Job Characteristic Model

2.0 Introduction

This chapter is consisted ofa comprehensive literature overview of the theories and terms used in this study. Besides that, This literature review also provide scientific knowledge and logic support to this study. Next, this chapter focuses on motivation and employee empowerment with information from past research, journals and theories related to motivation and employee empowerment. Lastly, this chapter is used to justly plan the scope and direction of this study in the future by reviewing few relevant studies made regarding to employee empowerment and motivation

2.0 Motivation

According to Baron (1991), motivation is define as the internal processes that activates, guides, and maintains behaviour particularly the goal-directed behaviour.Next, Kanfer (1998) defines motivation as the free will element of behaviour andpsychological mechanism controlling the direction, intensity, and persistence of action which does not depends solely to individual differences in ability or overwhelming environmental demands that force action. Some theories that are related to motivation includes Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg motivation theory, Job characteristic model, Expectancy theory and Equity theory.


2.1 Traditional Theories

2.1.1 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

This theory classifies the needs of humans into five hierarchies. Maslow suggested motivation was goal-based and happens after individual’s physiological and basic needs are met.

In terms of motivation, this theory would indicate that although no need is ever fully met, a satisfied need would also no longer motivate an individual (Robbins, 2005). Next, extrinsic job satisfaction is referred to rewards, pay, recognition, promotions, job task, job security and working conditions experienced or received by the employee while intrinsic satisfaction is the feeling of achievement and self-actualization acquired from the job itself (Thomas, 2014). Maslow (1943) described self-actualization as what a person’s need to fulfill dreams at the highest sense of his or her being. Thomas discover that good remuneration alone is not enough to satisfy or motivate employees who are striving to achieve self-actualization eventhough it is a good strategy which can increase productivity in an organizations when applied. Therefore, another study done by Mahazril et al. (2012) suggested that besides rewards, recognition and communication may motivate employees to work. Recognition can motivate employees to work which will then increase the level of satisfaction, productivity and performance at their workplace.This action ultimately reinforces the behavior of employee since they feel appreciated for their effort and good work.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has five levels of need in the form of a pyramid diagram. The lowes level to the the highest level consist of physiological needs, safety needs, social needs,esteem needs, and self-actualization in the order of ascending. Individuals will fulfill the lowest level first which is physiologicalneeds before moving up to the next level and this step will go on until the highest level when all the other needs are fulfill. However, an individual will no longer be motivated when all needs are fulfilled.


2.1.2 Herzberg Theory

Herzberg (1959) developed this theory to understand the reasons why employees became dissatisfied or satisfied with their jobs. This theory argues that organizational behavioral strategies to influence motivation may temporarily move people to do what they are not motivated to do. Such strategies helps to understand what drives and motivates the individuals to do it.There are two different needs of human beings. One is the need that stems from a desire to exist and live and the other one from the strive to make an earning, where money becomes a specific motivator in performance (Herzberg, 1987). According to Herzberg,intrinsic motivational factors are essential in understanding employee behavior. Aguinis et al. (2013) stated that monetary rewards can be a very powerful determinant of employee motivation and achievement which, in turn, can advance to important returns in terms of firm-level performance.Park (2010) also explains that monetary incentive acts as a catalyst for bigger action and can instill employee’s determination and enthusiasm towards their work as well as receiving recognition for their achievement and good work. In addition, Beretti et al. (2013)discussed that monetary incentives is used to build a positive environment and maintain a job interest, which is consistent among the employee and offer a spur or zeal in the employees for better performance.

This Herzberg theory is divided into two areas of needs.The first needs is that of psychological growth. Growth or motivator factors include the need to achieve, while advancing and being responsible. The other areas of needs is hygiene factors which are extrinsic to the job itself and include company policy, working conditions, salary, status, and supervision (Herzberg,1987). While intrinsic rewards may be a feeling or recognition or accomplishment that comes from within. Intrinsic rewards include factors such as advancement, recognition, responsibility and overall achievement (Robbins, 2005) and extrinsic rewards are factors such as pay and benefits (Mathis & Jackson, 2000).


2.1.3 Job Characteristic Model

The job characteristics model, which was constructed by Hackman and Oldham, is based on the idea that the task itself is the key to boost motivation in employees through job enrichment.Hackman and Oldham also explain the direct effect of job characteristics on employee's work and the individual’s need for development, which is called Growth, Need and Strength. People with high growth need were more affected by changes in job characteristics. There are specific job characteristics that can increase motivation, performance, and satisfaction. This job characteristic helps employees achieve self-actualisation, growth, personal achievement, and increased motivation.The employee’s level of motivation is highly dependent on their personal need for growth and development.The stronger their desire to grow and develop themselves, the more positive the feelings of motivation which will then lead to good job performance. Lastly, as a result of providing positive psychological states, a positive outcomes will occur for the individual and the organization as well such as high motivation, high-quality performance and high job satisfaction.

