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Employee Morale

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“Morale is a mental condition or attitude of individuals or groups which determines their willingness to co-operate.

Morale is an important part of organizational climate. It is a vital ingredient of organizational success because it reflects the attitudes and sentiments of organizational members towards the organization, its objectives and policies.

These attitudes and sentiments largely affect productivity and satisfaction of individuals. Morale is the total satisfaction a person derives from his job, his workgroup. His boss, his organization and his environment.

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The importance of “morale” to the successful operation of any endeavour has been clearly revealed in a variety of situations from the waging of war to the manufacturing of a product Morale, which essentially refers to such qualities as enthusiasm personal satisfaction, and a willingness to work together is extremely important for the continued success of any organization, whether its purpose be of a military or business nature.

Learn about:

1. Introduction to Employee Morale 2. Meaning of Employee Morale 3. Definitions 4. Concept 5. Nature 6. Characteristics 7. Importance

8. Need for Morale Study. 9. Factor 10. Types 11. Methods 12. Stages 13. Morale and Productivity 14. Measures to Promote and Improve Morale.

Employee Morale: Definitions, Concept, Nature, Characteristics, Need, Suggestive Measures and Other Details


Employee Morale – Introduction

Morale is perhaps the most frequently used term, in Organisational literature. Yet it remains one of the more evasive, controversial topics that lack universally acceptable and comprehensive, definition. Morale in spite of its importance is largely unacknowledged and poorly understood by managers.

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Some social scientists consider morale as a feeling of an individual whereas others treat it as “group feeling”. Almost all scientists unanimously agree to the importance of morale for it is the hallmark of sound behavioural climate. A penetrating discussion of morale is hence called for.

Morale is the vital ingredient of Organisational success for it reflects the attitudes and sentiments and individual or group has toward the Organisational objectives. These feelings and sentiments largely affect the productivity and satisfaction of individuals. When people are enthusiastic in their work environment we generally label them to be having “high morale”.

Morale is an individual’s zest for working or the lack of it. A person with high morale will have confidence in himself, in others, and in his future. An individual with a high morale feels his work is worth doing well and that he is doing good job. It also helps him take minor irritation in stride, and to work under pressure without blowing up.

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Morale is the term usually applied to armed forces during war time, and to sports and athletics teams. It refers to team spirit and togetherness of people for a common purpose. It indicates evident commitment that is exhibiting the behavioural symbols and symptoms of personal commitment.

The morale of employees became a subject of extensive study after World War II. High or favourable morale seemed the key to productivity and success during those days. Each manager started to develop and maintain morale in the organization.

The usual dictionary definition relates the term morale to mood and spirit. High morale means an enthusiastic, confident feeling with respect to individual or group achievement. In employment, the term refers to participative attitudes towards achievement of organizational objectives.


Employee Morale – Meaning

Morale is a collection of employee’s feelings, attitudes and sentiments towards their jobs, superiors and organisation. It reflects a state of mind of people. Mayo defined morale as – ‘the maintenance of cooperative living.’

Robert M. Guion has said that, “Morale is a group phenomenon consisting of pattern of attitudes of members of the group. It refers to the spirit of the organisation. It represents the attitude of individuals and groups in an organisation towards their work environment and towards voluntary cooperation to the full extent of their capabilities for the fulfillment of organisational goals.

In other words, it is an indicator of attitudes of employees towards their jobs, superiors and environment. It is the sum total of employee’s attitudes, feelings and sentiments towards these variables. It is a byproduct of motivation and group relationship in the organisation”.

Some thinkers think that morale is classical approach in which if the basic needs of the employees are satisfied their morale will be high, morale is a psychological approach in which, morale is a mental condition or attitude of individual and groups which determines their willingness to cooperate, and morale is a social approach in which morale as the attitudes of individuals and group towards their work, environment and towards voluntary cooperation to full extent of their ability in the best interest of the organisation.

Morale is an ambiguous concept that sometimes considered to be a component of satisfaction. Morale is defined as, “a composite of feelings, attitudes, and sentiments that contribute to general feelings of satisfaction. In this connection morale is understood as one’s attitude towards accomplishing his work rather than emotions he displays during work.

It is a state of mind and spirit, affecting willingness to work, which in turn affects Organisational and individual objectives.” According to Robert M. Guano morale is the extent to which an individual needs are satisfied and the extent to which the individual, person perceives that satisfaction is stemming from his total job satisfaction.

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According to Dale S. Beach morale is the total satisfaction a person derives from his job, his work group, his boss, his Organisation and his environment. Morale is frequently referred to as being satisfaction and happiness of people. Morale is involved in everything that makes a job satisfying.


Employee Morale – Definitions

Morale is the internal feeling of confidence, enthusiasm, zeal, satisfaction, optimism which keeps the frustration level of a person low and he remains satisfied.

Many researchers have defined morale in different ways:

In the words of Theo Haimann, “Morale is the state of mind and emotions affecting the attitude and willingness to work, which, in turn affect individual and organisational objectives.”

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Mooney states, “Morale is the sum total of several psychic qualities which include courage, fortitude, resolution and above all, confidence.”

Davis states, “Organisational morale is basically a mental condition of groups and individuals which determines their attitude.”

Guion defines morale as “The extent to which an individual’s needs are satisfied and the extent to which individual perceives that satisfaction as stemming from his total job satisfaction.”

Dr Leighton defined morale as “Capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.”

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Miller and Form present three definitions of morale:

“First, morale refers to the total satisfaction which the individual acquires as a result of his membership and involvement in an organisational setting. Second, it relates to the state of motivational drives through which the individuals (group members) tend to accomplish goals and face the future challenges. Third, it is the consensus or “spirit de corps” revealed by a group which make efforts towards the accomplishment of its goals.”

Conclusively, it can be said that morale is the mental condition or internal feeling of satisfaction from job, feeling of courage, zeal and enthusiasm. Morale affects the attitude and hence the job satisfaction.

