main and most important points. This is your chance to re-emphasize the content that you want me to remember about this outline.
b. State your conclusion: What is the key message you want the reader to remember?
c. State your personal “take-away” from this assignment.
7. References page: A References page must be included, formatted in APA style (see Helpful Hints for more info). NOTE: References pages do not count against the 3-4 page total.
*Citation probably needed
1. Conducting Research on Components of Motivation Strategy: The motivation components listed earlier can serve as your guide. However, significant research must be done to SUPPORT your assertions. To do this research, you should search for and read business articles (Business Week, Wall Street Journal, etc.) and other sources about your company. One way to access these articles is through the Business Source Premier (Ebsco) database that can be found on the MSU Library website. There will also be general and specific resources available on a special website: http://guides.lib.montana.edu/BMGT335
Example – For instance, if you were studying SAS’s motivation strategy, you might identify their incredible employee benefits program as a key component of SAS’s motivational strategy. You could support this by citing their on-site childcare program as a business example and then discuss why and how this program (and others) functions to promote employee motivation.
2. Linkages: There should be a thread of discussion throughout the paper in which each section adds value to the overall story and ideas are connected throughout the paper. For example, the company profile and statistics set the framework for what the organization needs from its employees in order to be successful, the motivation strategies you analyze should support those needs. Further, the components of the strategy then become the basis for your theory investigation and discussion of the strengths and weaknesses. Your recommended improvement actions should address the weaknesses identified while taking advantage of the strengths. As you summarize, the key issues you uncovered throughout the paper should be tied together, the take-aways should be based on the discussion in the remainder of the paper, not new data points.
3. Formatting: The paper should be formatted in a way that makes it easy for the reader to follow the development and linkages of the ideas. Using subheadings and other methods of guiding the reader’s attentions to the key messages throughout the paper would be beneficial. Utilizing the BBCC is always a good tool to use to improve your paper prior to submittal, this does require some advance planning in order to address any concerns discovered in this process.
4. References: To do a good job on this research assignment, you will need to consult numerous external sources. Whenever you bring facts, data, theories, or the opinions of others into your paper, the original source must be cited. I have indicated areas where external sources will almost certainly be needed and cited, but there may be others. Whenever you include something in your paper that is not your own original work, it must be cited! In the text of the outline, external sources should be cited using parenthetical citations, e.g., (Lombardi, 2004), and a References page in alphabetical order in APA style must be provided at the end of the paper.
Some notes about sources: DO NOT cite Wikipedia – use original sources! It is fine to use the text as one of your sources, but not as the sole source of theory. Use multiple sources in addition to the text.
The best way to reference others’ ideas in your paper is to summarize or paraphrase the ideas in your own words and provide a citation. For every sentence including ideas that are not your own, you should provide parenthetical citations with the source(s). If you feel the need to provide a direct quotation of others’ words, as written, you must use quotation marks around the material and include the page number in your parenthetical citation. There should be a balance of information from sources and your own words of analysis – too much of either is not good for building a cohesive, well supported argument.
If you are not sure how to format in APA style, please reference an APA Style Guide or visit http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/ or http://citationmachine.net/index2.php?start=&reqstyleid=2&newstyle=2&stylebox=2. Microsoft Word also has functionality to help you format references in APA style.
Below are examples of how various sources would be cited in APA format in your References list:
Academic Journal Article:
Katzenback, J. R., & Santamaria, J. A. (1999). Firing up the front line. Harvard Business Review, 77, 107-117.
Electronic Journal Article:
Lombardi, J. (2004, August). Practical ways brain-based research applies to ESL Learners. The Internet TESL Journal, X. Retrieved September 12, 2004, from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Lombardi-BrainResearch.html.
Mitchell, T. R., & Larson, J. R., Jr. (1987). People in organizations: An introduction to organizational behavior (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Article in a Magazine or Newspaper:
Henry, W. A., III. (1990, April 9). Making the grade in today’s schools. Time, 135, 28-31.
Web Page with No Author:
New child vaccine gets funding boost. (2001). Retrieved March 21, 2001, from http://news.ninemsn.com.au/health/ story_13178.asp
Web Page with No Author, No Year, and No Page Numbers:
Heuristic. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (11th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/heuristic
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