Employee Morale is an indicator of attitudes of employees towards their jobs, superiors and environment. It is the sum total of employee’s attitudes, feelings arid sentiments towards these variables.
Employee Morale is a by-product of motivation and group relationship in the organisation. It is a mental process which once started permeates in the entire group creating a mood which results in the formation of a common attitude.
Prof. Mee, however, holds the view that “good employee morale is the mental attitude of the individuals, or of the group, which enables an employee to realise that the maximum satisfaction of his drives coincides with the fulfillment of the objectives with those of the company, and subordinates his own desires to those of the company.”
1. Introduction to Employee Morale 2. Meaning of Employee Morale 3. Definitions 4. Concept 5. Nature and Characteristics 6. Importance
7. Approaches 8. Determinants 9. Types 10. Four Combinations of Morale and Productivity 11. Relation between Morale and Productivity 12. Methods of Measuring Morale 13. Employee Morale and Motivation
14. Preventive Measures 15. Improvement of Morale 16. Morale as an Important Part of Organisational Climate 17. High and Low Morale 18. Measures for Increasing the Tone of Morale and Other Details.
Employee Morale: Meaning, Definitions, Importance, Types, Methods, How to Improve Employee Morale and Approaches
- Introduction to Employee Morale
- Meaning of Employee Morale
- Definitions of Employee Morale
- Concept of Employee Morale
- Nature and Characteristics of Employee Morale
- Importance of Employee Morale
- Approaches of Employee Morale
- Determinants of Employee Morale
- Types of Employee Morale
- Employee Morale and Productivity
- Relation between Morale and Productivity
- Methods of Measuring Morale
- Employee Morale and Motivation
- Preventive Measures for Low Morale
- Improvement of Morale
- Morale as an Important Part of Organisational Climate
- High and Low Morale
- Measures for Increasing the Tone of Morale
- Functions and Effects of High Morale among Executives and Supervisors
- Suggestions to Improve Morale
- Benefits of High Morale
Employee Morale – Introduction
Morale represents a composite of feelings, attitudes and sentiments that contribute to general feelings of satisfaction. It is a state of mind and spirit affecting willingness to work, which in turn affects organisational and individual objectives. Therefore, it is a fundamental psychological concept.
Further, 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 attitudes of individuals and groups in an organisation towards their work environment and towards voluntary co-operation to the full extent of their capabilities for the fulfilment 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 arid sentiments towards these variables. It is a by-product of motivation and group relationship in the organisation. It is a mental process which once started permeates in the entire group creating a mood which results in the formation of a common attitude.”
Thus, morale is a state of mental health which is closely related to motivation.
It is usually assumed that high morale and high productivity go hand in hand. However, research studies do not unanimously support this assumption. Katz and his associates found that morale had four dimensions job satisfaction, identification with company, satisfaction with wages and promotion opportunities and pride in work group.
They found out that only the last dimension, i.e., pride in work group, was significantly correlated with productivity. Herzberg analyzed the results of nearly two dozen studies on the effects of morale on productivity. In 54 per cent of the studies, high morale was related to high productivity; in 35 per cent, morale and productivity were not related; and in 11 per cent, high morale was related to low productivity.
It seems that the relationship between morale and productivity is not absolute, and nor is it simple. Sometimes employees in an organization may be enthusiastic and in high spirits but their actual productive contribution might be less. While in certain other cases, employees may have resentment towards their job even though they may be highly productive. Therefore, no concrete conclusion can be taken about the relationship between morale and productivity.
Morale, productivity of workers and their level of motivation are directly correlated. As we know, motivation is an intrinsic ability and desire for positive efforts towards performance. The word ‘motivation’ is derived from ‘motive’ which is defined as an inner state that activates a person to do some work or channelises his/her behaviour towards goals.
So, it is clear that if the level of morale is high, then the motivation degree will also be high. If both of these are high, then the quality of work done and level of performance will also be high. Conversely, positive efforts and sound performance of job will also lead to high morale and motivation.
Thus, we can say that the level of morale of an efficient and capable worker will be high and, simultaneously, he/she will be highly motivated too. But research studies have been unable to establish a conclusive and consistent correlation between motivation and morale.
In an industry man, machine, money and materials are the main resources being used. Out of these men is a live resource and while working manpower is affected and affects others. They have to work in a particular environment in the industry. This environment affects the feeling of the employees. It creates satisfaction or dissatisfaction of employees. When an employee gets things more than expectation he is satisfied.
If it receives less than the expectation he gets dissatisfaction. These two things create the feeling of individuals or groups towards their work. This is called morale of employees. Morale is an individual’s group feeling of competence and confidence created by job satisfaction and need fulfillment. It may precede or follow performance and productivity. Morale is a total attitude of the person towards jobs, reasons, etc.
Sometimes, it happens that the morale is high but productivity is low or vice versa. Similarly, in some cases, high morale and low motivation may also coexist. It is also possible to witness situations in which people suffering from low morale do nevertheless perform the assigned tasks rather well. But, theoretically, we may say that motivation, productivity and morale move together.
The importance of morale can be illustrated with the statement of T. Harell who says that ‘high morale’ is a confident spirit of wholehearted cooperation in a common effort. Besides, today the importance of human relationships has come to be recognized in all industries. A high morale is the hallmark of good human relations in an organisation.
If a number of persons are asked to respond to a given situation, their responses will certainly differs slightly or to a greater extent. If any psychologist undertakes the study of such varied responses he may come across so many factors that might have affected the responses. These may be intelligence, interest, satisfaction, atmosphere in which the respondent lives, his likes or dislikes for the situation and so on.
Summarily we can say that one’s behavioural attitude towards another or a group, or a job or a society, or an organisation is affected by so many factors. If a person is not subjected to any situation or job the observer cannot assess such an attitude.
Thus, we can say that the behavioural attitude of any person is a cumulative effect of so many factors. For some, such an effect may be severe and for some it may not be that severe. But this severity can be judged only if the behavioural attitude of the person is keenly observed. This behavioral attitude as an effect of various factors may be known as “Morale”.
The term morale is a nomenclature of the abstract phenomenon. As we know sweetness is a primary quality of sugar. But this sweetness cannot be known unless sugar is subjected to some treatment. Sweetness of sugar can be known only if he / she are subjected to some task. If it is done, the performance of that person can be observed (not performance appraisal) and his enthusiasm towards it, which represents his behavioural attitude, can be observed and the degree of morale can be assessed.
Employee Morale – Meaning
Morale is a word with multiple meanings. Mayo defined it as ‘the maintenance of cooperative living’. In this sense, it refers to a sense of belonging to a group. Dr. Leighton described morale as the “capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose”. Thus, acceptance of a goal and commitment on the part of the group to work for it are important components of high morale according to this view.
Yet another view expressed by Prof. Kossen links morale with employee attitudes. It refers to ’employees’ attitude toward either their employing organisations in general or toward specific job factors, such as supervision, fellow employees and financial incentives. Researchers, to add to the confusion, generally come out with two formulations while using the term morale – (i) job satisfaction as the concern of an individual and (ii) morale as a group phenomenon.
Motivation is also an internal feeling like morale but it is not consistence like morale. About the motivation Michael Jucius has defined, “motivation is an act of stimulating someone to get a desired course of action.”
Morale is a state of mind or willingness to work which in turn affects individuals and organizational objectives. According to Flippo “morale is a mental condition or attitudes of individuals and groups which determine their willingness to co-operate. Good morale is evidenced by employee enthusiasm, voluntary conformance with regulation and orders and a willingness, to cooperate with others in the accomplishment of an organization’s objectives. Poor morale is evidenced by surliness, insubordination, a feeling of discouragement and dislike of the job, company and associates.”
Morale is an attitude of satisfaction with desire to continue in and willingness to strive for the goals of an organization. Good morale is evidence for employee enthusiasm and a willingness to cooperate with others in the accomplishment of organizational objectives.
Employee Morale – Definitions: Defined by Fippo, Mooney, Haimann, Prof. Mee
According to Yoder, “morale is a feeling, somewhat related to esprit de corps, enthusiasm or zeal. For a group of workers, morale, according to a popular usage of the word, refers to the overall tone, climate or atmosphere of work, perhaps vaguely 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.”
Fippo has described morale “as a mental condition or attitude of individuals and groups which determines their willingness to co-operate. Good morale is evidenced by employee enthusiasm, voluntary conformance with regulations and orders, and a willingness to co-operate with others in the accomplishment of an organisation’s objectives. Poor morale is evidenced by surliness, insubordination, a feeling of discouragement and dislike of the job, company and associates.”