High morale acts as an internal self-motivating factor.

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Individual morale- It is the feeling of an individual towards his job, his co-workers and his environment. It is related to one person only.

Group morale- In contrast to individual morale, group morale refers to the general ‘spirit de corps’ of a group of people. Group morale is related to how members feel when they are in group and how they perceive their work, colleagues and environment while they are in group.

Group morale is not necessarily sum total of the individual morale. It may be more or less.

Group morale depends upon group cohesiveness and group values such as common thinking, shared beliefs, interest, etc.

“In war, morale conditions make up three – quarters of the game- the relative balance of manpower accounts for the remaining quarter’ – Nepolean

The importance of “morale” (i.e. “esprit de corps” or the team-spirit) to the successful operation of any endeavour has been clearly revealed in a variety of situations from the waging of war to the manufacturing of a product Morale, which essentially refers to such qualities as enthusiasm personal satisfaction, and a willingness to work together is extremely important for the continued success of any organization, whether its purpose be of a military or business nature.

Different authors define morale in different ways:

W. W. Finlay, A. Q. Sartain, and W. M. Tate have also pointed out that morale is essentially a feeling of belonging so dominating that the worker places the group’s interest above his own.

The importance of morale can be further illustrated with the statement of F. J. Roethlisberger who says,’…what physical health is to a physical organism, morale is to a cooperative system’.

Keith Davis has compared morale to a lady when he writes –

Never underestimate the power of a woman. Simultaneously, do not underestimate the power of morale.

“Morale is a feeling, somewhat related to spirit, “enthusiasm or zeal “. – Dale Yoder

“Morale is a mental condition or attitude of individuals or groups which determines their willingness to co-operate. -Edwin B. Flippo

The most common definitions are as follows:

Edwin Flippo:

“Morale is a mental condition or attitude of individual and groups which determines their willingness to co-operate.”

Dale Voder:

“For group of workers morale refers to 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 job, 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”.

Keith Davis observes that morale essentially refers to the attitudes of individuals and groups towards their work environment and towards voluntary co­operation to the full extent of their ability in the best interest of the organization.

The dictionary meaning of morale is “prevailing mood and spirit conducive to willing and dependable performance”, in employment, the term morale refers to participant attitudes towards achievement of organization’s objectives and is concerned with “drive, enthusiasm, esprit de corps, and confidence” in the organization’s future accomplishments and success.

Morale should be distinguished from motivation. Though both are cognitive concepts they are quite different. Morale is a composite of feelings, attitudes and sentiments that contribute to general feeling of satisfaction at the workplace. But motivation is something that moves a person to action.

It is a process of stimulating individuals to action to accomplish desired goals. It is a function of drives and needs. But morale, on the other hand, is a function of freedom or restraint towards some goal. Motivation is concerned with “mobilization of energy” whereas morale is concerned with mobilization of sentiments. Motivation provides high potential for morale and morale reflects motivation.

Morale is an important part of organizational climate. It is a vital ingredient of organizational success because it reflects the attitudes and sentiments of organizational members towards the organization, its objectives and policies. These attitudes and sentiments largely affect productivity and satisfaction of individuals. Morale is the total satisfaction a person derives from his job, his workgroup. His boss, his organization and his environment.

High morale assists the management to overcome several labour problems such as labour turnover, absenteeism, indiscipline, grievances, disharmony etc. It also helps to seek cooperation of the workers in getting higher production at minimum possible cost by reducing the wastage of time, man, machines, and materials. Production and productivity are directly affected by high morale in positive manner. High morale in indeed an index of good human relations in an organization.

Different definitions of morale can be divided into three main categories:

1. Classical Approach:

The definition of Robert M. Guion can be put in this category. According to him, morale is defined as the extent to which individual needs are satisfied and the extent to which the individual perceives that satisfaction stemming from total job satisfaction.

2. Psychological Approach:

According to Edwin B. Flippo, E. F. L. Breach, Noah Webster, Sara Niles and so on, morale is a psychological concept. According to them, morale is a state of mind and emotions, affecting willingness to work, which in turn affects individual and organ­isational objectives.

Thus, it is a mental attitude of the individual which enables him/her to realise that the maximum satisfaction of his/her drives coincides with the fulfilment to the objectives of the company.

3. Social Approach:

Some modern writers describe morale as a social process. This concept is based upon Hawthorne experiments. The definitions given by Professors Elton Mayo, Keith Davis, F. J. Blankenship, W. A. Cohen and L. M. Moarse, and Dale Yoder can be put in this category.

According to Keith Davis, morale can be defined as the attitudes of indi­viduals and groups towards their work, environment and voluntary cooperation to the full extent of their ability in the best interest of the organisation.

Thus, we see that on the one hand, morale is a personal matter, while on the other hand, it is a group problem. As a matter of fact, it is an inner impulse explaining the attitude of a member employee towards his/her work, working conditions, fellow workers, management, job satisfaction, total organisation and so on.

It may be low or high. The high morale is reflected in zest, active cooperation, satisfaction, appre­ciation and so on, while the indicators of low morale are passive cooperation, feeling job unimportant and work a burden, hostility and apathy. According to T. Harell, high morale is a spirit of wholehearted cooperation in a common effort.


Employee Morale – Concept

The following points are worth noting regarding the concept of morale:

1. Morale is a fundamental psychological concept. It is the sum of several psychic qualities that include courage, fortitude, resolution, and above all, confidence.

2. Morale is a multidimensional concept. It is a complex mixture of several elements. It is viewed multidimensional because it recognizes the influence of job situation on attitudes of individuals and also includes the role of human needs as motivational forces.

3. Morale is a group phenomenon consisting of pattern of attitudes of the members of the group. It refers to the spirit of the Organisation and the managerial climate.

