The Carrot and the Stick Approach
By: Jonathan Farrington
By: Jonathan Farrington
Professor Frederick Hertzberg has promoted a theory of motivation which goes a long way forward from the original theory of “Carrot and Stick", or indeed its extension ‘The Reward Theory’, still used by many managers and Companies to try and exhort greater efforts from their staff.
It stems from two-statements:-
- What makes people happy and motivated at work, is what they do.
- What makes people unhappy and demotivated at work, is the situation in which they do it.
Managers are going to have to become familiar with three new letters that are going to become increasingly important in the management of people in the future. The three letters are:-
Q.W.L. - standing for ‘The Quality Of Work Life’
Managers, who want to motivate their staff, are going to have to improve their Q.W.L.
This starts by defining people as they are, not as we want them to be. Many workers who we have assumed to have the characteristics which we wanted them to have are now saying: - “We are not like that. Treat me the way I am, not the way you believe me to be".
So the big revolution managers are going to have to face is that of identifying the needs of the people - not their own projected needs.
The first set of needs defined by Hertzberg is called Hygiene Needs and deal with a person’s relationship with the environment. They consist of how people are treated at work.
- Do you pay them well?
- Good working conditions?
- Human relations - the nature and quality of their supervision.
- The nature of the Company’s policies and administration.
They are called Hygiene Factors, because if the factors are right, they prevent people from being dissatisfied in their working environment, so they keep people from being unhappy and that is their function - but they do not motivate.
One form of hygiene that has long been practised is to deny people fair treatment at the beginning. For example:-
“I am not going to pay you as much as the going rate, but prove you can do the job, and I will make it up to you later".
The trouble is that you can never make it up. That lack of fair treatment at the beginning will never be forgotten and normally leads to a revenge psychology on the part of the employee. In other words, they will get back at you later because they cannot forget the remembered pain. The principle here is very simple - Treat people fairly, because it is in your own and their best interests.
The other set of needs of people is caused by the fact that they are human beings and therefore, not only do they not want to hurt, so treat them well (Hygiene), but they want to do something. They want to grow and show what they can do. They want to be able to say at the end of the work experience not that they vegetated, but that they are more than they were (know more, can do more and, therefore are more) and the only way to measure this by what they have done in that experience.
They are therefore asking these questions:-
- Do I achieve? Am I contributing?
- Am I given increased responsibility?
- Am I advancing and growing?
- Is what I do meaningful and significant? Is its interesting?
- Is my ability recognised?
These are The Motivators. These are the variables that managers can use to motivate people, because people, who want to do something, want to do it - that’s motivation.
Referring back to carrot and the stick, Hertzberg suggests that anyone can be made to do anything, so long as they are threatened or bribed enough, but do they want to do something? The answer is no.
In other words, people can be got to move by what he calls ‘K.I.T.A.’ - Kick in the Arse - and if more movement is needed, more K.I.T.A. is needed. K.I.T.A. can either be:-
Positive - Offering people a reward, bonus or an incentive,
Negative - Threatening them.
By the use of K.I.T.A. then, people can be got to move but unless they want to do a good job because they want to do a good job, they are not motivated.
One of the other problems about applying K.I.T.A. is that it normally causes a short term improvement in productivity, at the cost of a long term decrease in the average days work, because a reward once given becomes a right. So if we want to talk about motivated performance, we have got to talk about -
Recognition for achievement
Meaningful and interesting work
Growth and development
In other words, the quality of the human experience at work.
A point that Hertzberg insists is vital is that the Motivators are not more important than the Hygiene Factors each of them has to be given equal importance, because each of them is vital if motivation is going to be strong.
One of the most important variables in creating motivation is training, because motivation is a function of ability and the opportunity to use that ability. So the more ability you can give people by training them, the more they will want to do. One problem that has been very evident in industry is the lack of the second factors in the equation - that of opportunity - and Hertzberg has, therefore, promoted the Job Enrichment Movement.
So, what should a job contain? :-
- A range of responsibilities and activities to keep a person interested.
- Areas of growth, since all jobs should be learning experiences.
- Direct feedback, since how a person is doing should not be dependant upon someone else telling them - they should be able to see for themselves.
- The responsibility for checking one’s own quality, because that responsibility cannot be delegated to a control system.
- Direct communication between that person and the people they need to communicate with, not via supervisors or managers.
Herzberg suggests that the situation will improve and productivity will improve when management is prepared to say:-
“It is our fault. We didn’t know how to manage people well we just knew how to hurt them well. We didn’t respect them enough or challenge them enough or give them enough satisfaction".
When Managers are prepared to say that, then a new understanding will come.