The job characteristic model is consist of five core job characteristics namely skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. Skill variety is the requirement for an individual to possess a few different skills to complete the job that can have a variety of task that requires them use different skills to get the job done. Task identity on the other hand is the degree of involvement of an individual throughout the process of completing a task or job with visible outcome.Next, task significance is the degree to which the job itself can impact other individuals. Autonomy is define as the power or freedom given to an individual to do their job, therefore the individual holds the responsibility for their own success and failure since decisions and work efforts are dependent on them and not other authority. Lastly, feedback is a job characteristic that occurs after completing a task. The individual involve in the work will have knowledge of results in the form of feedback, which is a clear, actionable information about their performance that they can turn the knowledge into actions to improve in the future.


2.2 Modern and Contemporary Theories

2.2.1 Expectancy Theory

The expectancy theory (Vroom, 2000) is considered to be a more contemporary approach to understanding motivation. The expectancy theory is tied together to effort, performance, rewards and overall individual goal satisfaction of the employee (Robbins, 2005). Under the expectancy theory, people will often choose their behavior and level of effort based upon the consequences of both (Jackson & Schuler, 2003). Leaders will give rewards to satisfy the needs related to the various values of the employees. According to Vroom’s theory, employees are motivated when they expect their actions to be rewarded and that rewards can be extrinsic or intrinsic and are the most extensively accepted forms of motivation. In other studies, Dysvik and Kuvaas (2010) discussed that intrinsic motivation was the strongest predictor of turnover intention and relationship between mastery-approach goals. Furthermore, the turnover intention was only positive for employees with low intrinsic motivation.Vroom described valence as the manifestation of employees’ values that motivate actions. Vroom also noted that employees placed value on money which is intrinsic because employees developed reward systems to satisfy needs and to foster a productive workplace.

This expectancy theory identifies three major components which is expectancy, instrumentality and valence.This theory explains that motivation in a worker happens when they believe their high effort will lead to high performance which will then lead to the desired outcome that they wanted to receive or get.In order to raise expectancy, the individual must have the required ability, experience, tools, and the appropriate opportunity to perform (Samson and Daft, 2002). According to Vroom, the absence of one of those three components will make an individual less motivated. For instance, if an employee believes that he will not be promoted despite the amount of effort he gives in performing his job, he may reduce his efforts or may not be motivated at all (Smith, 1997).


2.2.2 Equity Theory

This concept is usually usedto express the positive association between individuals efforts and performance, and the pay or other rewards one receives (Steers et al., 1996). The basic principle of equity theory that been shared by different equity theorists is that rewards must be distributed among an organization’s members according to their actual contribution, meaning that someone who contributes more should have more privileges than someone who contributes less (Deutsch, 1985). Furthermore, Adams (1965: 280) argued that inequity occurs when a person thinks that the ratio of his outcomes to inputs and the ratio of other’s outcomes to other’s inputs are unequal.the person’s inputs and outputs are mainly influenced by individual’s perceptions and expectations (Luthans, 1995). Another important point related to the equity theory is the selection of a referent, an individual that a person chooses to compare their output and outcomes to. Kulik and Ambrose (1992) added that people use others as a referent when judging extrinsic rewardssuch as pay, security, and working conditions, but also used themselves when judging intrinsic rewards such as recognition, growth, and advancement.

According to Adams, if a person detects an inequity, he will try to bring the equity ratio back into balance by using one of the four actions. The first action is by changing effort, the second one is by changing outcomes, next is by changing their own perception or others perception and lastly, when the individual is unable or does not intend to bring the equity ratio into balance. Furthermore, it has been found in a study that managers perceived less inequity regarding pay, company policies, promotion, fringe benefits, advancement, and power than supervisors or workers (Singh, 1994). However, several researches have counter the study by questioning the assumption that overpayment may lead to positive inequity. Pay may be the focal point of this theory, however other motivation theories argued that pay is just another factor that can motivate people since there are other factors that have a greater influence on people’s behavior.


3.0 Employee Empowerment

Various research studies describe empowerment in their own perceptions of it. Cornwall (1990, p.87) defines empowerment as the process of having power received from the traditionally powerful managers in an organization and instilled it in everyone. Randolph (1995, p.20) on the other hand defines empowerment as recognizing and releasing into the organization the power that people already have in their wealth and useful knowledge and internal motivation. Besides that, World Bank (2002) describes empowerment as the process of increasing the range of options each individuals or groups need to make as well as to transform those options into the desired actions and outcomes. Murrell (Vogt and Murrell, 1990) defines empowerment as an act of building, developing and increasing power by working with others, which he terms “interactive empowerment”, and of having the ability to influence one’s own behavior, which he calls “self empowerment. Most of these theories are divided into the four broad categories of need-based, cognitive process and behavioural and job based.

