Employee motivation in international business organizations: the case of PCCW
Employee motivation in international business organizations: the case of PCCW
Human resources management and its functional applications have changed at the turn of the century. There are significant changes, challenges and opportunities that are faced by human resources managers. A considerable number of companies have developed into an essential part of the period of global competition, increasing development, improved business paradigms, and corporate reorganization. The continuing transformation from the traditional industrial framework with its hierarchical companies to a worldwide, knowledge-founded financial system and intelligent corporations that alters the ideas regarding the agreement of rights and duties involving employers and employees and the progressive expansion of more adaptable pool of talent and a body of workforce, necessitates human resource (HR) purposes to realign and relocate itself in the vicinity of these social and economic drivers. Furthermore, the world as well as national economies and markets are different from those of a decade ago. As paradigms have changed, the characteristics affecting human resources management are subject for assessment in order to provide the needs of the organization, its market and especially its people. It is also to keep up with relevance to the latest or emerging trends and strategies that contribute to the whole success of the organization and its operations. In today’s rapid development and technological transformation, the world of big international business industries where transactions and other business operations are governed by law, cultural differences and mutual trust, efficiency counts largely as a common entrepreneurial aim.
The labor force is characterized by people who are oriented to productivity and performance in the basis of their skills and capabilities. Changes in the nature of managerial work over the last years have a reflective and alarming impact on the roles of the HR managers within the new modes of organizational flexibility as well as leveling power of information technology. Generally, the emergence of HRM as a universal remedy for integrating business strategy and people management has exposed personnel practitioners to a fresh set of role challenges and managerial expectations that have stressed out the gaps between the HR language and reality. Further, the attempts to capture the changing environment of the HR personnel roles in response to major transformations in the workplace, the associated rise of HRM, and the competitive advantage of the whole organization through its manpower are few aspects that HR functions embark upon.
Statement of the Problem
It is said that the PCCW Management have blossomed on its local / domestic home country and moved on to internationalize their trend to some other countries / continents because of their effective methods of motivating their stuff. Hence, the causes of this success must be investigated and lessons must be learned and derived from this study.
Purpose of the Study
This study will be conducted in order to determine the success factors of the PCCW Management in internationalizing their trend to other countries / continents through their effective staff motivation strategies, and provide meaningful lessons.
This study will also aim to increase the awareness and provide a better understanding of the issues and problems concerning most companies and organizations in order to contribute an effective approach in addressing their staff motivation problems.
Significance of the Study
If the success factors of the PCCW Management in internationalizing their trend to other countries / continents through their effective staff motivation strategies will be determined, this study will be a benefit to other multinational companies experiencing problems gaining ground to other parts of the world. Also, if effectiveness is supported, this study will be significant in developing underachieving multinational companies and organizations as productive and effective entities in the future.
Specifically this study will address the following questions:
1. What significant success factors of the PCCW Management in internationalizing their trend to other countries / continents through their effective staff motivation strategies were determined?
2. What specific alternatives or measures can be done to help improve the performance of underachieving multinational companies and organizations through staff motivation?
Review of Related Literature
The wide ranges of literatures related to human resources management as well as various incidents affecting its totality are extensive. Given with this fact, this chapter goes over the related literatures conducted on the area of study. By embarking on such pursuit, the research may be guided accordingly by firstly discovering where the research is coming from, what and how much have been studied regarding the topic and what it is yet to tackle. Besides providing background to the study, this study will provide the necessary theoretical and conceptual aspects in order for the research to stand credible. References from this segment of the paper are a product of broad researching and information retrieval.
Overview of the Company: PCCW
The largest telecommunication company in Hong Kong, PCCW was founded in 1994 and currently headed by Richard Li as Chairman. It offers telecommunication services, business e-solutions, infrastructure, and television and media content. Aside from its Hong Kong, Mainland China and Macau offices, PCCW’s operation extends to various countries namely Taiwan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Korea, Japan, United States, and United Kingdom and still growing. It employs more than 14,000 employees in 2006.
