How to Generate Positive Motivation with Colleagues by Understanding Equity Theory

This employee motivation theory is so standard in most organizations, including schools, that educators don't recognize this social psychology comparison theory.

Employee Perception of Their Contributions and Value

In this social comparison theory, people compare their inputs and outputs in their workplace with comparison to other co-workers. In many instances, employees will overestimate the imbalance of equity of inputs and outputs of the co-workers. In turn, the individuals' motivation may downturn and, in some cases, to such a low degree that the individual motivation is so low that they may want to change job site or career. 

Here are a few Employee Inputs:

Time Spent on Projects or Coaching | Education and Lifelong Learning | Years of Experience | Effort | Company or School Loyalty | Hard Work | Commitment | Ability - Skillsets | Adaptability | Flexibility | Tolerance | Determination | Enthusiasm | Personal Sacrifice |

Here are a few Employee Outputs:

Job security | Salary | Employee benefits | Expenses | Recognition | Reputation | Responsibility | Sense of Achievement | Praise | Thanks | Trust in Supervisors | Support from co-workers and colleagues

Empathetic Supervisors Recognizing and Celebrating All Contributions

The key here is for supervisors, managers, administrators, and executives to understand this phenomenon. These organization leaders need to understand the social psychology of Equity Theory, which plays a significant emotional role in co-workers. These group thought processes, especially when inputs and outputs are visible within the company or school, can create a positive team-building morale or a toxic isolation of individuals and group mentality. Team leaders and supervisors must keep a positive, open, empathetic mindset and recognize all levels of employee inputs and outputs, creating a positive cultural environment.

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