Influence of attitude on Motivation of Employees
Keeping par with the employee motivation has been a huge dilemma for many organizations in the contemporary business environment. Employees are the most important resource that any organization can have. They are the major source of competitive advantage. This implies that aspects such as the employee attitude are very critical when it comes to determining the motivation of employees, which is also directly proportional to the organizational performance. The relationship between attitude and the motivation of the employees has been widely studied, and it has been established that the two exists in a continuum. It is mandatory for the organizations to value their employees, enhance factors that contribute to positive attitudes, hence boosting the motivation of the employees (Rousseau, 2004, p. 126). The research question here is how the factors related to attitude (such as training, job commitment, general job satisfaction, organizational climate and the behaviors of the leaders) are impacts on the motivation of employees (which can also be measured in terms of the employee performance). Another research question that will be critically examined is the impact of employee attitudes on the factors that suggest the motivation namely; client interaction, work environment, retention, and engagement. The attitude of the personnel is directly proportional to the employee motivation, hence higher organizational performance.
Attitude is a psychological factor which impacts on the performance of the employees. The employees tend to have a lot of expectations about their organizations, and failure to meet these expectations by the employers impacts negatively on the attitudes of these employees. The motivation of the employees can be closely associated with their feelings, perceptions, and cognition about their jobs (Rousseau, 2004, p.126).
The attitude of the employees and the leaders
Most managers are of the opinion that employees who are capable are essential for an organization to be successful. This suggests a direct relationship between the employee attitude and the employee performance. According to Malik et al. (2010), it is important to shape the performance of the employees by emphasizing the behavioral importance to the employees when they are at work because this has a positive effect on their attitudes, hence motivation. Considering the very many studies on the organizational behavior with regard to human resource management in the western environment, many of the organizations are said to asset expectations from the employees, and be able to formulate their behavior, attitude and trust. The attitude and behavior of a manager have a direct impact on the behavior of the employees as well as their attitudes when it comes to enhancing their level of performance. The attitudes of the employees have also been cited to be the most influencing factor when it comes to workplaces (Waryszak and King, 2001, p. 198). Transactional leaders are said to proffer many performance rewards. On the same note, directional leaders are said to dispense the work duties to the subordinates as well as checks out of the performance level. The kind of attitude that is portrayed by the leader is critical when developing the attitude and beliefs of the employees. The managers and the leaders are in a better position to influence the attitude of the employees and exert influence on them to encourage high levels of performance. They exhibit the unofficial and official power that is critical in shaping the jobs of the employees. Leaders also have a powerful role when it comes to giving confidence to the employees. Many researchers about the attitudes of the employees have put a lot of emphasis on determining the individuals’ attitudes towards their fellow employees and their leaders, and the related attitudes to the job performance and job satisfaction (Milman, 2002, p. 25).
Leaders or managers set the tone. The organizational managers who have been able to inspire their staff by staying positive managed to create the environment that encouraged innovation and creativity. This is because the employees feel self-motivated to garner their potential towards the success of the organization. Employees with positive attitudes feel good about coming to work and are more motivated and involved in what they do. High motivation makes the success if the company become more of as personal affair to the employees, and everyone can reap the rewards.
There could also be a situation where the leaders are the major causes the problems faced by the organization. For example, a leader may have a tendency of enforcing unreasonable deadlines for the projects, thus compelling the employees to work overtime so that they can meet the expectations of the management. This only builds resentment and poor attitudes among the employees. Pushing the employees hard will test their loyalty and may have a negative impact on the employee retention and morale. Insufficient support from the management, the perceptions of the employees about the financial health of the business and the employees feeling unappreciated are some of the key aspects that are likely to garner bad attitudes among the employees, hence poor motivation.
Employee training programs are associated with positive prospects given that they formulate their attitudes through the diverse natures of the performance tools and training. Training that is relevant to the organizational needs is said to induce desirable levels of motivation among the employees. Training and development have been described as an educational process which entails the sharpening of concepts, skills, changing the attitudes and also gaining more knowledge to enhance the performance of the employees (Milman, 2002, p.32). The definition suggests that training has a lot to do when it comes to shaping the attitudes of the employees in an organization. When the attitude of the employees is shaped through training, it also follows that the employees are empowered to perform with excellence, which builds their sense of ownership, willingness, and confidence, or rather, employee motivation.
