Organizations have always been interested in finding what motivates employees, in particular money as a motivator. In one of the sessions, the class mentioned the fact that money is not as good a motivator as appreciation. The videos of the talks by Pink and Ariely re-emphasized the fact that money does not motivate employees, but things such as mastery and meaning are better to motivate them. Additionally, it was mentioned that people are more motivated to work hard if their work is acknowledged and appreciated by others. I had to ask myself if money was a motivator for me. To my dismay, the answer was yes. The reason for this might be the fact that I am still a student, and after spending 4 years on a budget, I would want to earn as much as possible. Another reason could be that I have never had such a job where money could be used as a motivator; all my previous work experiences were motivated by the fact that it would make my Curriculum Vitae look better – but then I thought to myself, I wanted a better Curriculum Vita to be able to get a well paying job. Does this not mean that I was, indirectly, motivated by money? I guess I will not be able to find an answer to this question until I start working. I do, however, try to imagine a situation where I am working for a firm where my work is not being appreciated at all. In that scenario, I think I would not be motivated to perform better even if I got paid more. Of course, I could always leave the job and start to search for a better one, but what about an employee who would starve if he or she stops working?
All the research and study in the field of motivation is focused on the managerial level, but no one thinks about the lowest level of employees in an organization. Those who work hard to keep the corridors and bathrooms clean. Just think about how many times you actually told a janitor that he or she did a good job and the bathroom was really clean? No one actually appreciates their work at all, even so, that we do not even acknowledge it; we take it for granted, and only think about it when the place is filthy. The only motivation for such employees is money! They work hard day and night so that they can feed their families. They do not think about mastery or meaning, acknowledgement or appreciation, job satisfaction or career progression; all they think about is how can they earn more money. Thus, I argue that motivation is dependent of financial stability. We forget to include them in the “organization” when we study employee behaviour, but the truth is that they are the ones who clean up all the mess we create. They are the ones we tend to ignore, yet they are the ones who provide us with the right conditions to do our job effectively each and every day.