Evaluating Motivational Levels of Employees at Malayan Railways Limited/ Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB)

Evaluating Motivational Levels of Employees at Malayan Railways Limited/ Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB)



Centre of Commerce and Management, RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) University Vietnam

Purpose –This research paper is an evaluative study analysis of the motivational levels of employees at Malayan Railways Limited/ Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB), the main rail operator in Peninsular Malaysia.

Previous research - Research done in both psychology and business literature over the past three decades has recorded that motivation varies as a function of different factors in the work environment, including evaluation expectation, actual performance feedback, reward, autonomy, and the nature of the work itself. This paper investigates these factors and reveals what it is that motivates all employees to perform at their best and achieve optimal business results at all times.

Approach – Self-administered questionnaires collected data and review.

Findings – A total of 50 employees participated in the survey. 19 motivation dimensions were identified: activity; achievement; competition; fear of failure; power; recognition; status; ethics; interest; flexibility; progression; pressure; teamwork; management; customers; remuneration; job security; autonomy; and growth.

Research limitations – The main focus of this research is an evaluative analysis of the motivational levels of employees of a railway company. The Malayan Railways Limited (KTMB) was chosen as the railway company. The research findings are based on a sample size of one company and as such, they are restrictive for purposes of generalising.

Value - This article provides an analytical assessment of the employees’ perspective of factors affecting their motivational levels as employees of KTMB. The main recommendation of this research is for the management to correlate management theories with motivation theories and apply them to motivate all their employees instead of just focusing on a cluster group of senior and long-serving employees.

Key Words: motivation, management theories, motivation theories, motivation dimensions, management.

For years organizations have been studying em- ployee’s pattern for better work performance yet they have not really come to a full understanding of what is necessary for good performance, how to measure successful performance, and the different levels of motivation to do their job (Lewis, Goodman and Fandt, 2004, p. 460).

Employees are considered to be the most important asset of any organization, then the impact of employees on the organizational performance must be crucial “but still we see organizations that differ in their per- formance from others depending on the employee’s level of performance”

Even with the best strategy in place and an appro- priate organizational architecture, an organization will be effective only if its members are motivated to per- form at a high level (Jones and George, 2003, p. 405).

A question must be asked here “what contributes to the level of performance of individuals in a working environment?”, “how to measure the level of perfor- mance?” and last but not least “what are the factors that affect the motivational level?”

According to Lewis, Goodman and Fandt (2004) in their book of Management, “Challenges for tomor- row’s leaders” Chapter 14 and 15, we can say that employees work performance is made of two elements:

First, their ability to work, perform and focus on achieving a common goal and second, the motivation they perceive to inspire them to work to accomplish the organization’s goals.

Thus the relationship between motivation and per- formance can be stated in the formula M*A=P, where P refers to performance, M refers to motivation, A refers to ability.

Note: Ability is an existing capacity to perform various tasks, needed in a given situation and that abilities may include mental, mechanical, and psy- chomotor skills.

Example, (goal and desire) * (Education, Knowl- edge) = Project Manager.

On the other hand according to Jones and George (2003) in their book of Contemporary Management, Chapter 12, organizations hire people to obtain impor- tant inputs that contribute to the job or organization, such as time, effort, education, experience, skills, knowledge, and actual work behaviors which are nec- essary to achieve organizational goals. They describe motivation as an outcome which is anything a person gets from a job or organization. Some outcomes, such as autonomy, responsibility, and feeling of ac- complishment, and the pleasure of doing interesting or enjoyable work, result in intrinsically motivated behavior. While other outcomes, such as pay, job secu- rity, benefits, and vacation time, result in extrinsically motivated behavior.

This alignment between employees and organi- zational goals as a whole can be described by the motivation equation:

Inputs (from organizational members) * Perfor- mance = Outcomes (received by organizational mem- bers) (Jones and George, 2003, pp. 406-407).