4. Morale is different from team work. Morale is the capacity of group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in the pursuit of common purpose. Morale is the state of-attitude of the members in a group whereas team work is a condition. Good morale is helpful in achieving team work, but it is possible that team work can be high and group morale can be low.

5. Morale is mostly regarded as a long-term condition. As morale represents the state of balance and health within an Organisation, it must be viewed from long-term point. Rising morale to a high level and maintaining it there is a long-run and continuous process which cannot be achieved through short-run devices such as contests, pep talks, gimmicks, or one shot actions.

6. Morale may be “high” or “low”. Like the word “health” morale used alone has no meaning unless it is specified in terms of degree. High morale is hallmark of sound behavioural climate in the Organisation. Low morale results in inefficiency, waste, industrial indiscipline. Keith Davis contends one of the surest of deteriorating human relations is the phenomenon known as “low morale”. In its most sinister form it lurks behind wildcat strikes, slowdowns, and absenteeism and employee turnover. The reverse-high morale gladdens the hearts of managers.

7. Morale is different from motivation. Though both are cognitive concepts they are different. Morale describes a state of complex attitudes and feelings about work situations whereas motivation deals with the propensity for particular behaviour pattern.

Motivation is a function of drives and needs whereas morale is considered to be a function of freedom or restraint toward a particular goal. Further, when motivation is considered as “mobilization of energy”, morale is treated as “mobilization of sentiments”. Though both motivation and morale are different they are interpenetrated. Morale reflects motivation and motivation, in turn, provides high potential for morale.

8. Morale is contagious. Both favourable attitudes and unfavorable attitudes can spread among people. It can deteriorate rapidly when seriously unfavorable events occur.


Employee Morale – Nature and Features

The word morale does not convey any favorable or unfavorable meaning. It is dynamic in nature represents the attitudes and sentiments of the workers. It is multidimensional in the sense that it recognises the influence on job situation as attitudes of individuals and also includes the role of human needs as motivational force.

The other features of morale are as follows:

(i) It is composite of feelings, attitudes and sentiments of the employees.

(ii) It is the degree or enthusiasm and willingness with which the employees contribute their efforts towards the organisational goals.

(iii) It is different from job satisfaction because morale refers to group concept while job satisfaction is an individual concept.

(iv) The degree of morale can be estimated through labour absenteeism and turnover.

(v) It is both an individual and a group phenomenon. The high moral is reflected in good team and team spirit in case of group morale.

(vi) Morale is the primary concern of the management because high production and productivity of workers are the direct result of high morale.


Employee Morale – 6 Important Characteristics

The following important characteristics of morale:

(i) Morale is a state of mental health which is closely associated with loyalty, egoism and enthusiasm.

(ii) Morale is a densification of group interest, interest of organisation, fellow workers and requirements of the job.

(iii) Morale is the subjective feeling of the employees.

(iv) Morale affects behaviour, performance and discipline.

(v) Morale can be assessing in the form of productivity, employee discipline, absenteeism and turnover.

(vi) Morale is an index of good industrial relations.


Employee Morale – Importance

The management is always interested in higher production and productivity in order to achieve the desired goal. Higher productivity is an index of favorable attitudes of workers about the work and the organisation.

The importance of morale can be studied under the following:

(i) Higher productivity is the result of the positive attitude of the workers. High morale for this the management should know the impact of its policies and practices on the attitude of the workers.

(ii) According to Dale Yoder, “if workers appear to full enthusiastic and optimized about the group activities and mission and friendly to each other, they are described as having good or high morale. If they are dissatisfied irritated, critical, restless and pessimistic, there reactions are described as evidence of poor or low morale.”

(iii) The success or failure of the organisation very much depends upon the morale of its employee. As per opinion of Keith Davis, “Never under estimate the power of a woman and the same certainly must be said about morale never under estimate the power of morale.”

(iv) The high morale is important because it assists management to solve many labour related problems such as – labor turnover, absenteeism, indiscipline and grievance, etc.

(v) Government has introduced many labour welfare and social security measures to improve the morale of industrial workers.

It has realized that low morale has long range effects damaging the organisation, thus the management has recognise the importance of high morale.


Employee Morale – Need for Morale Study

Since morale is fundamentally the result of good human relations, its promotion is the primary responsibility of the management. It should be remembered, however, that the work of morale promotion is not a new development in industry; it is only much more necessary than in handicraft days. Even in those days, the worker had to be encouraged to give the best value to the master, by applying his knowledge and skill to the making of the article which the employer hoped to sell to pay wages and make his profit.

But there is a vast difference in the attitudes then and now. At that time the worker knew for whom he made the article; why he was making it; how much the master would charge; how much the material cost; where it would come from; there was a full chance for him to show his workmanship; it was his product, and he was proud of it. It gave him complete satisfaction and a sense of pride, his morale was high. In the factory of today the worker produces only a fraction of an article.

He sees neither the preceding nor the subsequent processes of manufacture. The product is not his; he does not know the consumer; and it is only by chance that he might see the product rendering its service in use. He does not know who the proprietors are, behind the mask of the company; and he is likely to know but few of the executives.

He is seldom told what the company’s policies are; and more seldom yet what its financial condition is, although his risk, in case of failure of the company, is much greater than that of the shareholders. For him the modern process turns chiefly upon two bearings – arbitrary authority and wages. There is hardly any interest in accomplishment and resultant satisfaction which should impel him to work with a will.

Man, by nature, is co-operative, but modern industry has contrived a situation in which friction is chronic. This may, in part, be ascribed to the fact that the existing industrial organisation has shattered the personal bond between workers and employers. “The incentive to work, that is, willingness of the worker to increase or even maintain output at lowest cost,” says Professor Sargant Florence, “is checked at the outset as soon as he finds himself divided off as a mere employee, from ownership of the products of his labour.”

