Professionals in the criminal justice

Motivating and rewarding employees is one of the most important and one of the most challenging activities that administrators in the criminal justice system can perform. Successful administrators understand that what motivates them personally may have little or no effect on others. Just because you’re motivated by being part of a cohesive work team, don’t assume everyone else is. Effective administrators who want their employees to make a maximum effort recognize that they need to tailor their motivational practices to satisfy the needs and wants of those employees.

Motivation is the willingness to exert high levels of effort to reach organizational goals, conditioned by the effort’s ability to satisfy some individual need. Although motivation refers to effort toward any goal, here it will refer to organizational goals because the focus on this paper is on work related behavior. There are three key elements in motivation: effort, organizational goals and needs. The effort element is a measure of intensity or drive. A motivated person tries hard.

But high levels of effort are unlikely to lead to favorable job performance outcomes, unless the effort is channeled in a direction that benefits the organization. So we must consider the quality of the effort as well as its intensity. Effort that is directed toward and consistent with, the organization’s goals is the kind of effort that we should be seeking, treating motivation as a need satisfying process. A need means some internal state that makes certain outcomes appear attractive. An unsatisfied need creates tension that stimulates drives within an individual.

These drives generate a search behavior to find particular goals that, if attained, will satisfy the need and reduce the tension. So, motivated employees are in a state of tension and to relieve this tension they exert effort. In other words the greater the tension, the higher the effort level. If this effort leads to the satisfaction of the need, it reduces tension. Because we are interested in work behavior, this tension-reduction effort must also be directed toward organizational goals.

Therefore, inherent in motivation is the requirement that the individuals needs be compatible and consistent with the organization’s goals. When the two do not coincide, individuals may exert high levels of effort that run counter to the interests of the organization (Stojkovic, Kalinich & Klofas, 2003). Motivating high levels of employee performance is such an important organizational consideration that both researchers and managers have been trying to understand and explain employee motivation for years. The earliest attempts at explaining motivation focused on pinpointing what motivated individuals.

However, these theories were not able to effectively explain why personnel motivation levels differed; that is, there was no recognition that what motivated individuals were different for each person. That lack brought about efforts to understand motivation from the perspective of how it happened. The best known theory of motivation is probably Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs Theory. Maslow was a humanistic psychologist who proposed that within every human being is a hierarchy of five needs, physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs (Fleet, 1973, p.

567). In terms of motivation, Maslow argued that each level in the hierarchy must be substantially satisfied before the next is activated and that once a need is substantially satisfied it no longer motivates behavior. In other words, as each need is substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant. The individual moves up the needs hierarchy. From the stand point of motivation, Maslow’s theory proposed that, although no need is ever fully satisfied, a substantially satisfied need will no longer motivate an individual.

If you want to motivate someone, according to Maslow, you need to understand what level that person is on in the hierarchy and focus on satisfying needs at or above that level. Criminal justice administrators who accept Maslow’s hierarchy should attempt to change their organizations and management practices so that employee’s needs could be satisfied (Fleet, 1973, p. 565). Maslow separated the five needs into higher and lower levels. Physiological and safety needs are described as lower-order needs; social, esteem and self-actualization are described as higher order needs.

The differentiation between the two levels was made on the premise that higher order needs are satisfied internally and lower order needs are predominantly satisfied externally. In fact, the natural conclusion from Maslow’s classification is that, in times of economic prosperity, almost all permanently employed personnel have their lower order needs substantially met. Maslow’s need theory received wide recognition, particularly during the 60’s and 70’s. This recognition can be attributed to the theory’s intuitive logic and ease of understanding.

Unfortunately research doesn’t generally validate the theory. Maslow provided no empirical substantiation for his theory, and several studies that sought to validate it could not (Fleet, 1973, p. 573). Douglas McGregor is best known for his formulation of two sets of assumptions about human nature: Theory X and Theory Y. Very simply, Theory X presents an essentially negative view of people. It assumes that they have little ambition, dislike work, want to avoid responsibility, and need to be closely directed to work effectively. Theory Y offers a positive view.

It assumes that people can exercise self-direction, accept responsibility and consider work to be as natural as rest or play. McGregor believed that Theory Y assumptions best captured the true nature of workers and should guide administration practice. McGregor’s analysis of motivation is best expressed in the framework presented by Maslow. Theory X assumed that lower order needs dominated individuals and Theory Y assumed that high order needs dominated. McGregor himself held to the belief that the assumptions of Theory Y were more valid than were those of Theory X.

Therefore, he proposed that participation in decision making, responsible and challenging jobs and good group relations would maximize job motivation (Sager, 2008, p. 289). David McClelland proposed achievement, power and affiliation or the three-needs theory as major motives or needs in work situations in today’s terms. Some people have a compelling drive to succeed, but they’re striving for personal achievement rather than for the trappings and rewards of success. They have a desire to do something better or more efficiently than it has been done before.

