An in-depth Analysis into Staff Motivation and Team Work
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1.1. Background to the Proposed Study
For every organisation, one of the most important assets is the organisation’s human resources (Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman, 2011). Never at any given time had anything else – not even new technological innovations – been so indispensable in the organisation as the employees of the organisation. Without these employees, it is virtually impossible for the organisation to make headway; and even if it does move forward by using technology, this movement is likely to be very slow and uncertain (Nohria, Groysberg and Lee, 2008). Employees do most of the work even in the technology-intensive organisations and as such they need to be regarded and treated with the importance they deserve (Daley, 2012).
However, merely having employees cannot guarantee success on the part of the organisation. Instead, these employees have to be motivated enough to be able to do their work (Nohria, Groysberg and Lee, 2008). In fact the need for organisations to ensure that their employees are highly motivated needs no emphasis (Lundberg, Gudmundson and Andersson, 2009). This is because motivated employees tend to be associated with certain firm-specific advantages that will not be realized or that will disappear if employees are not satisfied (Solomon et al., 2012). Organisations endeavour to enhance their level of production as a way of achieving their operational goals sand objectives. It means that companies will stagnate if employees are not able to perform their duties as required or expected of them (Latham, 2012).
Realizing the importance of employee motivation to their organisations, many managers are indeed taking steps to motivate their employees (Nohria, Groysberg and Lee, 2008). Given the fact that different things motivate different employees, organisations have also endeavoured to find out the specific motivators for employees (Latham, 2012). Among many other ways, employee motivation can be achieved by letting or encouraging the employees to work together in a harmonious way with other employees (Peterson, 2007). Basically, fostering and building teamwork can greatly increase the motivation of employees. This is because every human being has an innate desire to want to be accepted and to belong (Dartey-Baah and Amoako, 2011). In fact one of the most important motivators, according to Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs, is belonging (Udechukwu, 2009).
Therefore, managers need not necessarily look for costly ways of motivating employees as even simple and cost-effective ones such as building teamwork can go a long way in motivating them (Miner, 2015). This does not mean that building and fostering teamwork is cheap and easy. If anything, it is sometimes very hard to achieve. However, it is still a much better and cost-effective alternative to other motivational strategies that organisations usually use (Peterson, 2007). The importance of teamwork is that it makes organisations to achieve even more in terms of output. This is because motivated employees – as a result of being part of a team – are more likely to give their very best, including higher output per unit time compared to employees who are not as motivated and therefore not team players (Lundberg, Gudmundson and Andersson, 2009).
1.2. Research Problem
It is now an established fact that at one of the motivators of – or sources of motivation for – employees is giving the employees an opportunity to develop feelings of belonging and to feel that they are part of a team (Judeh, 2011). Simply put, teamwork can help in fostering of employee motivation. Unfortunately, this remains largely in theory (Bakker, 2009). In practice, it may actually be hard or even impossible for employee motivation to be achieved through building and fostering teamwork. This is especially so given that employees are very different and unique and each one of them may therefore be motivated differently. One employee may be motivated by being made to be part of a team while another by being rewarded (Miner, 2015). The bottom line is that there is very limited support in the literature that building and fostering teamwork at the organisation can result in employee motivation. Even if it does, it remains unknown whether or not such motivation is sustainable.
There has been a different school of thought that has it that motivation leads to teamwork but teamwork does not necessarily lead to motivation (Peterson, 2007). This school of thought argues that when employees are motivated, they tend to become more committed to the achievement of the goals and objectives of the organisation. This in turn makes them to become more willing to work cooperatively with other employees towards the achievement of these goals and objectives (Peterson, 2007. Motivation gets the employees to go out of their way, to come out of their comfort zones, and to become extraordinary individuals capable of pushing themselves further to get tasks done in a shorter time and with the same level of quality (Daley, 2012). Unfortunately, these remain to be just theoretical assumptions because they lack any – or enough – empirical support.
