Impact On Motivation At Times Of Change

This study focuses on a research topic – Impact on motivation at time of change on individual, on the basis of the theories of Research Methodology for Business.

The outline of the project will cover:

Chapter 1 provides the background of the study underlining main objectives, questions and hypothesis of the study.

Chapter 2 focuses on general definitions. Models and theories related to motivation, leadership style influencing motivation at time of change and consultation process methods and models will be reviewed and described.


1.1 Background

In topical times, organizations are marked by constant changes taking place in its orientation, strategies and even structural set up. The workers need to constantly adapt themselves to such changes. This often cause stress on their mindset and affect their work quality. At this juncture it is important to shove away any misconception or doubts and bring back the trust, which is extremely essential for the organizational success. In order to achieve this, internal communication needs to be strong and effective. There is a possibility the motivation in the workforce might be restored through successful communication within the organization.

Information Technology provides several options for this. E-mails, intranets and other innovations help in meeting the high demand of communication during such time of alteration within the organization (Wojtecki and Peters, 2000). Face to face communication also might help a lot to sort out the differences. There have been mostly separate studies about leadership and grapevine communication.

According to McKenna (2000), leadership is an art that can get the optimum work required for the organization. The leader also communicates the organizations goals to his team members. He does not discuss about the communication that is more important between the leader and the team and the effectiveness when such communication occurs in an informal way that leads to more interaction and hence develops a bond with each employee and all together leads to commitment.

Most of the studies so far have taken the formal side into consideration. In Contemporary issues in management and organizational behavior (Peter, Poole and Jones, 2005), the whole cycle of Team-leadership has been portrayed in analyzing group decision- making and learning. Later, a global perspective has been given.

According to Robert E. Hoskisson, “Organisational Structure specifies the firm’s formal reporting relationships, procedures, controls, and authority and decision making processes.” (Hoskisson, 2008, p.100) This accrues to the basic framework of assigning roles, allocation of resources and provides a basis for cooperation, coordination and communication among the organizational hierarchy. (Hoskisson, 2008).

Harris and Hartman discuss the problems of Grapevine. According to them, it is not a dependable source and cannot provide full information and maybe distorted. (Harris & Hartman, 2002). In the article, “Heard it through the grapevine: for communicating during change, facts and tips” by Baxter-Southward, an extensive study has been done about grapevine communication- the negatives and the positives, and how to deal with this in organizations.

However the right answer can be provided by a proper survey of the opinions of managers and workers. Whether such communication actually restores the faith and motivation is the area to be explored in this research.

1.2 Objectives, research questions and research hypotheses

The objective of this study is to deal with the issue relating to organizational behavior and organizational development. This study is to analyze whether the successful communication by the organization to its employees at the time of change will result in the motivated workforce. Additionally, the research will analyze the effectiveness of good leadership and managerial as a means to improve productivity, employee job satisfaction and commitment.

The core objectives of the study are:

To understand the reaction of workforce to organizational change (qualitative and quantitative analysis)

To understand the measures normally adopted by the managers under such circumstances (qualitative analysis; from the questions asked during survey).

To find out whether communication within the organization help in motivating workers (quantitative analysis).

Based on objectives, conceptualizing structure for this research has been developed. The main variables are evidently showed through coherent analysis in the structure. Based on this structure, the null and alternative hypotheses are developed as the followings:

The reaction of the workforce is positive or negative at the time of change

Managers can or cannot influence the motivation and hence the productivity of employees.

Successful internal communication affects or does not affects the motivation within workforce at times of change.

1.3 Scope

Change is inevitable. Whether an employee is at the top or the bottom of an organization, one thing employee can count on in the future is that there will be change. In this turbulent environment it is important for the managers to react quickly. Motivation of employees at the time of change via successful communication will be described. Moreover, it will be analyzed whether communication can or cannot bring a motivated workforce. Further more, the current research will be focused on essence of good leaders in motivating employees and increasing productivity.


2.1 Change and Change Management

Success is not just for survival it must be achieved in a world of intense competition, continued globalization, and rapid technology change” (Schermerhorn, 1996). Currently change has become the part and parcel of every organization to predict future trends and to forecast the changes that need to be encountered. Change is an ongoing process in every organization and for the organization to be successful and survive in a dynamic environment, it is important to have effective management of human resources”(Mullin, 2005).

People are the major resource of any organization (MULLINS, 2005). The efficiency of staff, their commitment towards the aims of the organization, and the skills and attitudes they bring to stand on the quality of service offered will undoubtedly affect the overall success of an organization (MULLINS, 2005)

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So in order to achieve success, it is vital for the organization to develop communication processes, motivation processes and a working environment that will help to ensure that individuals will deliver results in accordance with expectations of management.