Research conducted on perceived training opportunities as well as the employee behaviour shows that some variables can affect this relationship. Most research findings suggest that motivation is critical in governing the relationship between the management and workplace environment and the employee outcomes that are desirable (Mendes & Stander, 2011, p. 12). In fact, the workplace motivation is said to play a major role because the perceptions of the training opportunities and the relevancy greatly affect the employee motivation levels. Nevertheless, motivation is also said to affect the willingness of the employees to learn from the training sessions. As such, motivation affects attitude to pursue learning during the training sessions. The fulfillment of the training needs of the employees leads to autonomous, flexible, and empowered employees depending on their discretionary effort and self-regulated behaviour. It initiates the development of the behavioural scripts and skills, apart from the motivation to apply these skills in the role-related activities at work (Mendes & Stander, 2011, p.12). Organization investment in training is also associated with the social exchange relationship that builds the feelings of employee obligation and shapes the attitude. The employee attitude will then influence the employees to benefit the organization through the behaviours that are above the minimal requirement of employment.
Theories of intrinsic motivation mostly focus on the satisfaction of the needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy, or the characteristics of work designs which are likely to lead to positive attitudes or the psychological states that are productive (Herzberg, Mausner & Snyderman, 2011, p.44). Considering the context of training and development, there is a need for further investigations on how motivation affects the desire to learn and the attitude with regard to the relevancy of training affects the motivation. High level of the perceived training opportunities is said to contribute to the need fulfillment. This implies that the need for competence is more likely to be satisfied when the individuals have positive attitudes tailored towards seeking challenges that are optimal for their capacities, and consistently try to maintain their skills (Herzberg, Mausner & Snyderman, 2011, p. 45). The perceived training opportunities available instill positive attitudes among the employees and have a positive relationship to intrinsic motivation. Differences in individual attitudes play a crucial role in understanding the relationship between the perceptions of training and the motivation of the employees. Since the individual differences s in attitude are likely to influence the relationship between the training opportunities and the employee motivation, there is a need that such research is more important for practical purposes.
Employees that are intrinsically motivated are self-driven and have positive attitudes and more autonomy oriented as compared to those that are less intrinsically motivated. As such, they will take more responsibility in making sure that the necessary levels of abilities and skills, and can respond more positively to the training opportunities. The attitudes of the employees who are intrinsically motivated are ever positive, and they are more engaged and involved with their jobs. Such programs as training opportunities are considered by these employees to increase their work performance, an opportunity to be more involved with the work of the other colleagues, and contribute to the success of the organization (Mendes & Stander, 2011, p. 13).
This is the feeling that the employees have about their jobs in consideration of the chances of improvement at their disposal, the management, salary among many other aspects. When it comes to effective organization advancement, employees are regarded as a crucial factor. These factors shape the attitude of the employees and hence their motivation to work effectively. Organizations are obliged to evaluate all the phases of job measures well as job performance to instill an appropriate attitude for the employees (Herzberg, Mausner & Snyderman, 2011, p. 42).
Motivating the employees is considered to be a key factor when it comes to creating the power in making the employees feel satisfied with their jobs. Employers can only be able to motivate the employees by shaping their attitudes. The attitudes are shaped by creating the environment and the conditions that will make the people feel satisfied and happy to sacrifice as much as possible to the job and company. The contributions made by the employees are the main determinants that will contribute to organizational success and are directly proportional to creating a workforce that is highly motivated, that comprises of great job satisfaction among the employees (Mendes & Stander, 2011, p. 12). Various studies have also attempted to determine the relationship between job satisfaction and the motivation of the employees. One assumption made is that higher satisfaction is an equivalent or leads to a positive attitude in the workplace. In this case, the individual attitude and insight at the workplace greatly depend on the personal needs as well as their discernment on several factors that could be related to the job in the organization (Chinunda, 2014). As far as the expectancy theory is concerned, every employee possesses his or her individual needs, and there is a need for the right motivation to satisfy these needs. It is possible to alter the attitude and the behaviour towards the task or the job that is assigned to an individual based on the expectancy of this particular person of a certain outcome. The individual personal motivation could not be considered to be the only justification of the work behaviours of an employee, but also includes the combination of the intervening processes of the company and the surrounding environment. Some authors also argue that motivation is more of a cognitive process which can majorly be determined by the behaviours of an individual but may also not necessarily be associated with the causes of the behaviours (Chinunda, 2014, p. 76). Attitude has also been largely linked with personal factors. It is only when the employees feel that he or she is being recognized and appreciated for the job that s/he would be motivated to work with great enthusiasm and much energy. The attitude of such employees is well nurtured, and they have a tendency to accomplish their tasks with enthusiasm.
