Motivation and Morale

23/03/2020 1 By indiafreenotes


Motivation is the word derived from the word ’motive’ which means needs, desires, wants or drives within the individuals. It is the process of stimulating people to actions to accomplish the goals. In the work goal context the psychological factors stimulating the people’s behaviour can be:

  • Desire for money
  • Success
  • Recognition
  • Job-satisfaction
  • Team work, etc..

One of the most important functions of management is to create willingness amongst the employees to perform in the best of their abilities. Therefore the role of a leader is to arouse interest in performance of employees in their jobs. The process of motivation consists of three stages:-

  • A felt need or drive
  • A stimulus in which needs have to be aroused
  • When needs are satisfied, the satisfaction or accomplishment of goals.

Therefore, we can say that motivation is a psychological phenomenon which means needs and wants of the individuals have to be tackled by framing an incentive plan.


Morale can be defined as the total satisfaction derived by an individual from his job, his work-group, his superior, the organization he works for and the environment. It generally relates to the feeling of individual’s comfort, happiness and satisfaction.

According to Davis, “Morale is a mental condition of groups and individuals which determines their attitude.”

In short, morale is a fusion of employees’ attitudes, behaviours, manifestation of views and opinions – all taken together in their work scenarios, exhibiting the employees’ feelings towards work, working terms and relation with their employers. Morale includes employees’ attitudes on and specific reaction to their job.

There are two states of morale:

(i) High morale: High morale implies determination at work an essential in achievement of management objectives. High morale results in:

  • A keen teamwork on part of the employees
  • Organizational Commitment and a sense of belongingness in the employees mind
  • Immediate conflict identification and resolution
  • Healthy and safe work environment
  • Effective communication in the organization
  • Increase in productivity
  • Greater motivation

(ii) Low morale: Low morale has following features:

  • Greater grievances and conflicts in organization
  • High rate of employee absenteeism and turnover
  • Dissatisfaction with the superiors and employers
  • Poor working conditions
  • Employees frustration
  • Decrease in productivity
  • Lack of motivation

Though motivation and morale are closely related concepts, they are different in following ways:

While motivation is an internal-psychological drive of an individual which urges him to behave in a specific manner, morale is more of a group scenario.

Higher motivation often leads to higher morale of employees, but high morale does not essentially result in greatly motivated employees as to have a positive attitude towards all factors of work situation may not essentially force the employees to work more efficiently.

While motivation is an individual concept, morale is a group concept. Thus, motivation takes into consideration the individual differences among the employees, and morale of the employees can be increased by taking those factors into consideration which influence group scenario or total work settings.

Motivation acquires primary concern in every organization, while morale is a secondary phenomenon because high motivation essentially leads to higher productivity while high morale may not necessarily lead to higher productivity.

Things tied to morale are usually things that are just part of the work environment, and things tied to motivation are tied to the performance of the individual.

Difference between Motivation and Morale

Edwin Flippo (1961) defined morale as ‘a mental condition or attitude of individuals and groups which determines their willingness to cooperate’. Yoder Dale (1972), on the other hand, explained morale as ‘the overall tone, climate, or atmosphere of work perhaps regularly sensed by the members.

If workers appear to feel enthusiastic and optimistic about group activities, if they have a sense of mission about their jobs, and if they are friendly with each other, they are described as having a good or high morale. If they seem to be dissatisfied, irritated, cranky, critical, restless, and pessimistic, they are described as having poor or low morale.’ Elton Mayo defined it as ‘the maintenance of cooperative living’, which means a sense of belongingness.

On the other hand many authors defined morale as a ‘pursuit of a common purpose’, attitude, individual and group job satisfaction, participative attitudes, team sprit etc. Whatever may be the way of defining, it is evident that morale is a cognitive concept, encompassing feelings, attitudes, and sentiments, which together contribute to a general feeling of satisfaction in the workplace.

Like morale, motivation is also a cognitive concept, but it is different from morale on certain important aspects. Motivation stimulates individuals into action to achieve desired goals. It is, therefore, a function of needs and drives. It mobilizes energy, which enhances the potential for morale. Morale on the other hand is the individual or group attitude towards a particular subject. It contributes to a general feeling of satisfaction at the work place.

It is, therefore, the function of freedom or restraint towards some goal. It mobilizes sentiments, which form an important part of the organizational climate. Attitudes and sentiments, that is, morale, per se, affect productivity. High morale is an index of good human relations, which, inter alia, reduces labour turnover, absenteeism, indiscipline, grievances, etc.

Factors which affect morale are, primarily, attitude and job satisfaction levels of individual employees. From an organizational point of view, such factors can be delineated into organizational goals, leadership styles, co-workers’ attitude, nature of work, work environment, and the employee himself.

High morale is conventionally considered as a contributor to high productivity, but such correlation may not always be true. This is because high productivity may be the outcome of many other organizational initiatives, which may be independent of employee morale. Hence, even with low employee morale, high productivity is achievable. This can be illustrated using the model of Keith Davis, as in Figure 1.