Free Critical Thinking About The Impact Of Psychological Theories Of Human Resources In Social Services

Type of paper: Critical Thinking

Topic: Workplace, Theory, Motivation, Sociology, Human Resource Management, Management, Services, Behavior

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2021/01/01


The issue of human resources is a key area within the academic field of psychology. Psychologists are interested in the manner in which personal characteristics come together inthe human resources setting to produce a desirable outcome in a social service agency. Psychologists place emphasis on how mental activities affect personal tendencies to work as part of a team to further a social service agency’s goals.
There are several psychological theories that were developed a long time ago to explain various issues and personal and societal traits. These traits fall into seven broad categories: behavioral, cognitive, developmental, humanist, personality, social psychology theories, and learning theories. The classification is done based on the various fields addressed by each classification, for example, behavioral theories deal with one’s behaviors. Developmental theories deal with issues of human growth and development.
Recently, new psychological theories have emerged to help understand and maximize a company’s or agency’s output from its workforce. One of these theories is the motivational theory. The greatest asset a company has it its workforce. Therefore, one of the management’s most essential tasks is to ensure that the workforce is motivated to guarantee that they work at their optimum, leading to increased productivity and profitability.Motivational theory has been defined by several people over the past few years. Heckhausen, Wrosch, & Schulz (2010)define it as the different internal psychological practices of initiating, stimulating, directing and sustaining goal-focused behavior. Murtonen, Olkinuora, Palonen, Hakkarainen, & Lehtinen (2008), on the other hand, defined it as the variation between one person putting in more energy and effort into an action than another person.

The Motivational View of the Human Resources Model

The Human Resources model views human beings as being inspired and motivated by an intricate web of interconnected elements such as money, hunger for meaningful work, and the need for affiliation and membership. Different employees will have different goals, diverse talents for completing a given task, and they will add their unique contributions to the company. This idea views employees as reservoirs of prospective talent. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the management to determine the best ways of tapping these resources.
There is a misconception that people want to add positively to a job i.e. that they are pre-motivated, and that as the job progresses that they will be more motivated. However, this is not the case most of the time.The employer, therefore, has to make them more motivated by redesigning the work responsibilities by for instance making it more varied, and allowing for more devolution and placing more trust in the employee.

The content theory that fits well with the human resources model is the McGregor’s Y theory. It posits that if the work environment is favorable, then an employee will be more motivated to work more efficiently, developing and advancing together with the organization to fulfill their potential goals. It says that the employees, in this case, view work just as play or rest. The implications for the management, from this theory, are that, for a company or agency to meet its organizational objectives;then the rewards of different kinds are likely to be the biggest motivator.
The theory encapsulates a participatory approach to management. Put in another way, it assumes that employees will apply self-direction and restraint in the accomplishment of organizational goals to the extent that they stay focused on these goals. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the management to make the most out of this dedication.
The theory gives managers no easy justifications for failure. It makes it their challenge to come up with new and innovative ways of guiding and organizing human input. By adopting this theory, McGregor hoped that companies would be further pushed to motivate their employees in any way they can.
Applying this theory to the human resources work in a social service agency will result in enhanced productivity by the employees. Social workers mostly work with different kinds of people to offer them support through difficult and challenging times. They also ensure that vulnerable members of the society, including children, are protected from harm. Their main responsibility is to give support to help service users to assist themselves. They sustain professional ties with the service users, playing the role of advocates and guides. They work in a wide range of situations and settings that include hospitals, home, school, or voluntary organization. The people helped by the social workers include the elderly, young offenders, homeless people, alcohol and drug abusers, those students that do now attend school, and individuals with physical and learning difficulties.
Their actual job description includes interviewing the service users and their families to analyze and review their situation, writing down assessment reports in partnership with other specialists. Other duties include providing support and information to the service users and their families. Other duties include making recommendations about what further action service user should take, testifying in court, making referrals to other help agencies, and taking part in training and team seminars.
Motivating these social workers can occur in any of these ways: providing them with the freedom and time to practice their skills, fostering solid and healthy relationships with them at work. They can also start enjoying better-working conditions (modes of transport, internet, or even a well-stocked cafeteria).They will also be motivated by providing them with opportunities for further education and self-improvement, fostering a non-bossy kind of leadership towards them.Allowing them to show their creative sides in the work environment can also help motivate them.
A 2009 Lithuanian survey into the factors that motivate social workers found that fostering solid and healthy relationships at work was the biggest motivator. 70.2% of the social workers surveyed thought that good inter-colleague relationships will motivate them more. 34.7% of social workers reported that being given the chance to use their skills at work will make them more motivated. 6.4% of those surveyed thought that better remuneration was going to make them more motivated.
Input from the management also plays a vital role in the motivation of the employees. The same 2009 Lithuanian survey found that 61.7% reported that their bosses allocated more responsibilities to them. 59.6% of those surveyed stated that the management made use of their professional abilities, and 51.1% reported that the management kept them up to date with their agency’s future management plans. 44.7% of the social services agencies surveyed reported that they took their social workers’ proposals into account.
All of these have been found to be highly motivating to the social workers’ work output. They all prove McGregor’s Y theory to be correct. Likewise, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Alderfer’s revised version of the needs have all been addressed by the social worker motivational strategies listed above.
It is, therefore, wise to recommend that the motivational strategies listed above be adopted by social service agencies all over the world as they will improve the workers’ output.Doing so will ultimately help the agency itself meet its organizational objectives at a quicker pace.

