Employee motivation in the workplace

The job of a manager in the workplace is to get things done through employees. To do this the manager should be able to motivate employees. But that’s easier said than done! Motivation practice and theory are difficult subjects, touching on several disciplines.

In spite of enormous research, basic as well as applied, the subject of motivation is not clearly understood and more often than not poorly practiced. To understand motivation one must understand human nature itself. And there lies the problem!

Human nature can be very simple, yet very complex too. An understanding and appreciation of this is a prerequisite to effective employee motivation in the workplace and therefore effective management and leadership.

Our articles on motivation theory and practice concentrate on various theories regarding human nature in general and motivation in particular. Included are articles on the practical aspects of motivation in the workplace and the research that has been undertaken in this field, notably by Douglas McGregor (theory y), Frederick Herzberg (two factor motivation hygiene theory,) Abraham Maslow (theory z, hierarchy of needs), Elton Mayo (Hawthorne Experiments) Chris Argyris Rensis Likert and David McClelland (achievement motivation.)

Why study and apply employee motivation principles?

Quite apart from the benefit and moral value of an altruistic approach to treating colleagues as human beings and respecting human dignity in all its forms, research and observations show that well motivated employees are more productive and creative. The inverse also holds true. The schematic below indicates the potential contribution the practical application of the principles this paper has on reducing work content in the organization.

Motivation is the key to performance improvement

There is an old saying you can take a horse to the water but you cannot force it to drink; it will drink only if it’s thirsty – so with people. They will do what they want to do or otherwise motivated to do. Whether it is to excel on the workshop floor or in the ‘ivory tower’ they must be motivated or driven to it, either by themselves or through external stimulus.

Are they born with the self-motivation or drive? Yes and no. If no, they can be motivated, for motivation is a skill which can and must be learnt. This is essential for any business to survive and succeed.

Performance is considered to be a function of ability and motivation, thus:

Job performance =f(ability)(motivation)

Ability in turn depends on education, experience and training and its improvement is a slow and long process. On the other hand motivation can be improved quickly. There are many options and an uninitiated manager may not even know where to start. As a guideline, there are broadly seven strategies for motivation.

These are the basic strategies, though the mix in the final ‘recipe’ will vary from workplace situation to situation. Essentially, there is a gap between an individuals actual state and some desired state and the manager tries to reduce this gap.

Motivation is, in effect, a means to reduce and manipulate this gap. It is inducing others in a specific way towards goals specifically stated by the motivator. Naturally, these goals as also the motivation system must conform to the corporate policy of the organization. The motivational system must be tailored to the situation and to the organization.

In one of the most elaborate studies on employee motivation, involving 31,000 men and 13,000 women, the Minneapolis Gas Company sought to determine what their potential employees desire most from a job. This study was carried out during a 20 year period from 1945 to 1965 and was quite revealing. The ratings for the various factors differed only slightly between men and women, but both groups considered security as the highest rated factor. The next three factors were;

  • advancement
  • type of work
  • company – proud to work for

Surprisingly, factors such as pay, benefits and working conditions were given a low rating by both groups. So after all, and contrary to common belief, money is not the prime motivator. (Though this should not be regarded as a signal to reward employees poorly or unfairly.)

Comments? Join us at {EDC Developer}

Anayansi Gamboa, MPM, an EDC Developer Consultant and clinical programmer for the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industry with more than 13 years of experience.

Available for short-term contracts or ad-hoc requests. See my specialties section (Oracle, SQL Server, EDC Inform, EDC Rave, OpenClinica, SAS and other CDM tools)

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From Non-SAS Programmer to SAS Programmer Part II

Previously, we wrote about how you can become a SAS Programmer with little or no programming background.

Today, I want to share a new link where you can download SAS Studio for free and practice. I have to give a thank to Andrew from statskom for the tip. Visit his blog for more SAS tips.

Here is a quick step on what you need in order to use the SAS University version for free provided by SAS:

1- Create a SAS profile and select the environment based on your operating system in order to download the SAS® University Edition. I  chose Oracle VirtualBox. The options available are: Oracle VirtualBox in Windows, Macintosh, and Linux operating environments.