A lot of studies have also focused on the relationship between motivation (that results from job satisfaction), with the external factors such as promotion, the incentive system, and self-autonomy. Other studies have also found the social factors such as the attitude towards customers, the management or colleagues, and the environment also played a very critical role when it comes to motivation. This is attributed to a positive attitude among leaders, a positive work environment, and positive relationship with the important stakeholders in an organization such as the clients. More frequent communication with the employees is said to have a greater impact on their motivation because of the attitudes that nurtured among the employees through timely, productive frequent communication. In fact, Latham (2011, p. 54) suggests that employees may not necessarily get satisfied through promotion or working autonomy or other factors, but by having very good interaction sand social relationship with the other employees and the management. Social support in the workplace has a positive correlation to the attitudes portrayed by the employees. According to Mabotha (2012. P.21), this kind of social support not only predicts the level of satisfaction beyond knowledge and task characteristics but is also unrelated to compensation and training requirements. Therefore, it is a no-cost improvement. As for Campbell (2006, p. 56), when people works in a team, positive attitude towards the job is generated, especially if they get the approval that their work is satisfying. The motivation of these employees is positively implicated here. In general, researchers are in agreement that employee attitudes are shaped by the environment or the social factors within the workplace, and this has a strong influence on the motivation of the employees to perform.
Attitude and the Organizational Commitment
Organizational commitment is considered to be a willingness or desire to exert high levels of efforts on behalf of the organization. Commitment itself is an attitude that reflects the loyalty of the employees to the organization, and process through which the members of an organization can express their concerns for the organizations in the form of continuous success. Organizational commitment is determined by external and internal control attribution, disposition, tenure in the organization among other factors. These factors have a significant effect on the attitude of the employees, and on commitment levels in an organization. According to Thomas (2009, p. 59), employees who exhibit high organizational commitment have a good attitude towards many of the organizational attributes and are associated with lower turnover. Creating commitment in an organization includes such attributes as the training programmes, communication, and increased involvement of the employees and an appropriate development of the reward and performance management system. These are the same attributes that can be leveraged to enhance the motivation of the employees (Eilström & Kock, 2008, p. 16). As such, the motivation of the employees and the commitment are two aspects that go hand-in-hand and are both affected by the attitudes portrayed by the employees. However, some studies have failed to establish a clear link between organizational commitment and the entire performance of the organization (Van Dyne & Pierce, 2004, p. 452).
According to Dornstein and Matalon (1998), there are eight variables which are relevant to organizational commitment. These include the employment alternatives, the level of education, age, the organizational dependency, interesting work, the attitudes of the friends, and the attitudes of the coworkers towards an organization. However, Mofoluwake (2014, p. 109) suggests that if an organization leverages its internal factors appropriately, the attitudes of the employees are positively shaped; thus, high motivation realized. In this regard, the levels of incidences like employee turnover are greatly minimized.
The members of an organization who are highly committed can be seen as the dedicated employees. They have a positive attitude and hence a sense of belonging to the organization. They are highly motivated to go to any extent for the sake of an organization, and they do this knowing that will be part and parcel of the success which they are striving for (Mendes & Stander, 2011, p. 12).
An organizational climate that is supportive is more likely to foster commitment and motivate the employees. According to Gagné (2014, p. 88), some factors can assist the management to create a conducive environment and increase the level of motivation of the employees. These include the clarity of objectives and goals, the organizational mission and vision, the level of autonomy and initiative, the input of the employees in important changes as well as decision making, and top management support as well as personal growth (Herzberg, Mausner & Snyderman, 2011, p. 45).
Organization climate is about the perceptions that individuals have pertaining to different work aspects in the organization. It can be regarded as a set of important prepositions that can be used to understand the employee behavior in a given organization. Some studies have been conducted to understand the role and importance of organizational climate when it comes to shaping the behaviors of the employees. According to Castro and Martins (2010, p. 32), organizational climate plays an important role when it comes to enforcing positivity among the behaviors of the employees, the motivational levels of loyalty and commitment. This happens because a good organizational environment is said to be a prerequisite to positive attitudes exhibited by the employees, hence higher levels of motivations, and hence higher productivity (Rich, Lepine & Crawford, 2010, p. 631).
