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Generally speaking, the motivation in workplace is defined as the psychological forces within a person that determine: direction of a person’s behavior in an organization; person’s level of effort; and person’s level of persistence in the face of obstacles (George and Jones 1999). On the other hand, the performance is defined as an evaluation of the results of a person’s behavior. It involves determining how well or poorly a person has accomplished a task or done a job. In industrial and organizational psychology, it is frequently expressed that job performance is a function of ability and motivation (Campbell and Pritchard, 1976). In the other words, we can get a relationship between motivation, ability and performance, expressed by a mathematics equation:
Performance = Ability x Motivation
Here, ability is the person’s aptitude, as well as the training and resources supplied by the organization (Unknown, 2010). Therefore, according to the above equation, we can get that motivation is only one factor among many that contributes to a worker’s job performance. Also it could be estimated that High level of motivation does not always result in a high level of performance if the person have a poor ability. For example, someone with 100% motivation and 75% ability can often achieve above-average performance. But a worker with only 25% ability won’t be able to achieve the type of performance you expect, regardless of his or her level of motivation.
Take other example for the university students. Student A is a working hard person, he has a high motivation in study Economy; however, due to poor mathematical understanding ability, he cannot understand economic model very well. For the same subject, there is a student B with a good ability in mathematics and also has a high interest in economy, although he may not be as a hardworking as a student A, in the final, he still get better performance than student A. It proves that with high motivation sometimes is not enough for get high performance, you should have suited ability at the same time. In the workplace, this is why recruitment and job matching are such critical parts of performance management. Be sure to assess ability properly during the selection process. Minor deficiencies can certainly be improved through training – however, most organizations don’t have the time or resources needed to remedy significant gaps.
Furthermore, I also want to do a little discussion about low ability. It may be associated with the following:
• Over-difficult tasks.
• Low individual aptitude, skill, and knowledge.
• Evidence of strong effort, despite poor performance.
• Lack of improvement over time.
People with low ability may have been poorly matched with jobs in the first place. They may have been promoted to a position that’s too demanding for them. Or maybe they no longer have the support that previously helped them to perform well (Unknown, 2010).
In conclusion, to get high performance, high motivation and proper ability are both indispensable, and this is why high motivation will not always lead to good performance or may even lead to poor performance in case that the ability need in the certain circumstances are not possessed by the highly motivated persons.