Organizational Motivation and Leadership in the Workplace


Human resource is one of the most crucial components in any given organization. There is need to understand how and why people behave the way they do under different conditions and circumstances. Organizational psychology has been interested in understanding factors contributing to employee motivation (Jex, 2002).

Various theories that try to explain the different behaviors of workers have been advanced especially in American context. The research paper describes a selected organization and the continued employee absenteeism.

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It explains how motivational theories could be applied to solve the problem of absenteeism. Furthermore, the paper analyzes the role of organizational leadership in the identified situation in the organization as well as evaluates the role of power and influence in the selected situation.

Selected Organization

Many organizations are currently faced with numerous problems in their day to day operations and managers have been forced to make serious decisions to address these challenges (Jex, 2002).

Blue-Ways Insurance Company is one such organization which has had to deal with numerous challenges as far as carrying out its operations is concerned. The busiest section in the company is the human resource department as employees interact constantly with clients.

The company deals with hundreds of customers on daily basis and this keeps the workers busy throughout. The manner of operation is on an assembly-line management of affairs.

Selected Situation

However, over the past one year, there has been a growing trend of employee absenteeism in this organization. This has in most cases paralyzed the operations of the company due to fewer client-attendants. According to research findings, employees’ absenteeism has significant financial implications on an organization (Terpstra, 2006).

Most organizations define absenteeism as the unscheduled absence from the workplace and usually the cause of this absence cannot be convincingly justified by the absentee. The management in the Blue-Ways Company has been looking for ways to minimize the unexplained abscondment of duty by their employees.

They have always had problems temporarily replacing those who fail to turn up for work on different occasions without due work-leaves being granted to them. They have always tried to understand whether the absenteeism was caused by job dissatisfaction or by individual attitudinal orientations (Jex, 2002).

Application of Motivational Theories

A number of motivational theories have been advanced to explain the problem of absenteeism among workers and the correctional measures that can be taken to address the problem. Virtually all theories advocate the fact that employees can be motivated to function optimally through the use of various approaches especially by the management.

Some of the motivational theories include; A. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, D. McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, and F. Hertzberg’s motivation theory (Terpstra, 2006).

Research conducted by organizational psychologists reveal those employees who are not motivated to go to work will seek to be absent by all means even if it means feigning illness (Jex, 2002). Since absenteeism reduces efficiency in the workplace, effort must be made to motivate employees in order to minimize the risk of creating loses for the organization.

Maslow’s theory argues that if one superior need is not met then the individual becomes frustrated and hence this has become one of the major causes of absenteeism among employees (Terpstra, 2006). This problem can be very detrimental to an organization especially if its operations are on an assembly-line arrangement.

Also, where there is much expert work, absenteeism of the specialist employees can lead to massive losses. This theory can therefore be applied to ensure that all the grievances and dissatisfactions aired by the employees should be resolved in good time before they become the source of rampant absenteeism.

Some researchers have argued that absenteeism can be beneficial sometimes if employees choose not to come to work rather than show up and cause even greater problems (Mith, 2000). For instance, a pilot or surgeon would rather fail to come to work instead of coming for formality and create more serious problems.

McGregor’s theory, on the other hand, helps in conceptualizing how employees behave in their places of work. The assumptions of theory X and Y can be applied to understand and hence guide the behavior of managers towards their employees. The assumptions made in each of the theories help in designing the appropriate motivational strategies that can help minimize absenteeism among employees (Jex, 2002).

Role of Organizational Leadership

The organizational leadership plays a central role in either reducing or enhancing the rate of absenteeism among the employees. The ways in which workers are handled great determine their attitudes towards what their various responsibilities (Mith, 2000).

The leadership has to prioritize the need to understand the employees’ behavior if they are to be assured of getting the best out of them. Research findings reveal that the use of incentives by the management can contribute significantly towards the minimization of worker-absenteeism (Jex, 2002).

Managers may encourage the use of unscheduled sick leave among other incentives so as to motivate the employees and to make them enjoy their work. Other approaches that managers may employ include the appreciation of job well-done, creation of a job environment, close relationship with employees, clear job guidelines, among others.

Power and Influence

Organizations rely on great leaders who can exert power in the day to day running of the organization. Power is defined in most cases as the ability to influence others into action. If the organizational leadership is to succeed in motivating employees, power and influence must be put into good use.

Researchers into leadership have concluded that leaders must influence others in order to achieve the set goals and objectives (Mith, 2000). Therefore, we can conclude that if power is well used, employee absenteeism will be reduced significantly.


Jex, M. S. (2002). Organizational motivation: the dynamics of work experience. Journal of Management, 16 (2) (Peer reviewed)

Mith, K. L. (2000). Understanding the future of leaders in Extension. Journal of Extension, 38 (4) (Peer Reviewed Journal)

Terpstra, D. E. (2006). Work and the theories of motivation: selecting the best.

Personnel Journal, 34 (3) (Peer Reviewed Journal)