According to Mooney, “morale is the sum total of several psychic qualities which include courage, fortitude, resolution and, above all, confidence.”
Theo Haimann says- “It is a state of mind and emotions affecting the attitude and willingness to work which, in turn, affect individual and organisational objectives.” Davis observes- “Organisational morale is basically a mental condition of groups and individuals which determines their attitude”.
Prof. Mee, however, holds the view that “good employee morale is the mental attitude of the individuals, or of the group, which enables an employee to realise that the maximum satisfaction of his drives coincides with the fulfillment of the objectives with those of the company, and subordinates his own desires to those of the company.”
Leighton observes- “Morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in the pursuit of a common purpose.”
Guion defines morale as “the extent to which an individual’s needs are satisfied and the extent to which the individual perceives that satisfaction as stemming from his total job situation.”
Miller and Form give three definitions of morale. “First, moral refers to the total satisfactions which the individual (or group member) 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 (or group members) tend to accomplish goals and face the future challenges. Third, it is the consensus or “esprit de corps” revealed by a group which make efforts towards the accomplishment of its goals.”
In the opinion of Kahn and Katz, “morale is a combination of attitudes towards the company, job and the immediate supervisor.”
Milton L. Blum defines morale as “the possession of a feeling on the part of the employee of being accepted and belonging to a group of employees through adherence to common goals and confidence in the desirability of these goals.”
Harrell considers morale as “a group concept having five components- (a) a feeling of togetherness, i.e., of belonging to a group and not being isolated; (b) a clear goal (which will be targets of production) set before them; (c) there must be an observed or perceived progress toward the attainment of the goal, i.e., expectation of success; (d) within the group each member feels that he has a meaningful task to perform, and (e) a supportive or stimulating leadership.”
According to Jucius, “morale is a state of mind or of a willingness to work which, in turn affects individuals and organisational objectives.” Morale, he adds, consists of “What is it?” “What does it do?” “Where does it reside?” “Whom does it affect?” and “What does it affect?”
Jucius answers his own questions thus-
(i) What is it? — It is an attitude of mind, an esprit de corps, a state of well-being, and an emotional force.
(ii) What does it do? — It affects output, the quality of a product, costs, co-operation, enthusiasm, discipline, initiative and other ingredients of success.
(iii) Where does it reside? — It resides in the minds and emotions of individuals and in the reactions of their group or groups.
(iv) Whom does it affect? — It affects the employees and executives in their interactions. Ultimately, it affects the consumers and the community.
(v) What does it affect? — It affects an employee’s or a group’s willingness to work and cooperate in the best interests of the individuals or groups and the organisations for which they work.
It is obvious from the foregoing that the term morale means and includes:
(a) It is a group feeling — a group assessment of conditions. It is esprit de corps;
(b) It relates to the individual worker and his own perceptions of the existing state of well-being in the organisation as it pertains to him;
(c) It is an attitude of mind which results from mobilisation of energy, interest and initiative in an enthusiastic pursuit of organisational goals;
(d) Feelings, hopes and sentiments which affect the willingness of the people to co-operate with others in the accomplishment of the common tasks;
(e) Courage, confidence and enthusiasm in the performance of a job; and
(f) Job satisfaction.
In a very general way, morale may, therefore, be defined as a readiness to co-operate warmly in the tasks and purposes of a given organisation. It is a mental process which, once started, permeates the entire group and creates a mood which results in the formation of a common purpose. It is a manifestation of a worker’s strength, dependability, pride and confidence in, and devotion to, his work.
Employee Morale – Concept
A group—be it in industry or in some other sphere of human activity—is organized with an eye on certain well-defined objectives. But mere organisation of a group in the sense of assignment of duties and functions to its members will not, for obvious reasons, lead to the attainment to the goals set for it.
It is common-sense that man can perform their tasks well only when they put their hearts into their work. If the members of a work-group in industry feel inspired by the organisation, the objectives and the people they are working for, they may work what might appear as virtual miracles; but if the members adopt a cold, indifferent if not an altogether hostile attitude towards the work and the organisation, the organisation will not proposer notwithstanding all its resources.
It is, therefore, absolutely essential that the group as a whole is charged with enthusiasm about the work entrusted to it. Such zeal or enthusiasm is usually referred to as morale.
Aldrich defines morale “as a readiness to co-operate warmly in the tasks and purposes of a given group organisation.” In a similar vein, Viteles describes morale as ‘an attitude of satisfaction with desire to continue in, and willingness to strive for, the goals of particular group of organisation.’
Leighton also defines it in a similar fashion when he states- “Morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a purpose.” The essence of all these definitions is that morale is the degree of enthusiasm and willingness with which the individual members of a group set out to perform the allotted tasks.
In conditions of high morale, every individual human being works with a will and identifies his objectives with those of the organisation. A condition of low morale is, on the other hand, characterized by an attitude of indifference or hostility towards the work in hand and lack of co-operative spirit.
As Yoder puts it, “When an employee has few frustrations, he has ‘high’ morale; when he has comparatively many frustrations or intense frustration, he has ‘low’ morale.” This means that morale can be high only when the workers derive a sense of satisfaction from their work in the organisation and their work situation. Quite often, therefore, morale is understood in the sense of job satisfaction. Here we are concerned with the morale of a work group or people in an organisation taken together.
As has been noted above, ‘high’ morale is important for the accomplishment of the tasks and purposes of an organisation. The importance of morale was first realised in the army operations during World War I. There were numerous instances when a handful of soldiers inspired by a sense of patriotism worked so well in co-operation with one another that they were able to defeat much larger groups of better equipped soldiers.
This led an authority to remark that “the military effectiveness of an army is equal to the product of its physical attributes, including strength, skill, equipment and organisation, multiplied by the intangible factor of morale in. When this all-important factor approaches zero, there invariably results inefficiency, failure and finally disintegration”.
In an industrial organisation, too, high morale is usually recognized as the key to higher productivity and more cordial industrial relations. It stands to reason then in an organisation in which an atmosphere of willing and enthusiastic co-operation prevails, the workers will be able to produce much more with the same amount of resources, and there will be no disputes between the management and the workers. On the other hand, frustrations of the workers may erupt quite frequently into strikes, thus spoiling industrial relations.
The problem of morale was not as complicated in the industry of medieval age as it is now under the modern factory set-up. In the early stages of industrial evolution (say, in the handicraft stage or even in the domestic stage), the relationship between the employer and workmen was direct and personal; the workmen did not accumulate grievances and did not develop frustrations but could frankly place them before the employer.
The employer, too, could evince personal interest in the well-being of the workers and could thus win their loyal co-operation. With the change in the industrial set-up brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the tendency of the firms has been more towards the big size.
In a big industrial organisation, the industrial worker is as if lost in the vast crowd of his colleagues. There are numerous levels of management separating him from the employer. Under such circumstances, the management has to be specially careful in finding out the reactions, attitudes and feelings of workmen.
Carelessness in this regard can cost the concern the loss of that valuable secret reserve of its organisation-morale. Research in the field of industrial relations has shown that in concerns of a very large size, the incidence of industrial dispute is usually higher than in those of a comparatively smaller size. This further supports the view expressed above that the problem of morale is more ticklish in large concerns than in smaller ones.
Employee Morale – Nature and Characteristics
Nature of Employee Morale:
Morale is dynamic in nature. Managers cannot establish high morale once and then forget about it for several years. High morale is to be built and maintained by continuous efforts. It is not an absolute concept which can convey a specific meaning. Like the word ‘health’, the word ‘morale’ by itself does not convey any favourable or unfavourable meaning. It has to be qualified with the degree as high morale or low morale.
Thus, morale is the degree of enthusiasm and willingness with which the members contribute their efforts towards the organisation goals. If the enthusiasm and willingness to work of a group is high, we will say morale is high and vice-versa. Therefore, morale has to be qualified like the word health. Just as good health is essential for an individual, high morale is also necessary for an organisation.
Further, morale is multi-dimensional in nature. It is multi-dimensional in the sense that it is a complex mixture of several elements. It recognises the influence of job situation on attitudes of individuals and also includes the role of human needs as motivational force. It is mostly regarded as a long-term phenomenon. Raising morale to a high level and maintaining it is a long-run and continuous process which cannot be achieved through short-run measures such as gimmicks, contests or one-short actions.
To conclude it can be said that morale represents the attitude of the workers; high morale represents an attitude of satisfaction with desire to continue in and willingness to strive for the goals of the group. It is manifestation of direct and indirect satisfaction, sense of contentment and need, fulfillment through work. Morale is both an individual and a group phenomenon.
