Academic Leadership Journal


Isaac Mathibe


The significance of employee motivation as the panacea of productivity in organizations is illustrated by the volumes of literature on motivation and human productivity. For example, social theorists are of the view that employees are motivated by their needs and they develop through and in relationship with others (Dawson, 1993). The implication of the preceding statement is that when there is synergy between employees’ needs and organizational needs, they – employees – will be more acquiescent to productive tendencies than when their needs are not gratified. Invariably, the balancing of employees’ labour with their social needs and expectations is necessary in all organizations, and consequently Vaida (2003) states that incentives are used to reward outstanding performance and to sustain efficiency in work processes. Furthermore, Hoy and Miskel (1991:191) concur that incentives include money, power and idyllic investments as well as general incentives that are non-material. However, an over-emphasis on incentives and monetary gain overlooks the fact that people make decisions about their own behaviour. Boje and Rosile (2004) thus conclude that motivation theories – which accentuate incentives more than other motivators – incorporate the death wish since social control instrumentalities, valences, and need strengths are manipulated by managers to induce employees’ productivity. In addition, the “one shoe fits all” approach of giving incentives may not have the desired effect because of the uniqueness of employees’ needs, personalities and behaviour.