Motivational Theories and Reward Management Techniques

Motivational Theories and Reward Management Techniques that Influence Employee Behavior and Job Satisfaction

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Employee motivation refers to the psychological trends that establish the course of an individual’s performance in an organization; an individual’s level of effort and persistence. Employers with the know-how on motivation theories are better placed when it comes to understanding what motivates employees to elevate their morale and consequently enhance organizational productivity. A number of researches on techniques of motivation conclude that job design, employee participation, rewards, and quality of work-life programs on employee motivation are extremely effective in the general performance of an employee (Chung, 1997).

The advent of the development of global interlinking of economies together with the rapid growth and advancement of technology has made retention of valuable employees the most vital strategy in any organization especially in an era characterized by an ever-increasing high rate of employee turnover. The numerous challenges associated with retaining employees are basically linked with remuneration packages, infrastructural support, cultures within an organization, and leadership styles. These challenges are made more intricate by the fact that skilled employees will always opt for enhanced working conditions and better financial rewards. Most of the human resource managers and organizational leaders have consequently been forced to devise ways and means of keeping their employees motivated and satisfied in order to retain them and improve their competitiveness in the international market (Sanzotta, 2007).

In the recent past, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has had tremendous economic development majorly due to the arrival of foreign practices and ideas fueled by technological advancements like the internet. However, just like other organizations in different parts of the world, problems of staff retention in the UAE influence organizational productivity and performance. This research paper, therefore, entails a comprehensive comparison of the motivation theories and reward management techniques employed by The Fly Emirates and Etihad Airlines to influence employee behavior and job satisfaction (Sanzotta, 2007).

Comparison of the motivational techniques employed by the Fly Emirates and Etihad Airlines

  1. Job Design

Various researches conducted authenticate the efficacy of employing the job design method as an employee motivation modus operandi. The researches unanimously concluded that jobs with elevated motivational features have less health complains, lesser effort requirements, and improved well-being. These researches also established that having satisfied and motivated employees ensue higher performance rates and fewer absences. Studies also indicate that redesigning a job has the ability to advance the quality of goods and services provided, enhance work satisfaction and motivation as well as the quantity of work (Chung, 1997).

Despite the two airlines; the Fly Emirates and Etihad Airlines, operating from the same country (United Arab Emirates) the two employ different job design approaches. The Fly Emirates uses the job simplification approach which entails standardization and specialization of tasks which is not very popular as it has no guarantee of increasing motivation especially when the work becomes mundane. On the other hand, Etihad Airline uses the job enlargement approach which thrives in combining responsibilities giving the employee a wider work variety. The other difference amid the two airlines in the context of job design is that the Fly Emirates uses the job rotation approach while Etihad Airline employs the job enrichment approach. The job rotation approach involves periodic movement of workers from one task to another while the job enrichment approach entails building up the employees via motivational aspects (Sanzotta, 2007).

  1. Rewards

Using rewards to motivate employees in an organization subdivides the motivation strategy to retain valuable employees into two broad categories. The first is the intrinsic reward which is more psychological than tangible rewards. The management ensures their employees are appreciated for every effort they make by instilling a sense of accomplishment whenever an employee achieves some results. The other category is extrinsic which entails giving an employee incentive such as money, bonuses, compliments, or trophies when they excel in their duties (Mcreynolds, 2012).

The various studies conducted to discern how motivation in an individual is influenced by rewards established that rewarding employees for achieving a graded level of performance lead to increased intrinsic motivation. On the other hand, employees who don’t get rewarded experience less intrinsic motivation. Another study on rewards and motivation indicates that when employees are accorded extrinsic rewards by chance their intrinsic motivation is reduced. The aforementioned airlines i.e. Fly Emirates and Etihad Airlines offer both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to motivate their employees in an effort to retain the skilled and valuable employees (Hiam, 2003).

  1. Employee participation

For the success of any business venture, communication and cooperation ought to be fully exploited as they are extremely important. The two concepts can be integrated and advanced for the success of an organization by including the employees in the decision-making process as it greatly boosts their morale and keeps them motivated. Since the relationship amid managers and employees greatly influences the motivation of the employee, the managers and organization leaders have to be open and nonjudgmental so as to encourage the employees to partake in the running of the organization. Permitting the employees to take part in decision-making instills a feeling of importance in them and this augments their motivation to develop their respective organization. In fact, employee participation in key decision-making processes increases their support for the implementation of important organization policies since they feel like they are part and parcel of the decision made and this not only motivates them but enhances their desire to achieve better results (Mcreynolds, 2012).