In the latter case, high morale is reflected in good team work and team spirit. Under conditions of high morale, workers have few grievances, frustrations and complaints as they are clear about the goals individual and organisational and their relationship with others in the organisation.
(1) It is evident from the above discussion and definitions that morale is not a thing or concept conveying particular meaning. On the other hand the term morale is used to describe overall climate prevailing in a group.
(2) Morale is a degree of enthusiasm or zeal along with willingness of persons towards contributing their efforts to achieving goals.
(3) If any person is at work, he has to work willingly or unwillingly. Working cannot be undertaken without any affiliation (may be the effect of some factor). Thus only unwillingness cannot speak that there is no morale. In other words morale always exists. Its degree may vary.
(4) Morale has many dimensions as it is a complex effect of many elements or factors. It is, therefore, recognised as long-term phenomenon.
(5) Morale represents a composite effect of feelings, attitudes and sentiments that contribute to general feeling of satisfaction.-(Jack Halloram).
According to the nature of morale, we can enumerate the factors that have direct, complex and cumulative effect on the morale.
General satisfaction, security of job and earning, sufficient wages, availability of welfare facilities, good treatment from co-workers and superiors, participation in decision making whenever possible and tenable, congenial atmosphere at work place, good working conditions, mental attachment to job as well as organisation, are some factors which create morale.
If all these factors have positive effect on the attitude and behavior, it results in creation of enthusiasm and zeal to high extent. Such a condition is “High Morale Condition” on the other hand if these factors affect adversely or negatively, existing enthusiasm and zeal may also reduce. Such condition is known as “Low morale condition.”
Thus, morale cannot be measured quantitatively. It can be stated by the relative terms like “High” and “Low”.
Characteristics of Employee Morale:
The important characteristics of morale are as follows:
(1) It is a State of Mental Health – Morale is related to the state of mental health which is closely associated with loyalty, egoism, enthusiasm, etc.
(2) It is an Identification of Group Interest – Morale is an identification of group interest and that of the interest of the enterprise, fellow workers and requirements of the job.
(3) It has Subjective Feeling – Morale is the subjective feeling of the employees. The morale of a group is said to be high when the group shows an attitude of satisfaction.
(4) It Affects Behaviour, Performance and Discipline – Morale affects human behaviour, performance and discipline. It cannot be measured directly but is reflected in productivity, employee discipline, absenteeism, turnover etc.
Employee Morale – Importance
Morale is the primary concern of the management because high production and productivity of workers are the direct result of high morale.
The management is always interested in higher production and productivity in order to achieve the desired goal. The management is always keen in knowing the impact of its policies and practices on the attitude of the workers about work and should always be ready in promoting the good feelings about the work, policies, practices and organisation among the workers.
They should be stimulated in accomplishing the predetermined objectives willingly. Higher productivity is an index of favourable attitudes of workers about the work and the organisation and results in better quality production at lower cost.
The importance of morale can be studied under the following heads:
(1) It Leads to Higher Production:
Higher production and productivity of workers are the direct result of high morale. If the management is genuinely interested in high production and higher productivity of workers to achieve the desired results, it should know the impact of its policies and practices on the attitude of the workers about work and be ready to promote the good feeling about the work, policies, practices and about the organisation among the workers to stimulate them to get the pre-determined objectives willingly.
High productivity is the direct result of the positive attitude of the workers about work i.e., high morale will yield more production and better quality at lower cost.
(2) Morale is an Index of Good Industrial Relations:
Morale is an index of good feelings about the fellow-workers and the organisation. According to Dale Yoder – “If workers appear to feel enthusiastic and optimistic about the group activities and mission and friendly to each other, they are described as having good or high morale. If they seem dissatisfied, irritated, critical, restless and pessimistic, these reactions are described as evidence of poor or low morale.”
Therefore, the managers consistently and persistently make efforts for stimulating a feeling of togetherness, a sense of identification with the elements of one’s job, working conditions, fellow workers, supervisor’s and the company which is conducive to the achievement of the company’s goal.
(3) High Morale Leads to Success in the Business:
The success or failure of the industry and business very much depends upon the morale of its employees. High morale leads to success and low morale brings defeat in its wake. In the words of Keith Davis -“Never underestimate the power of a woman and the same certainly must be said about morale never underestimate the power of morale.”
(4) Morale Can be Used as a Solution of Labour Problems:
High morale helps and assists the management to solve several labour problems such as labour turnover, absenteeism, indiscipline, grievances etc. It helps in to seek co-operation of the workers in the running of the organisation and thus getting high production at minimum possible cost by reducing the wages of time, man, machine and materials.
(5) Its Utilisation as Psychological Factors:
In modern times the psychological researches have increased the importance of the morale in the industrial field. Remarkable progress in industrial output may be secured by improving morale among the industrial workers. Taking interest in this direction the Government has introduced several labour welfare and social security measures to improve the morale of the industrial workers. The management has recognised the importance of high morale. It has realised that low morale has long-range effects damaging to the organisation.
Some Other Importance of Morale:
Morale is important in achieving individual goals, team goals and organizational goals. High morale is a symptom of prosperity whereas low morale brings discontentment, unhappiness, dissatisfaction amongst employees which creates a situation of conflict, aggressiveness, no work, less work, uncongenial and un-conducive atmosphere.
Importance of morale can be measured from the following:
1. High morale improves quality of work as the people at work take much interest in work and give much efforts in improving quality of products.
2. High morale reduces absenteeism rate as the employees feel bored to remain at home without work. Besides, employees find their workplace comfortable, pleasant and conducive to work.
3. Wastes are less when workers sincerely and attentively do their job. Seriousness, sincerity, commitment of workers come when they develop positive attitudes towards their job, company, promotion, supervision and so on.
4. Accident rate tends to be less when employees operate machines with great zeal, enthusiasm and interest. This is possible when their morale is high.
5. Industrial disputes are less in numbers as the employees are happy with the organization. Contented workforce develop high morale and do not create any situation that disrupts production.
6. Employees with high morale establish mutual understanding, mutual faith and confidence between them and their bosses. So, healthy climate of industrial relations exists in organization.
7. Industrial peace is prevalent in a situation where employees possess positive attitudes towards the company, company policies, attitudes, style of functioning of management personnel and others. That means, employees with high morale bring peace in industry.
8. Employees with high morale stay with the company. Hence, labour turnover rate is less in such company.
Employee Morale – 3 Important Approaches: Classical, Psychological and Social Approach
The term ‘Morale’ has been defined in many ways, but all the definitions revolve around the attitude towards work for the accomplishment of organisational goals.
There are three main approaches to the definition of morale.
(1) Classical approach.
(2) Psychological approach, and
(3) Social approach.
(1) Classical Approach:
This approach emphasises on the satisfaction of basic needs of the employees. If the basic needs of the employees are satisfied, their morale will be high or in other words, if the basic needs of the employees remain unsatisfied, their morale will be low and they will not take much interest in their work.
According to Robert M. Guion – The main follower of this theory has defined the term in these words – “The extent to which individual needs are satisfied and the extent to which the individual perceives that satisfaction stemming from total job- satisfaction is morale.”
(2) Psychological Approach:
This approach supports that not only the basic needs of the people but psychological needs also influence the morale of the people. Psychological needs are main motives of morale.
The following definitions may be given in support of this approach:
(a) Morale is a state of mind and emotions affecting willingness to work which in turn affects individual and organisational objectives. -Jucious and Slender
(b) “Morale is a mental condition or attitude of individual and groups which determine their willingness to co-operate.” -Edwin B. Hippo
(c) According to Breech, Webster and Vitles, etc. “Morale is a psychological concept.” According to them – “It is a state of mind and emotions affecting willingness to work which in turn affects individual and organisational objectives. Thus, it is the mental attitudes of the individual which enables him to realise that the maximum satisfaction of his drives coincides with the fulfillment of the objectives of the company.”
Therefore, this approach is related to the state of mind of the individual and the group that affects the willingness to work.
(3) Social Approach:
Some modern writers describe morale as a social process. This concept is based upon Hawthorne experiments.
The definitions of Prof. Elton Mayo, Keith Davis, Blankenship, Cohen and Yoder can be put in this category:
(a) According to Keith Davis – “Morale can be defined as the attitudes of individuals and group towards their work, environment and towards voluntary co-operation to full extent of their ability in the best interest of the organisation.”
(b) “Morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common goal.” -Alexander Leighton
(c) Next-Leighton has said -“Morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.”