The Concept of Motivation
Motivation is an important element to every organization, as this could affect the productivity and the morale of the staff. Lack of motivation will cause high staff turnover, high rate of absenteeism, poor performance, not willing to attend the training course, etc. If the hotel managers understand the employee’s underlying learning motivator, it can improve the customer satisfaction in the long run (1999). It is the role of HRD to implement different kind of rewards system or recognition system in order to maintain the morale. (2000) stated that “motivation is a process not a result” (p. 92). By understanding the motivation theories, it also assists HRD to prepare a better structure of training planning and design in an organization. It is fundamental to understand the motivation factor in order to examine the relationship between rewards system and learning attitude of the people.
There are different perceptions and definitions of “motivation”. Some people might think that motivation is a view of personal trait as some have or some might not have it (1998). Motivation can be defined as the willingness to exert high levels of effort toward organizational goals, conditioned by the effort’s ability to satisfy some individual need ( 1998). (1993) also defined motivation will cause people to act or behave in certain ways. Furthermore, Mullins defines motivation as ‘the degree to which an individual wants and chooses to engage in certain specified behaviors’ (1999). From this theory, Mullins identifies four common characteristics which underline the above definition of motivation:
Motivation is typified as an individual phenomenon. Every person is unique and all the major theories of motivation allow for this uniqueness to be demonstrated in one way or another.
Motivation is described, usually, as intentional. Motivation is assumed to be under the worker’s control, and behaviours that are influenced by motivation, such as effort expended, are seen as choices of action.
Motivation is multifaceted. The two factors of greatest importance are (1) what gets people activated (arousal); and (2) the force of an individual to engage in desired behaviour (direction or choice of behaviour).
The purpose of motivational theories is to predict behaviour. Motivation is not the behaviour itself, and it is not performance. Motivation concerns action, and the internal and external forces that influence a person’s choice of action.
From the definitions mentioned, it can be analysed that motivation is necessary for the growth of the employee in the organisation. The employee starts his/her career through learning, basically the culture of the organisation and his/her responsibilities. Motivation is a vital element to learning because if an organisation does not possess the ability to motivate its employees, the knowledge within the organisation is not practically used to the fullest (1999). Thus, in every successful learning organisation, finding the factors that will motivate its employees to partake in continuous learning and to take advantage of this knowledge, accordingly, becomes their aim (1999).
The HR manager evaluates and motivates its employees. It is believed that motivation is the key to beneficial retention of employees to work and to like their work. The theories of motivation gave some ideas of how a motivation program can be implemented within an organisation. This can be started by surveying the employees and ask them what they think about the company. Through research conducted by the manager, the basic needs of employees can be identified and satisfied through the development and implementation of motivation programs. The initial act that should be done is to make employees realise their personal worth by empowering them. For instance, employees should be given the freedom to voice out their opinions, although there should be a standard on how conversations should be ethically observed, as well as respect to superiors. Former General Manager of General Electric, Jack Welch uses this approach to empower employees. Through this, little and huge issues that affect employees everyday work behaviours were identified and solved (1998). This is fundamentally a great way to identify employees’ needs.
On the other hand, leadership also plays a fundamental part in motivating employees. Today, leadership serves as a critical element of organisational success. In motivating employees to learn, leaders must set a way towards a given goal, inspire, or motivate them to follow (2003). The HR manager should know how to recognise success and how to praise those who deserve praises. Several studies found positive linkage between leadership styles and job satisfaction, except for the initiating structure leadership style, which similarly shows negative effect on job satisfaction (1993; 1997;2004). Deserving employees can be effectively praised and recognised through awards and bonuses. Developing a program were a particular employee with good performance would be branded as employee of the week can also be a good idea. Of course, this should also come with small rewards to make employees feel that their efforts pay off.
Further, motivation is the interaction between the individual and the situation. Under different situations, individual will respond differently. It all depends on the individual motivational drive or individual needs and varies from situation to situation ( 1997). It also leads motivation treated as a need-satisfying process; an unsatisfied need creates tension that stimulates drives within the individuals. These drives generate search behaviour to find particular goals that, if attained, will satisfy the need and lead to the reduction of tension (1998).