2.1.1 Core Principals that revolves around change:

According to Bernstein (2003) over 70 % of all organizational change efforts fail to meet expectation and delivered planned results. Before implementing change in an organization it is very important for the leader to understand the difference between the change and the transition process. Additionally, a leader should keep in mind that the success of change implementation process is a key driver of how organization will deal with changes, how changes are directed and administered by the leader.

According to Barons & Greenberg (1990) there several principals about change:

People perception about change

Individual barriers to change:

Economic insecurity

Fear to Unknown

Threats to social relationship


Failure to recognize need for change

Additionally Barons & Greenberg (1990) listed the following organization barriers to change:

Structural inertia

Work group inertia

Threat to existing balance of power

Previously unsuccessful change efforts

According to Bennis, Benne, & Chin, R. (1985) there are several key drivers to change:

Nature of workforce



Economic Shocks

Changing social trends

World politics

2.1.2Types of change

Fig1 Types of changes

Ackerman (1997) has distinguished between three types of change

Type of Change



Planned or emergent; incremental. It is change that enhances or corrects existing aspects of an organization, often focusing on the improvement of a skill or process.


Episodic, planned, seeks to achieve a known desired state that is different from the existing one. It is and second order.


Radical or second order in nature. It requires a shift in assumptions made by the organization and its members.


2.1.3 Organization Change Management Model

Kurt Lewin proposed a three stage theory of change commonly referred to as Unfreeze, Change, Freeze (or Refreeze). Theory was originally presented in 1947, but the Kurt Lewin model is still extremely relevant.




Fig 2 Stages in Change Process




Old ideas and practices need to be cast aside so that new one can be learned.


New ideas and practices are learned. This involves helping an employee think reasons and perform in new ways.


It means what ever has been learned is integrated into actual practice.


Based on Hayes (2002) research of the most effective and commonly applied change, most change management processes contain the following three phases:

Preparing for change (Preparation, assessment and strategy development)

Managing change (Detailed planning and change management implementation)

Reinforcing change (Data gathering, corrective action and recognition)

(Shown in figure 3)

Fig 3 Change management process phases


2.1.4 Phases in change Process

People perceive change processes in seven typical stages (IPA, 2001).

For successful implementation of change processes, it is important for managers to analyze that in which phase they can anticipate what type of troubles and situations. The seven stages are:

Shock and Surprise

Denial and Refusal

Rational Understanding

Emotional Acceptance

Exercises and Learning



Mainly flourishing organizations are those that are able to alter themselves to new environment rapidly. This requires planned learning and training processes that lead to better organizational efficiency. In an ideal world, employees are able to reflect their own behavior in relation to the organizational context (e.g. processes, products, resources, customers).

Fig 4 Perceived Competence vs. Time


Fig 5 Description of Phases



Shock and Surprise

Confrontation with unexpected situations. This can happen ‘by accident’ (e.g. losses in particular business units) or planned events (e.g. workshops for personal development and team performance improvement). These situations make people realize that their own patterns of doing things are not suitable for new conditions any more. Thus, their perceived own competence decreases.

Denial and Refusal

People activate values as support for their conviction that change is not necessary. Hence, they believe there is no need for change; their perceived competency increases again.

Rational Understanding

People realize the need for change. According to this insight, their perceived competence decreases again. People focus on finding short term solutions, thus they only cure symptoms. There is no willingness to change own patterns of behavior.

Emotional Acceptance

This phase, which is also called ‘crisis’ is the most important one. Only if management succeeds to create willingness for changing values, beliefs, and behaviors, the organization will be able to exploit their real potentials. In the worst case, however, change processes will be stopped or slowed down here.

Exercising and Learning

The new acceptance of change creates a new willingness for learning. People start to try new behaviors and processes. They will experience success and failure during this phase. It is the change manager’s task to create some early wins (e.g. by starting with easier projects). This will lead to an increase in peoples perceived own competence.


People gather more information by learning and exercising. This knowledge has a feedback-effect. People understand which behavior is effective in which situation. This, in turn, opens up their minds for new experiences. These extended patterns of behavior increase organizational flexibility. Perceived competency has reached a higher level than prior to change.


People totally integrate their newly acquired patterns of thinking and acting. The new behaviors become routine.