Thus, we see that on 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 work, working conditions, fellow workers, management, job satisfaction and total organisation.
To study the definition of morale, the following points must be remembered:
(1) Morale is related to the state of mental health which is closely related to loyalty, egoism, enthusiasm etc.
(2) Morale is an identification of group interest and that of the interest of the enterprise, fellow workers and the requirements of the job.
(3) Morale is the subjective feeling of the employee. If group shows an attitude of satisfaction, its morale will be high.
Employee Morale – 5 Major Determinants
Morale is essentially a matter of human behaviour as evidenced by the attitude adopted towards the organization.
The major determinants of morale are as follows:
1. Confidence in the Purpose of the Group:
It is obvious that employees put their soul into the work when they are inspired by the purpose of the organization. Just as a soldier is prepared even to lay down his life, an employee will work with all his sincerity at command. Once workers are made to feel that they are part of an organization which has a worthwhile purpose, their morale will be high.
2. Confidence in Leadership:
Leadership of the right type builds up high morale. An inspiring leader can easily motivate the employees to united action. The management or the executives should be men of insight and understanding and abundant sympathy to win over the employees. Thus, high morale depends on the capability, impartiality and fair-mindedness of leaders in dealing with the problems of workers.
3. Confidence in the Fellow-Workers of the Group:
There should be no ‘informers’ or ‘labour spies’. Every employee should have confidence. Group spirit breeds high morale. Such workers find work more satisfying and tend to pull in the same direction.
4. Confidence in Organizational Efficiency:
An efficient organization is basic to a high degree of morale.
For an organization to be efficient the following factors are necessary:
a. The lines of authority and responsibility must be clearly defined.
b. Grievance procedures and face-to-face discussions will remove clouds of misunderstanding and lead to good industrial relation.
c. Participation in management infuses in them a sense of responsibility.
d. Adoption of a tolerant attitude towards employees will heighten their morale.
5. Congenial Working Conditions:
a. Reasonable Economic Rewards:
A good pay or wage structure which provides for automatic rise in wages with a rise in cost of living, provision of medical and educational facilities, recreation and tour facilities boost the morale of employees.
b. Security of Job and Opportunity to Rise:
A feeling of security of job and income will provide the employees a good deal of mental relief.
A sound promotional policy which does not allow them to languish in the same post till their retirement but which offers them ample opportunities for advancement builds up their morale.
c. Work Environment:
The importance of work or office environment also has its impact on the morale of its employees. A leaky, dingy and dilapidated structure adversely affects their morale while provision of all facilities, up-to-date machines and tools, provision of safety devices which prevent accidents build up the morale. Thus, a congenial work atmosphere heightens morale of the employees.
Employee Morale – Types: Individual Morale, Group Morale, Morale towards Job, Morale towards Organisation, High Morale and Low Morale
It is evident from the above discussion that morale is an abstract quality of human being.
Whenever morale is to be assessed it is done in two ways:
1. Individual Morale and
2. Group Morale
The morale of either of the two may be:
1. High and
This morale is directed at two elements:
(a) Job and
The morale may be towards job as well as organisation. Morale may be either High or Low. This high or low morale is of either individual or a group.
Type # 1. Individual Morale:
The abstract quality represented by enthusiasm and zeal towards either job or organisation by an individual in solitude is known as individual morale.
Type # 2. Group Morale:
Human is a social animal. Every human likes to be a part of a section or group of persons and ultimately the society, it is not true every time that the persons comprising a group may have same attitude. But we know that birds of same feathers flock together. Thus the group members, generally have maximum equal qualities. This is truer when the group is of workers working on a job.
If all the members of group are co-operative there is always congenial relationship between them. Secondly such a group when undertakes any job they show collective enthusiasm and zeal (either high or low) towards the job. Such abstract quality demonstrated by a group collectively is known as group morale.
Type # 3. Morale towards Job:
This is behavioural attitude of an individual or a group of individuals demonstrated by them towards performing a job entrusted to them. This is known as morale towards job.
Type # 4. Morale towards Organisation:
When we think of morale of employees, the organisation for which they work becomes center point. All loyalties and performances are directed to the wellbeing of the organisation. Secondly the organisation through its policies and points of view towards the workers affect the morale of the employees. No doubt, the employees work for the organisation, but what is important is the enthusiasm, zeal and loyalty with which they work. Thus, their attitude is known as morale towards organisation.
Type # 5. High Morale:
The more the enthusiasm and zeal demonstrated by workers the more degree of existence of morale. If the factors affecting the attitude of employees are dealt with positive approach by the organisation i.e. the management, they bring satisfaction, security, self-respect and so on. All these contribute to high degree of morale. As we know that morale cannot be measured quantitatively, the degree or level of morale is assessed from the performance and productivity of the employees.
If these two are achieved one can say that these exists high morale. But then one should not forget that high productivity can also be achieved by force and coercion. If it so such a productivity is not stable. Thus high productivity and better performance demonstrated consistently can be taken as a measure of high morale.
Type # 6. Low Morale:
It is just opposite of a high morale.
Employee Morale – Four Combinations of Morale and Productivity
Productivity is the ratio of output to input. Productivity is the efficiency with which the labour and capital inputs are utilised.
Morale affects the attitude of an individual but it affects the productivity or not, is uncertain.
Logically, high morale should result in high productivity but it is not always true. Studies have revealed the mixed results.
Miller & Form have given four combinations of morale and productivity:
1. High Morale-High Productivity
2. High Morale-Low Productivity
3. Low Morale-High Productivity
4. Low Morale-Low Productivity
1. High Morale-High Productivity:
This situation occurs when employees are self- motivated. They are devoted and dedicated towards organisational goals. They consider individual interest in general interest.
2. High Morale-Low Productivity:
This occurs when morale is not able to stimulate the employee behaviour towards achievement of organisational goals. This occurs when employees become careless or they become selfish, i.e., they think about individual interest only.
3. Low Morale-High Productivity:
This occurs when the supervisor is highly skilled and has incredible planning ability. He has potential to get the work done from others. This situation is similar to that advocated by scientific management; In this case, management may have to face resistance from employees.
4. Low Morale-Low Productivity:
This occurs when employee’s morale is low and supervisor is also not very much competent.
Morale is a complex phenomena and the relationship between morale and productivity is even more complex.
The study about morale and productivity reveals that there are many other factors to be worked upon so that high morale must result into high productivity, which is an ideal situation. These factors include leadership, coordination, technical know-how, etc.
If the high morale of an employee is due to job related factors, it will have positive impact on productivity. On the other hand, if high morale is due to personal factors, then relationship between morale and productivity is unpredictable.
Employee Morale – Relation between Morale and Productivity
It is generally assumed that morale and productivity have a direct relationship with each other, i.e., they are positively correlated. Human relationists contended that high morale and high productivity always go together like the east and west sides of an elevator. It was argued that high productivity results because the workers with high morale do not skip work, are the least tardy, show good tea spirit and contribute their best to the attainment of organisational objectives. Even now, many managers feel that if the workers have high morale, their productivity will also be high. But his is not always true.
Generally, there is some positive correlation between morale and productivity, but they are not absolutely related, i.e., an increase of 10% in morale does not guarantee a proportionate increase (i.e., 10%) in productivity. It is quite possible that morale may increase with either favourable or unfavourable shifts in productivity as shown in Fig. 21.2.
It is, thus, obvious that relationship between morale and productivity is not so direct because morale is only one of the factors influencing productivity. Many other factors like technology, use of penalties, training, style of supervision and nature of individuals also influence productivity. Therefore, it is possible to find high morale related to low productivity and low morale associated with high productivity. This means that workers who perform very well in their work do not necessarily have high morale.
There are four possible combinations of morale and productivity, viz.:
(i) High morale and high productivity,
(ii) High morale and low productivity,
(iii) Low morale and low productivity, and
(iv) Low morale and high productivity.
High productivity goes with high morale when the workers are highly motivated, the supervision is considerate of workers and the workers are highly trained. This is an ideal state and makes the best possible use of human resources. Morale and productivity are not absolutely related. They may not increase in the same portion. An exactly reverse situation could be that of low morale and low productivity.
High morale is associated with low productivity when the employees are merely happy and they are not properly motivated to do work. Other reasons of low productivity may be inefficiency of supervision, faulty materials and technology, and low degree of employee skills. It is also possible that low morale is associated with high productivity.
This occurs when management uses strict supervision, better equipment and technology and uses punishments against low productivity. But high productivity with low morale cannot be sustained for long since will to work is a very important factor. Will to work moulds workers’ attitude towards the job, supervision, and organisation and its policies.