1.3. Study Rationale
In light of the above research problem, it will be important to undertake an empirical study that investigates how employee motivation and teamwork are correlated. In essence, the proposed study is important and worth carrying out because its findings will provide empirical support for whether employee motivation leads to teamwork or teamwork leads to employee motivation. In doing so, the study will be filling a very important gap in the body of knowledge in the areas of employee motivation and teamwork.
1.4. Aim and Objectives of the Study
The main aim of the proposed study will be to undertake a critical and in-depth analysis into employee motivation and teamwork. The study’s objectives will be as outlined below:
1. To ascertain the correlation between employee motivation and teamwork in organisations.
2. To investigate whether or not – and the extent to which – teamwork leads to employee motivation.
3. To determine whether or not – and the extent to which – employee motivation fosters or builds teamwork in an organisation.
1.5. Research Hypotheses
In order to achieve its objectives, this study will have to test the following research hypotheses:
H10: Employee motivation and teamwork in an organisation are positively correlated.
H11: Employee motivation and teamwork are not positively correlated.
H20: Motivated employees are better team players than employees who are not motivated.
H21: Motivated employees are not better team players than employees who are not motivated.
H30: Being part of a team makes employees to become more motivated.
H31: Being part of a team does not make employees to become more motivated.
2. Overview of the Literature on Employee Motivation and Teamwork
2.1. Employee Motivation
One of the subjects that have attracted a lot of attention is that of motivation in general and employee motivation in particular. As a result, there are many theories that attempt to explain employee motivation. However, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is the most widely used when it comes to explaining employee motivation from the point of view of the organisation. All motivational theories attempt to show how people get motivated and the measures that organisations can take to encourage their employees to apply their skills and efforts in more predictive ways (Dartey-Baah and Amoako, 2011). Basically, motivational theories emphasize how organisations can make employees work productively while still meeting their own individual needs (Judeh, 2011).
This approach to motivational theory is best underscored by Maslow’s theory which provides that people are motivated based on their needs (Sadri and Bowen, 2011). As such, they will give their very best at whatever they do as long as they continue perceiving a given need. Until that need is satisfied or met, the motivation will remain. These needs, according to Maslow, are usually met or satisfied in a hierarchical manner with the most important needs (physiological needs) being satisfied first and the less important ones (self-actualization) met last (Udechukwu, 2009).
It has been argued that there is immense evidence to demonstrate that team as well as other measures of employee performance have positive relationship with employee performance (Dyer, 2007). If indeed this is the case, then teamwork is very important to the organisation. Just like employee motivation, teamwork is believed to have very measurable impacts on the performance of an organisation (Peterson, 2007). The common trend is that the more employees of an organisation are willing and able to work together as a team or to become team players the higher the overall output the organisation generates. This is because teamwork increases the output generated by individuals, which translate in higher output for the organisation.
Although it has not been clearly established why employees working as a team tend to be more productive than employee who do not work as a team, it is speculated that teamwork makes individuals to be themselves and to therefore offer their very best (Peterson, 2007). Group dynamics theories have tried to explain this by showing that when people operate from the comfort of a group they tend to exhibit their true selves. This is unlike when they are on their own in which case they may conceal some of their character traits (Dyer, 2007). While working as a team is vey different from working as a group, it is still possible to use group dynamics to understand why working as a team makes individual employees to generate more output per unit time.
2.3. Relationship between Employee Motivation and Teamwork
The relationship between teamwork and employee motivation is an issue that has attracted significant attention among scholars and practitioners. Both employee motivation and teamwork are goals that organisations actively pursue owing to their proven benefits to an organisation (Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman, 2011). As was noted before, Maslow was among the very first theorist to depict the relationship between employee motivation and teamwork.