As a general rule, it is true that more a mere employee loses personal contact with the ownership the more indifferent he will become to the efficiency of the industrial organisation and the more he will stick to habits, customs and conventions. The employee’s sense of fraternity and social equality with his employer and the sense of his own dignity and self-respect tend to be lost as the size of the firm enlarges; he identifies himself less and less with the interests of the firm.

In a large firm, the feeling of ‘being in the same boat’ is lost, and the ordinary employee can no longer regard his non-interests in the business as identical with his employer’s. The incentive of identification of oneself with the firm is absent. Red-tape and bureaucracy undermine esprit de corps, and low morale supervenes.

The process of depersonalisation is usually complete in an organisa­tion employing 1,000 workers; and management’s responsibility for the eradication of psychological interest or for the promotion of morale becomes fundamentally great. The Personnel Manager faces the prob­lem of discovering factors which contribute towards a happy and successful organisation.


Employee Morale – Factors Influencing the Morale of Employees in a Work Organisation

The factors affecting morale of employees in a work organisation can be logically grouped under the follower two categories:

A. External and

B. Internal.

A. External Factors (Exogenous Factors):

These are the factors external to the Organisation. These comprise of the personality of the individual Employee, his psychological make-up, level of intelligence, his physical health, family background and relations with social groups and friends. Every human being is unique just like fingerprints. When an individual comes to the work place he carries all these factors with him.

These factors influence his perceptions, attitudes that, in turn, affect the morale. Since these are external factors that are outside the control of managers, managers can do very little to change, control or influence them. But it cannot be denied that external factors also influence morale of employees.

B. Internal Factors (Endogenous Factors):

These are the factors that come under the domain of control of management.

These include:

1. Organisational Goals:

Perhaps the single most important factor that can have profound influence on the morale of employees is the Organisational objectives. If the goals set by management are worthwhile, valid and useful, then workers develop a positive feeling toward the job and the Organisation. Allowing workers participation in setting goals enhances morale of the employees to a larger extent.

2. Organisational Structure:

Structure is another influential factor of morale. In a sound structure where lines of authority are clearly specified; and responsibility is precisely defined and where there is candid communication among the people, morale tends to be high. Further, if the structure of the Organisation is such that employees associate with management at least now and then, helps remove the sense of isolation and misunderstanding among employees, about the Organisation serves to build morale. Normally, in decentralized structures morale will be high.

3. Nature of Work:

Perhaps the biggest factor that affects morale of employee is the nature of the task he confronts. If he is asked to do time and again the dull, monotonous and repetitive jobs, he might feel depressed adversely affecting his morale. On the other hand, if an employee is asked to do some challenging tasks his morale may be high.

But one point to note is that nature of job should not be viewed in isolation. Management has to consider the skills, competence and willingness of the individual to perform the job. A job that may be quite dull and dead may be satisfying to the individual resulting in high morale.

4. Working Conditions:

Morale is also a direct function of the conditions in the place of work. Morale will be generally high when employees are placed in a clean, safe, comfortable and pleasant environment. The surrounding milieu must be congenial for work and this necessitates the attention of management on such aspects like decoration of work place (building), floor covering, free from noise and dust, availability of ample space to do the job etc. People generally feel suffocated if they are placed in a congested environment, which adversely affects the morale. Good working conditions are, therefore, sine qua non for high morale of the employees in an Organisation.

5. Managerial Philosophy:

An employee’s strong feeling toward his job may be seen by some as caused by how permissive his supervisor is. The treatment of subordinates by their leader can have profound influence on the morale of the employees. Further, the style of leader also affects morale. It is generally felt that a participative style will enhance morale and a directive style will have a negative impact on the morale. Thus, managerial philosophy is another factor that can affect morale of people in work Organisations.

6. Compensation:

Morale of the employees is also influenced by the compensation schemes in the Organisation. Inadequate compensation leads to low morale and low job satisfaction and may also result in law productivity. Organisations cannot afford to ignore the financial and non-financial rewards to the employees. Organisations generally come out with such schemes of compensation that high employee morale will be maintained.

7. Group:

Each individual has a unique storehouse of perceptions, attitudes, Led beliefs about the work environment, Organisations and people. Social forces and work groups also exert strong influence on these individual perceptions and attitudes and to this extent the morale of individual employees will also be affected. Top management should realize the importance of work groups in maintaining high morale in individual employees and as such should not promote conflicts between group goals Organisational goals.


Employee Morale – Types of Morale: High and Low Morale

Type # 1. High Morale:

High morale exists when employee’s attitude is congruent with group objectives and organisational objectives.

Advantages of High Morale:

i. Team spirit.

ii. Enthusiasm.

iii. Zest.

iv. Loyalty.

v. Dependability.

vi. Decrease in frustration.

High morale results in:

i. Cooperation.

ii. Better discipline.

iii. Employee interest in job.

iv. Initiative by employees.

v. Voluntary conformance with rules and regulations.

Type # 2. Low Morale:

Low morale exists when employee does not have enthusiasm, zeal for his work and his attitude is detrimental to the group and organisational objectives.

Reasons of Low Morale:

i. Too many supervisors.

ii. Improper organisational structure.

iii. Repetitive nature of jobs.

iv. Improper selection of personnel.

Low morale results in:

i. Apathy.

ii. Pessimism.

iii. Jealousy.

iv. Disloyalty.

v. Disobedience of order.

Two Main Types of Morale as Per Individual or Group:

There are two types of morale as per the feeling of the individual or group. These are low and high morale.

In case of high morale the features are:

(a) Loyalty to the organisation and Its Leadership

(b) Good Discipline

(c) Good Interest in the Jobs

(d) Availability of Employee Incentive

(e) Team-spirit and Cooperation

(f) Confidence in Competence.

In case of low morale the features are:

(a) Lack of Loyalty to the organisation and Leadership

(b) Indiscipline

(c) Lack of Interest in Job

(d) Lack of Employees Initiative

(e) Lack of Team-spirit and Cooperation

(f) Confidence of Employees is missing.