Now that we have described the importance of motivation and its relationship to performance and out- comes let us briefly define motivation. Motivation can be defined as the psychological forces that determine the direction of a person’s level of effort, and a person’s level of persistence in the face of obstacles. Motivation can come from intrinsic or extrinsic sources. Intrinsic motivated behavior is behavior that is performed for its own sake; the source of motivation is actually perform- ing the behavior, and motivation comes from doing the work itself. Whereas, extrinsically motivated behavior is behavior that is performed to acquire material or social rewards or to avoid punishment; the source of motivation is the consequences of the behavior, not the behavior itself (Jones and George, 2003, pp.405-406).

It is important for managers to study, understand and know how to apply different sets of motivational standards according to the situation or working envi- ronment in order to promote higher levels of employee motivation.

This paper aims to address the problem as the fac- tors affecting the motivational level of Malayan Rail- ways Limited (KTMB) staff that insures an effective level of performance in the organization. Effective in this case would mean that when managers are effec- tive, the outcome of the leading process is a highly motivated workforce.


Managers seek to ensure that people are motivated to contribute important inputs to the organization, that these inputs are put to good use or focused in the direc- tion of high performance, and that high performance results in workers obtaining the outcomes they desire (Jones and George, 2003, p. 407).

Some of the managerial implications that must be considered include the recruiting of the right people with right motives towards working whether individu- ally or as a group, the monitoring of the turn over rate which can indicate the level of satisfaction employ- ees have towards their work, communicating clearly to employees about tasks and organizational goals, enabling employees to be high performers, reward- ing employees in multiple ways, creating a fair and stimulating work environment, and last but not least treating employees like highly capable individuals only then can the organization develop a culture sur- rounded by honesty, openness, and trust (Jones and George, 2003, pp 403-404).

This part of the report is aimed at analyzing the implications for managers in building an essential and motivated work force environment.

2.1 The Manager as a Strategic Human Resource

Every manager in an organization is directly or indirectly involved in all aspects of Strategic Human Resource Management (Lewis, Goodman, Fandt, 2004, p.315).

In order to achieve the strategy of an organization, a certain set of actions, behaviors, and attitudes from the employees are necessary. To ensure that these norms exist, an organization must have the right people who are guided by proper human resource policies and operations (Wright, Dunford, 2001, pp.701-721).

If this is done well, an organization will have people with the right skills and motivation to make the organizational successful.

Therefore managers must posses the necessary concepts and tools that are needed to guide the overall management of human resources (Lewis, Goodman, Fandt, 2004, p.316).

The strategic human resource management process involves:

• Job Analysis which involves studying the job to understand what knowledge, skills, abili- ties, and attitudes are required for successful performance.

• Forecasting (Demand Forecasting) to de- termine the number of employees that the organization will need in the future as well as the knowledge, skills, and abilities these em- ployees must posses. (Supply Forecasting) to determine what human resources will be avail- able both inside and outside the organization.

• Recruitment Issues in finding and attracting qualified job candidates, which can be internal or external and involves selection methods.

• Training a planned effort to assist employees in learning job-related behaviors that will im- prove their performance.

• Performance Appraisal used to asses a person’s performance on the job.

• Compensation which involves pay and incen- tives, benefits and reward systems.

• The implications that may face managers here are:

• Recognize that strategic human resource man- agement is a critical element of the strategic planning process and is essential for long-term organizational success.

• Keep in mind that job analysis is essential in order to understand what knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes each job requires.

• Carefully evaluate both internal and external sources for recruiting people.

• Base all SHRM decisions on job-related crite- ria and not on racial, gender, or other unjusti- fied biases.

• To keep pace with rapid changes in technology, be sure to upgrade the knowledge and skill base of employees though training programs.

• Develop equitable pay systems, unbiased performance appraisals, and equal access to training opportunities.

• Be innovative in scheduling work, designing jobs, and rewarding employees so that you can respond effectively to the changing composi- tion and needs of the workforce.

By managing human resources well, the organiza- tion will have the right people in the right jobs. The right people, guided and motivated to achieve the organization’s overall strategy, are the most important assets of the organization (Lewis, Goodman, Fandt, 2004, pp.316-338).

