The Puzzle of Motivation

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Author: George Ramsey

Title:  The Puzzle of Motivation

Class: GEB1011 “Introduction to Business “(Chapter 10 Motivating Employees) Traditional Classroom

Introduction: This chapter deals with the eternal problem of engaging the workforce.    Engagement describes the level of motivation, passion, and commitment.  The traditional approach has been to use extrinsic rewards or the threat of punishment to increase an employee’s motivation; the traditional carrot and stick approach.  I hope to show the class that there is a new and dynamic approach to this age old problem.   I want to show them that the use of intrinsic rewards, autonomy, employee empowerment, and self fulfillment are the new motivational drivers.

Learning Objective:

  1. Explain Taylor’s Theory of Scientific Management
  2. Describe the Hawthorne studies and their significance in management.
  3. Identify the levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and apply them to employee motivation
  4. Distinguish between the motivators and hygiene factors identified by Herzberg
  5. Differentiate among  McGregor’s Theory X, Theory Y and  Ouchi’sTheory Z
  6. Explain the key principles of goal-setting, expectancy, reinforcement, and equity theory
  7. Show how managers put motivation theories into action through such strategies as job enrichment, open communication, and job recognition

Class Activities

Entry ticket:  Before class I had set up a blog in Blackboard assigning each student 4 multiple choice questions from the 100 question test bank for the chapter.  Their job was to read the chapter and answer the questions giving the page number that they believe contained the answer and share that with their classmates.  To enter class they would have to complete this assignment.

Once class has started I would introduce the subject and use the following infographics to introduce the subject.

Taylor’s Theory of Scientific Management

Hawthorne Effect:

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

Herzberg’s Hygiene Theory:

McGregor’s X and Y theory:

Ouchi’s Theory Z:


Goal Setting Theory:

Victor Vroom Expectancy Theory:

Reinforcement Theory:

Equity Theory:

This is a great Ted Talk lecture given by Dan Pink on extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and the modern business.  I intend to use this in my Intro to Business class when we discuss business management and motivation.

Group Activity and Assessment:

We will play a form of jeopardy with the multiple choice questions assigned for homework.  Each student will get a shot at up to 5 but a minimum of 2 points against the mid-term exam.  Each question will be given randomly to a student if they get the answer they get the point.  If they miss the question it will be a tossup for the first student to be recognized.  Each student will get a chance at a minimum of two questions and two points.  With misses and tossups they can get up to five before they are withdrawn from the game.


Homework for the next chapter will to read Chapter 11 on Human Resource Management  Finding and Keeping the Best Employees.  The additional assignment will be to come up with the most inventive way they can find outside of the text that a business uses for keeping its employees.

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