There are various factors responsible for low high morale in the organisation.


Employee Morale – Methods Used to Evaluate Morale

Morale is a complex phenomena. It is related to feelings and attitudes. Morale is indicated by attitude or behaviour which has to be correctly interpreted for morale evaluation. Morale is a ‘Qualitative’ factor which has to be ‘Quantified’.

Some methods may be used to evaluate morale, which include:

1. Observation:

In this method, supervisors observe the behaviour of employees and draw the inferences.

The things that supervisors observe include:

i. What do the employees talk about?

ii. Their expressions.

iii. Work habits.

iv. How carefully employees handle organisational resources?

v. Movements of employees.

After the detailed observation, the supervisor gets to know about the normal behaviour of employees. Whenever there is any deviation from normality, it comes to the notice of supervisor. For the success of this method, the supervisor must be a very keen observer so that nothing which could be of importance is missed out.

2. Attitude or Morale Survey:

This method is used to study respondents’ feelings about their jobs, supervisors, co-workers and organisation.

This survey can be done in two ways:

i. Interview method

ii. Questionnaire method

i. Interview Method:

In this method, the employees are interviewed about self-concept, job, company policies, organisation’s culture, etc., so that the inferences can be drawn on the basis of their feelings, opinions and experiences. Questions can be explained, modified or detailed as per the requirement and interviews are face to face, so they are more reliable as it is difficult to tell a lie rather than writing a lie.

Disadvantage of this method is that it is uneconomical for large group.

ii. Questionnaire Method:

In this method, the employees are asked to fill a questionnaire. This questionnaire contains the questions about job, company policies and organisation.

The questionnaire may contain objective or descriptive questions or both. Objective questions are those which give the choice to answer in yes or no. The questions may also have choices like strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree and highly disagree etc. In descriptive questions, employees have to answer the questions in their own words.

Typical questions in the questionnaire may be like:

1. Do you like your work place?

Yes /No

2. Do you want to have more responsibility?

Yes/ No

3. Do you think company is well managed?

Yes /No /don’t know

4. Is organisational structure efficient?

Yes /No /don’t know

5. Is cleanliness at work area good?

Yes /No /don’t know

This method is economical if there is large number of employees and is less time consuming. Employees can freely express their feelings in questionnaire without any hesitation provided that questionnaire does not ask personal questions.

Limitation of this method is that persons may feel monotony in filling the questionnaire. Further, getting response through questionnaire is very typical since people are not ready to spare time for filling the questionnaire.

Suggestions for questionnaire method to extract useful information:

a) Positive and trusting attitude should be created among the employees.

b) Questions should be carefully set and they should be in a flow.

c) Personal information or information about identity should not be asked.

d) Results should be made known to the employees also.

3. Company Records:

These records are maintained by personnel department with the assistance of supervisors and departmental heads.

These records provide details about:

i. Employee absenteeism rate.

ii. Employee turnover.

iii. Grievances reported.

iv. Grievances solved.

v. Abnormal loss in production i.e., waste and scrap.

vi. Customer complaints regarding quality of product.

vii. Information collected from exit interviews.

viii. Suggestions of employees.

Analysis of above data can provide useful results for evaluating morale.

4. Counselling:

This method aims at finding dissatisfied employees & related causes of dissatisfaction and taking remedial action.

By counselling the employees, their morale can be judged.


Employee Morale – Research on Moral Development

Moral Development has been an important facet of psychology, philosophy and anthropology. Its implications are best seen in the social fields of business and politics today.

Moral development is the stages through which a human being goes through from infancy to adulthood and even in adulthood, how he / she matures as an individual of integrity.

Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Giligan are three psychologists who have modified and added to extensive research on Moral development.

i. Jean Piaget:

Jean Piaget (9 August 1896 – 16 September 1980) was a Swiss developmental psychologist known for his epistemological studies with children. His theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called “genetic epistemology”.

Piaget placed great importance on the education of children. As the Director of the International Bureau of Education, he declared in 1934 that “only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual.”

Piaget contributed immensely to the study of Moral development in children. In his early writing, he focused specifically on the moral lives of children, studying the way children play games in order to learn more about children’s beliefs about right and wrong (1932/65).

According to Piaget, all development emerges from action; that is to say, individuals construct and reconstruct their knowledge of the world as a result of interactions with the environment. Based on his observations of children’s application of rules when playing, Piaget determined that morality, too, can be considered a developmental process.

ii. Lawrence Kohlberg:

Lawrence Kohlberg (October 25, 1927 – January 19, 1987), a Jewish American psychologist born in Bronxville, New York, served as a professor at the University of Chicago, as well as Harvard University. He specialized in research on moral education and reasoning, he is best known for his theory of stages of moral development.

A close follower of Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, Kohlberg’s work reflected and extended his predecessor’s ideas, at the same time creating a new field within psychology- “moral development”.

Consistent with Piaget, he proposed that children form ways of thinking through their experiences which include understandings of moral concepts such as justice, rights, equality and human welfare.

Lawrence Kohlberg demarcates three levels of Moral Development and the implications that each stage of moral development may have.

The Heinz dilemma is further illustrated by slicing the same incident into three scenes as episodes that happened one after another.

According to stage theory, people cannot understand moral reasoning more than one stage ahead of their own. For example, a person in Stage 1 can understand Stage 2 reasoning but nothing beyond that.

Therefore, we should present moral arguments that are only one stage ahead of a person’s present level of reasoning to stimulate movement to higher stages. This is only because, these stages are also linked to the experiences and maturity of the individual. A ten year old will not be able to understand the third stage at level two, but he may identify with stage one and two simultaneously.

Level 1 – Pre Conventional Morality:

Stage 1 – Punishment-Obedience Orientation:

In this stage, the concern is purely for self and the physical consequences of the action. In this stage, the person is only concerned with avoidance of punishment and an unquestioned respect and obedience of power.

