Open Abilities Institute



Igor Zyrianov

Motivation, —ommunication and Human Resources Development

         1st part

        2nd part

        3rd part


Let's start from the weak point inside and outside the company.


            The basic massage inside the company should be communicate, communicate, communicate! Why 

            Because communication means keeping people informed, providing feedback, explaining policies and decisions. But not only these.

            One research group in Japan, under the guidance of a qualified expert, asked a cross-section of people in a large factory to list significant problems known to them.

            And surprisingly enough : only 4 present of the listed problems were known to top managers. Most of the causes of defect, excess cost, delays and other problems were hidden, like the vast mass of an iceberg.

            This Iceberg of Ignorance demonstrated why only a few companies consistently fulfil their promises. (I think it's part of the answer for discussion about Japanese and western companies).



                                                4 %                             problem known to

                                                                                    top managers                                                     


problem hidden                        9 %                             problem known to

from top                                                                     general supervisors





                                                74 %                           problem known to



                                           90 - 100 %                       problem known to rank- 

                                                                                  and-file employees


            What should managers do in order to improve communication inside the company and what, in particular, should the HR manager do?         

            There are many barriers in every organisation. Japanese companies were the first to understand the importance of the communication factor. It is very important to consider communication as a whole.

            In our world, business is evolving. Companies are usually private or belong to the government. And to whom do the people working in these companies belong?

            In order to succeed now, companies should give people feedback. In the company, either anonymous or direct forms of communication (suggesting boxes, questionnaires, performance appraisal) may be used. But it's very difficult to use the latter.

            Managers should also have an opportunity to communicate with top level managers, direction and especially with HR.

            Companies should consider people as a key factor for success and look for the different possibilities. For example, some people may work for the final result, plan and have a free schedule. In other companies, they my ask people how to decrease working time and increase profitability? And so on. There are many ways of reforming old company structures and increasing inter company communication. I am sure that the Japanese are doing this. Western companies will think about this when they face a crisis.

            When I lived in Russia I saw how crises may encourage people to reconsider and look for new directions, and chose ideas and tools. There is no recipe, but there are many directions and possibilities for improving the quality of working life, creating methods for solving problems, releasing people's energy and building new company structures.    

            What should the HR manager do in order to improve external relations or is it the responsibility of other departments?

I have not worked in a western company, but I think it should be the responsibility of the HR manager too.

            In the business world, companies use different words to describe the other firms, or those from which they buy products or parts : vendors and suppliers and/or they also may be supplier and vendor. 

            I think that it would be better to change the name of the Customer/Supplier Satisfaction Survey to (Name of the company (print)) satisfaction . We should be personal with our partner.

            Companies should be partners. When they become partners they break down the walls between themselves and their customer. They make a lasting commitment and they invest in learning everything about their customer and their customer's customers. They encourage their customer to fully understand what they can do and they will create trust. Partners will enjoy trust, a shared vision of the future, free exchange of information and a long perspective.

            McGregor's theory

            This was one of the first theories to be built by examining the operators:

            People are lazy, they work as little as possible and hate responsibility. They prefer to be led, self-centred and indifferent to group needs. By nature they resist change.

            This theory led to the motivation by money reward backed up by the threat of unemployment.

            Later McGregor developed his theory.

            People by nature are motivated, Society and the working environment frustrate their potential. They would like to contribute positively to the organisation where they work if only they are given the opportunity.

            Herzberg's theory

            Herzberg interviewed a large number of engineers and accountants

and found factors which make people like their work (satisfiers)

give people cause for dissatisfaction (hygiene): achievement, recognition, the nature of the work, responsibility and advancement.

            Salary, poor working conditions, ineffective or /and unfair management policy were listed most frequently as giving rise to dissatisfaction

            Maslow's theory

            Maslow classified people's main needs and drew the hierarchy which includes Herzberg's hygiene factors :



(development of potential,

improving knowledge, skills,


self actualisatio


Ego                                                                      growth

(stable and high valuation of themselves,                 (satisfiers) factors

stability to achieve status symbols)



(to be loved, to belong and accepted by other)



(desire for safety, job security,reliability

of income while working, sick and retired)                       hygiene factor


(need for food, clothing and shelter)


            According to Maslow :

            People's (not children) motives are highly complex and no single motive causes behaviour. Low level need must be at least partially satisfied before a higher level need is satisfied. Satisfied need no longer motivated, another need will take  place. The higher level can be satisfied in many more ways then the lower.        

            Status problem

            Status symbols stimulate people motivation. Recognition of special abilities/skills, high job performance in special fields. External status symbols - car, reserved parking place etc. may be used.

             Expectancy theory

            According with this theory the 

level of motivation = valency * expectancy

and amount of effort required to achieve the objective affects motivation


valency - extent to which the outcome of the activity and its success matters to the individual


expectancy - individual's expectation of weather or not his efforts will succeed


But, I think that  it's very difficult to estimate these variables 

expectancy theory on the diagram : 





abilities                                              how       feedback with EFFORT



            Equity theory

            Equity theory is based on the finding that people have a concept of Equity which makes them attempt to match their performance to the reward received and practical experience indicates that people reduce the quality of their job and reduce co-operation when salary increases do not keep pace with inflation. They also put more into their work if there is an unexpectedly large wage increase.

