Inthis essay, I will be considering the behaviour of the workforce at BFGym toanalyse the reasons behind why they lack motivation, the implication of certainleadership styles employed and how individuals differ in their sources ofpower.
To effectively analyse individuals, it is important to grasp how their personalityinfluences the way they act as an individual. We use the term personality torepresent the combination of characteristics that capture the unique nature ofa person as that person reacts to and interacts with others. Personalitycombines a set of physical and mental characteristics that reflect how a personlooks, thinks, acts and feels. (French, 2011, p. 96) Individualdifferences are the many ways in which individuals can differ from each other.They are not restricted to personality but include physical qualities,demographic differences, abilities and skills. (Greenberg, 2010) Thefive-factor model of personality is a hierarchical organisation of personalitytraits in terms of five basic dimensions: Extraversion, Agreeableness,Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness to Experience.
(McCrae and John,1992) Out of the Big 5, Conscientiousness, Extroversion and Openness toExperience impact an individual’s performance the most. Introversionis the tendency to focus and gain energy more from within rather thanexternally whereas extraversion is the tendency to focus and gain energyexternally rather than from within. (King, 2016) In Carl Chung’s Model ofTypology “Personality types” (Sharp, 1987) he writes that introvertedindividuals are capable of, and thrives on working alone. From this, we canassume that introverts refrain from working in large groups and thrives onundertaking more personal consideration or contemplation based work whereas anextrovert is comfortable in social situations but feels restless when alone, impactingperformance.
Jo, afitness instructor at the gym, is considered an introvert with Chung’s Model inmind and therefore gets her energy from within. The increase in socialinteractions through newly assigned group classes has left her drained whichwill impact performance at work. Jo’s colleague Philip enjoys teaching andinteracting with others and unhappy with changes made e.g. removing thebreakout room. He felt this affected the amount of social interaction he gets,making him drained and lacking energy during the day.
This can have a largeimpact on Philip’s performance as he thrives on being engaged with people. Inaddition, openness to experience entails the degree to which people are open tonew ideas, questioning and imaginative, or prefer existing ways of doingthings. Openness to experience is a characteristic which I found mostprominently in Jane who joined BFGym under the impression she will have theleverage to make changes and implement personal training sessions. Whenexpressing her desire to change some exercises, management disapproved underthe pretence that customers have not complained and therefore change is unneeded.Her personality trait of openness to change was not fulfilled in her currentjob role due to her inability to integrate new ideas with management.
Whenmanagement denied her change, this impacted her performance as she felt’stagnated’ due to the repetitive routine of the classes she was given. Themeeting Philip organised was a large factor in analysing the trainers’behaviour. Due to Philip being extroverted, he thrives on social interactionand therefore organised a group meeting to suggest solutions before themanagement meeting. Jo was unwilling to contribute to the meeting and appearedagitated which can be explained by her introversion impacting her energy duringgroup work.
Thedark triad of personality focuses on Narcissism, Psychopathy andMachiavellianism. A study conducted found that Males scored higher on all threeof the Dark Triad and both narcissism and psychopathy were associated withextraversion and openness. To varying degrees, all three entail a sociallymalevolent character with behaviour tendencies toward self-promotion, emotionalcoldness, duplicity, and aggressiveness. (Paulhus and Williams, 2002) From thisstudy, I believe that Philip’s personality traits during the meeting correlatewith elements of the dark triad shown by his extraversion, interest and opennessto experience which was highlighted by his effective leadership and is found tocorrelate to narcissism and psychopathy. Philip also remained cold towards Nickwho contributed to the discussion and was ignored. This coldness can,therefore, impact other’s performance to work hard if they feel undervalued. Motivationis the will and desire that a person must engage in a particular behaviour orperform a particular task.
(King, 2016) There are various ways of understandingmotivation with contribution from behaviourist, content and process theories.In this section, I will be focusing on process theories which suggest thatmotivation is a result of individual processes of perception, comparison, andcalculation. (King, 2016) Examples of process theories include Adams EquityTheory, Vroom’s Expectancy Theory and Locke’s Goal-Setting Theory.
Inrelation to the case study, I will first be using Equity Theory to explain thelack of motivation present at BFGym. Equity theory explains why new behaviourscan influence employee motivation and performance. Evidence suggests thatequity is not a matter of getting “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” noris inequity a matter of being underpaid. (Adams, 1963) Since the release ofEquity Theory, it has been split into three ‘axioms’ which capture the basis ofthe theory. The first equity axiom states that people evaluate theirrelationships with organisations by comparing what they give to theorganisation and what they receive in return. The second axiom states that whenwhat people give doesn’t equal what they get, they feel distressed.
In the casestudy, Nick was a new employee who felt undervalued due to being given all theundesired classes. This caused resentment due to the under-reward he wasreceiving for the work completed. The third axiom explains that people likeNick who feel distressed due to feeling under-rewarded will try to restoreequity. This was evident at the group meeting where Nick attemptedcontribution, but his efforts were discarded, leading him to refrain fromfuture contribution.
Studies show that people who have tried but failed torestore equity may quit their jobs. (Huseman and Hatfield, 1990) Adamsuggests that effort (inputs) and reward (outputs) are perceived in relativeterms. If the inputs such as time, loyalty, commitment and personal sacrificeequal the outputs they get in return such as bonuses, pay, recognition,responsibility etc.
then job motivation will increase. However, people’sopinion on what they deem as equitable varies and thus is hard to measure.Regarding this, if Nick was given all the ‘good’ training sessions as a newemployee, other employees who have worked there longer can become demotivatedas their job loyalty may be viewed as unvalued.
