Research Proposal of The Effectiveness of Employee Motivation System in A Call Center

By | April 20, 2014

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Executive summary………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1

  1. Company profile……………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
  2. Background to the research problems…………………………………………………………… 3
  3. Problem Definition…………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

3.1      Research Question……………………………………………………………………………. 4

3.2      Research Objectives…………………………………………………………………………. 5

  1. Literature review……………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
  2. Research Methodology………………………………………………………………………………. 7

5.1      Research Design………………………………………………………………………………. 7

5.2      Data Collection Method……………………………………………………………………. 7

5.2.1     Pre-testing of Questionnaire…………………………………………………….. 8

5.3      Census and Target Population……………………………………………………………. 8

5.4      Data Analysis…………………………………………………………………………………… 8

  1. Limitations and Time Schedule……………………………………………………………………. 9

6.1      Limitations………………………………………………………………………………………. 9

6.2      Time Schedule…………………………………………………………………………………. 9

References…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11

Appendix 1 Authorization letter………………………………………………………………………. 12

Appendix 2 Sample Questionnaire for Research Proposal…………………………………… 13
Research Proposal of

The Effectiveness of Employee Motivation System in Scicom (MSC) Berhad

 

1.        Company profile

 

Established in 1997 with more than one decade’s constant effort Scicom (MSC) Berhad has become one of the largest contact outsourcing service providers in Malaysia with business of premium quality customer care, technical support and associated fulfillment services covering more than 89 countries in 40 languages (Official website of Scicom 2010). By upholding the core vision of “Total Customer Delight”, the quality customer service is the most important source of core competitiveness to the company. With the authorization from the operational manager, this thesis will focus on the evaluation of the motivation system in the company and provide recommendations on improving the system to enhancing the company’s core competitiveness.

 

2.        Background to the research problems

 

Several unusual and problematic symptoms make the revaluation of the employee motivation system necessary even critical to the continual survival and development of Scicom (MSC) Berhad, a large Malaysian based call center service providers that is right now losing its cost advantages to the foreign competitions such as Indonesia and the raising India and China also pose threat to the survival of the company. The first symptom is the high turnover ratio in the call center agents especially the local agents who do not have the security bond that the foreign agents have written in their contract; Secondly, the most recent case that brought worrying implications is that the client of the Air Asia project, one of the most important projects that contributes large proportion of the company’s profits, had refused to renew the contract with the China team of Air Asia. Though the stop of the contract is only applicable to the China team and it is believed that this change has been done with the consideration of the cost as a Guangzhou (China) call center has been established to take over the China team business, the quality and efficiency of the performance of the agents had been widely criticized for fostering this change happen; Last but not least, in the perspective of many agents, the motivation system of the company instead of bring positive incentive for them to work better actually discourage them and attract complaints. This can be seen from the facts that the cash incentive seems can only be enjoyed by a small proportion of the agents due to its high requirement and the Council Form (CF) penalty system will cause depression and distress to the agents who trigger the punishments for whatever reasons. Based on the symptoms as discussed above, it would be necessary to revaluate the employee motivation system in Scicom (MSC) Berhad.

 

3.        Problem Definition

 

Motivation could be defined as the drive, impetus, or initiative that causes an individual to direct his or her behavior toward satisfaction of some personal need (Liebler & McConnell 2004). And employee motivation is a practical, common sense, effective, easy-to-understand system of improving the effectiveness of the people in the organizations (Wubbolding 1996). So the effectiveness of the employee motivation refers to the extent to which the employees are motivated to achieve the work assigned to them and even outperform the job requirement.

3.1    Research Question

 

Is the current employees motivation system effective?

 

Why some employees are not motivated?

 

How to improve the employees motivation system?

 

3.2    Research Objectives

 

To measure the current performance of the agents

To evaluate the effectiveness of the motivation system

To list out the needs that drive the agents

To analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of the motivation system under the “big three” classical motivation theory

To provide changes needed to the improve the motivation system

To provide guidance and suggestions in the management of the changes

 

4.        Literature review

 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is considered as one of the most fundamental motivation theories in the workplace that originated from a theory of personality development in a psychology. Abraham Maslow classified the human needs into five layers as shown in the figure below. There are two major assumption in this theory. The first assumption is that people will move the needs to the higher level only when the lower level needs have been met (Maslow 1987); the secondly assumption core to the employees motivation is that only meeting the currently unsatisfied needs will bring positive motivations. Based on these two assumptions, Maslow believed that motivation is build upon the unsatisfied needs that are met through levels of hierarchies (Rutledge 2008).

 

Figure 1.0 Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs

Fredrick Herzberg (1959)’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory or two-factor theory suggested five major factors  for both  job satisfaction and dissatisfaction which he described as motivation and hygiene factors respectively. The five identified motivation factors includes: achievement, recognition, the attraction of the work itself, responsibility and advancement; the hygiene five major hygiene factors include: company policy and administration, supervision, salary, interpersonal relationships and working conditions. The existence of motivators will lead to positive satisfactions while their absence will not cause dissatisfaction and in contrast the existence of the sufficient hygiene factors would not bring positive satisfactions while the lack of them would cause dissatisfaction (Sapru 2006, p213).

 

Douglas M. McGregor is famous for his development of the two distant motivation theories based on different psychological understanding of human being: Theory X and Theory Y (McGregor, Cutcher-Gershenfeld 2006). The Theory X suggests that employees should be strictly controled and directed because human beings are believed to be lazy and dislike of work intrinsically. And in contrast, the Theory Y suggested that human beings are self motivated by the objectives they are committed, so the focus of managerial job is to create an environment which encourages commitment to the organizational objectives (Sapru 2006).