Thus, the relationship between morale and productivity is not predictable. It will differ from organisation to organisation and from time to time. It may happen that high productivity brings morale with it. This happens when the group of workers perceives high productivity as a path of group goal fulfilment.
But when a group sets the norm of production for its members, their productivity will not increase even though their morale is increased. High morale will be associated with low productivity because workers derive satisfaction through fulfilment of social needs for belonging and affiliation by conforming to group norms.
Employee Morale – Top 5 Methods for Measurement (Suggested by John M. Pfiffner)
1. Common Worker’s Opinion Analysis:
One very popularly used method of measuring the morale is the common worker’s. Opinion Analysis methods in which the opinion of the average worker are analyzed. For this certain scientific questionnaires are prepared that reveal the worker’s opinions regarding various aspects of the industry as well as towards the authorities. The worker does not have to reveal his name in answering these questionnaires. This has the initial advantage of assuring then worker of secrecy regarding his views.
When the questionnaires are received back after having been filled and duly completed by the workers, it becomes possible to see the various scores on which the workers have complained. If some particular object or subject is a matter of complaint in a large majority of cases, efforts can be made to rectify it. Success in this method depends upon the degree to which the questionnaires is scientific and upon the degree of truth in the worker’s response.
2. Interview Method:
In this method, those individuals are directed interviewed who have departed from the unit in question for various reasons whereby the workers feel compelled to seek jobs elsewhere, so that future desertion on the part of present employees can be discouraged. After feature of this method having left the employment of a particular concern or unit he feels free to give expression to his frankest view on any and every aspect of the business.
Another advantage of this method is that the views of departed employees cannot result in any harm to the administration or to those in authority. There can be no doubt that some workers any have grievance against the administration of their job that has no relation whatsoever with actual and real conditions. But if many workers leave their jobs on the same pretext, than, evidently, it is necessary to put an end to the source of complaint in order to maintain a high level or morale.
In this manner, this method has proved extraordinarily useful in measuring the existing level of morale and suggesting methods of improvements. It also locates the cause of falling morale. If, however most of the departed employees speak well and favourable of the work and the administration of the factory or business house, then there is every reason to believe that morale is at high level.
3. Attitude Measurement:
Morale is an expression of the work, the authorities and general administration or organization. Hence, the works’ attitude can be known in order to evaluate their morale.
For example, if the answer to the following queries were supplied by worker, their attitudes in these respects could be known:
(i) I work in the company under compulsion.
(ii) The authorities in the company believe in the policy of paying as little wages as can practicably be paid.
(iii) If I can get the same salary in a different company, I am prepared to resign from my present position.
(iv) I have no respect for of faith in those on authorities above me.
(v) The conditions of work in which I work cannot be said to be good by any standard.
(vi) I find no freedom, pleasure of satisfaction in my work.
The worker attitude can be discovered by requiring him to mark the above queries right or wrong.
4. Sociological Methods:
Now-a-days, particularly in the case group studies, the sociological methods of group’s studies, the sociological methods are very prevalent. Moreover, a method for measuring the morale can be used to discover characteristics of the worker’s group organization whereby the level of morale can be discovered.
Accordingly, the worker is given a questionnaire containing certain question intended to throw light on the characteristics of group organization. For example, the workers are asked to name and enumerate the individual with whom they would prefer to work, or in which sort of company do they prefer to spend their time or have anything to do with.
If the answer of many individuals to this question seems to speak favourable of any one individual and the answers seem to show respect, love and confidence for the individual, it is fairly evident that he is capable of becoming a good administrator. If he is already in the administrative cadre, then it evince a high level of morale in the workers for respect and confidence in authority is a sign of high morale.
Burt if he is not situated, then the answer seem to show lack of confidence in the confidence in the existing administration, a lack of confidence that can be rectified by promoting the desires individual into the administrative block, or otherwise by advising the existing administrative group to mend its way and adopt others more calculated to win the confidence and respect their sub-ordinates.
In this manner it’s evident that Moreno method can help in realizing the condition of morale in nay unit and in discovering the means of improving existing morale.
5. Company Records and Report:
The records and reports of the company prepared for other reasons and purposes can be used to measure the morale of employees.
The records can be analyzed in the following manner:
i. Change of labour ratio,
ii. Man hour lost,
iii. Absence and slackness,
iv. Number of grievance reported by worker and resolved by the management, number and value of accident occurred in the factory, etc.
These all variables can be interpreted as an index of morale.
John M. Pfiffner has suggested two methods of measuring morale:
(1) Direct Method:
In this method persons at work are contracted to express their feelings. Morale is measured in terms of increase or decrease in the profitability, productivity and other direct benefits which indicate of high low morale. If profitability, productivity etc., are increasing, it is an index of high morale. If they are decreasing, it is a sign of low morale. Following are the important techniques which are employed in measuring the morale.
(a) Observation Technique:
In this the evaluator observes the employees on work and records their behaviour, attitude, sentiments and feelings towards the organisation, superior or his fellow workers. Comparing the observations of the two periods, any change in the behaviour and attitude of the employees will indicate high or low morale.
(b) Interview Technique:
Under this, the interviewer calls upon the employees and ask questions which may be:
(i) Guided, or
(i) Guided Interview:
The guided interview emphasises mainly the questions set out before hand in the form of a questionnaire in consultation with the higher management. Interviewer goes to the employees with his printed questionnaire form explain them the general objects and supplies information, if anything is asked for by the employees. He asks a set question with simple choice, responses, included in the questionnaires which are answered orally.
(ii) Unguided Interview:
In this, the employees are encouraged to talk freely what they think about the organisation and its people. There are no formal questions. Interviewer listens to and encourages them to be free with an assurance that their talks will remain secret and confidential. He may ask questions of general interest individually or in groups.
(c) Attitude Survey Technique:
In this, detailed questionnaires are prepared by the organisation with the help of Psychologists and are distributed among workers to return duly filled in forms. The surveyor then steps further to analyse them and measure the general attitude of the workers.
(d) Productive Technique:
This includes a series of devices involving the use of written as well as verbal materials, in the measurement of attitudes. “The word association the sentence competition, the short story competition tests are some of the devices generally employed. Under this technique, the persons are allowed to express their feelings in detail with arguments which are later on analysed and projected by the analysts.”
In this method the men at work are not directly approached but the in-depth study is made of variations in output, profitability, rate of labour turnover, absenteeism and accidents, number of grievances and their severity. These are analysed with the help of the records and reports maintained by the personnel department regarding each employee of the organisation.
The extent of increase or decrease in profitability or productivity may result in increase or decrease in the morale.
Indirect method must be used very carefully because productivity or profitability is not always affected by the morale. There may be several other factors which affect the productivity and profitability. Output may decrease not because the morale of the employees is low but morale may be low because of use of low quality materials or defective machines or methods.
Similarly, various factors leading to absenteeism, labour turnover, accidents, grievances and complaints should be studied carefully while analysing the morale. Unavoidable circumstances may be ignored.
The above measurement methods normally show the tendencies or attitudes of the employees. Statistical measurement of morale is not possible because it relates to the inner feelings of human beings.
Employee Morale – Motivation and Morale
i. Meaning and importance of morale
ii. Relationship between morale and productivity
iii. Methods of measurement of employee morale
iv. Distinguish between morale and motivation
v. Steps in motivation
vi. Ways of motivating the employees
vii. Major theories of motivation.
Professor Ralph C. Davis says about morale, “Good organizational morale is a condition in which individuals and groups voluntarily make a reasonable subordination of their personnel objectives of their organization.”
Another theory of morale comes from B. Flippo morale is, “a mental condition or attitude of individuals and groups which determines their willingness to cooperate. Good morale is evidenced by employee enthusiasm, voluntary conformance with regulations and orders and a willingness to co-operate with others in the accomplishment of an organization’s objectives. Poor morale is evinced by surliness, insubordination, a feeling of discouragement and dislike of the job, company and associates.”
On the importance of morale we can say that it is the realization of common objectives which refers to the working of an individual. Morale is also depends on the reality and material background. So, it depends upon the relations between expectations and reality.
Motivation and Morale:
Motivation is a physical thing offered to employees in order to mobilise hidden capabilities and skills in the employees. Motivation makes the employee to work.
Morale is a mental thing that cannot be shown. It is experienced and felt by observing the zeal and willingness to work as an effect of employee satisfaction.
Motivation helps boosting the morale to some extent. It is a type of reward given to employees for good efficient work. Thus motivation assumes status or cause which will not last long.
