The Impact of Motivation on Staff Overall Performance in the Civil Service


Many students have written on motivation and performance in organisation.  This may be in recognition of the fact that proper motivation leads to good performance, which in turn leads to high productivity to the sustenance of motivational growth and development.  Productivity is the key factor in the development of a nation and the welfare of its people. 

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Good performance and high productivity is the hallmark of development and the economic prosperity while low performance and low propounded by Megrego.  He says that management can provide or withhold the means for satisfying man’s physiological and safety needs.  Employment itself is such a means, also, wages, working conditions and fringe benefits by withholding employment etc.  According to Sombo A. (1988) for employees to perform.  Management of such an organisation mush make them do so.

He simply defines performance as performance ability times motivation P = (AxM).

He went further to state that in this performance equation, it is usually assumed that the ability of an employed is given, this assumption is justifiable since very entrants into most organizations are screamed through various tests before entry.  Sombo continued by saying that without all organizations fail or are unable to determine prior to entry by new entrants is the level of motivation.  This is because among all other things, motivation is situational and colloquial does not easily render itself to measurement management, therefore, we have singular task of motivating staff to perform since this is only variable in the performance equation that management can influenced.

Sombo also looked at motivation as the label for everything that decides on the level of effort to exert on that task.  This view motivation is obviously very embracing and affecting motivation therefore is spaced demanding task on management determine the needs of its staff and the situational variable that determine a person’s behaviour.  It must also determine how motivators are processed.  Motivating a person according to him is as complex a task as the complexity of an individual’s needs.


The main task of every management or administrator is to effectively achieve the objectives of the organisation and this can be attained through proper motivation among all employees in the organisaiton or system.  The importance of motivation as an instrument in the hands of the management of any organisaiton has been a critical issues since the early 20th century.  The persistent search by students of those factors that increase the employee’s performance and productivity led to the formulation of the various management and motivation theories.  The early postulations of the motivations theorist were based on the belief that individuals seeks only pleasure and minimize displeasure.  According to knootz et al (1972) motivation is “a general concept applying to the entire class of derives, desire, needs, wishes and similar forces.  Equally to say that managers or administrators motivate the work is to say that they do those things which they hope will satisfy these derives and desires and induce the employees to act in a desired manner.

In any organisaitonal set up, the motivation process is concerned with how behaviour gets started, is energized, is sustained, is directed, is stopped and what kind of subjective reaction is that people work to satisfy needs and apply drive or effort towards goal, which provide the means of satisfying these needs.  Thus, the greater the need and the more relevant the goal object to need fulfillment, the harder people work, so the individual is motivated by Henry L.S. and Williams J. (1981) human motivation process by which behaviour is mobilized and sustained in the interest of meeting individual need and achieving organisational objective.  Perhaps, the best known and most influential of all these theories is that of Maslow (1943) whose theory of motivation is base don clinical observation and logic.  It provides a five – category classification of needs.

  1. Physiological needs, which include need for food, water, rest shelter, etc.
  2. Safety needs comprising the need protection against threat, danger and deprivation.
  • Social needs, such as need for friendship belongings, love and acceptance.
  1. Esteem needs which is concerned with self respect that is based on real capacity achievement and respect from others. It also include prestige recognition and appreciation.
  2. Self-actualization needs which self-fulfillment creativity, achieving ones highest potential.

Maslos argued that people in an organisation or work place are motivated to perform by a desire to satisfy a set integral needs.  He said that once one order is satisfied, the individual is motivated by the next needs.  He believes that things got do no motivate behaviour and lower level needs must be satisfied before attention can be paid the higher level needs.

Maslow’ hierarchy of needs has criticized for its failure to provide any empirical evidence and the theory has not actually received a great deal of empirical validation.

The original word of Maslow did not include any actual behaviour evidence to support the theory.

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The fact is that the model is difficult to test.  Moreover, the need categories are vague and clearly overlap one another and the back step hierarchy is simply not an universal characteristics.  However, most students agree on its relevance since no matter how human needs are categorized they are important in understanding human behaviour within the organisation.

Another human relations theorists, McGregor D. (196) in his work.  “The Human Said of Enterprises”, advance two beliefs about human behaviour that could be held by different managers divergent views of managers conform to their perceptions of the nature of human beings.

He sees two sets of assumptions made by managers about their employees.  The first set of assumptions he summarized in what he calls.  Theory X which views man on the following set of principles.

  1. Average human beings have an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if he can.
  2. Because of these human characteristics of dislike of work, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed and threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort towards the advancement of the organizational objectives.
  • The average human beings prefers to be directed wishes to avoid responsibility, has relatively little ambition and wants security above all.

McGregor said that managers who adopt this style of leadership authority instill feat into their employees by having them closely watched in order to obtain results.

These assumptions have its emphasis on control and extrinsic rewards.

In his second set of assumptions called.  Theory y, he sees man in a move favourable light.

The assumption of workers under this concept of management was that they posses potential that is generally untapped by most working environments.  Theory y has following set of assumptions.

  1. The expenditure of physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest.
  2. External control and the threat of punishment are not any means for bringing about effort organizational objectives. People will exercise self-direction and self control in the service of objectives to which they are committed.
  • Commitment to objective is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement.

The most important of such reward such as the satisfaction of ego and self-actualization needs can be direct products of efforts direct towards organizational objectives.

  1. Average human beings learn under proper conditions not only to accept but also to seek responsibility.
  2. The capability to exercise a relatively high degree of imagination, ingenuity and creativity in the solution of organizational problems is widely not narrowly distributed in the population.
  3. Under the conditions of modern industrial life, the intellectual potentialities of the average human beings are only partially utilized.

