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Motivating the behavior of the manager

Motivating the behavior of the manager

Management needs to reveal the cause-and-effect mechanism. Spinoza formulates the basic principle of determinant behavior: “From a certain cause action necessarily follows, and conversely, if there is no definite cause, action can’t follow.”

The motivational structure of managerial subjects is a result of the intersection of external and internal factors of behavior, in which the components of motivation are arranged, grouped, and systematized according to the directions to which the behavior leads and according to the strength of the influence.

Indicators for the motivation of managers

One of the most important indicators of motivation from the position of managers is its diversity and complexity. Reference: “Different types of managers”, (

The organization of management and management activities in the business unit must be constantly updated, improved, to increase the “efficiency” of management influences. The dynamism of motivation is manifested in the variability of the actual value determining the behavior of the same motivational components. With the same content and structure of motivation, in some cases determining the real behavior are the motives of the so-called “motivational core” – the strongest motives, and in other cases – the peripheral (weaker) motives. This is explained by the relative invariance of the motivational components to the different variants of behavior, as a result of which the choice of behavior is made under the decisive action of the less important motives.

If the content of motivation includes a set of internal and external components arranged in a certain way, then the motivation is a process of forming a set in the context of a specific situation, as a result of which a strictly defined behavior is justified.
The conflict of motives is a natural consequence of the differences (contradictions) in the components of motivation, the unity of which is dialectically contradictory.

The struggle of motives has various forms of manifestation, each of which has a place, although not always decisive, in the construction of a certain motivation.

Conflicts of motives of managers

The conflict between motives arising from conflicting requirements for the behavior of management staff.
The behavior of a leader must satisfy both the requirements “above” (the requirements of the leaders above him) and the requirements “below” (of the subjects managed by him), which objectively becomes a factor determining the struggle between different motives defending practically three types of interests. :

  • the business unit on whose behalf he exercises managerial functions;
  • the group he/she directly leads;
  • his interests, the satisfaction of which depends on the success with which his behavior satisfies the company and group/collective/interests.

The conflict between motives for and motives against a certain behavior (a variant of behavior).
The same organizational and managerial role can be performed with the same or different success through different activities, commitment, and quality behavior.

The conflict between motives different in nature and content – economic, social, moral, political, etc.
Management behavior often faces the dilemma of “material gain – social justice”. This increases the tension in the motivational structure due to the discrepancy and ambiguity of some of the significantly influencing the choice of adequate management behavior in certain situations.

The conflict between motives reflecting the capabilities and desires of the behavioral subjects in the management system.

It is well known that discrepancies often appear between them, and the motivation of subjects whose desires far exceed the possibilities can become especially dramatic. In these cases, the struggle of the respective motives ends with difficulty to predict outcomes, which greatly complicates the management and work behavior. The capabilities of any management entity are internal / professional-qualification, etc./ and external / there are always organizational-technological, etc. barriers to behavior / limited.
Like any complex social phenomenon, the motivation of managerial behavior allows and requires its consideration to be carried out from different points of view, each of which allows for the disclosure of its essential aspects. The types of motivation according to the following points of view deserve special attention:

Managerial differences in motivation

  • Individual
  • Group

According to the relationship with behavior:

  • Verbal (explanatory)
  • Real (dynamic)

According to the sustainability of motivation:

  • Global
  • Situational
  • Usual
  • Extreme

According to the awareness of the reasons:

  • Rational
  • Emotional

Motivation at different management levels and positions

If we consider the motivation from the point of view of the “scale of the managerial subject” (the position of the manager), the question arises about the specifics of individual and group motivation and the relationship between them. It is known that each behavior is motivated, which means that the group consists of motivated individuals. Reference: “Fundamentals of management and classification of management functions”, United in a group, these individuals form the content of group behavior, which within this group is also driven by certain motives. Group motivation is understood as the set of motives or motives, combined in a certain way internal (for the members of the group, the team, the organization) and external (requirements of the group to the environment in the organization), causing some group behavior. The question is how the process of motivation in the group works and in what relation the individual and group motives are.

From the point of view of the ratio motivation – real managerial behavior, the attention is focused on two aspects of motivation – as a fact of the consciousness of the managerial subject and as an immediate cause of certain behavior. The non-identity of these two aspects of motivation has long been established. In one case, motivation is the function of an interpreter of committed, unperformed, or presumed managerial behavior, and in the other case, it is presented as a direct instigator, as a human resource mobilizing factor for implementation, not for explaining managerial behavior.

The real motivation of the manager’s behavior

Reasons due to which the real motivation of managerial behavior can be judged from the verbal / reported / motivation. Secondly, he may not want to share the real reasons for his action.
According to the resilience of behavioral factors, there is a global (stable for a relatively long period) and situational (labile, short-term) set of interrelated motives.