This drive is the need for achievement. From research concerning the achievement need, McClelland found that high achievers differentiate themselves from others by their desire to do things better. They seek situations in which they can take personal responsibility for finding solutions to problems, in which they can receive rapid and unambiguous feedback on their performance in order to tell whether they’re improving and in which they can set moderately challenging goals. High achievers aren’t gamblers; they dislike succeeding by chance.

They prefer the challenge of working at a problem and accepting the personal responsibility for success or failure rather than leaving the outcome to chance or the actions of others. An important point is that they avoid what they perceive to be very easy or very difficult tasks (Sirakaya, Kerstetter, & Mount, 1999, p. 140). High achievers perform best when they perceive their probability of success as 50-50. They dislike gambling when the odds are high because they get no achievement satisfaction from accidental success. Similarly, they dislike low odds or high probability of success because there’s no challenge to their skills.

They like to set goals that require stretching themselves a bit. When there’s an approximately equal chance of success or failure then there’s the optimal opportunity to experience feelings of successful accomplishment and satisfaction from their efforts. The need for power is the desire to have impact and to be influential. Individuals high in power enjoy being in charge, strive for influence over others, and prefer to be in competitive and status oriented situations. The third need isolated by McClelland is affiliation, which is the desire to be liked and accepted by others. This need has received the least attention from researchers.

Individuals with high affiliation strive for friendships, prefer cooperative situations rather than competitive ones, and desire relationships involving a high degree of mutual understanding (Sirakaya, Kerstetter & Mount, 1999, p. 148). Equity theory, developed by J. Stacey Adams, proposes that employees perceive what they get from a job situation in relation to what they put into it and then compare their inputs-outcomes ratio with the input-outcome ratio of relevant others. If an employee perceives their ratio to be equal to those of relevant others a state of equity exists.

In other worlds, they perceive that their situation is fair or that justice prevails. However, if the ratio is unequal, inequity exists and they view their selves as under-rewarded or over-rewarded. When inequity occurs, employees attempt to do something about it. Equity theory proposes that employees might; distort either their own or others input or outcomes, behave in some way to induce others to change their inputs or outcomes, behave in some way to change their own inputs or outcomes, choose a different comparison person or quit their job.

When it’s specifically pay that’s perceived to be inequitable, the theory suggests that employees who are either under-rewarded or over-rewarded will react in certain ways depending on whether their wages are based on time factors or quantity of output. These types of employee reactions have generally proven to be correct, and a review of the research consistently confirms the equity thesis: Employee motivation is influenced significantly by relative rewards as well as by absolute rewards. Whenever employees perceive inequity, they’ll act to correct the situation.

The result might be lower or higher productivity improved or reduced quality of output, increased absenteeism or voluntary resignation (Romer, 1977, p. 229). The other aspect in equity theory is the “others” that is used for comparison. The referent is an important variable in equity theory. Three referent categories have been defined: other, system and self. The “other” category includes other individuals with similar jobs in the same organization and also includes friends, neighbors, or professional associates.

On the basis of what they hear at work or read about in newspapers or trade journals, employees compare their pay with that of others. The “system” category includes organizational pay policies and procedures and the administration of the system. Whatever precedents have been established by the organization regarding pay allocation are major elements of this category. The “self” category refers to inputs-outcomes ratios that are unique to the individual. It reflects past personal experiences and contacts and is influenced by criteria such as past jobs or family commitments.

The choice of a particular set of referents is related to the information available about the referents as well as to their perceived relevance. However applicable it might be to understanding employee motivation, we should not conclude that equity theory is flawless. The theory leaves some key issues still unclear. Such as, how do employees define inputs and outcomes? How do they combine and weigh their inputs and outcomes to arrive at totals? When and how do the factors change over time?

But despite these problems, equity theory does have an impressive amount of research support and offers some important insights to employee motivation (Scarborough, Tubergen, Gaines & Whitlow, 1999, p. 304). The most comprehensive explanation of motivation is Victor Vrooms’s expectancy theory. Although the theory has its critics, most research evidence supports it. Expectancy theory states that an individual tends to act in a certain way based on the expectation that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual. It includes three variables or relationships.

The first is expectancy or effort-performance linkage is the probability perceived by the individual that exerting a given amount of effort will lead to a certain level of performance. The second is Instrumentality or performance reward linkage is the degree to which the individual believes that performing at a particular level is instrumental in leading to the attainment of a desired outcome. Third is valence or attractiveness of reward and this is the importance that the individual places on the potential outcome or reward that can be achieved on the job. Valence considers both the goals and needs of the individual (Wabba & House, 1974, p.

121). This explanation of motivation might sound complex, but it really isn’t that difficult to visualize. It can be summed up in the questions: How hard do I have to work to achieve a certain level of performance, and can I actually achieve that level? What reward will performing at that level of performance get me? How attractive is the reward to me and does it help me achieve my goals? Whether you are motivated to put forth effort at any given time depends on your particular goals and your perceptions of whether a certain level of performance is necessary to attain those goals (Stojkovic, Kalinich & Klofas, 2003).