Secondly,Locke’s Goal-Setting theory (Locke, 1968) is an approach that argues motivationis influenced by the difficulty, specificity and feedback of reaching yourgoals. Goals are often captured in the acronym SMART (specific, measurable,achievable, realistic and time related). Considering the person has noconflicting goals, is committed, and obtains the skills required to achieve thegoals, then this approach positively impacts performance. (Latham and Locke,1979) In relation to the case study, the main goal of the gym is to makechanges to cater for subscriptions doubling. However, no ‘SMART’ goals weregiven to the employees which result in inefficiency. For example, Jo’s classdecreased by 15 minutes to fit in more classes for subscribers and the breakoutroom was removed and converted to a training space. These goals wereimplemented without informing staff which in turn decreased their motivation aschanges to their job were happening without being consulted. According to Goal-SettingTheory (Latham and Locke, 1979), goals need to be accepted as legitimate forthe individual and should be specific.
However, in this case, no specific goalsfor individuals were set and employees had to adapt to changes which had nofocus on their outcome. Goal-Setting Theory also suggests that feedback onperformance is important, and the inability of employees to make feedback candemotivate them if they must accept goals they dislike. Tomotivate employees, there must be a sense of effective leadership. Leadershipis the ability to enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness andsuccess of organisations of which they are members. (Gerstner and Day, 1997)Behavioural theories developed have found that leaders are either employee-ortask focused.
For example, McGregor’s Theory X places exclusive reliance uponexternal control of human behaviour as leaders focus towards satisfyingemotional and social needs of employees. Moreover, Theory Y relies heavily onself-control and self-direction and tailor’s operations towards goals. (McGregor,2000) Kate comes across as a Theory X leader as she views employees asimportant to the functioning of the gym, whereas Philip follows the Theory Yapproach during the meeting as he was more focused on completing the task thanconcentrating on the needs of his unengaged co-workers. The more task-oriented(directive/autocratic) leadership of Philip aims towards higher productionwhich can lead to increased turnover whereas Kate’s people orientated approachaims to increase satisfaction but can lead to lower production. John Gardnersuggests key traits for a successful leader include an eagerness to acceptresponsibility, understanding of followers, skill and dealing with people,assertiveness and adaptability/flexibility. (Gardner, 1993) Both Philip and Kateshow signs of elements of this in their leadership. For example, Philip’seagerness to resume a leadership role and Kate’s interest in understanding heremployee’s needs.
They both hold the openness to experience characteristic fromthe big five personality dimensions, as both Kate and Philip are interested inthe ideas of other employees. To be better leaders, Kate should implement amore Transformational leadership approach as this type of leader sets cleargoals (which lacked at the gym), encourages others, provides support andrecognition which can increase employee motivation and inspires people to workharder. (Bass, 1985) In my opinion, this would have prevented many problemsmentioned previously regarding employee motivation and performance as Katetaking on the role as head of the gym was not engaged enough with employees torealise their needs sooner. Regarding Philip, I don’t believe he has a need tochange his leadership approach apart from that he should be more encouraging topeople rather than focusing purely on the task.
However, in relation to traittheory, leadership traits are enduring characteristics that people are ‘bornwith whereas others simply manage’. (Rogelberg, 2016) Thus it appears thatPhilip is a born leader who adopted the position naturally although he’s atrainer like the rest his co-workers whereas Kate is a leader which manages andslowly adapts as time goes on.Lastly,in an organisation, having an image of ‘power’ can gain respect and authorityover another person. Power is the ability of one person or group to causeanother person or group to do something they otherwise might not have done.(Bronwynne, 2007) According to ‘The basis of social power’ (French & Raven1959), the individual power a person owns can be split into formal and personalpower.
Philip obtains personal power due to his expertise, referent power frombeing respected and information power which he has gained throughout his 4years at the gym. However, Philip does not have the formal power as he is not ableto reward or coerce employees, but instead, his personal power enables him toorganise a team meeting after work hours. Expert and referent power arepositively related to performance and commitment which shows as his colleagueswere not being paid for their extra time, but his personal power enabled him totake charge of this situation. On the other hand, Jane does not hold formalpower over her co-workers but holds elements of personal power. During themeeting, Jane was respected for her ideas and initiative which suggests she hasexpertise and referent power.
Additionally,French and Raven formed nine influence tactics: Rational Persuasion,Inspirational Appeals, Consultation, Ingratiation, Personal Appeals, Exchange,Coalition and Pressure Tactics (French & Raven, 1959). Some of thesetactics were employed by both Jane and Philip such as coalition where they bothmade suggestions to get the support of others to have a stronger case for themanagement meeting. Jane also had a sense of inspirational appeal when she cameup with creative solutions that appealed to other trainer’s values. Philipemployed a consultation tactic by seeking participation in the meeting toincrease support. In addition, he relied on his legitimacy tactic as he took arole of authority to get others to work as a team. Research shows, some tacticsare more effective than others such as rational persuasion, inspirationalappeals and consultation as the audience will be more engaged and interested inthe outcome of the decision process. (Robbins and Judge, 2012) I believe thatPhilip should use integration tactics such as friendly behaviour withlegitimacy to lessen negative reactions from co-workers as seen with Robin andJo.
Jane, on the other hand, should integrate more rational persuasion todemonstrate her creative solutions are achievable which will also strengthenher inspirational appeal. Inconclusion, I have outlined the issues and resolutions BFGym need to change toincrease motivation/performance of employees and further reduce the possibilityof staff turnover increasing. These changes can be done through power influencetactics and change leadership styles as highlighted above.