In modern society, motivation is still considered a contentious issue within management circles. The key for managers is to understand and utilise the numerous motivational factors that affect employees within the workplace. Financial rewards are regarded as a key factor in workplace motivation; however, additional factors such as work appreciation, variety, and security remain just as important. These factors can best be described as work outcomes which are a result of employee inputs. Adams’ equity theory identifies both inputs and outcomes as the two primary components in the employee-employer exchange, Kinicki & Kreitner (2007, p. 242).
An organisation’s employee turnover does not solely depend on the input-to-output ratio alone – it also depends on the comparison between the input-to-
output ratio of employees fulfilling a similar position, Chapman (2007). An explanation of employee inputs and outputs will be used to identify the perceived equity or inequity of an employee within Domino’s. This will provide a better understanding of how Adams’ theory affects employee turnover.
The key factor in retaining employees is to ensure that there is substantial scope for job enrichment. The job characteristics model can assist in ensuring job enrichment through the five core job characteristics. These characteristics can be used to assess the motivating potential score (MPS) formula of an organisation. This formula and its individual values will be discussed to identify the possible outcomes for employees within Domino’s.
In conclusion, Vroom’s expectancy theory will be used to explain Rob Cecere’s decision to remain at Domino’s. Vroom’s theory suggests that motivation boils down to the decision of how much effort to exert in a specific task situation, Kinicki and Kreitner (2007, p. 247). This is in contrast to the process-focused model of Adams’ equity theory.
ADAMS’ EQUITY THEORY
The equity theory of motivation is based on the fact that people are motivated first to achieve and then to maintain a sense of equity. Equity refers to the allocation of rewards in direct parity to the contribution of each employee to the organisation. Within Domino’s, each employee perceives their contribution in differing levels. For example, pizza-makers and telephone operators provide similar inputs as delivery drivers; however, the delivery drivers receive less financial reward creating inequity.
Mcshane and Travaglione (2007, p. 154) suggest that employees will experience an emotional tension when they perceive inequities, and, when sufficiently strong, the tension motivates them to reduce the inequities. There are numerous methods that an employee can employ to correct inequity feelings. These include reducing inputs, increasing outcomes, changing perceptions, or changing the comparison other. Ultimately, if these methods do not obtain the desired outcomes, an employee will become de-motivated and may quit their occupation.
The motivation of each employee will also depend on the manner in which the organisation is managed. In Domino’s case, the store manager is considered as the force multiplier in terms of motivating, administering and retaining the casual employees, Ryan (2007, p. 8). As stated by Kinicki & Kreitner (2007, p. 199), “Without a steady boss, workers there (Domino’s)…….had a turnover rate as high as 300% a year”. This indicates that previous store managers had experienced under-reward inequity creating a high turnover rate in employees. In contrast to Adams’ equity theory, the job characteristics model (JCM) and its core dimensions measure the motivating potential of jobs through the use of a mathematical formula (MPS).
JCM CORE DIMENSIONS AND MPS FROMULA
The JCM argues that the motivation to work is a function of three critical psychological states—experienced meaningfulness of the work, experienced responsibility for outcomes of the work, and knowledge of the actual results of the work activities. These three critical psychological states, in turn, are determined by five job characteristics—skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback, Renn and Vandenberg (1995, pp.279-301).
These five core dimensions can be utilised to determine the motivating potential score within a specific occupation. Anderson and Rungtusanatham (1996, p. 362) suggest that a job’s ‘motivating potential’ can be enhanced by increasing the level of any of the core job characteristics; at the same time, if a job scores low on autonomy, feedback, or the weighted sum of skill variety, task identity, and task significance, then the resulting MPS would be relatively low.
Within Domino’s the skill variety for employees can be calculated as being within the low-range at a value of 2. This is due to the simple and sometimes repetitive nature of working in the fast food industry. To increase the skill variety for employees, the store manager can implement a job enrichment scheme that is designed to reverse the effects of tasks that are repetitive requiring little autonomy. Some of these effects are boredom, lack of flexibility, and employee dissatisfaction, Fourman and Jones (1997).
