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Assessing the Role of Work Motivation on Employee Performance

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The main purpose of this study was to” assess the role of work motivation on employee performance”. This study in an assessment of this purpose used a deductive approach in which a qualitative survey was carried out among students of the University Of Bamenda(UBA) who are assumed to be future employees.

The survey was intended to get their responses on what they feel are (are) the best factors that could motivate them as future employees among a list of ten motivational factors. In this light, the study sets to identify the most ranked factors among the ten motivational factors.

The analysis from the empirical findings showed that Job satisfaction” was the most ranked factor for both sub groups that made up the sample survey.

However, a study from previous research used in this study showed that different results could be obtained from different groups of already working employees. This study therefore can be seen as an introduction to a more detailed study to be carried by future researchers on the field of employee’s motivation.



This chapter starts by presenting a background discussion of the selected topic of this thesis. At the end of this discussion, the research question is formulated and the main purpose of this thesis (which is two folds) is established. What this research hopes to contribute and the delimitations of this study are also discussed.

1.1: Introduction /Background

When looking at factors that affect job satisfaction, I find that Agency theory might be helpful as it explains the extent to which organisations need to think of their human resource responsible in producing the output required by organisations to meet shareholders value.

Agency theory is concerned with issues related to the firm’s ownership when that ownership is separated from the day-to-day running of the organisation. It assumes that in all but owner-managed organisations the owner or owners (known in agency theory as the “principal”) of an organisation must vest authority to an “agent”-corporate management- to act on their behalf. Harrison R and Kessels J. (2004, Pp 25-26)

The principal recognised the risk, here and act on the assumption that any agent will look to serve its own as well as the principal interests as it fulfills it contract with that principal. However, this is not the situation in a real-life situation. As all agents are perceived to be opportunistic (Williamson, 1985; Seth and Thomas, 1994). These approaches to examining the problems of human exchange are derived from the field of finance and economics but they are often applied to the study of shareholders’ Risk Management (SHRM) (Harrel-Cook and Ferris, 1997).

Agency theory is therefore used to analyse this conflict of interest between the principal (shareholders of organisations) and their agents (leaders of these organisations). Whereby the “Agents” in keeping with the interest of the shareholders and organisational goals turn to use financial motivational aspects like bonuses, higher payrolls, pensions, sick allowances, risk payments, perks to reward and retained their employees and enhance their performance.

There is a strong lobby propounding the view that human resources and their management are the source of competitive advantage for the business, rather than access to capital or use of technology. It is therefore logical to suggest that, attention needs to be paid to the nature of this resource and its management as this will impact on human resource behaviour and performance and consequently the performance of the organisation. Indeed Boxall and Steeneveld (1999) argue that there is no need to prove the relationship between firm critical influence on performance and labour management as it is self evident that the quality of human resource management is a critical influence on the performance of the firm. Concern for strategic integration, commitment flexibility and quality, has called for attention for employees motivation and retention. Given this perception, the principal in an organisation feels unable to predict an agent’s behaviour in any given situation and so brings into play various measures to do with incentives in other to tie employee’s needs to those of their organisation.

Thus getting employees’ identification concerning the organisation, and thus increasing their commitment level. As an approach to mediate the employment contract, elements of human resource strategy (especially those to do with rewards and retention) can offer a way of ensuring an efficient transaction process that enables both parties to get committed towards the fulfilment of each other needs.

The fundamental problem, dealt with is what drives or induces people to exploit their potential resources in the way they do in organisations? The issue of motivation and performance are they positively related? By focusing on the financial aspect of motivation problems like bonus system, allowances perks, salaries, etc. By paying attention to the financial aspect of motivation, I intend to probe in to the role this aspect has on enhancing employee’s performance.

I believe, financial motivation has become the most concern in today’s organisation, and tying to Mallow’s basic needs, non-financial aspect only comes in when financial motivation has failed. Gibson, Ivancevick, and Donnelly, (2004, Pp 214) space are then set for non-financial measures. Though in some situations, it is being operated side by side. But as a research topic for my thesis I will employ the financial aspects of motivation used by the agents of organisation in enhancing their employee’s performance and the extent to which non-financial aspects of motivation turn to enhance employee’s performance.  To  evaluate  the  methods  of  performance  motivation  in the organisation  in organising some motivational factors like satisfies and dissatisfies will be used to evaluate how employees’ motivation is enhanced other than financial aspects of motivation

1.2 Research Question/Problem Statements

As a research question, the research seeks to answer what role motivation plays in enhancing performance in the organisation. This will be possible through the analysis of information gathered from students at Umeå University. Hence this thesis is mainly quantitative.

1.3 Objectives /purpose of Study

In  trying  to  find  an  answer(s)  to  the  research  question  and  on  the  basis  of  the  above background discussion and research question, the main purposes developed for this thesis is to assess the factors that motivate employees to perform best at work. This is done by carrying out a survey in which respondents responding to a survey, ranked the least to most important factor on a list of ten factors un to how these factors influence them.

1.4 Limitations and Demarcations

The  limitation  is  being  considered  in  relation  to  the  natural  explanation  to  which  the researcher has limited the study and the active choices to limit the study area that is financial motivation as a determinant of performance. The study is limited to existing theories and models, and their influence and limitation on performance enhancement. By considering the financial and non-financial aspects of motivation on employees’ performance relating to existing theories and models, I intend to mark a demarcation for the study. Here I have considered limitations in line with the research objective that is the study is limited.

I believe that with the changing nature of the work force, recent trends in development, information and technology, the issue of financial motivation becomes consent on one of the most important  assets  in  an  organisation.  A  lot  has  been  said  on  the  outside  forces  of  an organisation. This research considers the inside forces as a starting point.  Ideally, a study of all the explanatory variables will be considered appropriate to capture the interactive influences of other variables and thus be able to come up with holistic and generally more acceptable results, for financial motivation and performance.

1.5 Definitions

Motivation: Motivation by definition refers to what activates, directs human behaviour and how this behaviour is sustained to achieve a particular goal. Also, it can be defined as the set of processes that arouse, direct and maintain human behaviour towards attaining some goals. Jones (1955) argues that” Motivation is concerned with how behaviour gets started, is energised, is sustained, is directed, is stopped and what kind of subjective reaction is present in the organisation while all this is going on.”Gibson, Ivancevick, Donnelly (Organisations: processes, structure, behaviour Pp214)

Role of financial motivation: The potential role of money as (a) conditioned reinforce (2) an incentive which is capable of satisfying needs (3) an anxiety reducer (4) serves to erase feelings of dissatisfaction Opsahl and Dunette, (motivation and organisational climate Pp 65-


Employee satisfaction: This refers to the positive or negative aspects of employee’s attitude towards their jobs or some features of the job Ivancevich et (Pp 448)

Organisational Goals: A concept, which refers to the focus of attention and decision-making among employees of a sub-unit.

Organising: This involves the complete understanding of the goals of organisation, the necessity of proper co-ordination, and the environmental factors that influence the gaols and employees within the organisation.

Employee attitudes: Mental state of readiness for motive arousal.

Performance: the act of performing; of doing something successfully; using knowledge as distinguished from merely possessing it;  A  performance comprises an event  in which generally one group of people (the performer or performers) behave in a particular way for another group of people.

Efficiency: The ratio of the output to the input of any system. Economic efficiency is a general term for the value assigned to a situation by some measure designed to capture the amount of waste or “friction” or other undesirable and undesirable economic features present.

It can also be looked as a short run criterion of effectiveness that refers to the ability of the organisation to produce outputs with minimum use of inputs.

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