Possible Stage 1 Responses to Heinz Dilemma:

Heinz should not steal the drug because he might be caught and sent to jail.

Heinz should steal the drug because if he doesn’t then his wife might scold him.

Inadequacy of Stage 1 Reasoning:

Avoidance of punishment regardless of the ethical value of the actions is unhealthy especially when observed from the actions of authorities such as Adolf Hitler.

From 1933-45, Nazi soldiers persecuted Jews and other minorities. These soldiers either were carrying out orders under threat of punishment or had a misplaced trust in their leader.

Another example of Stage 1 reasoning is a victim’s fear of reporting sexual abuse because the perpetrator is a person in authority and had threatened to punish her if she did. How would you use the person’s understanding of moral reasoning (Stages 1 and 2) to encourage her to report the abuse?

Stage 2 – Instrumental Relativist Orientation:

This stage involves a more egocentric view of the situation in which the action is right if it satisfies the person’s own needs and sometimes the needs of others. This stage also deems the action right if it helps to satisfy someone else’s need or involves a fair exchange.

Possible Stage 2 Responses to Heinz Dilemma:

It is right for Heinz to steal the drug because it can cure his wife and then she can cook for him.

The doctor scientist had spent lots of money and many years of his life to develop the cure so it’s not fair to him if Heinz stole the drug.

Inadequacy of Stage 2 Reasoning:

Heinz’ need to have the drug to save his wife conflicts with the doctor scientist’s need to make a profit from his research.

The issue of software piracy in the homes pitching the need of individuals to pick up IT skills against software developers’ need to make a profit can be one more example of moral reasoning in this stage.

Kohlberg’s Level Two – Conventional Morality:

Stage 3 – Good Boy-Nice Girl Orientation:

In this stage, the individual defines good behavior only by the approval it gets from the other members of their peer group, society or family. All throughout, there is total conformity to stereotypes. Behavior is always judged by intention. Right action is always what pleases or impresses others.

Possible Stage 3 Responses to Heinz Dilemma:

Yes, Heinz should steal the drug. He probably will go to jail for a short time for stealing but his in-laws will think he is a good husband.

Brown, the police officer should report that he saw Heinz behaving suspiciously and running away from the laboratory because his boss would be pleased. Officer Brown should not report what he saw because his friend Heinz would be pleased.

The judge should not sentence Heinz to jail for stealing the drug because he meant well… he stole it to cure his wife.

Inadequacy of Stage 3 Reasoning:

Same person, different roles or Different groups, different expectations-

What should Heinz do if he is in the same Medical Association as the doctor scientist? Family members will think he is a good husband if he stole the drug but he may not be able to face any member of the Association again. If he does not steal, his family members will think he is heartless. How can Heinz resolve these conflicting expectations?

Another example of “different groups, different expectations” would be a teenager struggling with the expectations of his peer group and those of his parents. From which group does he seek approval?

Different People, Different Roles:

As a good husband, Heinz should steal the drug to cure his wife. But Brown, the police officer who saw Heinz behaving suspiciously and running away from the laboratory, also has a role to play. Does not that role demand that he report what he saw? Then there is the judge who has the responsibility to uphold justice. Does not that role demand that he sentence Heinz to jail?

People not Living up to their Duties or Roles:

What if Heinz doesn’t love his wife and does not want to steal the drug?

As filial sons and daughters, we should provide financial support for our needy parents. But what if people, who are capable of supporting their parents, don’t? Should laws be legislated (like the Maintenance of Parents Act) to “force” expected action?

Another question – Should the doctor scientist be forced to turn the drug over to Heinz at half price? Why or why not?

Stage 4 – Law and Order Orientation:

At this stage, a person conforms to societal rules and norms. The individual is now concerned more about maintenance of law and order to one’s immediate family group.

Possible Stage 4 Responses to Heinz Dilemma:

As her husband, Heinz has a duty to save his wife’s life so he should steal the drug. But it’s wrong to steal, so Heinz should be prepared to accept the penalty for breaking the law.

The judge should sentence Heinz to jail. Stealing is against the law! He should not make any exceptions even though Heinz’ wife is dying. If the judge does not sentence Heinz to jail then others may think it’s right to steal and there will be chaos in the society.

An example of Stage 4 reasoning in a school setting would be an inspector who found his best friend who is also the superintendent of police breaking a school rule. The inspector said he was sorry that he had to book him (his best friend) as he could not make any exceptions. The law is the same for everybody.

Inadequacy of Stage 4 Reasoning:

Unquestioning obedience toward authority is unhealthy –

Marshall Applewhite of Heaven’s Gate asked his followers to commit suicide so as to shed their earthly bodies (or “containers”) and depart in an UFO to a higher plane of existence. The UFO was supposedly travelling behind the Hale-Bopp comet. In late March 1997, all 39 cult members obeyed and took their own lives in a mass suicide

Accepted social order may not be the best possible order. The laws of society may even be bad.

For example, Hitler introduced a decree suspending the basic rights of citizens and imposing the death sentence for arson, sabotage, resistance to the decree, and disturbances to public order (Source- The First Steps Leading to the Final Solution).

There are other societies with rules different from ours. Why should we just accept the conventions or rules of our society? What are the bases for our rules?

Level Two – Post Conventional Morality:

Stage 5 – Social Contract Orientation:

At this stage, societal rules and norms are looked at from a more vantage point of view. The entire population is considered as an intelligent, thinking force and hence dynamism forms the base of making rules.

The concern is social utility or public interest. While rules are needed to maintain social order, they should not be blindly obeyed but should be set up (even changed) by social contract for the greater good of society. Right action is one that protects the rights of the individual according to rules agreed upon by the whole society.