In addition to skill variety, task identity can also be viewed as having a low MPS value of 2. There are several different positions within Domino’s and although each position has numerous tasks, these tasks are designed to be a small part of the bigger picture. As a result, pizza makers will create the product and drivers will deliver the product. Therefore, the majority of employees cannot complete the work that they begin.
The task significance associated with Domino’s employees can be identified as having a mid-range value of 3. The best explanation for this value is that if the product is not prepared or delivered on time, the long term profitability of the organisation will be affected. This can create less demand for the product and ultimately decrease employee motivation due to less working hours.
Another job characteristic that has a low MPS value of 2 is autonomy. Ideally, the presence of autonomy in the workforce can lead to the psychological state of felt responsibility for outcomes, resulting in high job satisfaction, Morgensen and Campion (2003, p. 423). However, the nature of the tasks associated with Domino’s employees, are so generic and simple that there is little scope for employee initiative which creates dissatisfaction.
Dissatisfied employees can lead to a decrease in motivation and this can be counter-productive. This can be rectified by providing regular feedback on employee performance. Within Domino’s, feedback can be viewed as having a mid-to-low MPS value of 3. This is due to the casual basis of the majority of employees within the workplace and the resultant high employee turnover, Johnston (1992, p. 6).
In all five core job characteristics, Domino’s registers low MPS values. Consequently, the total MPS value will also be low indicating a serious need for restructuring and retraining within Domino’s to motivate its employees. Another issue that can be considered is the method in which motivation is quantifiably measured. The validity of the MPS formula is dependant on numerous factors and may not be totally accurate for an organisation such as Domino’s. As a result, alternative theories can provide greater insight into employee motivation.
VROOM’S EXPECTANCY THEORY
Expectancy theory provides a general framework for assessing, interpreting, and evaluating employee behaviour in learning, decision-making, attitude formation, and motivation, Chen and Lou (2002). According to Thierry and Van Eerde (1996, p. 576) the motivational force for a behaviour, action, or task is a function of three distinct perceptions: expectancy, instrumentality, and valence.
Rob Cecere’s expectancy affected his decision to remain at Domino’s in two ways. Initially, Rob expected that his efforts would lead to a good performance due to his expectancy perception, Becker and Landy (1990, pp. 1-3). With greater experience, Rob’s instrumentality perception would have allowed him to observe that good performance would lead to desired outcomes. Hence, the instrumentality perceived by Rob created the belief that if he does meet performance expectation, he could receive a greater reward.
Through promotions, pay increases, and bonuses, the outcome valences can be viewed as positive in nature. Rob’s decision to remain at Domino’s suggests that his perceived outcomes are consistent with his values and needs.
As discussed, Adams’ equity theory is built-on the belief that employees become de-motivated, both in relation to their job and their employer, if they feel as though their inputs are greater than the outputs. In Domino’s case, employee inputs have consistently outweighed the outputs creating under-reward inequity. This has ultimately increased employee turnover at all levels and created shortfalls in manpower.
In contrast to Adams’ theory, the JCM and its core dimensions utilise the MPS formula to provide a numerical figure to measure motivation. The overall MPS value for Domino’s provided a low-range figure. This suggests that employee motivation is low due to the way in which the workplace is structured and the relatively poorly trained managers. However, the MPS formula can be viewed as slightly inaccurate due to its reliance on specific job characteristics and does not consider key aspects associated with Domino’s pizza.
Vroom’s expectancy theory suggests that the relationship between people’s behaviour at work and their goals are not as simple as first represented in other motivational theories. The expectancy theory is based on three employee beliefs in expectancy, instrumentality and valence. Rob Cecere decided to remain at Domino’s due to his perceived expectancy. This expectancy relied on his efforts ultimately leading to good performance and positive outcomes. These outcomes provided Rob Cecere with promotional opportunities, pay bonuses, and investment options. As a result, Rob’s beliefs created a motivational force that ensured job satisfaction and career longevity.
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