New Perspectives on Employee Motivation: Balancing the Big 4

By Melanie Seemann and Thomas Seemann.

Published by The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management: Annual Review

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The concept of “flow,” popularized by Mihály Csikszentmihalyi, is an intrinsic and highly focused state of motivation. Initially, it has been studied for video game players, but the effect has recently been cited across various disciplines. Flow can occur when there is the right balance between the challenge [C] of a task and the corresponding skill set [S] of the individual performing the task. Recent research findings shed light on how to balance these two factors and create optimal flow conditions in the workplace. The findings translate into management tools that provide an atmosphere which encourages high engagement and performance. Flow is also a highly energized state where senses and emotions are in full alignment with the task that is carried out. A motivational framework therefore needs to take a second dimension into account. It has to balance the workload [WL] of an employee and his/her capacity to work [CW], thus ensuring that the mid-term and long-term effectiveness of employees is maintained. Pushing employees down an energy-depleting path can quickly lead to a drop in performance or even fatigue or burn-out. Instead, organizations need to apply strategies to leverage wellsprings and effectively reenergize their workforce. Balancing the Big 4 factors challenge [C] vs. skill [S], and workload [WL] vs. capacity to work [CW], are the centerpiece of the resulting new framing of employee motivation. It can help to increase satisfaction and achievements of employees and thus boost the effectiveness of organizations.

Keywords: Employee Motivation, Flow Motivation, Leadership, Human Resource Management

The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management: Annual Review, Volume 13, 2013, pp.1-7. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 520.795KB).

Dr. Melanie Seemann

Human Resource Expert, Think2, Stuttgart, Germany

Prof. Thomas Seemann

Professor, DHBW Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany