Is Money an Effective Motivator at Work?

Sociologists and Human Resource managers alike are constantly seeking new methods to motivate people at work; the interest to this subject is fully understandable, as motivated employees are capable of generating more profit for the company than distressed ones. “The media bombard the public with colorful stories of young people working 80- and 90-hour weeks for months and years in the hope of breaking through to the ranks of the mega-wealthy.” (Erez, p. 5) However, it is apparent that at a certain level (in terms of one’s position), money is not the most efficient motivator at work anymore.

It is reasonable to suppose that successful employees realize that they would be successful employed by the company’s nearest competitor as well, with the same salary level, and start to consider other factors besides money as criteria for ‘good job’. “”Of course, money is important to me,” employees will tell their managers in the discussions evaluating their profile, “but it’s not the most important thing to me.” (Butkus and Green, p. 157) While past research in the area of employee motivation concentrated mainly on linking rewards and outcome, and describing individual factors that influence performance, it seems to me that corporate culture of the organization at large is one of the most important motivators for high profile employees.

“Because corporations are generally thought of as product/service/money-making “machines”, their cultures tend to go unnoticed by outside observers.” (Larsen and Peck, p. 1) However, each company usually has distinct organizational/corporate culture, that sets the pace for the new hires and overall ‘boundaries’ for the company’s human capital. “One definition of organizational culture is “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one organization from another” (Chandler, p. 1). As I see it, it is primarily the atmosphere at the work place that either motivates or demotivates employees and affects their performance respectively. Friendly, family-like atmosphere enhances employees’ performance and, at some point in their careers, becomes more important than monetary rewards that are offered by the company.

Money is traditionally seen as one of the best motivators by the researchers in the field of human resource management. However, it is obvious that after certain point in the career of high profile professional, monetary rewards are not efficient anymore, and company’s upper level management should join efforts with HR specialists and concentrate on improving organization’s corporate culture at large. If they are capable of creating ‘family-like’ atmosphere at the work place, best company’s employees are not likely to search for an alternative path of their professional development.

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