Review the discussion of ethical issues and the need theories of motivation. Discuss those issues with the goal of taking
Review the discussion of ethical issues and the need theories of motivation. Discuss those issues with the goal of taking a strong position on them.
Ethical issues and the need theories of motivation:
The discussion of ethical issues surrounding the need theories of motivation begins with a set of broad ethical issues created by our knowledge of human motivation. Those issues will crystallize in the next two motivation chapters as your knowledge of motivation expands.
A general question involving motivation centers on the ethics of directly affecting the behavior of employees without their informed consent. Managers could consider the ethics of their actions to affect employee motivation from the views of the different ethical theories in Chapter 3, “Ethics and Behavior in Organizations.” A utilitarian analysis would ask about the total effects of the manager’s efforts and whether they produce a widespread net positive benefit for the organization. An analysis of rights and justice would question employees’ rights to know in advance that their managers will try to shape their behavior with knowledge of human motivation. A manager working from ethical egoism would say it is right for him to have that effect, because it meets his interests in his work unit’s performance and his career.
Are organizations ethically obliged to create work experiences and environments that let people satisfy their needs? Such an argument was the centerpiece of much early normative management theory60 and the quality of working life efforts started in the 1970s. The question persists today, as you will see in the job design discussion of Chapter 9. As that chapter shows, existing research evidence does not clearly point to higher performance and satisfaction from work designs that align with people’s needs. The ethical answer for now must rest on the philosophy of each organization and its managers. The evidence presented for cultural differences in people’s needs raises the ethical question of whether managers must consider such differences in designing work experiences in multinational operations. Should they take cultural differences into account and manage those operations according to the needs of people in the host culture, or should they manage the operations as if they were in their home culture? Both utilitarian and rights-based analyses answer yes to the first question and no to the second. If people’s needs affect their motivation and job performance, then managing a multinational operation congruent with local people’s needs could lead to high performance (utilitarian view). A rights-based view suggests people simply have the right of congruence with their needs in their work experiences.
Anecdotal evidence reports that U.S. managers make many blunders when working abroad, suggesting that these issues have important implications for managers.
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