Although Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is not concerned about teamwork, its provisions indicate that teamwork can be a source of motivation for employees (Sadri and Bowen, 2011). This is because as per the hierarchy of need theory one of the needs employees has is love and/or belonging. Belonging effectively means being part of a team or a caring family (Udechukwu, 2009). This may be a family or group of friends or simply having the management including a person in decision-making process. As long as an employee is made to feel that he/she belongs, the level of motivation of the employee is bound to increase (Miner, 2015). Therefore, teamwork in this respect could be said to be one way through which employee motivation can be fostered.
3. Research Methodology
In every study, the research methodology and methods adopted are usually among the most important aspects of the research. This is because the research methods and methodology have a more direct bearing on the study’s findings and therefore on whether a study achieves it objectives or not (Cohen, Manion and Morrison, 2013). In view of this, the importance of adopting appropriate research methods needs no emphasis. That is why this section enumerates and discusses the various methodological aspects that are to be applied in the proposed study alongside the reasons why they are deemed to be the most appropriate.
3.1. Research Methods
The proposed study will use quantitative research methods. This is because it will be concerned with the investigation of numerical aspects of the phenomenon (Creswell, 2013). The phenomenon is the issue under investigation; and in this case it refers to employee motivation and teamwork and how they are correlated. Like all quantitative studies, the proposed study will be seeking to ascertain the nature of the relationship between the two variables namely employee motivation and teamwork.
The choice of quantitative over qualitative research for the proposed study is informed by the fact that the study will be concerned with numerical aspects of the phenomenon and not descriptive ones (the latter are used best investigated using qualitative research) (Bernard and Bernard, 2012). Moreover, quantitative studies are more suitable when investigating two or more closely related variables (Creswell and Clark, 2011). Since this will be the case in the proposed study, it will be imperative that quantitative research methods be used.
3.2. Research Approach
When choosing the research approach to be followed, researchers usually have the choice between induction and deduction (Bryman and Bell, 2015). This choice is dependent on a number of factors, including the nature or type of research (qualitative or quantitative) and whether the study begins with research questions or research hypotheses (Bryman and Bell, 2015). In the proposed study, the researcher will need to begin with research hypotheses. These hypotheses (as outlined in section 1) will then be tested in order to determine whether they hold true or not when applied to the current phenomenon. Therefore, this study will effectively be using a deductive research approach. This approach entails testing a pre-existing theory to determine its applicability to a new research context or to a new phenomenon (Cohen, Manion and Morrison, 2013). This theory testing is to be undertaken by testing the aforementioned research hypotheses.
The deductive research approach is contrasted from the inductive research approach where the researcher starts with a research questions and ends with a theory (Creswell, 2013).
In the proposed study, however, the theory is already there (as indicated in the research hypotheses) and the work of the researcher will therefore be seeking to ascertain whether this theory is true and applicable in this research context. Other than the fact that this study will be testing an already existing theory, the other reason why a deductive research approach is preferred over the inductive approach is that the former works best with quantitative research (like the proposed study). This is unlike the latter, which works best with qualitative research (Bryman and Bell, 2015).
3.3. Research Philosophy
Every study has underlying assumptions that constitute the research philosophy (Creswell, 2013). The research philosophy is essentially the beliefs and assumptions held by the researcher in undertaking a study. It is a description of the researcher’s beliefs about how the data pertaining to a given phenomenon ought to be collected, analysed, and applied (Creswell, 2013). Therefore, epistemology and doxology were important considerations in the choice of research philosophy.
This study will use positivism as its philosophy. Therefore, the core assumption will be that as long as an assertion can be justified rationally, that assertion can be mathematically proven or is capable of being verified using scientific methods (Bryman and Bell, 2015). Positivism also assumes that natural phenomenon alongside their different relations and properties are the foundation or basis of positive knowledge. As such, the only exclusive source of authoritative knowledge is information that has been obtained from sensory experience and interpreted through logic and reason (Creswell and Clark, 2011). The verified positive data, known as positive facts, which are obtained from the senses, are referred to as empirical evidence (Bernard and Bernard, 2012). Therefore, empiricism is the core basis of positivism.