2.2 Theories of Motivation

Expectancy Theory

Posits that motivation is high when workers believe that high levels of effort lead to high performance and high performance leads to the attainment of desired outcomes. It identifies three major factors that deter- mine a person’s motivation: expectancy, instrumental- ity, and valence.

Expectancy is a person’s perception about the extent to which effort (an input) results in a certain level of performance. It determines whether he or she believes that a high level of effort results in high level of performance.

Instrumentality is a person’s perception about the extent to which performance at a certain level results in the attainment of outcomes.

Whereby, valence refers to how desirable each of the outcomes available from a job or organization is to a person. According to the expectancy theory, high motivation results from high levels of expectancy, in- strumentality, and valence. If any one of these factors are low, motivation is likely to be low.

The implications that may face managers here are:

• Making sure that their subordinates believe that if they do try hard they can actually succeed.

• Making a clear link between performance and desired outcomes and clearly communicating this linkage to subordinates.

• Determine which outcomes have high valence for subordinates, is highly desired and make sure that those outcomes are provided when members perform at a high level.

One way managers can boost expectancy is through expressing confidence in their subordinates’ capabili- ties. Another way for managers to boost subordinates expectancy levels and motivation is by providing training so that people have all the expertise needed for high performance.

To promote high instrumentality and motivation managers must make sure that outcomes available in an organization are distributed to organizational members on the basis of their performance (Jones, George, 2003, pp.407-409).

Need Theories

A need is a requirement or necessity for survival and people are motivated to obtain outcomes at work that will satisfy their needs.

A manager must determine what needs the person is trying to satisfy at work and ensure that the person receives outcomes that help to satisfy those needs when the person performs at a high level and helps the organization achieve its goals.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs proposed that all people seek to satisfy five basic kinds of needs: physi- ological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs.

The implications that may face managers here are:

• Managers must determine which needs em- ployees are trying to satisfy in organizations and then make sure that individuals receive outcomes that satisfy their needs when they perform at a high level and contribute to orga- nizational effectiveness.

• Managers must realize that citizens of different countries might differ in the needs they seek to satisfy through work.

Clayton Alderfer’s ERG theory collapses the five categories of needs into three universal categories which are existence, relatedness, and growth. Alderfer believed that a person can be motivated by needs at more than one level at the same time, unlike Maslow who believed that basic needs must be satisfied to proceed to the next level.

The implications that may face managers here are:

• To determine what needs your subordinates are trying to satisfy at work, and make sure that they receive outcomes that satisfy these needs when they perform at a high level to help the organization achieve its goals.

Herzberg’s Motivator-Hygiene Theory people have two sets of needs or requirements: motivator needs and hygiene needs. Motivator needs are related to the nature of the work it self and how challenging it is. Hygiene needs are related to the physical and psycho- logical context in which the work is performed.

The implications that may face managers here are:

• Managers should study how jobs could be designed or redesigned so that they are in-trinsically motivating (Jones, George, 2003, pp.407-412).

The Equity Model focuses on an individual’s feel- ing about how fairly he or she is treated in comparison with others.

The implications that may face managers here are:

• People should be rewarded according to their contributions

• Managers should make every effort possible to ensure that employees feel equitably treated

• Managers should be patient and either corrects the problem of feelings toward inequity, if it’s real, or helps people recognize that things are not as inequitable as they seem.

Goal Setting as a motivation model is a process of increasing efficiency and effectiveness by specify- ing the desired outcomes toward which individuals, groups, departments, and organizations should work. Goal setting can be a powerful tool to motivate em- ployees.

The implications that may face managers here are:

• Meet regularly with subordinates

• Work with subordinates to set goals jointly

• Set goals that are specific and appropriate

• Provide feedback about performance

Reinforcement Theory is based on the idea that people learn to repeat behaviors that are positively re- warded (reinforced positively) and avoid behaviors that are punished (not reinforced, or reinforced to avoid).

The implications that may face managers here are:

• Managers need to observe and manage the con- sequences of work-related behaviors carefully because individuals have different perceptions of what is reward and what is punishment de- pending on their values and needs.

Money as a motivator- people perceive it as a means to acquire other things they want.