Process Theory Of Motivation

The other of the motivation theories that can apply to the motivation of employees in a social service agency is the process theory. This theory is a collection of three individual theories that explain the means by which workers choose behavioral actions to satisfy their needs and define their selections. They offer explanations regarding how workers make decisions whether or not to work hard depending on their personal inclinations, available rewards, and potential work results.

Equity Theory

The equity theory equates the potential reward gained by workers to the effort expended by same. Equity occurs when workers view rewards as being equal to their efforts, and inequities exist when people get the sense that the rewards they are getting are inferior compared to the rewards being offered to other people doing the same work. Social workers who feel as though they are being treated inequitably may show these behaviors: they might request better treatment, put less strength into their work or even hand in transfer requests. This theory makes valid points regarding personal views. What a manager sees as being irrelevant might be very important to an employee.
Those rewards viewed as equitable have positive effects on the performance and job satisfaction, while those that are inequitable have negative effects, even resulting in performance problems. It is the social service manager’s job to make sure that any harmful effects due to the allocation of rewards, and arising from making comparisons about equity are minimized, or even avoided. A keen social service manager can easily anticipate worries about inequities when it comes to rewards such as promotions, and increase in pay. He can make things better by communicating to the affected social worker about the planned values of the distributed rewards, and explain the basis of the performance assessments done to come up which the rewards.

Expectancy Theory

The expectancy theory explains that a social worker is highly motivated when he or she believes that his or her efforts will ultimately lead to a decent performance assessment. This good performance assessment will in turn lead to organizational rewards, after which the organizational rewards will bring satisfaction to his or her personal ambitions.
This theory requests that social service managers strengthen their social workers’ views of their efforts as being both possible and useful. They must also elucidate the performance expectations, and link rewards being given out to these performances. They must ultimately ensure that the rewards are appropriate.

Reinforcement Theory

This theory examines the link between behavior and consequence. It focuses on changing an employee’s behavior on the job via the appropriate use of one of the four techniques. The first of the techniques is positive reinforcement; this rewards positive behavior by motivations such as a promotion or pay rise. Avoidance is another technique in which a worker sees the consequences of inappropriate behavior. After being shown the consequence it is hoped that he or she will try as much as possible not to engage in any inappropriate behavior. Extinction is a technique that advocates ignoring of any inappropriate behavior from a subordinate without dishing out any positive or negative rewards. Punishment is the last technique that is used to reduce the possibility of recurrence of inappropriate behavior by swiftly applying negative consequences. Of these four techniques, the social services management can make use of positive reinforcement, avoidance and punishment to motivate its social workers.


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