This philosophy is important for the proposed study because it will be necessary for the researcher to undertake mathematical and scientific tests on the two variables to determine how they are related or the correlation between them. This is especially so given that it has already been established that these two variables (employee motivation and teamwork) are already related in some way. Most important of all, the study will be concerned with the collection and analysis of data in an empirical manner using scientifically proven methods. The emphasis will also be on measuring the relationship between the two variables. This measurement will also have to be done in a very objective manner; and this explains why caution will be exercised to ensure that the researcher does not get involved in the research process except as a facilitator of the research process.
3.4. Research Strategy
In order to narrow down the study and therefore enhance its specificity, this will be a case study of British Airways (BA). BA is chosen as the case study because it is one of the organisations in the UK with a very large number of employees. With such a large number of employees, employee motivation and teamwork are no doubt very important requirements in human resource management. By using the case study as the strategy, the researcher will be able to focus on only one ‘case’ and therefore able to collect a lot of data (Bryman and Bell, 2015).
3.5. Methods of Collecting Data
Data for the study will be collected using questionnaire surveys. Questionnaires will be prepared and then distributed to the selected participants to fill and return. The questions will be derived from the three sets of hypotheses outlined in section 1. Each questionnaire will be divided into two main sections. In the first section will be questions about the participants’ demographic information while the second section will consist of questions designed to gauge the nature of the relationship between employee motivation and teamwork. All the questions will require the respondents to select one or more responses from the multiple choices given. Most of the questions will be in the form of a Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (Strongly Agree) to 5 (Strongly Disagree).
The questionnaires will be hand-prepared and distributed by hand to the selected participants. The respondents will be allowed a period of up to 3 days to read and fill out the questionnaires after which the researcher will collect them. Only those questionnaires with all questions answered will be used in the study. Unfilled or partially filled questionnaires will not be used.
3.5.1. Sample and Sampling
The sample for the study will consist of 100 employees of BA. Although an even larger sample would have been preferred in order to make it more representative, logistical constraints will force the researcher to make do with only 100 participants. Random sampling will be used to arrive at this sample. This will be in order to ensure that the sample will be as diverse as possible. Moreover, adult employees of BA of either gender will be included in the sample. Sampling will take place at the same time that the questionnaires will be distributed. The researcher will visit one of BA branch offices in London and, after obtaining permission, randomly approach employees as they go about their business. They will be informed of the nature and purpose of the study and requested to take part. Those who agree will be given the questionnaire to fill at their own convenient time.
3.6. Data Analysis
The collected primary data will be analysed using a combination of descriptive statistics and regression analysis. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) will be used to facilitate the analysis of the data.
The first thing that would be done is to design the questionnaire, which would adequately measure and address the different variables. Secondly, contact will then be made with the organisation afterwards In order to gain their approval and for me to have access to their emoloyess. Once the questionnaires are ready, they will be sent out to all the employees of the organisation at the same time for easier observations between the variables.
3.8. Ethical Considerations
The main ethical issues to be taken into consideration will be with regard to permissions and protection of participants. With regard to consent, the researcher will ensure that permission is sought and obtained from not just the individual participants but their employers as well. Only if consent is given by BA’s management for its employees to be surveyed will the researcher carry out the surveys. Similarly, only those employees of BA who willingly agree to take part in the study will be surveyed. In order to protect participants from any harm that may come their way as a result of their having taken part the study, their identities will not be revealed at any part of the study and participants also have the right to withdraw from the study at any time. This includes in the final report that will be published. As far as data protection goes, the data collected would be stored on a password protected file of the researchers computer so as to protect the data from getting into the hands of another person and also protect the anonymity of the employees involved.
Bakker, A.B., 2009. Building engagement in the workplace. The peak performing organisation, pp.50-72.
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Bryman, A. and Bell, E., 2015. Business research methods. Oxford University Press, USA.
Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K., 2013. Research methods in education. Routledge.
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