The implications that may face managers here are:

that everyone can understand the role he or she plays. Employees feel more empowered and motivated if the plan is communicated clearly to them in advance and their performance is rewarded.

Effective managers motivate employees to excel by instilling confidence in staff members abilities to meet and exceed expectations. Employee recognition should be in every manager’s tool kit. Public recognitions show employees that they are valued and that their contributions to the organization make a difference.

The implications that may face managers here are:

• Managers tend to miss the positives if they are busy searching for the negatives

• Deliver reward and recognition in an open and publicized way, if not publicizing looses its impact and defeats much of the purpose for which it was provided.

• Deliver recognition in a personal and honest manner; avoid providing recognition that is too slick or overproduced.

• Tailor your recognition and reward to the people’s need.

• Timing for recognition is crucial, avoid delay- ing it.

• Make it clear, unambiguous, and a well-com- municated connection between accomplish- ments and rewards.

• Recognize recognition. That is recognizing people who recognize others for doing what is best for the organization.


Defining motivation accurately is difficult. How- ever it is well agreed that the process of motivation is complex and can be generally defined as the forces acting upon or within a person that cause that person to expand effort to behave in a specific, goal –directed manner (Steers and Porter, 1983). There are arguments that it is a psychological process that gives purpose and direction to behavior (Lewis, Goodman and Fandt, 2004). To help us understand what motivates people at work, management scholars have developed a number of different models on motivation.

Whilst organizations recognize the importance and value of motivation as there is a positive correlation

• Consider the importance of money to motivate employees and its direct link to performance (Lewis, Goodman, Fandt, 2004, pp.467-476).

Communication is a challenging role for manag- ers to be able to communicate the plan in advance so between motivation and performance, there is some amount of disagreement among management writers over the level of importance of motivation based on the premise that it forms only one of the many explana- tions of human behavior. For instance, Lewis, Good- man and Fandt (2004) disagree to view motivation as a personal trait, and emphasize differences in motiva- tional drive of individuals and argue that motivation is the result of interaction between the individuals in the situation. In today’s competitive business environ- ment, global competition forces organizations to value their employees and to perpetually find factors that enable it to motivate its employees to improve their performance and productivity.

Against this scenario of lack of specific approaches to a person’s motivation levels, we study some general approaches. These writers explore a premise that the level of motivation of people in organizations varies both between individuals and within individuals of different times, and explain motivational levels using two approaches that is need and process models. The difference in the approaches is that in need-based models we look at a person’s motivation from the point of view of his or her needs as motivators. We pay attention to studying and analyzing actions that are within a person that control their behavior to energize, direct, motivate and stop behavior. This ap- proach gives leads and clues on what to look for to motivate a person to perform. Maslow (1943) argues that using this approach for motivation pays attention to a person’s physiological, security, affiliation, esteem and self-actualization.

Hertzberg (1968) in his two- factor modal explains that managers separate factors leading to job satisfac- tions as motivator factors from those leading to job dissatisfaction or hygiene factors. Motivator factors include the work itself, recognition, advancement, a sense of achievement and responsibilities. Hygiene factors are those related to job content or environ- ment such as company policy, administration, salary, interpersonal relationship and working conditions. In the acquired needs by McClelland (1861) model, we examine three needs in work environment that is achievement, affiliation, and power. Here manag- ers examine for when a need is strong, and use it to motivate a person to engage in behaviors to satisfy that needs. On the other hand in the process models we approach the motivation by trying to understand factors that influence the thought process that takes place within the person’s mind that influence his or her motivation levels.

In the expectancy model under the process ap- proach, Vroom (1964) argues that work motivation is determined by an individual’s perceptions about the relationship between effort and performance, the rela- tionship between performance and outcomes. Vroom emphasizes that for individuals rewards are the most important motivating factor. However Adams (1963) argues that equity or fairness in the workplace as a major factor in determining employee motivation. Employee feelings of inequity in rewards can dam- age key work results and cause employees to become frustrated.