There is extensive research which has provided evidence pertaining to the essentiality of attitude to organizational climate. Researchers have regularly unveiled that the organizational climate is a very critical factor which directly impacts on the level of motivation by the employees and hence the performance of an organization. Kusluvan (2003, p. 19) is of the opinions that the success of an organization is a deeply rooted guideline of organizational behavior as well as the shared values, beliefs and attitudes that employees have about the company and work within that particular company. The organizational climate can be a negative or positive or conducive and either supportive or not supportive at all. The motivation of the employees will depend on the way in which they view these dimensions. Their attitudes will be bad if they consider the organizational climate as not supportive, and their level of motivation will be equally as bad (Grandey, Tam & Brauburger, 2002, p. 35). There are critical factors that are paramount in shaping up the workplace. The absence of these factors contributes to a poor employee attitude and motivations well. In totality, the organizational climate becomes unbearable. These factors include the physical features of the work environment, the time that is available in doing the job, the amount of assistance that is normally available from other people, and the amount of budgetary support that the organization has been able to avail. Others are the availability of the materials and supplies, the availability of the equipment and tools and the amount as well as quality of job-related information. The absence of these factors will not only impair the attitude of the employees but also affect the extent to which quality employees are willing to join the organization. Neither will the employees be motivated to continuous working in the organization nor securing jobs from it (Cho, Laschinger & Wong, 2006, p. 43).
Nevertheless, the rapidly changing organizational climate can have a positive or negative impact on the employee attitude depending on how the organization can catch up with the trends. The reasons for such changes could be the widespread awareness, the increasing level of challenges that the companies have such as the changes in the nature and structure of the companies, the technological changes, the needs management, and the challenges in the demands of the employees. The absence of these factors for a long time will make the employees have a mindset that there is very little being done by the management to ensure their wellbeing, which in turn leads to poorly motivated employees. Motivation is comprised of both the external and internal factors that stimulate the passion in people so that they can achieve a specific goal. Thus, such kind of organizational climate is devoid of these factors, and the employees will not be in a position to give their all in an attempt to achieve a desirable goal (Ram, Swapna & Prabhakar, 2011, p. 20).
Effect of attitude on retention, engagement, work environment, and client interaction
The attitudes have a very significant impact on the general level of motivations suggested by the literature. Attitude is one of the factors that is very hard to measure, yet very crucial for any organization. The effects of attitude can be manifested directly or through other job-related factors.
The first critical aspect is engagement. Research shows that the employees that exhibit a negative attitude towards the company are more likely to be disengaged, and complete their tasks with the lowest quality level and fulfill their jobs with the least amount of work possible (Adegoke, 2010, p. 87). There is a lot of disconnection, disengagement, and lack of concern for the well-being of the company, and this becomes very costly to the employers as a result of lost productivity. Since these employees are poorly motivated, they are very passive in doing their things. Employees who exhibit the same skill and competency level are more likely to be more productive if their attitude towards work is positive. The reason for this is that the employees feel highly motivated, well connected and have invested a lot of success in the organization (Meyer & Herscovitch, 2001, p. 313; Adegoke, 2010, p. 87).
As for the retention of the employees, the attitude of employees will make them more or less committed to the job. These employees that have a negative outlook on their world situation will have no reason to feel part and parcel of the future of the company. These are the people who will be waiting for the right opportunity and can just leave at any time. On the other hand, the employees who portray a positive attitude towards their job are highly motivated, and they are in a better position to develop a sense of commitment to the business and will stay for the long haul (Johnson & Yang, 2010, p. 239). They are more beneficial to the company in the sense that they increase productivity through experience and lower turnover costs. A positive workplace attitude is more likely to encourage the employees to be more involved in the success of the company. The employees have a tendency of inviting career development a so that they can be part and parcel of the future company projects. A negative work attitude will lead to loss of experienced staff members and turnover, and this eventually degrades the ability of the company to grow (Solnet, Kralj, & Kandampully, 2012, p. 36).
Employee attitudes also have an impact on the work environment. Both positive and negative workplace attitudes tend to be very infectious and are likely to spread to the other employees. The negative attitudes of these employees tend to have a ripple effect. If the level of goodwill and trust among the employees decreases, the level of motivation goes down due to impaired collaboration and reduced productivity. A social environment that is negative will isolate the individual employees, and also create incentives to leave or avoid the job (Judge, Scott & Ilies, 2006, p. 126). On the other hand, when employees embrace positive attitudes, they make collaboration and interaction more productive and pleasant. That way, there is a lot of motivation among the employees because of the encouraging social atmosphere that comes from good attitudes, which creates the incentives and gives the employees a sense of emotional investment and belonging with the success of the organization (Robertson-Smith, 2009, p. 42).
