Values are what the individual acts to gain and/or keep (Rand, 1964). They are what the individual considers good or beneficial. Values can range in content from basic moral values (right and wrong) to personal preferences in ice cream flavor. While needs are inborn, values are acquired through experience and though. While needs are the same for everyone, people differ greatly in what they value. The ultimate biological function of values is to guide action towards need fulfillment. People may make errors in choosing their values so that the choices a person makes may actually lead to self-destruction rather than to health and happiness.
People may hold their values consciously or subconsciously. In other words, people may or may not be aware of their values. Though repression or failure to introspect people may act without knowing the actual reasons for their actions.
Most work motivation theories are in essence value theories. They focus on the influence of one or several particular values, such as achievement justice on action or on the effects of values in general . a given value can be expressed in many different ways in many task situation one needs to know how his values are translated into specific goals.
Hackman-Oldham Job Characteristics Theory
This theory asserts that job or task characteristics which satisfy the individual’s growth needs (growth values in our terminology) will lead to job satisfaction as well as to internalized work motivation that will affect work performance especially quality (Hackman-Oldham, 1980). Specifically, the theory asserts that there are five core work task characteristics: variety, task, identify, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. These core characteristics, if presents in the work tasks, give rise to three critical psychological states: experienced meaningfulness, experienced responsibility, and knowledge of results. These, if present, will produce satisfaction and motivation to do high quality work. These relationships are asserted to be stronger in those with high growth need strength than in those with low growth need strength.
Deci’s Intrinsic Motivation Theory
Deci has presented a unique type of value theory. His focus in on intrinsic motivation which he difines as motivation based on the desire for competence and self-determination. Intrinsic motivation, in Deci’s opinion should be measured almost exclusively by observing the amount of time spent on a task during a free choice period. The stronger the intrinsic motivation the longer the time spent working on the task.
Intrinsic motivation can be facilitated in two ways:
- By enhancing the individual’s sense of self-determination such as by giving him various choice
- By enhancing his sense of competence and expertise through positive feedback.
Extrinsic rewards such as money, claims Deci, have two properties, a controlling aspect and an informational (feedback) aspect. If the firs aspect is salient intrinsic motivation is decreased. If second aspect is salient and positive intrinsic motivation is increased.
Equity Theory is a value theory focused on one value: equity (or inequity). The theory developed by Adams (1963, 1965), postulated that people general prefer a condition of equity in their exchange relationships with other people and organizations.
Equity theory is generally stated in term of the individual’s perceived input and outcomes in the work situation. Inputs are anything that the individual perceives that he given. Outcomes are what the individual perceived that he received from the exchange relationship. Equity theory states that individual compares the ratio of his outcomes and inputs with the corresponding ratio for a comparison other usually another person in the organization.
Wiles, J. 1986. International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
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