Depending on the recurrence, the stereotype of the situations in which the staff in the management fall, the situational motivation can be:

Usual: the need for motivation is eliminated because the subject has motives ready for the respective conditions of behavior.
Unusual (extreme): the motivation stage in this case is necessary.

From the point of view of awareness of motivation, one distinguishes between rational and emotional motivation. Thoughtful, calculated managerial behavior is built based on objective possibilities, subjective aspirations, and preferences, where the will of the subject plays a decisive role in the choice of behavior. Conversely, when action precedes thinking, when some behavior is accepted under the fatal influence of some effects, of suddenly erupted passions, pushing all reasonable arguments into the background, then emotional motivation takes place.

Components of the motivation of managerial behavior

When analyzing motivation, the following concepts are used: needs, interests, values, value orientation, incentives, norms, goals, ideals, claims, emotions, etc.

For the management of behavior, it is above all important to know the needs of the behavioral subjects, and not so much their “qualification” of useful or harmful, reasonable or unreasonable, justified or unreasonable, and even of desirable or undesirable. Even if there is some reason for such a division, a manager would hardly be able to direct and control the behavior of his subordinates if he influences only their “reasonable” (from his point of view) needs and ignores the “unreasonable”, especially when the latter are rated the highest by the managed entities.

Needs are identified as the need for certain conditions for the existence of behavioral subjects or, what is the same, for the preservation, realization, and development of their potential. The next step of the analysis is the differentiation of the needs and their appropriate systematization and classification. The differentiation of needs is a sign of maturity, viability, and flexibility of social actors.

There are three signs:

systematization of needs:

  • according to the scale of the subject-carrier of the respective needs;
  • according to the direction of the needs;
  • according to the nature and content of the needs.

The first sign is the scale of the behavioral subject-carrier of needs, which directs to differentiation and differentiation of the group/collective / and individual needs.
Group (collective) need is the need of the business unit for raw materials, materials, energy, equipment, technology, organization and management of joint work, etc.
The needs of the individual subjects are individual.

The second sign of systematization of needs is their focus. One can conditionally distinguish between consumer / consumable / and creative needs. It gives the impression that the needs are related to receiving, taking, or assimilating one or other things – objects, positions (status), privileges, etc. necessary for the entity and for the acquisition of which it undertakes any activity. An important place in the structure of needs is occupied by the need for activity, which in itself is a necessary condition for the existence of the subject.

The third feature – the nature and content of needs is most often used in the classification of needs. The needs classification of E. Frome, F. Herzberg, Chairman, Tokinaze, W. Vroom, Nishibori, A. Maslow, and others has gained the widest popularity.

Maslow’s theory also applies to managers

Maslow explains needs and how they affect people’s behavior by structuring and allocating human needs. The interest is in this motivational component, which combines human needs with objective conditions that contain the potential for their satisfaction.

Unlike needs, interests embody relationships in which the subject is objectively forced to intertwine to preserve and develop. Not all needs grow in interest, but only those that are not or are not sufficiently satisfied.

Interest and subsequent behavior would also arise based on a satisfied need in cases where living and working conditions threaten to change in such a way that the relevant subject is at risk of becoming dissatisfied. In such a situation, the subject is activated not to improve the degree of satisfaction of their needs, but given its preservation in the future, which does not seem very certain.

The interests of managers

The interests of managers are objective, as are the managerial relations, the manifestation of which are themselves. But these interests are also subjective, insofar as they cannot exist outside people, insofar as, as a motivational component, they must pass through the consciousness of managerial subjects before directing their behavior in one direction or another. Reference: “Manager vs leader: similarities and differences”,
The strength of interests is a function of the strength of the underlying needs and the degree of their dissatisfaction, ie. an interest will be stronger the higher the corresponding need occupies a higher place in the hierarchy of a given subject. Based on this characteristic, the interests of the governing subjects are arranged analogously to the ordering of the needs in a hierarchical structure specific to them.

The classification and systematization of needs retain its validity for the interests, ie. and here the species features are the same – individual and group (collective), consumer and creative, material, social and spiritual. Only some additional clarifications are necessary for the view of the management specifics. From a substantive point of view, the interests of the subjects in the system of economic management do not have the same structure for the different organizationally separate management units/groups/, as well as for the different levels of management.

The manager needs prestige

Apart from material interests, managerial behavior is also driven by status-prestigious interests. In certain circumstances, there is an undesirable feature dictated by these interests – the bureaucratization of the management system. Then the behavior not only of certain managers but also of entire management units is aimed at “strengthening” their organizational and administrative status and other negative phenomena in the development of the management organization. Reference: “The profession of the manager: How to become one”,
There are two trends in the motivating value of status-role interests:

Tendency to relative weight loss “from the bottom up”. The interests are strongest at the lowest levels of management, which can be conditionally defined as a starting line in the careers of managers, and the weakest at the highest levels, which mark the end of personnel development.