The Fly Emirates promotes employee participation by effecting quality control circles. This initiative involves coming up with groups of five to employees mandated to discuss, evaluate and come up with solutions to work-related issues. As far as the Fly Emirates is concerned these issues include improving service delivery, reducing costs, and working out quality problems. This strategy has for a long period of the time promoted the correlation between employees and the management at the Fly Emirates other than increasing individual employee commitment. Through this policy, employees at the Fly Emirates have been availed the chances of self-development and employee expression making them more dedicated in their duties and hence the prosperity of the airline. This concept has continued to motivate and retain valuable employees at the Fly Emirates as it provides them with informational and social support (Chung, 1997).

On the other hand, Etihad Airline promotes its workers via employee participation by employing open-book management. This it achieves by sharing vital financial information with its employees and nurturing their trust in the process. This initiative has continued to motivate the Etihad Airline employees as they have become personally and evocatively concerned with the airline and in most cases, they end up working beyond their assigned duties. Etihad Airline management effects open-book management in four steps. First, it avails the financial records of the company to its employees to let them know how the company is fairing financially before aiding the employees in interpreting this data. This is then followed by permitting the employees to make the necessary alterations and decisions for the prosperity of the company making them feel more of partners than mere employees. Finally, the employees at the airline are given the opportunity to share the profits through incentives and bonuses which are clearly indicated in the company’s financial records. Through this, the management and employees in this company have continued to work amicably towards the success of the company (Hiam, 2003).

Despite the two airline companies employing different employee participation strategies, the two companies have common policies to motivate employees and retain them while ensuring they are working at the best of their abilities. For instance, the two companies have enacted long-term employment rapport to ensure job security for their employees.  The two companies have also made resolute exertion to initiate and uphold employer-employee cohesiveness. The two management groups have also ensured they motivate and consequently retain their employees by protecting the rights of their employees (Mcreynolds, 2012).

  1. Quality of work-life programs

The balance between work and personal life is very fundamental in ensuring employee motivation and hence retention especially when the employers initiate programs to ensure that employees personal time, work, and family care do not conflict. Etihad Airline has perfected this strategy by initiating such programs as flextime, family support, and workplace wellness for its employees. The Fly Emirates management on the other hand has done an impeccable job in implementing wellness programs. The company has instituted exercise facilities, has programs aimed at aiding its employees to lose weight and quit smoking as well as offering guidance and counseling on private matters. The two companies however have the same policies concerning family support programs aimed at aiding their employees with childcare, parenting and sometimes permit their employees leave to tend to their families. The aforementioned programs by the two companies have continued to motivate and retain their employees as well as ensured success in service delivery and general success (Mcreynolds, 2012).


Before concluding, it is very sensible to mention that the above motivational techniques were based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. Abraham Maslow perceived motivation as having its foundation on the hierarchy of needs whereby an individual has to satisfy one level before proceeding to the next. The ladder of needs commences with the basic physiological needs; water, air, and food. Employers are therefore required to pay their employees no less than the minimum living wage for them to be able to survive and work. The next level is called the safety and security level which includes requirements such as having a place to reside and in safety. Employers aid their employees to meet these requirements by making sure that the later are secure from physical, emotional, and verbal vulnerability and above all have a sense of employment security. The third level constitutes social attachment and belonging needs. This is when an individual seeks to be social, have acquaintances, belong somewhere, and is loved. The employee participation programs help a lot in fulfilling the employees need to belong. Rewards such as recognizing the efforts of an employee play a significant role if satisfying their social and love needs. The next level in this ladder involves the esteem needs which entail an individual feeling good and acknowledging that their life is consequential, has a purpose, and is valuable. Employers cater to this need by employing job design technique to come up with jobs that are significant and treasured by their employees. The final level in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy is known as self-actualization. This level involves individuals attaining their capabilities of well-being. The employer ought to ensure that their employees are involved in their rightful duties and all their other needs are taken care of so that they can realize this need (Sanzotta, 2007).


Chung, K. H. (1997). Motivational theories and practices. Columbus, Ohio: Grid.

Hiam, A. (2003). Motivational management: Inspiring your people for maximum performance.          New York: AMACOM, American Management Association.

Mcreynolds, J. (2012). Motivational theories & psychology. Delhi: English Press.

Sanzotta, D. (2007). Motivational theories & applications for managers. New York: AMACOM.

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