ORG 303 CT 5
Read the Focus on Ethics: Ethics of Motivation and Strategies in Chapter 9 of Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
In 2001, a Hooters chain in Panama City Beach, Florida, came up with the idea of having a beer-selling contest to motivate its servers to sell as much beer as possible in the month of April. The top-selling waitress from each Hooters in the area had her name entered into a drawing. The waitress whose name was drawn would win the prize. Based on what the managers at each Hooters told their staff, the competing waitresses though they would be winning a new Toyota automobile. The competition was a success: Most of the Hoosters in the area seemed to have increased their sales of beer.
Jodee Berry was the winning waitress. On the day she was told she was the winner, she was blindfolded and led to the restaruant parking lot. However, instead of recieving a new Toyota car, she was presented with a Star Wars toy Yoda doll. Inside the restaurant, th emanager and other staff were laughing.
Ms. Berry didn’t think it was so funny. She worked hard to win this content. Her motivation level was high because of th thought of winning a Toyota, not a toy Yoda. So, she sued Gulf Coast Wings, Inc., owners of the restaurant, alleging breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. She was seeking as compensation the cost of a new Toyota car. The case was settled out of court for an undiclosed amount.
As you read in this chapter, organizations come up with creative ways to try to motivate employees to work harder, work safer, or to cut costs. But the question is: Should there be any limits on the type of motivator that is used? Is it okay to use any motivational strategy just as long as it has the desired results?
Another example of creative motivation is the one employed by a manager of one corporation who bought 10 golden bonsai trees and held a “save a Tree” competition. Each month, the 10 lowest users of paper would recieve one of the bonsai trees, which would be displayed for the coming month. It did the trick! Employees were motivated to save paper. Apparently, the bonsai tree had a certain appeal to these employees. Everyone wanted one!
In another company, the motivator for working harder was a nice steak dinner at a nice restaurant; the losers of the competition also got to go to the restraurant, but they had to sit at a lousy table and wat beans. After dinner, the winnders got to rip the shirts off the back of the loswers! This type of motivator, like the Hooters and “Save a Tree” competitions, was also successful. It did what it set out to do: increase sales for the department.
A professor at a small collage motivates his students by promising $100 to the student who makes the highest test grade. If more than one student has the same grade, they split the $100 between them. There are three tests per semester. So, theoretically, a studen could end the semster $300 richer! Another professor at a different college offers gift cards to various stores and restaurants to the top classroom performers. The thinking behind these motivators is that it will encourage students to study harder.
Proponents of such motivation techniques say that competition increases motivation, which leads to desired results. Critics say that these types of competitions are unethical because they pit employee against employee, encourage cheating or unsafe shortcuts, and can often lead to bullying and use the fear tactics by some employees against others as a form of intimidating them into losing the competition. They also say that it rewards people for using bad behavior in order to achieve a goal set by the company. It doesn’t motivate them to do better at their job. And finally, it treats people differently and unfairly.
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