First, what perceived outcomes does the job offer the employee? Outcomes or rewards may be positive, such as pay, security, companionship, trust, fringe benefits, maybe a chance to use talents or skills or perhaps congenial relationships. Or the employee may view the outcomes as negative, such as fatigue, foredoom, frustration, anxiety, harsh supervision or threat of dismissal. Keep in mind that reality isn’t relevant here. The critical issue is what the individual perceives the outcome to be, regardless of whether the perceptions are accurate. Second, how attractive are the outcomes or rewards to the employee?

Are they valued positively, negatively, or neutrally? This obviously is a personal and internal issue that depends on the individual’s attitudes, personality and needs. A person who finds a particular reward attractive would rather attain it than not attain it. Others may find it negative and therefore prefer not getting it. And others may be neutral about the outcome. Third, what kind of behavior must the employee exhibit in order to achieve these rewards? The rewards aren’t likely to have any effect on any individual employee’s performance unless they know clearly and unambiguously what must be done to achieve them.

And finally, how does the employee view their chances of doing what is asked? After an employee has considered their own skills and ability to control those variables that lead to success, what’s the likelihood that they can successfully perform at the necessary level? (Wabba & House, 1974, p. 140). The key to expectancy theory is to understanding the individual’s goal and the linkage between effort and performance, between performance and rewards, and finally, between rewards and individual goal satisfaction. As a contingency model, expectancy theory recognizes that there is no universal principle for explaining each person’s motivation.

In addition, knowing what needs a person seeks to satisfy does not ensure that the individual will perceive that high performance will necessarily lead to satisfying those needs. Summarizing some of the issues surrounding expectancy is first that it emphasizes payoffs and rewards. As a result, we have to believe that the rewards an organization is offering align with what the individual wants. It’s a theory based on self-interest, because each individual seeks to maximize their expected satisfaction of needs. Second, expectancy theory stresses that managers understand why employees view certain outcomes as attractive or unattractive.

Reality is irrelevant. An individual’s own perceptions of performance, rewards and goal satisfaction outcomes, not the outcomes themselves will determine their level of efforts (Wabba & House, 1974, p. 146). With theory Z, William Ouchi discusses features of Japanese companies that create a high rate of commitment, motivation and productivity. This theory deals mainly with organizational psychology and the use of job analysis. Job analysis procedures have been used to design jobs for maximum efficiency. The effectiveness of the Japanese automobile and electronics industries has often been attributed to group management techniques.

Some of their success stem from the use of very detailed job analysis methods to determine the nature of jobs and to design work environments that allow workers to perform those jobs efficiently. In many cases, careful analysis of the actions required to perform a particular task or job as enabled Japanese firms to replace human workers with robots. There are three factors that determine which jobs should be included in a job analysis: Diversity, distribution and employment setting. The number of jobs included in the job analysis program influences the specific job analysis procedures used.

To determine the method or methods of job analysis to use, the job analyst must decide on the types of data to collect, the sources of information from which to get data and the specific procedure of job analysis to implement. Several types of data can be collected in a job analysis project. These data include behavioral descriptions, ability requirements, job characteristics and information about the equipment used on the job (Glassman, 1984, p. 380). Almost every contemporary motivation theory recognizes that employees aren’t homogeneous. They have different needs.

They also differ in terms of attitudes, personality and other important individual variables. Because managers are primarily interested in how to motivate individuals on the job, the needs to look at ways to design motivating jobs is important and even more in the criminal justice system. To maximize motivation among today’s diverse workforce, administrators and managers need to think in terms of flexibility. In contrast to a generation ago, the typical employee today is more likely to be a highly trained professional with a college degree than a blue-collar worker.

These professionals in the criminal justice system receive a great deal of intrinsic satisfaction from their work. Management practices that are likely to lead to more motivated employees include recognizing individual difference, matching people to jobs, using goals, ensuring that employees perceive goals as attainable, individualizing rewards, linking rewards to performance, checking the reward system for equity and realizing that money is an important incentive. Reference: Glassman, R. B. (1984). “A sociobiological examination of management theory Z”. Human Relations, 37, 367-392. Romer, D.

(1977). “Limitations in the equity-theory approach: Toward a resolution of the “negative-inputs” controversy”. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 3, 228-231. Sager, K. L. (2008). “An exploratory study of the relationships between theory X/Y assumptions and superior communicator style”. Management Communication Quarterly, 22, 288-312. Scarborough, K. E. , Van Tubergen, G. N. , Gaines, L. K. & Whitlow, S. S. (1999). “An examination of police officer’s motivation to participate in the promotional process”. Police Quarterly, 2, 302-320. Sirakaya, E. , Kerstetter, D. L. & Mount, D.

(1999). “Modeling the selection of high customer-contact personnel: An application of behavioral decision-making theory”. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 23, 139-159. Stojkovic, S. , Kalinich, D. & Klofas, J. (2003). Criminal Justice Organizations: Administration and Management, 3rd. Ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. Van Fleet, D. D. (1973). “The need-hierarchy and theories of authority”. Human Relations, 26, 567-580. Wabba, M. A. & House, R. J. (1974). “Expectancy theory in work and motivation: Some logical and methodological issues”. Human Relations, 27, 121-147.