Behavioural Attitude, Sentiment of satisfaction, enthusiasm, zeal and willingness to work.
Morale is a sentiment of satisfaction which creates interest in work that too, to perform it efficiently.
Motivation is a stimulant which temporarily moves one into action. As soon as its purpose is served the action takes its own way.
Morale is a composite of feelings, attitudes and sentiments that contribute to general feeling of satisfaction at work.
Motivation is a function of drives and needs.
Morale on the other hand is a function of freedom or restraint towards goal.
Motivation mobilises energy.
Morale mobilises sentiments and willingness.
Employee Morale – 3 Methods for Measuring Morale
It is difficult to measure morale as it is an intangible state of mind of the workers. There are three methods which can be used for measuring the morale of the employees.
These methods are discussed below:
1. By Observation:
The managers can measure the morale of the employees by observing their activities and behaviour. But in practice, managers do not find sufficient time to carefully observe the behaviour of the employees. According to Theo Haimann, “The serious shortcoming of observations as yardstick to measure current morale is that the activities and events indicate a change to a lowered morale which has already occurred.” The manager, therefore, should be extremely, keen in his observation in order to do as much as possible to prevent such changes.
Generally, managers try to measure morale by checking the extent to which the organisation is achieving the result in respect of productivity. But this is not at all a reliable measure because morale may be high although productivity is low and vice-versa because of so many other factors. In many studies, it has been found that there was low correlation between morale and productivity.
2. By Attitude or Morale Survey:
The management may conduct an attitude survey to find out the morale of the employees. The opinion of the employees may be known either by direct interview or questionnaire. In case of direct personal interview, attempt is made to find out the views of employees about their jobs, co-workers, supervision and the organisation.
The questions to be asked to the employees are drafted beforehand and the information received from every employee is put into writing. But under questionnaire method, certain questions are printed and a copy of these is sent to each worker who is supposed to fill in the questionnaire and return it to the office of the organisation. The answers from various employees are then compiled and inferences are drawn about their morale.
3. By Morale Indicators:
Morale indicators are the factors which tend to show the attitude of employees towards the organisation and its management. These factors include absenteeism, labour turnover, fluctuations in output, quality records, excessive waste and scrap, training records, accident rate and number of grievances.
These factors are good indicators of any major variation in morale, but they are not as precise as morale surveys. The main reason for using such indicators is that their data are readily available and trend can be known easily. Management can analyse the causes of wide fluctuations in any indicator and take suitable steps.
Employee Morale – Preventive Measures
Having assessed the level of prevailing employee morale, the management can determine the need for maintenance and improvement of morale. If the management feels that there is such a need, there are two ways by which it can maintain and improve the morale, viz. preventive measures and remedial measures.
Preventive measures prevent regression in the level of morale.
These measures include:
i. Creation of the Whole Job:
Creating and assigning the whole job to a single worker with a view to satisfy his need for achievement.
ii. Job Enrichment:
Designing the vertical slice of the tasks into a job and assigning it to an employee satisfies his needs for recognition, responsibility, growth etc.
iii. Modifying the Work Environment:
Creating and providing a conducive and challenging work environment.
iv. Flexible Working Hours:
‘Development of Human Resources’ and flexible working hours provide freedom to the worker in doing the job and in attending to his personal affairs.
v. Job Rotation:
Job rotation reduces monotony of work and boredom and thus increases morale.
vi. Point Individual Prosperity in Company Prosperity:
If the management can show to the worker that there is scope for his prosperity in the company, there can be better motivation for the worker to strive towards the company goals.
vii. Adaptation of “How-Shall-We-Do If” Attitude:
By adapting this kind of attitude, the management can give the worker a feeling that he has made the decision himself which makes any job easier for the management to make workers accept its decisions. This is nothing but what participative management preaches.
Employee Morale – Improvement of Morale
Whenever something is found to be wrong with the workers, it is obvious that there must be some cause of this situation. It may be that the policies or practices of the company are defective, or that if executives are at fault, or that the views of those whose morale is low do not agree with those of the company or of its executives.
In such cases, a three-fold action may be initiated:
i. In the first place, it is essential to change the policy or to correct it immediately. Employees do not lose their respect for the boss who admits his mistakes; but they cannot respect one who makes too many; and they may have contempt for one who refuses to admit his mistakes.
ii. Second, misconceptions should be removed, and the correct positions should be explained to the employees.
iii. Third, a reasonable attempt should be made to educate and convince the employees.
In this respect, the following three-point plan may be adopted even when the morale of the employees is good:
a. In the first place, it must be decided that a particular person will be responsible for the execution of the plan. Each executive should be told, preferably in writing, what he should do to improve the general morale of the employees; he should know the extent of his authority and what his relations with other departments should be.
b. A morale-building programme should be based on a clear conception of the theory that underlines it. A written statement should be prepared, clearly outlining the relationship between the company’s objectives and personal objectives and the process of integrating the interests of the two, and mentioning the results of good morale.
c. Specific morale duties should be outlined for every executive.
Besides these, since morale is determined largely by worker’s perception’s and attitudes, the management should work upon the conditions that define these perceptions. For example – Managers can concentrate on supervisory styles, company policies, working conditions and other factors external to and out of the control of the worker to see that such factors are employee-oriented. Leadership styles that support the worker and encourage him may be applied.
Employee Morale – As an Important Part of Organisational Climate
Dale S. Beach in his book ‘Personnel’ has said that “Morale is an important part of organisational climate. It is a vital ingredient of organisational success because it reflects the attitudes and sentiments of organisational members towards the organisation, its objectives and policies. These attitudes and sentiments largely affect productivity and the satisfaction of individuals. Morale is the total satisfaction a person derives from his job, his work-group, his boss, his organisation and his environment.”
Further – Dalton E. McFarland – in his book “Principles and Practices of Management” has emphasised that “High morale exists when employee’s attitude is favourable towards their jobs, their company and their fellow workers favourable to the total situation of the group and to the attainment of its objectives. Low morale exists when attitude inhibits the willingness and ability of the group to attain company objectives. Thus, morale of employees should be high to achieve the organisational objectives efficiently and effectively. A high morale reduces labour turnover, wastes and disharmony.”
It has been observed that employees with high morale like their jobs and co-operate fully with the management towards the achievement of goals of the organisation. It results from job satisfaction and generates job enthusiasm. High morale is indeed a manifestation of the employee’s strength dependability, pride, confidence and devotion. All these qualities of mind and character taken together create high morale among the employees.
Morale of employees must be kept high in order to achieve the following:
(1) Willing co-operation towards objectives of the organisation.
(2) Loyalty to the organisation and its leadership.
(3) Pride in the organisation.
(4) Reduction of rates of absenteeism and labour turnover.
(5) Good discipline, i.e., voluntary conformity to rules and regulations.
(6) High degree of employee’s interest in the job and organisation.
Theo Haimann has written regarding low morale and high morale in his book “Professional Management” that -“Low morale indicates the presence of mental unrest. The mental unrest not only hampers production but also leads to ill health of the employees. Low morale exists when doubt and suspicion are common and when individuals are depressed and discouraged i.e., there is a lot of mental tension.
Such a situation will have the following consequences:
(1) High rate of absenteeism and labour turnover.
(2) Excessive complaints and grievances.
(3) Frustration among the workers.
(4) Friction among the workers.
(5) Antagonism towards leadership of the organisation.
(6) Lack of discipline.
The consequences of low morale may be very fatal to the organisation as industrial relations will tend to deteriorate. Whatever may be the cause of low morale, organisation suffers. Ultimately because quantity and quality of production both suffer. Thus, in order to avoid these evil consequences, every manager should work to build and maintain high morale of the people working under him.
For this, he should have constant knowledge of the opinions and attitudes of the employees towards their work and the organisation. He should carefully note the changes in their behaviour and appraise the factors responsible for change in the attitude of employees. It should be noted that high morale cannot be purchased, it has to be created. It must be created only by introducing into the work situation, certain conditions which are favourable to its development.
High morale is not the cause of good human relations. High morale is the result of good human relations; it is the result of good motivation; respect and dignity of the individual, realisation of the individual difference, good leadership, effective communication, participation, counseling and many other human relations practices.”
Employee Morale – High and Low Morale
High morale exists when employees’ attitude is favourable towards their jobs, their company and their fellow workers-favourable to the total situation of the group and to the attainment of its objectives. Low morale exists when attitude inhibits the willingness and ability of the group to attain company objectives. Thus, morale of employees should be high to achieve the organisational objectives efficiently and effectively. A state of high morale reduces labour turnover, wastes and disharmony.