Locks and Latham (1984) emphasize goal setting as a powerful tool to motivate employees to guide and di- rect behavior towards supportive organizational goals and provide challenges and standards against which the individual can be assessed. Pinchof (1996) identifies participative management and money as a means of motivating employees as contemporary issues offer- ing challenges to today’s managers. The argument is that by participative management, subordinates share a significant degree of decision making power with their immediate superiors and motivates workers by providing more opportunities for growth, responsibil- ity and commitment to the work itself. Lawler (2002) points out that to motivate employees with money, it must be important to them and must be perceived as a reward for performance.

Whilst the theories and approaches to motivation discussed so far offer useful guidance to identify factors influencing employee motivation, there are arguments that over the years the corporate world has given up on some of them and pay importance to newer workable strategic models based on career motivation (Andriopoulos, 200l). King (1997) explains that the crescendo effect in career motivation is the driving force behind employee participation, involvement and lasting value of commitment.

Efforts of motivation for employees go beyond performance. It is a central element when going through the process of human learning (Osteraker, 1999). Motivation becomes the aim of every success- ful learning organization to find the factors that enable it to motivate its employees for continuous learning and to take advantage of this knowledge to ensure its living. Osteraker (1999) further explains that many motivational theories have been constructed to find these motivational factors, but the values of the em- ployees in specific organizations are seldom included in these theories. Reis and Pena (2001) argue that motivating people to work in the twenty-first century with theories conceived in the 1800s and early 1900 are likely to be infeasible. Managers should reconsider the outdated motivational patterns utilized to maintain role performance in organizations.


Malayan Railways Limited (KTMB) provides safe, efficient and reliable integrated rail services for people and goods. Motivation questionnaires were distributed to (KTMB) staff. Sample sizes of 50 respondents were used to make assumptions on the motivational level of the general population of all the staff at KTMB. The questionnaires were distributed evenly among top, middle, and bottom level management. A copy of the distributed questionnaire is enclosed in this paper. Questionnaire development was guided by 19 moti- vation dimensions derived from the literature review, i.e., activity; achievement; competition; fear of failure; power; recognition; status; ethics; interest; flexibility; progression; pressure; teamwork; management; cus- tomers; remuneration; job security; autonomy; and growth. Based on data responses analyzed using Likert Scale, various findings were developed on the factors affecting the motivational level of KTMB staff.

The first motivation dimension to be studied was activity. KTMB staff had a very high level of activity in their daily jobs. All 50 respondents gave a rating of 8-10 for the activity level involved in their respective jobs. This suggests that they always had a lot to do and were always on the go with work related activities. Nevertheless, we cannot solely base the motivational level of KTMB staff on this factor alone and say that their motivation is high because there are many other factors involved. Sometimes you are always busy with work and you are always on the go as it is part and parcel of your job whether you are motivated to do it or not. You have to adhere to orders and instructions that go with your job.

In terms of the achievement level motivation di- mension, a more varied response was collected. All 50 respondents gave a rating of 5-8 for achievement level. The majority of respondents felt the achievement level they could reach was average. Only the top level management felt they could achieve a high level of achievement on their job. The reason for this is that top level management probably has a higher level of testing job objectives, demanding responsibilities, and various new challenges.

In terms of competition dimension, a varied re- sponse was once again derived from the findings. Middle level management and top level management gave a rating of 8-9 for competition. They felt they worked in a competitive environment where people strived to be the best. In lower level management people just worked to get the job done and did not feel motivated in terms of competition. They only gave a rating of 4-6.

Fear of failure was another motivation dimension. This got a rating of 8-9 among all employees. Top level management felt that they were leaders in their respective jobs and had to prove their worth in their position. Middle level management and lower level management had a different perspective on fear of failure. They wanted to prove to upper level manage- ment that they could get the job done and also they did not want to be looked down at for not being able to get the job done. They also needed to gain respect from their superiors and did not want to be treated indifferently by their superiors for not being able to get the job done.

As for the motivation dimension of power, top level management and middle level management gave a high score of 8-9 for this question. They felt they had the freedom of being in charge, exercising control and having responsibility for people due to their job title and job description. Lower level management gave a score of 3-6 for this question. It ranged from low to average. From this, it is safe to say that KTMB most probably did not exercise empowerment throughout the organization and only a selected few enjoyed this privilege.