Possible Stage 5 Responses to Heinz Dilemma:

Heinz should steal the drug because everyone has the right to life regardless of the law against stealing. Should Heinz be caught and prosecuted for stealing then the law (against stealing) needs to be reinterpreted because a person’s life is at stake. The doctor scientist’s decision is despicable but his right to fair compensation (for his discovery) must be maintained. Therefore, Heinz should not steal the drug.

Inadequacy of Stage 5 Reasoning:

How do we arrive at a consensus on the rules that are good for society? Should a majority group impose their preferences on a minority group? What if you disagree with the decision of the majority? Would you then disobey “their” rules?

Stage 6 – Universal Ethical Principle Orientation:

This stage the concern is for moral principles. An action is judged right if it is consistent with self-chosen ethical principles. These principles are not concrete moral rules but are universal principles of justice, reciprocity, equality and human dignity.

Possible Stage 6 Response to Heinz Dilemma:

Heinz should steal the drug to save his wife because preserving human life is a higher moral obligation than preserving property.

Inadequacy of Stage 6 Reasoning:

Our conscience is not an infallible guide to behaviour because it works according to the principles we have adopted. Moreover, who or what determines these universal principles?

A vivid illustration of our conscience not being an infallible guide is the story of the Sawi people of New Guinea (now called Irian Jaya). In the early 1960s, they were cannibals. In Sawi legend, their heroes weren’t those who took the greatest number of heads, but those who were the most deceitful in befriending their victims before taking their heads.

Friendship before betrayal would not prick their conscience because treachery was an ideal. So when missionaries, Don and Carol Richardson told them the story of Christ’s life, who do you think was the real hero to the Sawi people? Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus! (Source- Peace Child by Don Richardson)

Although moral reasoning does not necessarily lead to moral action, the latter is based in part on one’s capacity to reason about moral choices. Kohlberg was more concerned with the reasoning of the action than the action itself. And that reasoning when acted upon becomes our motivation.

Hence, while considering moral development, it is imperative that moral content, circumstances, situations and the ethical and legal codes of the country should also be taken into account.

Carol Gilligan (born November 28, 1936) is an American feminist, ethicist, and psychologist best known for her work with and against Lawrence Kohlberg on ethical community and ethical relationships, and certain subject-object problems in ethics.

She is currently a Professor at New York University and a Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge. She is best known for her 1982 work, In a Different Voice- Psychological Theory and Women’s Development (1982).

She suggested that Kohlberg’s theories were biased against women, as only males were used in his studies. In her view, the morality of caring and responsibility is based in nonviolence, while the morality of justice and rights is based on equality.

Another way to look at these differences is to view these two moralities as providing two distinct injunctions – the injunction not to treat others unfairly (justice) and the injunction not to turn away from someone in need (care). She presents these moralities as distinct, although potentially connected. In her initial work, Gilligan emphasized the gender differences thought to be associated with these two orientations.

The morality of care emphasizes interconnectedness and presumably emerges to a greater degree in girls owing to their early connection in identity formation with their mothers. The morality of justice, on the other hand, is said to emerge within the context of coordinating the interactions of autonomous individuals.


Employee Morale –  Morale and Productivity

Generally, it is believed that high morale will lead to high productivity means the morale and productivity have a direct relationship with each other, they are positively correlated Human Religionists have contended that High morale and high productive always go together like east and west sides of an elevator.

But on the other hand, according to Prof Keith Davis, “There is not always a positive correlation between morale and productivity.” A manager can push for high productivity by using scientific management techniques.

High production and low morale may result but it is doubtful whether this combination can last. The opposite can also occur there can be low production with high morale.

Morale is the enthusiasm and willingness to work with which the people perform their assigned work with zeal and sincerity resulting in good team work and have high morale. If they feel frustration, of rudges, disappointments and discontents, they will have low morale. The research out by Rensis Likert indicated the fact that there can be different combinations of morale and productivity.

These are as follows:

1. High Morale and High Productivity:

The high morale in most of cases results in high productivity only when the workers are motivated in high spirit and right type of supervision. There is a circular relationship between morale and productivity in this situation. This is an ideal state of affairs because it leads to optimum utilization of human resources along with other resources.

2. Low Morale and High Productivity:

The low morale and high productivity exists only when management is highly production oriented. In such situation, the management uses the best technology and penalties for low production. The management will not cooperate with the workers and avoids the feelings of the men at work. The feeling of insecurity and loss of seniority and other benefits impel the employees to maintain high productivity.

3. High Morale and Low Productivity:

A negative relationship between morale and productivity arise when employees do not feel Committed to the goals and merely satisfied with the working conditions of the organisation. In such circumstances more of the workers may be high morale at the cost of low productivity.

4. Low Morale and Low Productivity:

Low morale often results in low productivity due to absence of proper motivation and morale. Here also circular relationship exists between them. Low morale will pull down the productivity and low productivity will shake the morale of the employees.

In the nutshell a manager has to work for improving the morale of his employees. High morale makes the work more pleasant and will go a long way in improving the work climate. It helps the workgroup to attain goals easily, smoothly and more importantly.


Employee Morale – Measures to Promote and Improve Morale 

The following measures may be suggested as being conductive to the process of morale building:

Measure # 1. Sound Wage Structure:

In order to meet the primary and desired needs, workers expect a just and fair wage corresponding to their qualifications and efficiency which provides for the workers and their families a reasonable level of subsistence including entertainment and medium of savings. A sound wage structure based upon sound and fair incentive plans coupled with bonus earnings is conductive to high morale.

A wage structure that provides a systematic procedure for the fixing up of just and fair wage rages for different categories of employees, taking into consideration the job contents, is an ideal wage structure and it may help boosting up the morale and will encourage greater productivity.

Measure # 2. Security of Job:

The management should consistently follow a personnel policy ensuring the security of job to the competent employees so that they can devote their time fully with their heart and soul. A person under a constant fear of losing the job cannot work with devotion. His efficiency will also be adversely affected and his morale will be low. So, security of job leads to high morale.