 

Anne Bruce (2006,p11) concluded two significant reasons why the motivation system won’t work as expected: Fear and manipulation don’t work very well and the carrot on a stick seldom works well. When an employees are motivated with fear and manipulation from their manager, resentment of managers could be form which hinder the relationship and communication between management and employees and cause ineffectiveness in their work. And in the second situation in which the carrot could also undermine the performance because employees will expect more and more rewards to stimulate them.

 

5.        Research Methodology

 

5.1    Research Design

 

Quantitative research based on the statistics would be used to evaluate the performance of the agents to prove the hypothesis that a large proportion of agents are not motivated. Also descriptive and casual research would be adopted latter to find out the factors that drive the agents, and collect reflections from them about the effectiveness of the motivation system and the expected result when some changes would be done.

 

5.2    Data Collection Method

 

Observation could be used in forming the preliminary assumption and collect experimental evidence. And statistical data could be accessed with the approval of the operational manager through the company’s supervision system. Self-report close-ended questionnaires will also be used to collect the necessary information on the census of agents. For this study, if approved by the manager the questionnaires will be hand out to the potential agents during their work time and the agents during the questionnaires will be considered as in the status of “training and meeting” which would not undermine their performance. And the finished questionnaires will be collected immediately by the researcher from the respondents. What’s more, interviews would also be used to elaborate the problem such as interviews with the sacked employees to view the motivation system in a different perspective and collect the necessary information.

 

5.2.1            Pre-testing of Questionnaire

 

Pres-testing is a standardized step in questionnaire development(Schaller 2005,p39). In order to ensure that questions are well prepared and in the best order, a pretesting questionnaire would be implemented on 20 call center agents selected in a random method before the questionnaire could be finalized and used in a full scale.

 

5.3    Census and Target Population

 

In Scicom (MSC) Berhad, motivation systems vary from project to project because different client may specify their own motivation system to the call center agents

and Scicom is requested to follow though Scicom has its own system that is applicable to all the employees, the sampling will focus on the Air Asia project by using a stratified random sampling method with a overall sampling number of 120 covering all the call center teams under Air Asia project: Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Korea and Vietnam teams.

 

5.4    Data Analysis

 

Data collected through various channels would be analyzed through a comprehensive data analysis process which includes data cleaning, initial data analysis, main data analysisi and final data analysis in order to inspecting, cleaning, transforming and modeling data with the goal of obtaining useful information, drawing conclusions and making recommendations.

 

6.        Limitations and Time Schedule

 

6.1    Limitations

 

Two major limitations in this research come from the line managers and the targeted agents. On one hand though the questionnaires or interview would not undermine the performance of the agents but in the perspectives of the line managers, the time consumption will reduced the overall performance of their respective teams. Resistances may be created from the line managers and so it would be important to communicate with the line managers. On the other most agents are working in a busy way under stress and pressure, so in some cases the opinions expressed may be too subjective and cannot reflect the truth.

 

6.2    Time Schedule

ActivitiesTime periodDate
Research Proposal10 days15 Nov-25 Nov 2010
Finding and reading previous literature1 week26 Nov-3 Dec 2010
Designing materials1 week4 Dec 2010-10 Dec 2010
Designing questionnaire2 weeks11 Dec 2010-24 Dec 2010
Finding participants1 week25 Dec 2010-31 Dec 2010
Running test3 weeks1 Jan 2011-21 Jan 2011
Analyzing data4 weeks22 Jan 2011-18 Feb 2011
Writing up2 weeks19 Feb 2011-4 Mar 2011
Rewriting2 weeks5 Mar 2011-19 Mar 2011
Submission1 day20 Mar 2011

References

 

Bruce, A. 2006, How to Motivate Every Employee: 24 Proven Tactics to Spark Productivity in the Workplace, New York: McGraw- Hill
Herzberg, F., Masner, B. & Snyderman, B. B. 1959, The motivation to work, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons

 

Liebler, J. G. & McConnell, C. R. 2004, Management principles for health professionals, Fourth Edition, London: Jones and Bartlett Publisher, Inc

 

Maslow, A. 1987 Motivation and Personality 3rd edition New York: Harper and Row. Motivation

 

McGregor, Cutcher-Gershenfeld 2006, The human side of enterprise, Annotated edition,  New York: McGraw-Hill

 

Official website of Scicom 2010, About Scicom, accessed on 21st Nov 2010 [online] available: http://www.scicom-intl.com/About_Us.html

 

Rutledge, L. S. 2008, Motivation and the Professional African American Woman, Bloomington: AuthorHouse

 

Sapru, R. K. 2006, Administrative Theories and Management Thought, New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India

 

Wubbolding, R. E. 1996, Employee Motivation: What to Do….when What You Say Isn’t Working!, Indiana University: Spc Pr

 

 

Appendix 1 Authorization letter

 

Authorization Letter

 

To whom it may concern,

 

I hereby authorize XXX, as Scicom (MSC) Berhad’s external change consultant to process with the research “The Effectiveness of Employee Motivation System in Scicom (MSC) Berhad”. As agreed, XXX will be held responsible for the exposure of any classified information during the research.

 

Your sincerely

 

 

 

Scicom (MSC) Berhad

Operations Manager

 

 

Signature:                                          Date: 23 Nov 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 2 Sample Questionnaire for Research Proposal

 

Dear Mr/Miss:

You are invited to take a pretesting for the research “The Effectiveness of Employee Motivation System in Scicom (MSC) Berhad”. Please answer all questions honestly. Your answers will be kept strictly confidential. Your participation is high appreciated.