Changing Views and The Paradigm Shift: Study of Employee Motivation

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Study of Employee Motivation

In Chapter One of our text, we learned that employees are considered human capital, which means they are valued for what they know, their education, their experience, and their individual skills. (Luthans, Luthans, Luthans, 2015). We also learned in chapter one that the aforementioned fact was not always the case. We discussed Douglas McGregor and his theories. Managers used to believe that the employees within an organization were only interested in money, and that if you could make them happy, they would be high performers (Luthans, Luthans, Luthans, 2015). Falling in line with that construct, management devised monetary incentives, ensured job security, and provided good conditions. In exchange for those tenants, management expected morale to be high- but across most studies, this was not the case. The fallacy of this theory is that it over simplified the problem. This theory doesn’t consider the totality of the employee’s needs. Research on human needs was nothing new, we can turn to Maslow to learn more about basic human needs, but more extensive research on needs in the workplace was needed. Douglas McGregor identified one of the real problems with employment during his time as stifled creativity (Bobic & Davis, 2003). What McGregor’s research uncovered was a need for fresh and new perspectives within the industry. McGregor’s research ushered in a new way of thinking and a paradigm shift from old ways.

Changing Views and The Paradigm Shift

In reviewing Mcgregor’s research, we can see that management underwent a paradigm shift, we stopped looking at the work life relationship as an exchange and started to look at it as more of an experience. Instead of the employer exchanging time and skill for money; the employee receives a wholistic care experience because of their relationship with its employer. This paradigm shift required the development of new normal and new ways of thinking. When we break down these new paradigms and take a look at some of our new constructs, we will see some of the challenges that managers are faced with today. Through our reading many of these challenges were introduced, but more importantly we took a look at why it was so difficult for employers to operate in the new paradigm. Corporations and managers know and recognize the benefits of operating within the new paradigm but for various reasons have trouble implementing these policies. This concept also discussed in chapter one is called the “Knowing-Doing Gap”. The “Knowing-Doing Gap” represents the sub sect of managers that recognize that a paradigm shift has occurred and that new concepts are necessary. It refers to those managers that know that different techniques are necessary, but have not necessarily adopted these new techniques. One of those concepts which is discussed in detail in Chapter 2 is the concept of diversity.

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Concept of Diversity

Diversity and other social issues have played an important role in the formation of studies in management and organizational behavior. Diversity is something that we all come in contact with on a daily basis whether we realize it or not. It is a well-documented fact that diversity is a positive attribute for businesses. Studies have shown that increasing diversity in leadership teams not only improves the bottom line, but increasing diversity at a leadership level leads to more innovation or creativity (Powers, 2018). Remember that creativity was one of the things that Mcgregor’s research identified that workplaces lacked. We learned from our text that diversity in the past has been mostly a legal issue. In the beginning of this paradigm shift companies found diversity to be challenging, but corporations are gaining a better understanding of diversity and the fact that it is more than just a legal problem or question. Businesses are further finding, that diversity is something to build on (Luthans, Luthans, Luthans, 2015). Although corporations can find great success utilizing techniques in diversity, in modern times, diversity can still be very challenging. Diversity is challenging because it often leads to conflict. When people of diverse cultures are working together, it can often lead to contradictory perspectives, especially from leaders and managers (Fredette, Bradshaw, Krause, 2015). Some practitioners believe that diversity can be taken a step further. I wrote earlier about paradigm shifts in employee motivation, according to Kwon and Nicolaides, there is also a paradigm shift in diversity management. One in which organizations truly embody and enact the value of diversity by way of inclusion (Kwon & Nicolaides, 2017). Whereas diversity helps us see observable differences that make individuals unique and different, inclusion seeks to embrace those non observable differences (Kwon & Nicoladies, 2017).


In chapter one, we learned about organizational behavior as an evidence-based approach, we reviewed many of the popular studies along with their findings. My topic of discussion for this assignment one was employee motivation and Douglas Mcgregor’s theories on employee motivation. He identified creativity as a lacking entity among workplaces and a factor in employee satisfaction and motivation. These findings were of particular interest to me because of the motivation stratification that I personally observe in my work place. I consider myself to be on of the higher performers in my department, my counter parts and I have the exact same tools at our disposal as well as similar duties to accomplish, why is my motivation and my performance at a much higher level than theirs when, all else is equal at work. The answer is easier understood now that I have a deeper understanding of employee motivation. It does not all hinge upon what is available to us at work, outside influences play a factor. This points to looking at the totality of the employee at work and outside of work to determine motivation.

In chapter two we looked at the environmental context of globalization, diversity, and ethics. My topic of discussion for this assignment one was diversity. We explored the challenges that diversity in the workplace and diversity management have brought forth as well as many of the benefits. I chose to link these two concepts because creativity and innovation, based on research and evidence are a direct by product of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Douglas McGregor’s theory X and Y helped to uncover that more than just pay, security, and stability go into making a happy employee. He identified lack of creativity as a reason for low employee motivation. Although the implementation of diversity and diversity based trainings are not a cure all in the continued evolution of employee motivation, paying attention to the interdependence of these facts is an important step in the right direction.


  1. Bobic, M. P. (2003). A Kind Word for Theory X: Or Why So Many Newfangled Management Techniq Quickly Fail. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory,13(3), 239-264 doi:10.1093/jopart/mug022
  2. Fredette, C., Bradshaw, P., & Krause, H. (2015). From Diversity to Inclusion. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 45(1_suppl). doi:10.1177/0899764015599456
  3. Kwon, C., & Nicolaides, A. (2017). Managing Diversity Through Triple-Loop Learning. Human Resource Development Review, 16(1), 85-99. doi:10.1177/1534484317690053
  4. Luthans, F. Luthans, B.C., Kuthans, K.W. (2015). Organizational behavior: An evidence-based approach. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing (IAP).
  5. Powers, A. (2018, June 27). A Study Finds That Diverse Companies Produce 19% More Revenue. Retrieved March 22, 2019, from produce-19-more-revenue/#2606b9c9506f
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