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07/18/2014

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Hi Ann,
Great post. Yes, motivation is messy and that is what makes our roles so interesting. There has to be a holistic approach to motivation to meet all needs.

Simplifications are essentially limited outlines of complex interrelations. Believe Gerry Ledford commented that the same thing happened with Herzberg's subtle modifications to Mazlow's hierarchy (termed "the Pyramid"). F.H.'s Motivators and Hygiene factors were similar oversimplifications of research that was dumbed down and reformatted for enhanced general public acceptance, as I recall.

Since people love simple explanations, there really should be a great market for my proposed major opus, "The Compensation Cookbook" (http://www.compensationcafe.com/2012/04/the-compensation-cookbook.html). If I could only find a publisher....

Totally agree with the thrust of this blog however we cannot blame managers when business academics still use it in all major management and HR texts. Which is why it was refreshing to find no mention of him in Kafner and Pritchards latest book on Work Motivation.

Work motivation is messy with dozens of behaviours, drivers, emotions and goals at play although I am yet to find real evidence (not supplied by Reward experts or behaviourists) that money has any place in motivation.

Money is a key driver of the needs for security, status and getting it wrong can be a disaster but relying on it to motivate your people beyond that is folly. Getting it right is very simple, although not easy, make sure your rewards are market competitive and internally equitable, transparent and flexible and you will be fine (as I said not easy ). However getting the motivational drivers and person fit right that is another story.

I've always liked the simplification of Herzberg and Maslow's theories as a way to *START* a conversation about motivation and rewards for a given scenario. It should be self-evident that neither theory is the end-all be-all; they're just tools to help an organization to dig deeper.

Trevor, Jim, Tony and Windsor -

Thanks, all for your comments and observations. Yes, motivation is messy and complication and - particularly to Jim's and Windor's points - there are benefits to having a simple "heuristic" to guide our problem definition and solving efforts, as long as we can keep some sense of perspective about its unwavering applicability (or even truth). Unfortunately, the lure of the easy answer sometimes overwhelms all intentions to explore and understand more deeply.

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