In the background materials you read about some very traditional theories of motivation such as Theory X and Theory Y, and the hierarchy of needs. But one trend that has received a lot of attention in the media is that of weird or offbeat methods to motivate employees. The recent movie The Internship is set in the odd (or “googly”) workplace culture of Google. Zappos Shoes even mentions “weirdness” in the list of corporate values.
CashLinq, a financial services firm, is famous for their Nerf gun battles in the office. Eric Ryan, founder of the highly successful soap company Method, was known to go to extremes to motivate employees such as dressing up as a chipmunk or holding impromptu office dance parties. Other examples of unorthodox motivation techniques may include unusual perks such as health insurance for your pets, or allowing employees to ride scooters in the office.
But is this just a passing fad for trendy new companies, or is there actually a method to their madness? For this assignment, you will be doing some research on these offbeat new motivation techniques and investigating whether or not these techniques actually fit in with standard textbook theories of motivation. Review the background materials, and then read the following articles and also see if you can find any other examples of bizarre or unusual workplace motivation techniques:
Alsop, R. J. (2010). The last word. Workforce Management, 89(10), 50. [Proquest]
Petrecca, L. (Dec. 30, 2011). Quirky perks for workers: Pet insurance, massages. USA Today [Proquest]
Quirky offices may inspire employees. (Dec. 17, 2010, Dec 27). McClatchy – Tribune Business News [Proquest]
Habib, M. (Oct. 7, 2011). Foosball? bah. employers dangle offbeat incentives. The Globe and Mail [Proquest]
When you are done with your research, write a four- to five-page paper addressing the following issues:
- Are these unusual motivation techniques more closely matched to McGregor’s Theory X, or his Theory Y? Cite at least one of the textbook chapters from the required background readings to support your answer.
- Which of Maslow’s needs do you think these techniques address or do not address – physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, and/or self-actualization? Cite at least one of the textbook chapters from the required background readings to support your answer.
- Overall, what do you think the main advantages and disadvantages are of these new and unusual motivation techniques as compared to more traditional techniques?