Empowering employees can be in many different ways.Some of it is by creating a shared vision; providing clear top‐management support; the use of team and temporary group models of organization; responding to external circumstances and developing a strategy for continually scanning the environment; redesigning work to reflect collaborative norms; the use of job‐enrichment; creative use of sponsorships, role models, peer alliances, coaching, and mentoring; the development of reward systems that build “win‐win” rather than “win‐lose” attitudes; and identification and clarification of common goals (Vogt and Murrell 1990).

Some theories that are related to employee empowerment is Kanter’s Structural Empowerment Theory and Psychological Empowerment.


3.1 Kanter’s Structural Empowerment Theory

According to Kanter (1997), two systemic sources of power exist in organizations which is formal and informal power. Formal power is regarding high visibility jobs and the requirement of primary focus on an independent decision making. Informal power on the other hand comes from building relationships and alliances with peers and colleagues (Wagner et al., 2010).There six conditions required for empowerment to take place according to Kanter. Those six conditions are opportunity for advancement , access to information,access to support , access to resources, formal power, informal power. Furthermore,Kantor’s theory has proven to have measurable impact on both employee empowerment and job satisfaction as well as organizational morale and success since motivation is high. Kanter’s theory of structural empowerment focuses more towards the structures within the organization such as the resources, information access, supports and opportunities available within the organization instead of focusing on each individual when it comes to influencing motivation (Bradbury-Jones, Sambrook, & Irvine, 2007). Kanter believes that by sharing the power of the leaders through empowering others, leaders will realize an increased in organizational performance (Fox, 1998).Kanter also pointed out that organization itself will gain benefits as a whole when employee’s skill and knowledge improved as they use the equipments, information, and support given by the company which in turn will contribute to the development of the company (Fox, 1998).

A case study was conducted by Malina and Selto (2001) on a corporate setting using the balance score card (BSC) method and it concluded that organizational outcomes is greater when employees are provided with positive motivation through employee empowerment. Besides that, Menon (1995) surveyed 311 employees of a corporation to determine the effects of empowerment on them.The result of the survey concludes that the greater the empowerment, the higher the internal work motivation. Furthermore, Blanchard, Carlos and Randolph (1996) for instance agreed that empowerment is not only having the independence to act, but also having a higher degree of accountability and responsibility. Therefore, the organization management must empower their employees so that they will be dedicated, motivated and content with working and helping the organization in achieving the objectives and goals.


3.2 Psychological Empowerment

Four psychological elements were identified by Thomas and Velthouse (1990) for psychological empowerment while Spreitzer comes up with arguments based on the model constructed by Thomas and Velthouse, 1990. The four-dimensional elements are meaningfulness, impact, competence, and choice. The literature theorist emphasizes that the four components stated previously will create a complete set of components that can help in understanding and getting the idea of the psychological empowerment approach (Spreitzer 1995, Thomas and Velthouse 1990).Impact is when someone believes he can influence his work and that others will respond to his ideas.Competence is the confidence someone has about his ability to do his work well. Meaningfulness is when someone feels that his work is important to him and he likes what he is doing. Lastly, Choice is the freedom to choose how to do work and not to be closely managed. Employees will feel psychologically empowered when they can make their own choice or choose their desired method of working when completing their task.Besides that, they also feelpsychologically empowered when they believe they can do a successful job since they trust their own ability and recognize that their actions will positively influence the company.Spreitzer (1995, p.1448) states: Individual-performance-based rewards are argued to be very important for empowerment In addition, Lawler (1986, p.29)explains that people will be motivated to perform well when the three conditions are met.The first condition is when rewards are perceived to be tied to performance.The second condition is when the rewards that are tied to the performance that are valued and lastly the effectiveness of the performance is perceived to be obtainable.

A study related to employee empowerment is done by Tuuli and Rowlinson (2009) that studies the relationship between psychological empowerment and job performance. The study objective is to find out if ability, motivation and opportunity to perform mediated between empowerment and performance. Based on the study, it is verified that empowerment had direct and positive effect on work performance when it is motivated through intrinsic motivation,opportunities and ability to execute it.


4.0 Conclusion

This literature review showed that some of this theories is related to one another. There is a clear relationship between Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory and Herzberg's Two Factor Theory of Motivation. This relationship shows the overlap between those two theories. Besides that, based on the past studies reviewed, there is a positive relationship between employee empowerment and motivation which is the greater the empowerment, the greater the employee motivation.