Employees with high morale like their jobs and co-operate fully with the management towards the achievement of goals of the organisation. It results from job satisfaction and generates job enthusiasm. High morale is indeed a manifestation of the employees’ strength, dependability, pride, confidence and devotion. All these qualities of mind and character taken together create high morale among the employees.
Morale of employees must be kept high to achieve the following benefits:
(i) Willing cooperation towards the objectives of the organisation.
(ii) Loyalty to the organisation and its leadership.
(iii) Good discipline, i.e., voluntary conformity to rules and regulations.
(iv) High degree of employees’ interest in their jobs and organisation
(v) Pride in the organisation.
(vi) Reduction of rates of absenteeism and labour turnover.
Low morale indicates the presence of mental unrest. The mental unrest not only hampers production but may also lead to ill health of the employees. Low morale exists when doubt and suspicion are common and when individuals are depressed and discouraged, i.e., there is a lot of mental tension.
Such a situation will have the following adverse consequences:
(i) High rates of absenteeism and labour turnover.
(ii) Excessive complaints and grievances.
(iii) Frustration among the workers.
(iv) Friction among the workers.
(v) Antagonism towards leadership of the organisation.
(vi) Lack of discipline.
The consequences of low morale may be very fatal to the organisation as industrial relations will tend to deteriorate. Whatever may be the cause of low morale, organisation suffers ultimately because quantity and quality of production both suffer. Thus, in order to avoid these evil consequences, every manger should work to build and maintain high morale of the people working under him. For this, he should have constant knowledge of the opinions and attitudes of the employees towards their work and the organisation.
He should carefully note the changes in their behaviour and appraise the factors responsible for change in the attitude of employees. It should be noted that high morale cannot be purchased, it has to be created. “It can be created only by introducing into the work situation certain conditions which are favourable to its development.
High morale is not the cause of good human relations. High morale is the result of good motivation, respect and dignity of the individual, realisation of the individual difference, good leadership, effective communication, participation, counselling and many other human relation practices.”
Building of High Morale:
Moral is a mental phenomenon. That is why, it is very difficult to build high morale. It is like marching ahead without knowing the end of the journey. Morale is not a tangible thing, so it is difficult to measure the degree of morale. Morale building is a perpetual process which cannot be stopped even for a moment. Morale may not be maintained at a high level of ever. It is a dynamic process, it keeps on fluctuating.
Morale building may be done either on individual basis or on group basis. Morale building on group basis is always preferable. Group morale can be affected by understanding the group dynamics. It will automatically shape the individual’s attitudes.
In order to achieve high morale among the employees, the following suggestions may be followed:
(i) Two-way Communication – There should be two-way communication between the management and the workers as it exercises a profound influence on morale. The workers should be kept informed about the organisation policies and programmes through conferences, bulletins and informal discussions with the workers. Workers should be allowed to ask questions and satisfy themselves about their doubts.
(ii) Incentive System – There should be a proper incentive system in the organisation to ensure monetary and non-monetary rewards to the employees to motivate them.
(iii) Welfare Measures – Management must provide for employees’ welfare measures like canteens, credit facilities, sports clubs, education facilities for their children, etc.
(iv) Social Activities – Management should encourage social group activities by the workers. This will help to develop greater group cohesiveness which can be used by the management for building high morale.
(v) Training – There should be proper training of the employees so that they may do their work efficiently and avoid frustration. When the workers are given training, they get psychological satisfaction as they feel that management is taking interest in them.
(iv) Workers’ Participation – There should be industrial democracy in the organisation. Management should allow workers’ participation in management. Whenever a change is to be introduced which affects the workers, they must be consulted and taken into confidence. Workers must be allowed to put forward their suggestions and grievances to the top management.
Effects of Low Morale:
Low morale is the outcome of mental unrest. Anyone with disturbed mind cannot concentrate on any job. This, in turn, adversely affects his and ultimately organisational productivity. Doubtful and suspicious atmosphere and how morale goes hand in hand which result in mental tensions.
Finally it leads to following consequences-
(1) Rate of absenteeism goes up which ultimately decreases productivity.
(2) Excessive complaints are made and grievances are put forward.
(3) Workers get frustrated.
(4) Congenial atmosphere in workers is disturbed giving rise to friction between the workers, workers and supervisors etc.
(5) Dissent towards the management and its leadership goes to increasing.
(6) Discipline is not maintained.
Employee Morale – 14 Measures for Increasing the Tone of Morale
The following measures may be adopted for increasing the tone of morale in an organization:
Measure # 1. Money Incentive (Sound Wage Structure):
If a fair pay is paid, which will ensure an employee not only a decent standard of living but also would leave something for entertainment and savings, it will be conducive for high morale. An ideal wage or pay structure would provide for an automatic rise in wage with a rise in cost of living and this will greatly inspire workers and office staff to put forth the best in them.
Measure # 2. Security:
If the management follows a wise personnel policy which will create a feeling of security of job and income, the employee morale will be high. If a worker is in constant fear of losing his job, he cannot be expected to put his zeal into the work.
Measure # 3. Sound Promotion Policy:
A sound promotion policy offers an excellent incentive to the staff as it is a recognition of their skill and abilities. The fact that they need not languish in the same post till their retirement stimulates them to work enthusiastically. The awareness of opportunities for advancement available in the concern increases the morale of the staff.
Measure # 4. Status:
The more important an employee can be made to feel, the better work he is likely to do. If his status is recognized—if his individual worthwhileness is recognized, his morale is sure to rise high.
Measure # 5. Welfare Amenities:
Provision of welfare amenities like recreation, good housing, proper medical facilities, leave travel concession, etc., will definitely increase employee morale.
Measure # 6. Keeping the Workers Well-Informed:
Communication of information to workers is sure to improve their morale. Bulletins containing news about the working of the company must be issued at regular intervals.
Measure # 7. Encouraging Creative Impulse:
Management should identify employees with creative talents and should find ample opportunity for their full development. Creation of conditions in which the employees will be able to show their superiority will boost their morale. Suggestions should be invited from them and suitably rewarded for those proving valuable and advantageous.
Measure # 8. Spirit of Workplace:
The look of the factory has its own effect on the workers. A leaky, dingy and dilapidated structure adversely affects employee morale. Provision of all physical facilities and a good office environment contribute a good deal too efficient turnout of work.
Measure # 9. Act of Management—Good Leadership:
What secures a good employee-employer relationship most is a positive response from management. The executive or the departmental head should sit together with the employees or staff and a friendly word from him will secure the willing cooperation of the workforce.
Measure # 10. Employee Counselling:
Under fear, workers may work vigorously but not enthusiastically. Threat of punishment does not insure more work turnout permanently. Management should take steps to replace fear with guidance. It should listen to their doubts and complaints and guide them in solving their problems at their work. Such counselling will raise the morale of the workers.
Measure # 11. Justice of Square Deal:
Management should not goad for profit-hunting alone. Workers are not mere nut and bolt in a machine. Adoption of a receptive attitude to worker’s grievances will heighten morale because a modern worker demands justice and fair deal.
Measure # 12. Pride of Job, Product and Company:
If the worker is made to realize that the product he is producing is useful, and the firm for which he is working is a good one, he will have a positive attitude towards his work. He will avoid wasting materials and will do his best to increase productivity. Fostering pride in the job is thus sure to create high morale.
Measure # 13. Installation of Grievance Procedure:
The use of informers or ‘labour spies’ will lower employee morale. Grievance procedures and face-to-face methods must be formulated. This will go a long way in resolving disputes without leaving any bitterness.
Measure # 14. Workers Participation in Management:
Participation of employees in management makes them feel that they are partners in the undertaking and this instills in them a sense of responsibility. Constitution of a joint consultation committee consisting of employees as well as management clears up any misunderstanding and paves the way for smooth, free and frank discussion of all outstanding issues. This undoubtedly is a great morale booster.
Employee Morale – Top 10 Administrative Measures for Raising Morale
On the basis of the factors of morale, the following administrative measures can prove conducive to the process of morale-building:
(i) Sound Wage Structure:
The management should make deliberate efforts to evolve a wage structure which will make satisfying to the workers from the pecuniary (financial) point of view. An ideal wage structure will provide for systematic procedure for the fixation of just wage rates for different categories and will provide incentives to encourage greater productivity and more regular attendance.
The management should consistently follow a personnel policy that will assure perfect security of income and employment to competent workmen. They should be confident that they will be promptly absorbed in an alternative job even if their services are no longer required for their present jobs.