            Instrumental theory

            Studies of car workers have shown that people stay in their job because of high salaries and not expect any satisfaction from their job. The status problem was solved through salaries which give the possibility to buy different social symbols. Self-actualisation was partly satisfied by holidays. Their social needs were developed more outside work then inside. Group needs were satisfied by families and leisure activities.

            Our discussion about EU people also may directly relate to this research. People try to earn a lot of money, decrease their working hours and productivity.


I found that Maslow's theory is very good to work with, but keep in mind Freid.



            Changes which goes with losses for people make people resistant to them. If there is no communication in the company, people think about what they will lose, not about what they will gain. Before making changes the HR manager should demonstrate that there aren't any losses or there are compensation for losses in an appropriate way. Let's use Maslow's model with changes and our case study

            Development, self-actualisation

            People who are on this level may be frustrated and feel less satisfied about their job. But if they enjoy their job they may find new roles and activity and accept changes

            Ego level

            Changes which came with losses should be compensated, in particular  with a change of status.


            People who stay on this level may have problems with other employee and groups, groups may disintegrate. Social needs should be satisfied after changes and compensation for the employees' family should be found.


            Clear and full information about change should be available to these people. If people should change their job, good training for them required.


            Normally unemployment may affect this level. Changes should be clearly interpreted with or with out possible unemployment and salaries and other benefits should be compared to show that all changes are for the better.

            If the HR manager will introduce changes he should

            Identify all losses which people may experience, ensure that people realise which losses will inevitably occur, avoid unnecessary losses, make up for losses by gain in kind wherever possible, and motivate people for changes

            Level of motivation

            The degree of motivation in workers may vary. If I will construct a questionnaire, I will use statistic and dynamic components of the motivation and ask questions about the situation with the level of motivation before, now and what you will expect in future. 

            We may use a system with 3 grades

                    1   2   3            -   high


                        or it is better to use 5 grades


    no   -            1            2            3            4           5   -  high



            High motivation

            I think that is possible to have a high level of motivation or near high motivation level in the company. And the name of this company is a team.

            Also it's very interesting that in McCleland's research on types of people highlights the "Motivation seeker" who has high achievement needs and looks for personal responsibility.

            It is very important to select "Motivation seekers" for management positions.


            Direction of motivation

            In real life employees have wide differences in terms of motivation. They are interested in special types of activity in which they need less or don't need stimulus from the manager. Groups of employees with common social, political, economical histories may show close motive structures. In Europe, probably, national factors should be considered in according to an estimation of the direction of motivation

            Ability/Skills (for me it's easy to put them together)

            Ability and skills are the function of the innate characteristic of  employees, of their experience and of training. Retraining may be considered for employees who have several abilities/skills and have not  used them in their previous job. Also, if rapid changes in company environment and job take place, training for some personnel will be essential.


            All resources in company, equipment, tools etc. improve performance. Managers also should think about the layout of the company and adequate space for the workhorse. 


            The HR manager should deal with the motivation, ability/skills personal and resources which determine the performance of each employee and company.

            I think that estimating motivation and resources should be a part of the HR computer management system.              


            Job enrichment & motivation

            Job enrichment may reserve the de-motivation effect of boring, routing job by re-structuring or redesigning in order to provide more satisfaction. Managers should allow people to plan their work, give possibility to use different methods.

            Danger of enriching a job may be if new roles become more difficult or/and less interesting. 


            Job enlargement & motivatio

            Here manager may have some problems. Some people complain that their work is boring and they developed a fast routing for completing their work to the minimum acceptable standard of quality and they are not interested in any improvement. If manager will give them more work with a view make them happier, it will not work as motivater, because these people will still be bored. They want is not more work, but more responsibility.



           When the goal achieved, work done the value in stimulating effort is multiplied if it officially recognised by manager, company, environment. This effect may be negatively turn if employee become an object for criticism or hi ignored. 


            Job rotation

            It was surprise for me to read that Job rotation is not a motivater Job rotation may work as motivater, for example, if it is part of team working and job enrichment.


            Reducing supervision

            If we give people more responsibility it not the same as we reduce supervision. When employees are not supervised they feel neglected and they and their work is not important. People not sure of if their performance is good, acceptable.


            Change of Job Name

            Renaming of the job role may be affective only if it reflect a difference in the level of work or/and authority.


            Competition between groups

            Inside Group 

            Groups become closely knit and elicit greater loyalty from its members, climate in the group changes from informal, playful to work and task oriented, concern for task accomplishment increases. Leadership pattern tend to change from democratic toward autocratic (why in Soviet Union we had autocracy ?) the groups become more willing to tolerate autocratic leadership. Groups become more structured, organised and demand more and more loyalty and conformity from its members.


            Between group

            Each group begins to see the other groups as  the enemy, tend to see only the best part of itself and worst part of other group. Interaction and communication with other group decreased. Group prefer listen their representative and not listen from other when there is discussion etc.


            The HR Manager

            The HR manager has very interesting and difficult work. He will set up the HR system which will give correct positive motivation stimulus to others. His job has a big impact on the successful life of the company and of its employees. He should have the possibility to study new ideas in HR and critically think about them.


A.H. Maslow, A theory of human motivation.

Frederick Herzberg, The motivation-hygiene theory.

Frederick W. Taylor, Principles of Scientific Management.

Douglas M. McGregor, The human side of Enterprise.

Richard C. Whiteley, The Customer Driven Company, Business Books Limited, 1991.