McGregor’s Theory Y presents its tents of participation and concern for worker’s morale, encouraged managers to begin to delegate authority for making decisions, enrich or enlarge jobs by making themselves repetitive as the warp to motivate employees to higher productivity.

Critics of theories X and Y opined that the theories do not tally with our traditional life pattern.

According to Fredrick Herzberg (1966), motivation theory in his own studies on motivation, established a two factors which by their presence do not increase the worker’s satisfaction on the job, but their absence may lead to job dissection and low productivity among employees.  Such extrinsic job conditions were environmental factors ever which the employee has limited influence.  They include pay interpersonal relation, company policy and administration supervision and working conditions.  These he called hygiene factors or dissatisfies.

Herzberg also noted there other job content factors which he called motivators.  He said that the workers performance on the job could be improved by means of adjustments in such intrinsic factors as the work itself, reorganization, achievement, responsibility and advancements.  These he called motivators or satisfies.

The significance of the Herzberg’s two factor theory is that management should not only reply on extrinsic rewards for motivating employees.  Although, researchers using Herzberg’s method have often supported the two-factor theory.  It has also been subjected to a high degree of criticism.  Herzberg’s method in gathering his data is questionable.  Critics argued that his questioning methods tended to prejudice his result, for instance, it is common for people to attribute good results to their effort and to blame other people for poor and unfavourable results.  Thus critic’s beliefs may have influenced Herberg’s feeling.

Herzberg’ theory is in many ways a gross over simplification as various aspects of other motivational theories clearly shown in it.  It has made a major contribution in focusing attention on job redesign for the purpose of making the work more intrinsically satisfying.

According to Victor Vroom (1964) in his own contributions, advanced the expectancy valence theory.

He stated that in the individual worker believes that working hard will lead to salary increase; he will intensify his effort and work hard.  In order words, people are motivated to work towards achieving some goal to the extent that they expect that certain actions on their part will help them achieve the goals.

Expectancy valence theory has two outcomes the first level out come which include good performance or bad performance, while the second level outcome (pay increase, promotion etc) and instrumentality is the relationship between first and second level outcomes for instance, good performance hard work etc, is likely to lead to high pay or promotion.

The significance of this theory is that a manager take cognizance of the relationship first and second level outcomes and use this to motivate his subordinates.

Critics say that valence theory “is difficult to research and apply in practice”.  According to Koonts et al, (1972), Olatunde Oloko (1979) who researched into Vroom’s instrumentality model to the Nigerian situation found out that instrument does not exist between perceived reward and hard work.  About 49% of 405 workers he interviewed opinioned that people were promoted mostly for being the favourites of their bosses.

Ejiofor P.N.O. (1981) persisted that generally in Nigeria that there is broken link be fort and reward due to bad management, corruption, nepotism, favourism and indiscipline on the part of the bosses.

Many motivation theorists and managers believe that there is a direct relationship between employee motivation in the organisation and his increased productivity at work.  A feeding of job satisfaction motivates employees to go to work and remain with the organisation.  It is also believed that a satisfied employee contributes to increase productivity as he puts best satisfaction is an outcome of the rewards employees receive in exchange for their contribution to the organisation.  According to Smith et al (1969) in explaining the effect of morale on the level of productivity of an employee on the job described the term as.

An “attitude of satisfaction with or desire to continue in an willingness to strive for the goals of a particular group of organisation it was also their observation that in any organisation, the high morale of the employee is important as plant productivity and efficiency of operation in attaining necessary output standards.  High morale is a prerequisite to avoid industrial conflict.


Another motivation theorist P.T Young (1961) sees motivation broadly as a search for determinants of human motivation more specifically as “the as” the process of arousing action, sustaining the activity in progress, and regulating the pattern of activity.  Also Gardener Murphy (1947) considers motivation as the general name for the fact that an organization’s acts are partly determined by its own nature or internal structure.  On the other hand, Mailer N.R.F. (1949) use the term motivation to characterized the process by which the expression is influenced by consequence to which such behaviour leads.


According to Hebb O.O. 91949) the chief problem that “the psychologist is concerned with, when he speaks of motivation, is not arousal of activity but its pattering and directive” further in his own terms, he wrote the terms motivations as:

  1. To the existence of an organized phase sequence
  2. To its direction or content and
  3. To its persistence in a given direction or stability of content.

This means that “motivation” is not a distinctive process, but a reference in another context to the same processes to which “sight” refers, it also, means that the working normal adult always has some motivation.

Hebb later re-examined the question, and in an excellent example of self correction, on the basis of further evidence and analysis, reversed himself separating Cue and Arousal aspects of sensory events.  Only the later are motivational concepts.  “without a function cannot exist arousal … is synonymous with a general drive state the drive is an energizer, but not a guide.  And, again, drive is an energizer, but not a guide.  And, again, drive is” some process which provides the emerge of movement but like the engine of movement but like the engine of an automobile, does not determine which at the involvement will be.

According to Onyehalu A.S. (1988) motivation entails a serious consideration of the goods and motives that produce observed human behaviour.  It is essentially an internal urge or drive or tension spure an organisaiton into action.  This urge is need which pushes one towards achieving a goal.  In other words, needs serve as the basic for motivation.  Morgan C.T. and King R.A. (1966) considered motivation as a cyclic phenomenon where motive leads the organism to perform an instrumental action which inturn lead to the attainment of goal an the achievement of at least, temporary relief and satisfaction.


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