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Source: CA Carnall – 2007 Managing Change in Organization – Pearson Education

2.1.5 Resistance to Change

Fig 6 Resistance to change

Resistance to change consists of any employee behavior designed to discredit, delay or prevent the implementation of work change. According to Kotter (1996) resistance to change is the action taken by individuals and groups when they perceive that a change that is occurring as a threat to them. Most of actions that are taken to manage change fail due to improper planning and implementation (Coriat, 2002).

There are three different types of resistance among employees (Newstrom & Davis, 1993):

1. Logical Resistance

2. Psychological Resistance

3. Sociological Resistance

Fig 7 Types of Resistance

Type of resistance


Logical Resistance

Time required to adjust

Extra effort to relearn

Possibility of less desirable condition

Economic cost of change

Questioned technical feasibility of change

Psychological Resistance

Fear to unknown

Low tolerance of change

Dislike of management or other change agent

Lack of trust in others

Need for security

Sociological resistance

political coalitions

opposing group values

Parochial, narrow outlook

Vested interest

Desired to retain existing friendship


According to Kotter & Schlesinger (1979) there are four main reasons people in an organization resist change:

Parochial self interest


Low tolerance to change

Different assessment of the situations

Fig 8 Reasons for change

Reason for Change


Parochial self interest

People are more concerned about the effect of change on themselves rather than its consequences on the success of business.



Inadequate information

Low tolerance to change

People are more interested in doing one kind of work because of security and stability in their work.

Different assessment of the situations

Different people have different opinion for the reason for change. Some consider it as advantageous and others disadvantageous.


Kotter & Schlesinger (1979) suggested ways to deal with the changes:

Education and communication

Participation and involvement

Facilitation and support

Negotiation and Support

Manipulation and co-option

Explicit and Implicit coercion

Fig 9 Reasons for overcoming resistance to change

Reasons for Overcoming


Education and communication

Educate people about the change effort in advance by giving them trainings so they can understand the logic behind the change.

Participation and involvement

When employees are actively involved in the change they are most likely to buy into change rather than resist them.

Facilitation and support

When people are trying to adjust with the situation, managers plays an important role by giving employees full support they require during the transition period.

Negotiation and Support

When someone loose out into change the managers can combat resistance by offering incentives to employees so that they do not resist changing.

Manipulation and co-option

It involves the patronizing gesture in bringing a person into a change management planning group just for sake of appearance rather than substantive contribution.

Explicit and Implicit coercion

Managers can implicitly and explicitly force employee to accept change by making them clear that resisting changing can lead to losing jobs.


2.2 Motivation

The level of performance of employees relies not only on their actual skills but also on the level of motivation each person exhibits (Burney et al., 2007). Motivation is an inner drive or an external inducement to behave in some particular way, typically a way that will lead to rewards (Dessler, 1978). Over-achieving, talented employees are the driving force of all firms so it is essential that organizations strive to motivate and hold on to the best employees (Harrington, 2003). In a turbulent environment where changes take place very often, therefore it becomes important for managers to analyze the level of motivation of each employee.

Every individual have their own set of reasons to get motivated. Some individuals are motivated by financial factors while others are motivated by non financial factors illustrated in Figure 10. Motivation can be classified as external or internal motivation. Finishing deadline on time is an example of external motivation. The fear of loosing a job in case of uncompleted task is an example of internal motivation. Both the external and internal motivation is equally powerful.

Figure 10 Financial & Non financial motivators

The four most powerful type of motivation that can influence an individual are listed below:

Figure 11 Types of motivation

Type of Motivation


Intrinsic motivation

Satisfaction in the work itself (pleasure, stimulation, learning etc)

Extrinsic motivation

Rewards for doing the work (money, promotion, perks etc)

Personal motivation

Individual values (a love of knowledge, power, security, self-expression etc)

Interpersonal motivation

The influence of other people (competition, collaboration, commitments etc)

Human beings are complex in nature, and are usually motivated by a combination of four elements. Figure 11 illustrates 4 types of motivation, which come together to produce four key areas for the managers to focus on when trying to motivate their employees.

Figure 11 Four key elements of motivation

Source :

2.2.1 Major Theories of Motivation

Motivation is not only in a single direction i.e. downwards. In the present scenario, where the workforce is more informed, more aware, more educated and goal oriented, the role of motivation has left the boundaries of the hierarchy of management. The Figure below shows the major theories of motivation that can be applied in the working environment as well on the employees to see the impact of motivation on the organization as a whole.

