Effects of Motivation on Workers’ Performance

of Selected Firms in Abia State, Nigeria



By Dr. Uzoma F. Amaeshi

Department of Project Management Technology
Federal University of Technology, Owerri





Using selected manufacturing firms in Aba, Abia State, we investigated the effects of motivation on workers’ performance in Nigeria. The objective of the study is to compare our primary research findings with the findings in the extant literature for the purpose of identifying common patterns as well as, controversies within the secondary data directly related to the research area thereby validating the theories of motivation through this work. Adopting a survey design with well-structured questionnaire, we collected quantitative data and analyzed same using descriptive and inferential statistics. In the attempt to answer the research questions, we used the multiple regression models on four selected motivational variables of Reward System, Motivational Factors, Employee Motivation, and Good Management Practices. The results of our study showed that there is a statistically significant relationship between the Motivational variables (Motivational factors and Management Practices) and Workers’ Performance. All the motivational factors considered in this study with their positive coefficients met the a priori expectation. Our conclusion reinforces existing knowledge that motivational variables are important in encouraging better performance among employees in the work place.

Key words:     Reward system, motivational factors, employee motivation, good management practices, and worker performance



1.1. Background of the Study.

“Performance management is a process by which organizations align their resources, systems and employees to strategic objectives and priorities” (Davies, 2005). To achieve these objectives, “the human resource management functions in organizations are designed to maximize employee performance towards employers’ strategic objectives. Human resource (HR) is primarily concerned with the management of people within organizations focusing on policies and on systems” (Helepota, 2005).

According to Collings, D. G. & Wood, G. T. (2009), Human Resources departments and units in organizations typically undertake a number of activities, including “employee benefits design, recruitment, training and development, performance appraisal and rewarding” (Davies, 2005). The job-related activities expected of a worker and how well those activities were executed is employee performance.

Helepota, (2005) says that “an individual’s effectiveness mainly is determined by several motives such as performance assessments, individual inspirations and satisfaction, compensation, training and enhancement, job security, performance, organizational philosophy and environment”. Managers should assess employee performance on an annual or quarterly basis in order to help them identify suggested areas for their improvement.

In Nigeria, this managerial function appears nonexistent. Researchers opine that “Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal is motivation” (Davies, 2005; Helepota, (2005)). Motivated employees actually become more enthusiastic as they work towards achieving desired organizational objectives”. The business culture in Nigeria 1980 “put a considerable emphasis on personal reward on the basis that highly motivated individual could transform organizations and societies”(Usman, 2010).

Collings & Wood, (2009) however say that “the 90’s have seen companies traumatized and bankrupted by the inappropriate use of remuneration as a motivator”. Researchers believe that “employees are the significant base for improving organizational profitability” hence the current effort towards finding new avenues where an organization can improve its performance through employee motivation (Antomioni, (1999), Appleby (2002); Amana, (2005); Basset-Jones, & Lloyd, (2005); Burton, & Tharkar, (2005). This study therefore aims at determining the extent to which motivation can enhance employee performance in Nigeria.

It is worthy of academic discourse because managers have conducted performance appraisals for the purpose of punishing non-performing worker. Again, it is common knowledge that performance appraisal activities in Nigeria are done mostly for the sake of performing such functions, not for contributing directly to the preferred results of the organization. This situation calls for more focus on effectiveness such that systems and processes in the organization could be applied in the right way to the right things in order to achieve results. It is then that the organization and its various parts would be really performing.

“Managers see motivation as an essential part of the performance equation at all levels, while organizational researchers see it as a fundamental building block in the development of useful theories of effective management practice” (Antomioni, (1999), Appleby (2002); Amana, (2005)). Generally, there is always the confusion between the two areas of motivation which are “motivation to be on the job” and “motivation to perform” on the job. Previous research efforts concentrated purely on individual motivation, ignoring organizational performance. Therefore, the nature of this study has a great impact on the performance of both employees and their organizations. Performance of an organization, configuration of an employee which develops occupational exceptionality for some definite purpose is remarkably accepted. Organizational performance is a theoretical concept of how an organization accomplishes outcomes and goals” (Abedi et al., 2011).

In this study, we assert that performance issues should always be based on behaviors that were actually seen, not on characteristics that employer or someone else senses or intuits about the employee’s personality. We anchor this study on Herzberg’s (2003) “two –factor theory of motivation” at the workplace which describes the differentiation between the two areas of motivation. The two-factor theory distinguishes “satisfiers which are the main causes of high or low performance in the workplace from dissatisfiers which are absented or perceived as inadequate”. “These will be the main causes for job dissatisfaction that de-motivate the workers to remain on a job”. “Empowerment, recognition, rewarding, responsibility and the work itself are examples of motivating factors. Dissatisfiers are all about working conditions, salaries, relationship with colleagues, administrative supervision, etc.” [Herzberg, 2003].

The study is limited to the intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors that impact on worker performance focusing on selected firms in Nigeria. Intrinsic motivation derives from internal factors that drives performance and addresses individual needs such as growth, social approval, security, recognition, learning opportunity, challenging work, responsibility, career advancement and work itself. Extrinsic motivation, on the hand, refers to outside source of influence that tends to control the performance of work. They include basic pay, performance pay, other allowances, awards, working conditions, status, company policies, supervision etc.

1.2. Aim and Objectives of the study

Our aim in this study is to compare our primary research findings with the findings in the extant literature for the purpose of identifying common patterns as well as controversies within the secondary data directly related to the research area thereby validating the theories of motivation through this work.

To achieve this aim, the following objectives were set:

  1. To determine how employees reward system can promote organizational performance in Nigeria.
  2. To ascertain the extent motivational factors can lead to high performance of employees of Nigerian organizations.
  3. To establish the relationship between motivation of employees and performance in Nigerian organizations.
  4. To find out how Human Resource Management practices in Nigeria can enhance motivation of employees towards high performance.


To read entire paper, click here


How to cite this paper: Amaeshi, U. F. (2019). Effects of Motivation on Workers’ Performance of Selected Firms in Abia State, Nigeria; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/pmwj84-Aug2019-Amaeshi-effects-of-motivation-on-workers-performance.pdf



About the Author

Dr. Uzoma Francis Amaeshi

Federal University of Technology
Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria



Dr. Uzoma Francis Amaeshi is a senior lecturer in the department of Project Management Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. His doctoral work is in Management with areas of research interest that include: Human Resources Management; Organizational Development and Entrepreneurship development.

Dr. Amaeshi can be contacted at uzor1958@gmail.com.