On the aspect of client interaction, not all the employees are obliged to interact with the clients or customers directly. However, when some of these employees get a chance to do so, their attitudes can be said to be a reliable predictor of the level of customer satisfaction. Even those who do not have direct contact with the clients have the ability to influence through their attitudes the level of customer service and care. If the negative attitude is the order of the day, then this will manifest in terms of lack of concern for the customer needs and disengagement from the customers (Park & Gursoy, 2012, p. 1196). On the other hand, a positive attitude ismore likely to lead to emotional engagement, courtesy, and a genuine concern for the satisfaction and the well-being of the clients. Satisfaction of the clients leads to the good performance of the organization. In turn, this makes the employees motivated. As such, employee attitudes, client interaction and the level of motivation are here aspects that work in a vicious cycle. The motivation comes from the results of employee satisfaction (which emanates from the positive attitudes (Schein & Schein, 2017, p. 53).
In a situation where poor attitudes prevail in an organization, the relationship with the co-workers is undermined. The negative attitudes can eventually drain an employee down, and drain those around these particular employees. The moment the relationships among the employees in the workplace is undermined, the connections that an individual enjoys with the employees will eventually begin to suffer. Such employees are more likely to feel excluded and left out from the communities and groups inside the workplace. The bad attitudes of the employees only make things difficult for an individual. There is a lack of common ground with these core workers, hence making it hard to bridge all the gaps (Truss, et al., 2006, p. 80).
Attitudes have a direct correlation to productivity. In this case, the employees with a poor attitude are normally poorly motivated. According to a survey conducted by Gallup in 3 million workers about engagement, there are three types of workers that have been a identified namely; the actively disengaged, not engaged and the engaged. Gallup considered the disengaged employees as the “cave dwellers.” The not engaged employees are neither negative nor positive and are said to be neutral. The engaged employees are the ones that exhibit the positive mindsets and are regarded as the “builders” (Barrett, 2013, p. 17).
The level of attitude influences the motivation and ability of the employees to engage in creativity, competition, and validation. A positive workplace attitude is more likely to encourage employee creativity because these employees will always have a feeling that their ideas will contribute to the success of the organization. A negative attitude will restrict creativity because most of the employees will not feel obliged to contribute to the growth of the company. As for competition, attitudes will not necessarily create competition in the workplace but enhances the competitive environment. If a negative attitude prevails in the workplace, it will create an atmosphere of distrust among the employees, and compels the employees to struggle to achieve success at the expense of each other (Park & Gursoy, 2012, p. 1197). For as workplace where positive attitude prevails, competition is considered to be a motivator which inspires the employees to perform at their best to improve productivity. Again, the prevailing workplace attitude will add validation to the events that take place in the workplace. For instance, if the negative attitude is the order of the day, the announcement that there is a drop in the level of revenue is likely to be met with expectations as opposed to a sense of urgency. In a workplace where the positive attitude prevails, this kind of announcement will be met with the sense that something is not working right in the business process, and it has to be rectified as soon as possible. The optimism in the face of such bad news assists in validating the strong feeling of teamwork which the organization has developed and instilled among the employees (Latham, 2011, p. 46).
The good performance portrayed by the employees highly depends on the attitudes of the employees. The attitudes of the employees shape their behaviours and predict the level of motivation that is exho9biyteas by the employees. Attitudes and motivation work in a continuum in the sense that highly motivated employees are more likely to have a positive attitude towards work and people in the organization, while positive attitudes also lead to high levels of motivation among the employees. There is a very thin line between the attitudes and motivation in the workplace, as most literature treat the two as the same, or that one leads to another. Job satisfaction, organizational commitment, job commitment, and training have a direct correlation to the attitudes of the employees and the performance of the organizations. Organizations should nurture the attitudes of the employees by devising the policies which are effective in enhancing their job satisfaction, commitment, and training. The attitude of the employees can be changed, hence making them feel more included and motivated in the workplace. It is in the best interest of the management to try and shape the attitude of the employees. If the employees feel that the management does not look after their welfare, the management is obliged to help develop a positive attitude by addressing the welfare issues. Poor attitudes in the workplace are associated with poor motivation, and aspects such as retention, engagement, work environment, and client interaction are poorly impaired. This will have negative implications on the performance of an organization.
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