Figure 2.2 Motivation Theory
To understand better the various terms and forms of motivation to learn, it is useful to review different kinds of motivational theories in this chapter. There are several types of motivation theories. Among these, the best-known and most typical examples are Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s motivation and hygiene factors, McClelland’s three needs theory and Vroom’s expectancy theory ( 1991). These are used on this research because of their proven relativity and applicability to the concept of this research. Also, they are the most common theories in relation to employee motivation and reward system.
2.1.1 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970) was a psychologist and one of the most well-known motivation theories is Hierarchy of Needs. (1998) mentioned that Maslow generalized that every human beings exists a hierarchy of five needs, which are:
- Physiological – Food, water, shelter and other bodily needs
- Safety – Security and protection from physical and emotional harms
- Social / Belonging – Acceptance and friendship
- Esteem – Internal esteem factors like self-respect; achievement and external esteem factors like status, recognition and attention.
- Self-actualization – Growth, achieving one’s potential and self-fulfillment
In order to apply an appropriate rewards system in an organization, it is essential to understand the idea of human needs and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can reflect the five general human needs. The figure below illustrates the graphical representation of the most popular motivational model – Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Figure 2.3 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Model
This theory is based on a progression hypothesis and it called content theory. Content theory seeks to examine the specific factors that motivate behaviours. In Maslow’s theory, people progress up the hierarchy as they successively gratify each level of need. On this research, this theory will serve the purposes of relating the need of motivating people to learn.
2.1.2 Herzberg’s motivation and hygiene factors theory
Motivation-hygiene theory was proposed by another psychologist Herzberg. It emphasised that the needs satisfactions are categorized into intrinsic and extrinsic factors. According to (1993), motivation can take place in either intrinsic motivation or extrinsic motivation:
- Intrinsic motivation – the self-generated factors and influence people to behave in a particular way or direction. Intrinsic factors motivate us from within personal interest, desire and fulfilment. It has long-term and deeper effect.
- Extrinsic motivation – To satisfy indirect or instrumental needs. It arises from some kind of ‘Do this’ and you will get that motivation (Reeve, 2001). It has an immediate and powerful effect but will not last long.
To a certain extent, part of the Herzberg’s theory is parallel to Maslow’s theory. It can be seen that the hygiene factors in the lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy and the motivators in the higher levels. However, unlike Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s two-factor theory argued that individual needs satisfaction does not process in a hierarchy (1999). The motivation-hygiene theory needs to hold management not only to provide hygiene factors and avoid employee dissatisfaction, but also provide factors intrinsic to the work itself in order for employees to be satisfied with their jobs. It can be argued that it does not mean that the employee is motivated to learn. From Herzberg’s theory, it encourages the organisation to enlarge and enrich work responsibilities and pay more attention to goal-setting, appraisal, reward and recognition system. According to (1993), it applied the Herzberg’s theories in one of the hotels in Cyprus. From the concept of quality and guest satisfaction level, it shown that Herzberg’s theory is more relevant than Maslow’s. Will this be applicable in the Hong Kong hotel industry?
2.1.3 McClelland Three need theory
McClelland’s theory of needs that focuses on three needs: achievement, power and affiliation. Need of achievement means people are striving personal achievement rather than the rewards. People are highly motivated by challenge and competitive work situation ( 1995). Need of power is the desire to have impact or influence or control others. Need of affiliation is the desire of friendship; prefer to keep good relationship instead of competitive environment (1998). In McClelland theory, it contends that people with a high need for achievement make good managers. For instance, people with high need for achievement will eager to obtain feedback on their performance, willing to solve problem and exhibit moderate levels of risk taking (1992). In view of motivation theories, it shown that both theories are not defined ‘money’ as motivator. It means financial rewards are not the key motivation factor. On the other hand, (1991) disagreed that the need of affiliation is more important than monetary rewards. (1987) was conducted a research in Hong Kong, it found that the primary motivator in Hong Kong is the financial reward. (1988) also stated that monetary compensation is the key motivator for Hong Kong’s staffs. It can be argued that how far it can motivate the staff to learn by using the financial reward for the hotel employees. Besides, hotel management is necessarily to understand the key motivator on learning in order to apply the effective reward system. three needs theory (999) is more focused on different kind of non-monetary human needs. (1945) commented that these three needs are more important than monetary compensation in motivating employees. It is worthwhile to look into the three needs theory in order to examine the importance of the non-monetary reward system.