The tendency towards a constant increase of the motivating value of the status-role interests.

Incentives are those components in the motivational structure of management entities that are formed as a result of a direct impact on the environment and through which management behavior receives a boost and direction determined by needs and interests.
With sufficient specificity to be distinguished as a relatively independent motivational phenomenon, is the stimulating effect. A stimulus is a tool of the system (environment) for provoking, directing, activating, and coordinating individual and group-collective behaviors.

Stimulation is an integral part of the unified management process (most often it is understood as an element of the organizing function, other times as an element of activation, and sometimes as an independent management function), in which different types of incentives are formed, driven and linked.

The logical scheme of stimulation as a process includes the following phases:

Specifying the parameters of the desired management behavior, ie. of that behavior which is a necessary condition for the normal functioning and/or / development of the management system/subsystem/.

Elaboration of the system/subsystem in the person of its governing bodies of a set of appropriate incentive levers, with the help of which it hopes to “model” the behavior of the management entities, which are part of the system/subsystem according to the pattern of desired behavior. Incentives are a product of the managerial activity, a means of managerial influence, not a motivational component of management entities.

“Consumption” of the incentive-levers aimed at the management subjects and their transformation into incentives-motives. This is the most essential phase in the process of stimulation, and not only and not so much in terms of motivation, but above all in terms of the actual effectiveness of stimulation.

In this transformation, the stimulus from an objective external phenomenon becomes a subjective internal phenomenon, a motivational component of the management unit, group, or individual performer. The more incentives-levers are transformed into incentives-motives and the more central the latter is in the motivational structure of the governing subjects, the greater the chances that the incentive will justify its purpose.

This depends on the degree to which incentive levers affect the current needs, interests, value orientation of the people to whom they are addressed. This contact is not always achieved – one part of the stimulus-levers “deviates” from the motivation and are practically ineffective, and another part due to the very superficial and short-term “contact” with the other motivational components has a mediocre or dubious behavioral effect.

Control and evaluation of real managerial behavior

Control and evaluation of the real managerial behavior by comparing it with the desired / respectively the actual with the expected and assigned goals-results / and respectively the evaluation of fixing or adjusting the used incentives-levers.

As a means of the management system for provoking, directing, activating, and coordinating managerial behaviors, incentives apply two tools, expressing the two opposite profiles of his person – incentives and sanctions.

The incentives are the things provided by the organized whole / personalized / by the governing bodies / – monetary income, positions, rights, prizes, prestigious attributes, etc., while the sanctions are deprivation/deprivation / of the subjects of the same things, as punishment for non-performance of the behavior desired by the system or for the performance of undesirable one.

Incentives are positive levers of influence through which behavior is reinforced and catalyzed based on positive feedback, and sanctions are negative levers of influence through which certain behavior is limited or eliminated based on realized feedback.

The classification of incentives/sanctions / can be done in different ways. In the organization of managing various social, material, spiritual, collective, and individual incentives and sanctions.

Whatever incentives are applied, their significance as motivators of managerial behavior is determined by the observance of the following principles:

The structure of the current incentives – levers to be in a state of homomorphic compliance with the structure of the current needs and interests of the management entities to which they are addressed. This correspondence is dynamic, as the very needs and interests of behavioral subjects change over time, and tend to increase continuously. The observance of this very principle of stimulation provides the conditions for the transformation / stimuli-levers – stimuli-motives /.

The basis for activating the incentives should be the practical achievement of the parameters of the management behaviors desired by the system and the realization of the set goals for the subjects of behavior, ie. the criteria for evaluation of managerial behaviors to be derived from the systems (subsystems) needs and interests.

The number of incentives (sanctions) to be pragmatically optimal, ie. be large enough to elicit the necessary behavioral response. Exceeding a certain limit of incentives is an unnecessary expense of the management system, and the lack of the minimum required amount is practically ineffective. The knowledge of the lower and upper limit in the range of incentives presupposes timely study by the respective governing bodies of the informal social norms and value orientations that exist in the labor collectives, according to which the expectations and perceptions of the behavioral subjects can be judged. Reference: “Knowledge and skills of the manager”,

Incentives must be relevant to the real conditions imposed by the behavioral subjects to achieve certain results, ie. to stimulate, respectively sanction, for a result conditioned / dependent / on the actual behavior of the stimulated / sanctioned / subject. Otherwise, the stimulation has the opposite effect – demoralization, oppression, a sense of injustice.

Author: Anton Radev

Front-End Web Developer

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