In terms of recognition, all the employees gave a score of 7-8. As this is the majority figure extracted from the survey, it can be interpreted that the employ- ees view the level of appreciation for their services is given due recognition by the management. They felt they were acknowledged by bosses and colleagues for their efforts, skills and competencies in a satisfactory manner.

The next motivation dimension to be studied was status. The question on this motivation dimension received a varied response from each level of management. A score of 4-8 was obtained among all employees for this question. Although the response was quite diversified, a particular trend was noticed. Senior employees gave a high score while new em- ployees like fresh graduates gave a lower score. The most likely reason for this occurrence is that senior employees are given more importance and a better standing due to their job experience gained from vari- ous organizations as well as their maturity in terms of age. Fresh graduates and relatively inexperienced staff do not have a high standing at KTMB despite their high qualifications. Seniority and experience seems to be given more importance in this organization.

In terms of ethics as a motivational factor, all em- ployees felt they were working in an ethical working environment. The score for this was 9-10. This is a very good score from a sample size of 50 and from this it can be deduced that there are no severe cases of sexual harassment, bullying, unhealthy office politics and other various misconducts.

All employees at KTMB gave a satisfactory re- sponse for interest as a motivational dimension. They gave a rating of 7-9 for this aspect of motivation. This suggests that employees at KTMB are encouraged to channel their thoughts and ideas in work- related decisions and activities. They felt their job offered them varied, stimulating and creative job objectives and work activities.

In terms of flexibility as a motivational dimension, all employees gave a score of 6-7 for this question. While most agreed they had accommodating bosses, they did not agree about the flexibility of working hours and working conditions. This is because the working hours were generally fixed office hour times. The working conditions did not give a worker enough privacy. There were no cubicles for even middle level management. They worked in an open area where people could see what each other were doing.

This paper also studied progression as another mo- tivational dimension. A varied response was derived from the findings of this question. All experienced and senior employees gave a high score of 8-9 while fresh graduates and young employees who had 3-7 years experience gave a low score of 2-5. The reason for this was senior employees were given a higher stand in the organization for progression. They either had a lot of experience from previous organizations or had worked a long time at KTMB and had moved up gradually at a slower pace. Fresh graduates and young employees who were highly skilled but lacked the years of experience would not be able to advance to more higher positions unless they had worked in the organization for a long time. Hence progression was seniority based and not on how well you did on the job.

In terms of pressure as a motivational dimension, the employees gave an average score of 6-7. Most employees could handle the competing priorities, fac- ing tight deadlines and managing setbacks. The likely reason for this could be that KTMB is a government linked corporation and employees are more likely to accept the fast and demanding working environment that has become associated with the private sector.

There were no complaints in terms of teamwork. All employees gave a score of 6-9 for this question. This proved that all employees could work together irrespective of seniority and status. It indicates that employees are encouraged to work in teams and team- work is instrumental in accomplishing assignments objectives. Hence, it is safe to say that at KTMB, each employee subordinates his individual interests and opinions to fulfil objectives or goals of team.

This paper also studied management as another motivational dimension. Senior staff gave a high rating for this question. They gave a score of 8-9, while young employees gave a low score for this question. They gave a score of 2-4. The simple logic behind this was that senior employees had the freedom to supervise other people’s tasks, performance and personal while young employees did not have this freedom no matter how high their qualifications were.

In terms of customers as a motivational dimension, there were no problems. All employees gave a score of 7-9 for this question. They were all well trained in this aspect hence they did not face any problems here. They were capable enough to deal directly with customers and suppliers and handle problems in an appropriate manner.

The survey findings suggest that remuneration was not a significant motivational dimension at KTMB. Employees gave a rating of 6-7 for this question. This is because KTMB did not follow the Expectancy Theory whereby efforts lead to performance and per- formance leads to rewards. Remuneration was given based on the job title or once you had gained promotion and not based on job performance on your current job.