2.1.4 Vroom’s Expectancy Theory
The staff’s expectancy cannot be ignored. Therefore, Vroom’s expectancy theory will be discussed in the following section. This theory is focused on the personal perceptions and it can reflect the individual concept instead of only concentrated on the monetary reward.
Vroom’s expectancy theory of motivation focuses on personal perceptions of the performance process, ‘the more motivated the worker to perform effectively, the more effective his performance’ (1970). Expectancy theory argues that the strength of an expectation that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual (1998). Expectancy is the belief that effort leads to performance, for example, ‘If I try harder, I can do better.’ It reflected this theory focuses on the following relationships:
1. Effort – Performance relationship – Individual perceived that exert a certain amount of effort will lead to performance;
2. Performance – Reward relationship – Individual believes that achieve the certain performance level will lead to attainment of a desired outcome; and
3. Rewards – Personal goals relationship – Organizational rewards satisfy individual personal goals or needs.
Figure 2.4 Vroom’s Expectancy Theory Model
According to the expectancy theory, employees expect and need to be rewarded according to the work they do, and will help them to develop their capability, help them to work up to a higher level so that they can be better rewarded (2002). Employees expect organisations to have compensation systems that they perceive as being fair and commensurate with their skills and expectations. The compensation may, in some cases, act as employee motivators. These compensations that employees receive may be value-added compensation including direct compensation, such as salary, incentives and commissions; and indirect compensation, such as insurance benefits, employee recognition programs, flexible work hours, and vacation benefits.
Similar to Maslow’s theory of needs hierarchy, the expectancy theory may also be applied in the organisational context. More specifically, it could possess vital implications with regard to corporate reward system as according to (2001):
Ø a clear connection between rewards and performance must be determined,
Ø the connection between rewards and performance must be relayed to the human resources,
Ø the rewards must be provided based on performance,
Ø the rewards must fulfil the specific needs of the employees so as to draw out a high level of motivation, and,
Ø barriers in organizations that hinder excellent performance must be eradicated to ensure motivated behaviour.
If the staffs in an organisation believe that it needs to put effort and lead to performance in order to achieve certain rewards and personal goals, reward system could motivate them to learn.
This chapter presents the methods and procedures utilized by the researcher in pursuing answers to the questions raised in the study. It also provides information on the description of the methods and procedures that were conceptualized and constructed in order to obtain the needed data and information that will be most useful to the study. Details on how the accumulated data were analyzed and interpreted as well as how the conclusion was drawn is discussed in full extent in this section. This provides justification of the means in which the study was accomplished and at the same time helps in giving purpose and strength to the validity and reliability of the collected information that makes this particular research practice truthful and analytic.
Specifically, this research chapter covers the following discussions: the research design and approach, the primary data collection, the secondary data collection, the research tools, the validity and reliability of the collected data, and the locale and database of the study.
Research Design and Approach
The researcher uses the qualitative research design utilizing the descriptive research method, which is primarily concerned with describing the nature or conditions of the current situation in detail (1994). According to (2000), the qualitative research approach is most appropriate when conducting descriptive and exploratory study in order to quantify data that seem immeasurable, such as feelings, beliefs, and thoughts. Qualitative research is defined by(2003) as “a subjective approach which includes examining and reflecting on perceptions in order to gain an understanding of social and human activities” (). The emphasis is on describing rather than on judging. This study employs qualitative research method, since it intends to find and build theories that would explain the relationship of one variable with another variable through qualitative elements. These qualitative elements does not have standard measures, rather they are behavior, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. So, the goals of qualitative research are primarily to advance new theory, interpret the significance of individual events and giving voice to particular groups.