Figure 12 Theories of Motivation Need Approaches

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Figure 13 Shows Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

By applying Maslow’s theory of motivation, modern leaders and managers find way of employee motivation for the reason of worker and workforce management. According to Maslow the humans are motivated by unsatisfied needs and the needs which are at low level should be satisfied initially and then the higher order need should be looked upon. As given in Figure 13 there are five general needs of the humans that should be satisfied before the human start behaving unselfishly. Therefore, in a real work time scenario it becomes important for the leader to understand which needs is currently active for an individual employee motivation.

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Alderfer’s ERG Theory

Figure 14 Clayton Alderfer’s ERG Theory Needs


According to ERG theory, leaders must identify that employees have multiple desires to satisfy at the same time. In addition, if the employee is not given enough chance for development, the employee can go back to relatedness needs. So it becomes important for the managers to recognize this situation so that deliberate steps can be taken on relatedness needs until the employee is able to follow the way towards growth again.

Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory

Figure 15 Hygiene and Motivation Factors


The psychologist Fredrick Herzberg asked the questions from employees in the year 1950s and 60s for understanding employee satisfaction. The results of its finding revealed that there are some factors of a job which are constantly connected to job satisfaction, while dissimilar factors are linked with job dissatisfaction. The hygiene and motivation factors are illustrated in Figure 15.

To apply Herzberg’s theory, managers need to take up a two stage process to motivate people. Firstly, managers need eliminate the dissatisfactions the employees are experiencing and, secondly, managers need to help them find satisfaction.

McClelland’s Learned Needs Theory

McClelland theory of human motivation also known as three need theory or learned theory, segments the needs as follow;

Need for achievement

Need for power

Need for affiliation

Each of these needs will differ from one person to another. If the manager is able to recognize the significance of each of these needs to an individual, it will help the managers to determine how an individual can be influenced.

Summary of Need Approaches

Figure 16 Comparison of Need Theories Cognitive Approach

Expectancy Theory

Figure 17 Expectancy Theory

According to expectancy theory, every person has their own set of different goals and they can be motivated if they have certain level of expectation. Vroom’s expectancy theory is based on three variables i.e. valence, expectancy and Instrumentality valances.

Figure 18 Valence, Expectancy & Instrumentality

Equity Theory/ Social Comparison Theory

Figure 18 Equity Theory


Equity theory states that employee always tend to compare the situation (Outcomes) they get while working in relation to what they invested (Inputs). Additionally they also willing to compare what are the ratio between what they get from what they put in. Moreover people also attempt to compare their input and outputs with their coworkers as illustrated in Figure 19.

Figure 19 Equity Comparison


Goal Setting Theory of Motivation

Figure 20 Goal Theory


This theory aims to recognize the kind of goals that are most competent in producing high level of motivation among the workers. Moreover, if employees have goals to aim for, under this circumstance the employee will perform better.

Therefore it becomes important for the managers to analyze which goals can motivate which employee. In order for the managers to understand while setting goals for the individual, the managers should set the goals that are:

Clear (not vague) and understandable


Achievable. Reinforcement Theory

Reinforcement theory of motivation overlooks the internal state of individual, i.e., the inner feelings and drives of individuals are ignored by Skinner. This theory focuses totally on what happens to an individual when some actions are taken. External environment of the organization must be designed effectively and positively so as to motivate the employee. This theory is a strong tool for analyzing controlling mechanism for individual’s behaviour.

Figure 21 Types of Reinforcement

Types of Reinforcement


Positive reinforcement

This implies giving a positive response when an individual shows positive and required behavior.

Negative reinforcement

This implies rewarding an employee by removing negative / undesirable consequences. Both positive and negative reinforcement can be used for increasing desirable / required behaviour.


It implies absence of reinforcements. In other words, extinction implies lowering the probability of undesired behaviour by removing reward for that kind of behaviour. Extinction may unintentionally lower desirable behaviour


It implies removing positive consequences so as to lower the probability of repeating undesirable behaviour in future. In other words, punishment means applying undesirable consequence for showing undesirable behaviour.


2.3 Leadership Style and Communication

Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people (Kurt Lewin,1939). Leadership Style influences the level of motivation of employees. Different Leaders have different style for managing the employees working under them. Fig explains the style of leadership influencing the motivation of employees.

Figure 22 Leadership Style Vs motivation


There have been mostly separate studies about leadership and grapevine communication. According to McKenna (2000), leadership is an art that can get the optimum work required for the organization. The leader also communicates the organizations goals to his team members. He does not discuss about the communication that is more important between the leader and the team and the effectiveness when such communication occurs in an informal way that leads to more interaction and hence develops a bond with each employee and all together leads to commitment and motivation.

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