Hence, the remuneration factor applied by KTMB did not really motivate its employees.

In terms of job security as a motivational dimen- sion, all employees gave a high score of 7-9. Although the career advancements for young employees was not very promising and neither was the remuneration system at KTMB, all employees agreed that they had a secure, permanent and reliable job position. This indicates that employees could work at a peace of mind in the knowledge that they would not be sacked easily unless they committed some sort of gross misconduct.

The next motivation dimension to be studied was autonomy. The question on this motivation dimension received a varied response from each level of manage- ment due to specific reasons. Senior employees had the freedom and discretion to decide how to carry out work. Hence, they gave a score of 7-9 for autonomy as a motivational element. Young employees only gave a score of 4-5 for this motivational dimension as they did not have the freedom and discretion to decide how to carry out their work.

Finally, this paper studied growth as a motivational dimension. Senior employees gave a very high rat- ing for this. They gave a score of 8-10 while young employees gave an average score of 6-7. The survey results suggest that senior employees had the opportu- nities to acquire new knowledge and skills as well as reach their personal goals. As for young employees, they also had the opportunities to acquire new knowl- edge and skills but there were many obstacles to reach their personal goals and it took a longer time.


The study finds that motivation theories learnt from scholars are not always applied in organizations. This does not suggest that these theories are irrelevant, but concludes that it is only applied in organizations where the culture is to follow management theories as well as adapting it with current times. However, from thorough research and observations, it became apparent that this is only being applied in most Western cultures as well as Japanese organizations. In Malaysian organizations, it is still a very much hierarchical and traditional way of applying management. This is especially so in the government sector where seniority plays a bigger role in motivating an employee as compared to the productivity level and skills of the worker.

Paper qualifications and skills alone do not guar- antee you success in Malaysian organizations. Experience and seniority plays a big part as in the case of KTMB. KTMB is not a government agency, it works as a private agency but their organization runs very much on the same line as most government organizations. Hence, this paper reveals the many disadvantages for a highly qualified young employee who possesses all the skills but lacks the experience and seniority.

Due to the way organizations such as KTMB oper- ate, they might struggle to motivate young employees. Instead, there is a high possibility that KTMB might end up making their young employees feel demotivat- ed to work in such an organization. Young employees might feel that there is some sort of injustice towards them. No matter how much they contribute in terms of performance, they will not be given their just rewards and progression will only come once they have gained a lot of experience and worked for a long time. Hence, they might end up just producing the minimum level required of them so that they have a job and go back with a monthly salary.

There is every possibility that young employees would not be motivated and have the high spirits that enable them to contribute to something new to achieve their personal goals as well as the organizational goals. This study indicates that if this were to continue, KTMB could struggle to attract fresh graduates as well as young employees who would bring in new skills to blend with the knowledge and experience of senior workers.

The main recommendation of this research is for the KTMB management to correlate management theories with motivation theories and apply them to motivate all their employees instead of just focusing on a cluster group of senior and long-serving employees. This research paper further stresses the importance and significance of management and motivation theories to an organization.

What is learnt in theory can be applied in organiza- tions so that all employees whether new or old will be motivated to work and contribute to reaching the goals of their organization as well as their personal goals. Motivation theories like Expectancy Theory, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Needs-based model, Process model, Hertzberg’s Two-Factor Theory and so on are still applicable to the situation and context of today’s organizations. These theories were not invented by scholars just for the sake of creating some manage- ment theory. They were theories that were created after careful and thorough analysis of organizations in the past. These scholars looked at ways to improve the motivational level of organizations based on real life situations, not just some fancy creation that they taught of in their head. Hence, all these motivational theories are still applicable in organizations today.

Overall the study findings serve as providing indicative guidelines for Malaysian organizations to correlate management theories with motivation theo- ries and apply them to motivate all their employees. This could help Malaysian organizations to be as successful and competitive as Western and Japanese organizations.


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GANAKRISHNAN GOPALAKRISHNAN Centre of Commerce and Management, RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) University Vietnam,

Email: Ganakrishnan@rmit.edu.vn

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