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Motivation Theories in Project Management

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 1812 words Published: 13th Aug 2018

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In this assignment I will present my views about some motivation theories and how they can be applied or not applied when running in a project mode


About Societe Generale Albania

Banking sector continues to be one of the most important economic sectors and one of the most rapid growing businesses in Albania in the last 10 year (Bank of Albania, 2010, www.bankofalbania.org).

Societe Generale Albania, previously named Banka Popullore, started its activity on 1st of Mars 2004. In 18th of April 2007, Societe Generale Group acquired 75.01% of the shares of this bank. The bank has its head office in Tirana and is present allover Albania with 41 operation branches. At the end of 2009, the bank had 379 employees, both Albanian and French nationality (Annual Report 2009, 2010, www.societegenerale.al).

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About the case study

Being on the most important economic sectors has created enough space for operation of 17 Banks in a relatively small market like Albania. With such a high competition it is very important that banks stay always in line with economic developments and react fast toward customer needs for new products or adaptation. Our bank is quite small and there are frequently high pressures for sharing resources in order to complete in time and with budget different operational or business initiatives. These needs has made mandatory for bank management to apply a matrix organizational design in our organization.

Such organizational structure are quite complex when it comes to management and control of staff performance, as they bring the employee in front of two managers, the department manager and the project manager. Now day’s project management is becoming a key component of the success for eveyr organization in any sector and such the motivation of employees working in projects is of a great interest for both the project manager, as the main beneficiary, and the organization. There a lot of researches and studies for motivation in standard organizational structure, but the topic is considered as less explored when it comes to project management (Dwivedula and Bredillet, 2009).

Theories of motivations

“Motivation is the driving force within individuals that compels them physiologically and psychologically to pursue one or more goals to fulfill their needs or expectations,” (Lam and Tang, 2003, p. 61).

Why do managers need motivation? If we agree that an output of motivation is control, than we may say that a manager needs motivation to make people do the things he wants and stop doing the things

There are currently a lot of theories to explain the nature of motivation and help mangers on addressing it according to their needs. These theories do not conflict between them, which means the manager can use any of them or even combine them. In my assignments I will be focused in 2 theories; “The hierarchy of needs” as the most first one and most well known by all kind of managers and “The dual-structure theory” since it was developed based on a research on engineers and accounts, which is about the same environment and employee nature as in my bank.

The Hierarchy of Needs

This is one of the most well know need theories of motivation and was developed by Abraham Maslow in 1940. According to this theory the needs are organized in 5 main groups of needs that stay together in the form of a pyramid (Maslow, 1943):

Physiological Needs; they stay in the bottom of the pyramid and include the basic needs of every human been such as: the need for food, drink, education, medical care, etc. Every organization can provide these needs by providing good working condition and a salary to their employees.

Security Needs; includes the need for feeling safe and secure, having a secure job, having a home and a future. The organization can satisfy these needs by offering job continuity, health and retirement plans.

Belongingness Needs; includes the needs of humans to love and be loved, to be accepted by others, to take and give friendship. Most of this needs get satisfied by the family ties, but this is not enough since we spend a considerable time of our life in our works. Managers and direct supervisors can play a significant role to satisfy these needs by encouraging the work in group, enhance their communication with employees and provided basis for social interaction between employees.

Esteem Needs; the needs of this group in be divided into two major needs, the need for self respect and the need for being respected by others. The organizations and managers can satisfy this by job title, awards, recognition of merits, benefits etc.

Self-Actualization Needs; is the highest level of the hierarchy and includes the need we have to be the one we want to be in order to be self fulfilled. If all the other levels of the hierarchy are fully satisfied, it does not remain a lot for the managers to do to satisfy this need, all they need to take care off is make sure the individual has a challenging job and that other needs in lower level become deficient.

According to the theory the needs of each level should be satisfied before going to the next level until we reach the self-actualization needs, however if during our road to the top of hierarchy, a lower level of need become deficient again the individual returns to that level (Moorhead and Griffin, 1995).

Despite the fact that the theory is well recognized among many organization and managers due to the intuitive logic and easy understanding, the theory is not fully validated either by Maslow or any other research, in contrary many deficiencies have been identified (Wahba and Bridwell, 1976)

It is important to mention that the most basic needs are provided by the top management of an organization and more we go up in the hierarchy of needs more we go down in the level of management responsible to satisfy these needs and turn them in motivator for improving job performance.

The Dual-Structure Theory

The theory was developed by Herzberg on late 1950s based on a research with a couple of hundred engineers and accounts (Herzberg, 1968). The finding of this research proved that different set of factors were connected with different feelings about work. The motivation of an employee goes in a two step process, first satisfying the employee (eliminate any factor which may bring dissatisfaction) by hygiene factors and second go with motivation factors. The motivation factors would result at the end with satisfied and motivated employees who can have a long term and positive job performance. The combination of these factors can set employee in four situations (Herzberg, 1987):

Satisfied and motivated employee. The target situation for having the best performance.

Satisfied but not motivated. The manager should find the way to apply motivation factors and change the status; otherwise the de-motivated employee will bring low productivity and bad quality.

Not satisfied but motivated. The company should change its policies and rules and try to change the situation. An employee is not expected to stay to long in this status.

Not satisfied and not motivated. The worst situation, both company and managers have a lot to do. These employees will bring to the business apart from the low productivity and bad quality a lot of complains, strikes, no communication.

The hygiene factors, when they exist are in placed by the company strategy and/or governments rules and they are not directly related to the performance and ability of anybody. In opposite with them, the employee can get the motivation factors only by his involvement and his work. (McCrimmon, 2008).

The theory has been analyzed more than any other theory in the field of organizational behavior (Pinder, 1998) and the results are quite contradictory. Studies and researchers which use the same method support the theory, other ones criticize it for the research population used, which is limited only to accountants and engineers, for not taking into account the individual differences, since a motivation factor can depend individual age and/or organizational model (House and Wigdor, 1967).

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Herzberg’s theory states that money does not motivate employees but only satisfies them (Herzberg, 1968), due to this statement the theory is widely discussed and analyzed in studies and researches about the rewarding and motivation (Beel, 2007).The rewords supporters are totally against it and they say it does not have evidences to prove that money is not a motivation. Another aspect of critics is the fact that the theory does not take in consideration the circumstances, what does motivate an employee today, not necessary satisfy and motivate another one tomorrow (Robbins, 2005).

Visual presentation of the dual structure theory (http://www.tutor2u.net/business/people/motivation_theory_herzberg.asp, Nov 2010)

Motivation in Project management

PRINCE2 manual defines a project as:

“a management environment that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to a specified business case.”

Another definition is:

“a temporary organisation that is needed to produce a unique and pre-define outcome or result at a pre-specified time using pre-determined resources”.

Being a temporary organization and with specific targets, the project organization is a more complex structure than a normal organization unit and different rules and practices are applied in every aspect of organizational behavior, including motivation.

In 2008, our bank started a project for migration of existing core banking system into a new and modern one as part of the group strategy for mutualization of IT services. The project team was composed by more than twenty employees coming from different departments and sectors, covering many different positions such as; translators, business analysts, IT developers, organization and even a public relationship specialist. We knew since the beginning that such a challenging and multidimensional project could not succeed without a motivated team.

Why do we need motivated staff? Is motivation the only factor for having a good performance?


Projects by definition are a temporary organization, this automatically excludes some motivation techniques which become irrelevant due to the time required to give their effects. What should we do? Should we leave motivation only to be applied in standard organizational structure?


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