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Money as the Primary Motivator

Presentation for Employee Relations Debate

Julia Cardi

on 19 May 2011

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Transcript of Money as the Primary Motivator

Money as the Primary Motivator Julia Cardi, Leah Smith, Isabelle Ouyang, & Andrew Miller Overview Issue: How important is money as a motivator for workers?
Our position: Money is the primary motivator for workers.

Why it's relevant to you: The driving reason that youths enter the workforce in the first place is to make a living. Main Arguments 1. Money is the primary motivator because of its unique broad usefulness, which extends outside the workplace.

2. Money is the primary motivator because it has an array of symbolic meanings that guide behavior, both within & outside the workplace. Broad Usefulness -Money is unique in its usefulness: nothing else can be used for the broad range of purposes that require money

-Money makes it easier to achieve each level in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Money is needed to acquire food, shelter, clothing Money needed to acquire & maintain health, shelter, resources, etc. Money can be used to acquire items showing affiliation with certain people/groups, which can produce feelings of belonging. Money can be used to acquire items that signify one's status or achievements; can in itself signify achievement. The Role of Money in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Money as a Symbol Besides a necessary medium of exchange, money holds an array of symbolic meanings, each of which motivate behavior.

Examples taken from a study done by Gregory M.Rose at the University of Washington, Tacoma and Linda M.Orr at the University of Akron:
-status: money seen as a symbol of prestige; use to impress people
-achievement: money signifies success
-security: accumulation of wealth perceived as bringing a sense of security

-Money as a symbol in society is so pervasive that it is the overarching determinant of how people choose jobs/level of satisfaction with a job
-Theories of motivation in workplace parallel symbolic meanings of money: subsequently, money is ultimate motivator in workplace.

Source article for study: "Measuring and Exploring Symbolic Money Meanings" Remember the Survey? -Many of the common motivational factors we asked you to rank are tied to money.

-Discrepancy between what people say their attitudes toward money are and their actual attitudes
-Discrepancy can be conscious or unconsious
-Stems from influence of Protestant Ethic on American attitudes toward money
-Acquisition of money through saving & hard work seen as legitimate
-Ostentacious/excessive spending seen as sinful

-Responses to the free-response question? "Money makes exchanges easier by solving the barter problem." -Anonymous "Money is one of the keys to life, it opens the door to everything, you use it to get things you need to live with, like food." -Anonymous "...The broad usefulness of money...suggests that, far from being a low-order motivator, pay can assist in obtaining virtually any level on Maslow's motivational hierarchy..." - Sara L. Rynes, Barry Gerhart, and Kathleen A. MInette "While pursuing money based on negative motives can lead to a poorer psychological well-being, this is not the same as pursuing money to provide security and comfort for oneself and family...to that end, it is logical that employees and employers alike view money as the fundamental incentive for satisfactory job performance." - James Houran & Keith Kefgen Background: Motivational Theories Acquired Needs Theory: we seek power, achievement or affiliation

Consistency Theory: we seek the comfort of internal alignment

Drive Theory: We seek to satisfy needs

Expectancy Theory: We are motivated by desirable things we expect we can achieve

Goal-Setting Theory: different types of goals motivate us differently

Positive Psychology: What makes us happy Money can be used to achieve self-actualization goals such as education. Findings of the Survey
-25% of people (7) chose job A
75% of people (21) chose job B
-suggests happiness is a more important motivator than money

HOWEVER, the findings from the ranking question have different implications
-Top three #1 rankings
-Happiness (9)
-Basic physical needs (8)
-Family security (5)
-Basic physical needs & family security both require money to achieve
-63.63% respondents who put ranked either basic physical needs or family security as the #1 motivating factor chose job B in the free-response question
-suggests subconsciously, money is primary motivator for many people 1. Money is the primary motivator because of its unique broad usefulness, which extends outside the workplace.
2. Money is the primary motivator because it has an array of symbolic meanings that guide behavior, both within the workplace and outside.

-Workers rarely explicitly claim to be primarily motivated by money, but motivational theories and our empirical evidence suggests it is a primary motivation for many, whether subconsciously or consciously. To Sum Up... (2010). Motivation theories. Retrieved from

Gerhart, B., Minette, K.A., & Rynes, S.L. (2004). The importance of pay in employee motivation: discrepancies between what people say and what they do. Human Resource Management, 43, 381-394. doi: 10.1002/hrm.20031

Isidore, C. (2011). The great recession’s lost generation. Retrieved from

Houran, J., & Kefgen, K. (2007). Money and employee motivation. Retrieved from

Lim, V.K.G., Srivastava, A., & Sng, Q.S. (2008). Money motives, achievement orientation, and motivation to work among youths. Journal of International Business & Economics, 8. Retrieved from
http://rpucolo.colorado.edu/ebsco-web/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=7904ec46-1d28-4 b5d-aa 0e-b2ee78bf7f9a%40sessionmgr110&vid=2&hid=113

McClelland, D.C. (1968). Money as a motivator: some research insights. Management Review, 57. Retrieved from
http://rpucolo.colorado.edu/ebsco-web/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=b15e9e17-f7d7-4 0bb-a0e

Orr, L.M., & Rose, G.M. (2007). Measuring and exploring symbolic money meanings. Psychology & Marketing, 10, 743-761. doi: 10.1002/mar References Findings & Implications of the Survey A Graphical Representaton
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