2- You will receive an email where you can you download your SAS edition as per your selected environment on step 1. Click the link. It could take up to an hour for the entire program to download.

SAS University Edition

3-Go to https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads to install the OracleVirtualBox.

4-Add the SAS University Edition vApp downloaded on step 2 to VirtualBox step 3.

OracleVM

5-Create a folder for your data and results.

6- Start the SAS University Edition vApp

7-Open the SAS University Edition by opening your web browser and typing  http://localhost:10080. From the the SAS University Edition: Information Center, click Start SAS Studio.

There you have it! You have now access to SAS and can start practicing your new programming language.

anayansigamboa sas studio anayansigamboa sas studio anayansigamboa sas studio anayansigamboa sas studio

For more information about the SAS University Edition, see the FAQs and videos at http://support.sas.com/software/products/university-edition/index.html.

For Data Management and EDC training, please contact RA eClinical Solutions.

Anayansi Gamboa has an extensive background in clinical data management as well as experience with different EDC systems including Oracle InForm, InForm Architect, Central Designer, CIS, Clintrial, Medidata Rave, Central Coding, OpenClinica, Open Source and Oracle Clinica.

Disclaimer: The legal entity on this blog is registered as Doing Business As (DBA) – Trade Name – Fictitious Name – Assumed Name as “GAMBOA”.

Marketing without Research

The topic of marketing research is an excellent place to start learning about marketing. A marketing campaign is only as good as the research that backs it up.
Consider the case of Coca Cola introducing “New Coke”, replacing their traditional formula. The product caused such a sensation that television programs were interrupted to tell consumers.

My question to you all is this? Why did New Coke fail so miserably? What was wrong with the research that Coke did before they introduced the product ?

Focus groups are still very popular today when doing initial marketing research. I have run focus groups and participated in many.

I remember when my marketing professor in my MBA program did some consulting for the name for a new drink. The two names that he did focus group research on were “Rattlesnake Cooler” and “Cactus Cooler.” I am sure you all know Cactus Cooler now, and it is a very successful product.

anayansi gamboa Cactus Cooler

I think one of the things researchers did was a focus group. The results of the focus group were much more negative than expected so the researchers did a different survey. The results of that survey were negative, but not as much as the focus group. They already knew what they were going to end up doing and they didn’t listen to what the surveys said. With such a common product as Coke, you have to be careful with changes. They didn’t listen to what their consumers were telling them.

Think that when a mega-company like Coca Coke disregards focus group results, it shows that they really care about the profits they’re after and not keeping loyal customers. Part of the marketing department’s job is not to create the thirst for Coke, but to create the desire for Coke over another soft drink. The whole point of using a focus group should be to get a handle on what the public wants, not what the company wants the public to drink.

According to the text, “companies can conduct their own marketing research or hire other companies to do it for them. Good marketing research is characterized by the scientific method, creativity, multiple research methods, accurate model building, cost-benefit analysis, healthy skepticism, and an ethical focus.” A perfect example of this is to remember the part in the movie “Daddy Day Care” where Eddie Murphy’s character is responsible for marketing cereal to kids. What he does is holds a focus group for the kids to see if they like the cereal. Focus groups are great if researchers are willing to listen to the people they are tying to sell to.

That is an excellent point. If the people who hired the focus group professionals, they need to be prepared to listen to the results. Too often, company executives or others in the company have “pet projects” that they want to see succeed no matter what the cost. There are many cases where marketers or other high level people did not listen to what data the focus group produced.

This is a fatal mistake.

This is one reason why companies are outsourcing a lot of marketing functions because everything is so specialized. Rather than having a large internal marketing force, companies will often outsource focus groups or other research to ensure that the results are unbiased. Of course, if the company execs don’t listen, the research is wasted.

What did the focus group concentrate on?

Comments? Join us at {EDC Developer}

Available for short-term contracts or ad-hoc requests. See my specialties section (Oracle, SQL Server, EDC Inform, EDC Rave, OpenClinica, SAS and other CDM tools)