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Motivation in the Workplace Assignment

by | Jun 6, 2022 | Management | 0 comments


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Motivation in the Workplace Assignment
Instructions: Read the case study that deals with a common motivation problem in a fictitious company. Then, write a detailed memo to the company’s executive team outlining the problem, potential solutions, and your recommendations.
Required Readings:
Chapters 7&8
“On the Folly of Rewarding A while Hoping for B” by Steven Kerr, originally published in Harvard Business Review
Case Study
Deliverable Details:
Written Report in memo form: Keep your report to 1500 words or lessBe sure to liberally refer to the readings in developing your answers to the case. Don’t ‘pull things from your hat.’ A lot of people have already thought through some things on motivation, and you’ll want to benefit from that thinking.
Tell WCC’s managers “here’s what you need to do” – actionable specifics (that are tied to a theory). Said differently, don’t stop with a focus on what’s wrong from each perspective, but also on better ways of proceeding (from each theory’s view). Also, don’t forget to make a FINAL recommendation (of the three options you explain).
Be realistic….I don’t think many firms would increase base salary as a reward for most things, let alone for this problem. Speaking of reward theory, in case after case I’ve assigned over the years, I’ve found that reward theory is always more complex than people describe – it’s often approached too simply (partly b/c people focus only on a reward….what about other features of the model?).
Don’t get stuck in the diversity component here. Remember, you’re being brought in to deal with a motivation problem (that just so happens to deal with this topic). I’m not saying you don’t mention diversity; I’m saying that if you focus on this you’re missing the point (it’s all about motivation).
I will be grading on the following:
Proper, correct diagnosis of the case (what’s going on)
Analysis and description of the problem from each theoretical model
Recommendation and justification based on theory
Writing quality and professionalism
Motivated to Fail? – Diversity Training, Revisited
The WestLake Computing Corporation (WCC) provides diversity training programs to ensure that WCC employees realize the importance of working with a diverse workforce. In addition, the training also includes details, regulation, and case applications/examples of equal employment opportunity legislation – something that every manager, let alone WCC managers should be aware of. Like for most firms, participation in these programs is mandatory; WCC wants everyone to be up to speed on this important issue – especially since they hope to sell their products internationally. To demonstrate competence in the area, employees must take and successfully pass a knowledge test on the topic. To underscore the importance of the matter, employees are required to take the training as many times as needed until they pass (taking a new, parallel form of the test each time). WCC wants it be understood that they are taking the topic seriously and that it can provide real value to the firm. Also, it’s WCC’s hope that their policies and efforts may stave off any legal action because of their efforts to promote diversity training.
The training program lasts a whole day and is usually conducted in a nice hotel outside WCC headquarters, but within 20 minutes’ drive for most employees. All employees are required to participate and the CEO herself made a point of attending an early session. Employees are paid for the time they spend in the training program and need not claim the day as a holiday or otherwise debit their personal days. The HR vice-president fully realizes that employees are not completely motivated to perform at their best in this program. Indeed, data shows that in the course of training, some employees seem to put in the minimum level of effort or appear to be just going through the motions. And, the proof is in the ‘pudding’ – some participants fail the exam given at the conclusion of the training program and then have to retake the training. The COO has seen this data and says that this is an unacceptable situation.
The seminar evaluation data shows that some of this might be due to the program itself. Employees report being on edge about the topic, that the objectives of the training program aren’t made clear, and that they can’t use the information they get when back on the job. Regardless, the result is that not only are employees not up to speed on diversity (the ostensible goal of the program), they’re also gone from work sometimes several times in order to successfully complete the required training. The HR VP is at her wits end. And, they’ve seemingly tried everything, including talking with those employees who are ‘repeat offenders.’ They’ve also had several conversations with their managers as well. And, the V.P. even bounced this situation off her boss, the COO. He’s at a loss too and has simply told her to “get it done” (especially since many more employees at other locations will begin to take the training).
In desperation, the VP turns to you, an organizational change consultant, to get this program back on track. This is the role I want you to take in analyzing this short case: As the consultant you need to get employees successfully trained. This will not only increase the ability to capitalize on existing diversity in the firm – like WCC’s major competition is doing – but also reduce the firm’s legal exposure to diversity-related problems.
As the motivation consultant, what are you going to do? Explain what’s going on here and why things are screwed up. To do this, you should analyze this problem from the perspectives of: a) goal setting theory, b) expectancy theory, and c) reinforcement/reward theory. Suggest how this program can be a success from the perspective of these three models. Be sure to explain the situation from the perspective of each of the three theories (using their terms and relationships). Finally, make a recommendation to the company based on one of the three motivation models and why your team believes this is the best path forward. Overall, be sure to explicate each theoretical perspective – how they’ll ensure that employees master the material, pass the exam, and hopefully (and especially) use/apply the material in the workplace. Good luck!


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