Measure # 3. Delegation of Authority:

In order to boost the morale of the employees, delegation of authority to sub-ordinates at different levels will be -desirable. It will be advantageous to employees as well as to the organisation. They will feel a sense of importance and will realise the responsibility. It will naturally improve the quality of work and efficiency of the workers on the job.

Measure # 4. Grievance Procedure:

The management must establish a sound grievance procedure to ensure the employees of the impartiality and fairness of the various decisions taken by it and concerning them, it will help to create confidence in leadership among the workers and promote a sense of loyalty to the organisation. This confidence in leadership will raise the morale of the workers.

Measure # 5. Suggestion Scheme:

The management should invite suggestions from the workers for the improvement in the job contents, leadership behaviour and the general environment of the organisation. It will promote a sense of participation in workers. If any suggestion is considered advantageous to the organisation, it should be properly rewarded and recognised. It will improve the morale of the employees.

Measure # 6. Joint Consultation:

Joint consultation in matters relating to employees at large will be of great importance to the organisation. The management should establish joint consultation committees in the organisation consisting of the representatives of workers and the management in an agreed number to consider the matters affecting their participation in management and other matters incidental there to.

It will help in improving industrial relations and reduce the labour unrest. A peaceful work environment and improved industrial relations raise the morale of the workers.

Measure # 7. Sound Promotion Policy:

A sound promotion policy ensures the workers their promotion to the superior position without any hue and cry. It may be based on seniority or merit or both. The prospect of the advance to the higher position according to a consistent policy heightens the morale of the workers.

Measure # 8. Employees Counseling:

The executives in the organisation should sit together with the workers, discuss and exchange views on the burning problems of the organisation and the industry. They should listen to the grievances and complaints of the workers. Regular meetings may be arranged with the workers to invite or give suggestions on the problems generally faced by the employees at their work and guide them wherever required. This will develop a sense of togetherness and increase morale.

Measure # 9. Recognition of the Achievements:

Every worker desires that his achievements in the organisation should be recognised by the superiors or in other words, he expects credit for his work. A mere word from the boss will suffice to boost his morale.

Measure # 10. Maintain a Sound Communication System:

The management should maintain a sound communication system with the employees so that any information concerning them may be passed on to them. Some progressive management publish regular bulletins containing the latest news, views and developments about the working and the workers of the organisation and circulate them among the employees. It satisfies their ego and helps in maintaining high morale.

Measure # 11. Inspiring, Credos and Mottos Workers:

They are of the positive steps in boosting the morale of the workers, to inspire the employees through credos and mottos which give them a sense of importance. Some organisations for this purpose organise exhibitions etc. to give the workers a feeling of importance and credit for having taken part in the production of quality products.

One should be very clear that administrative steps are conductive to the promotion of morale and pave the way to higher morale. It is a continuous but very slow process and management or anybody else should not accept a change overnight. The management should take various favourable measures which reduce the tension in order to develop the use of the employees.

Some Other Measures Adopted to Improve Morale

It is very necessary to maintain a reasonable level of morale in the employees. It is necessary to take corrective action whenever the employee morale declines.

Various measures can be adopted to improve morale including:

Measure # 1. Organisational Structure:

In tall structures, the distance between managers and workers is relatively more and communication is distorted. Comparatively in flat structures, managers are less distant to workers and effective communication can take place. Such organisational structure increases morale.

Measure # 2. Job Enrichment:

People like to do new, interesting and challenging jobs. Morale of employees increases if they are given opportunities for advancement, recognition and growth. For example, morale of a bank manager will be boosted if he is given the opportunity to manage a branch which the bank is going to open in foreign country.

Measure # 3. Job Security:

Insecurity of job worries the employees, they cannot concentrate on their work, they would be worried about searching for a new job. If employees are given security of their job, they will be able to concentrate on their job and their morale will increase.

Measure # 4. Effective Communication:

Effective communication between manager and employee will help in cooperation and motivation which in turn will help in increasing morale.

Measure # 5. Worker’s Participation:

Suggestions of workers should be asked at various times and feasible suggestions should be implemented. There should be participation of workers in decisions involving their interest. If the employees are allowed to participate in decisions affecting them, their morale increases.

For example, employee morale can be increased by taking suggestions from them for various issues like personnel policy, wage determination, etc. and making them a part of decision making team.

Measure # 6. Employee Counsellor:

Organisations can take help of psychologists or behavioural scientists to find the reasons of dissatisfaction among employees and finding remedies to it. It will help in increase of morale.

Measure # 7. Human Approach to Management:

Employees should be treated like humans, not like other passive factors of production. Their feelings should be respected. Their self-respect and dignity should not be harmed at any cost.

Measure # 8. Remuneration:

Remuneration is the consideration for the work that employees do in the organisation. Employee remuneration should be fair and equitable. It should be justified according to employees’ skills and abilities.

Measure # 9. Grievance Redresses:

If the grievances of employees are solved in time, they feel satisfied and their morale increases.

Measure # 10. Motivation:

Morale of employees can be increased by motivating them. Motivation urges and drives the employees to work. Various persons can be motivated through financial and non-financial motivators.

Measure # 11. Proper Training:

Through training, employees learn new skills and methods to work. By learning new skills, confidence and job satisfaction of employees increases which results in the enhancement of morale.

Measure # 12. Assigning Responsibility:

Morale of employees can be increased by giving them the responsibilities. It is a natural fact that people like to take responsibility so that they can prove their ability; so if employees are trusted and given responsibility, their morale increases.

Measure # 13. By Recognition:

People like to be in limelight; they like to be recognised. If employees are recognised, their morale increases. Employees can be made to realise the feeling of recognition by rewarding performance.

Measure # 14. Leadership Style:

Morale can be improved by adopting a proper leadership style. Positive motivational leadership style and democratic leadership style can be helpful.


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