Drucker gives the instance of the I.B.M. to show how a feeling of security can be created among the workers through wise personnel policy based on healthy precedents. If the worker is under a constant fear to losing his job, he cannot put his soul into his work and cannot work with a high morale.
(iii) Sound Promotion Policy:
By pursuing a sound promotion policy the management can create a feeling among its employees that the concern is on the look-out for ambitious and talented persons—be they young or old—in the existing staff for the purpose of promotion to superior position. This awareness of the opportunities for advancement available in the concern certainly heightens the morale of workers.
(iv) Installation of Grievances Procedure:
The management can hope to convince the employees of its impartiality and fairness through the establishment of a grievance procedure which can be made use of by an aggrieved party, whosoever he may be. The grievance procedure should provide for an internal Board of Appeal to attend to employees complaints against the decisions of the management.
(v) Inspiring Credos and Mottos for Workers:
The management can take a positive step towards boosting the morale by inspiring the workers through credos and mottos that give them a sense of importance. In some concerns, this purpose is achieved by organising exhibitions of products mainly with the object of giving the workers a feeling of importance and pride for having taken part in production of quality articles.
(vi) Keeping the Workers Well Informed:
The management must maintain the channels of communication through which information of interest to workers can be passed on to them. Some progressive Managements provide regular company information courses for this purpose. Bulletins containing the latest news about the working of the concern can also be of great use for this purpose. In India, the Tatas are reported to be making use of these methods at their works at Jamshedpur.
(vii) Employee Counselling:
The executives-in-charge of operating units should make it a point to sit together with the workers and exchange ideas with them as well as listen to their complaints and grievances. They should make it a practice to utilize such meetings to make suggestions and give guidance on any practical difficulties faced by the workers at their work.
(viii) Suggestion Schemes:
To give the workers a sense of recognition and a feeling of participation in the working of the concern, their suggestions should be invited and they should be suitably rewarded if they prove advantageous. Such schemes have been introduced by a number of undertakings in India.
(ix) Joint Consultation:
Joint committees consisting of the representatives of workers as well as employers should be set up to consider and make recommendations about matters which affect workers’ participation in the management of certain affairs of their undertaking.
(x) Delegation of Authority:
Delegation of authority to people at different levels in the organisation gives the employees a sense of importance, makes them responsible and raises their morale. On the other hand, too much centralization of authority cuts at the roots of morale. The classic case of Henry Ford has been cited at length by Peter Drucker to show how the Ford organisation came to the verge of a collapse due to the autocratic methods of Henry Ford and lack of proper delegation of authority to those working in the organisation. Later on, when Ford Jr. took over the organisation came to life due to the introduction of the principles of delegation.
It must be stated for clarification that the adoption of these measures will only pave the way to higher morale and will not build it overnight. The building up of morale is a very slow process, though it may be destroyed all too suddenly by even a slight indiscretion on the part of the management.
Employee Morale – Functions and Effects of High Morale among Executives and Supervisors
Morale is an invisible thing. It is not easy to define, control or measure the morale. It is a psychological phenomenon. It exercises a potent influence on the human relation climate in an organisation. It referred to esprit-de-corps a feeling of enthusiasm, zeal confidence among individuals or groups that they will be able to cope with the tasks assigned to them.
The manager’s executives supervisors are the live assets of an organisation. If their morale is high, it directly results in achievements of organisational goals, targets, higher productivity, efficiency, best or outstanding performance etc. The overall operational efficiency depends upon the level of efficiency of managers and executives.
Functions of Executives and Supervisors:
(1) Determining the objectives and goals, establishing the standards of work of workers, groups, units, divisions, sections or departments.
(2) Proper defining the task or work to be performed by subordinates.
(3) Accurate interpretation of company’s plans, policies, programmes objectives and goals.
(4) Introduction of latest modern methods, procedures and techniques of work performance.
(5) Strictly following the rules and regulations.
(6) Adequate and proper evaluation of performance of the employees.
(7) Fair and equitable distribution of work among individuals and groups on individuals.
(8) Observing code of discipline and maintaining decorum.
(9) Decentralisation of authority or delegation of authority and fixing responsibilities of the subordinates.
(10) Developing communication network and thereby securing team work and spirit harmony etc.
(11) Maintaining a high level of morale is one of the important responsibilities of executives and supervisors.
The executives and supervisors are required to adopt skills such as technical, decision making, analytical, conceptual, communication, human relation maintenance of discipline, for performing the above mentioned functions.
Effects of High Morale among Executives and Supervisors:
1) Sound and healthy industrial relation.
2) Effective supervision and control over subordinates.
3) High level of overall managerial efficiency.
4) Higher and improved productivity.
5) Timely achieving the targets, objectives, goals etc.
6) Happy and satisfied employees.
7) Able to keep the organisation dynamic.
8) Improved adaptability (to change)
9) Elimination or minimisation of all the waste.
10) Democratic environment.
It is very true that high morale of the executives as well as supervisors ensures higher level of productivity, efficiency and ultimately survival of business organisations.
Employee Morale – 7 Suggestions to Improve Morale
Morale building is very important for an organization. The manager should constantly make efforts to improve the morale of employees. Although it may be done either on individual basis or on group basis, the latter is always preferable. This is because the management can easily influence the group morale by understanding the group dynamics, which in turn, can automatically achieving the individual morale.
Following suggestions can help in improving the morale of employees:
1. Two Way Communication:
There should be proper communication between management and employees. All policies and programmes should be explained to the employees through downward communication. The feelings, reactions of the employees should regularly reach management in an upward communication.
The feed-back from employees will help the management in required changes in policies etc. Two-way communication will help in improving the morale of employees.
2. Proper Incentive System:
There should be proper system for monetary and non-monetary benefits for the employees. The employees showing better performances should automatically be given incentives. There should be proper promotional awareness for employees who can undertake higher responsibilities.
3. Human Relations Approach:
This approach suggests that employees should be treated as human beings. Their feelings and emotions should be given due weightage. There should not be any discrimination among employees and groups. The contribution of every employee to the organization should be recognised and adequate incentives and rewards should be offered for higher performance.
4. Welfare Schemes:
There should be proper welfare schemes for the employees and their families. There should be housing facilities, medical facilities, schools for the children, recreation facilities, social security etc. All these measures will develop positive attitudes in employees, such schemes will also show managements concern for the employee’s welfare.
5. Participation in Management:
Workers should be made a part of management by opting them in decision making bodies. It will encourage industrial democracy in the organization. The periodical consultation with workers for making any changes will help in proper implementation. The workers will be able to understand the viewpoint of the management on important decisions concerning the workers.
Once workers are associated with decision making then they will feel it as their responsibility to help in implementating them. Such a step will enhance the prestige of workers and their morale will improve.
6. Improve Workers Training:
The workers should be given proper training so that their performance on job is better. This will give satisfaction and pleasure for working on their jobs. If a workers is not suitable for a job or he is deficient in working on a job then it will bring frustration and tension to him. So better training helps in improving morale of employees.
7. Job Enrichment:
Job enrichment involves the use of those factors which are intended to motivate the workers. The job performance should give satisfaction to the workers. The basic purpose is to reduce job discontentment by changing or improving a job to ensure that the worker is better motivated. Job enrichment opens opportunities for greater recognition, growth, advancement and responsibility.
There are some scales on which we can measure employee’s morale:
i. The supervisor/executive’s impressions
ii. The guided interview
iii. The unguided interview
iv. A combination of the guided and unguided interview
v. An analysis of company records
vi. The listening-in process
vii. The questionnaire
viii. A combination of any of the foregoing methods.
Morale can be improved in a specific organization and in a specific environment:
i. Creation of whole jobs
ii. Job enrichment
iii. Building responsibility into a job
iv. Modifying the work environment
v. Flexing working hours
vii. Rotation of jobs
These are the perception on which we can develop a strong feeling for the morale in a person to do that.
Employee Morale – Benefits of High Morale
1. Encourages Teamwork:
Employees having high morale work better as a team. They are committed to their jobs, feel belongingness towards the organization and are enthusiastic about achieving the organizational goals by cooperating with each other within a work team.
2. Builds Harmonious Relations among Employees:
When employee morale is high, the individual employee adopts a more positive attitude towards his co-workers. The overall behaviour of the employees is cordial as each one is happy with his own job. There is less scope for aggressiveness or negativity and as such a friendly atmosphere prevails.
3. Retaining Valuable Employees:
Employee turnover is one of the biggest problems that organizations face today. Companies with high morale are more successful in retaining their talented employees. Employees in such organizations have higher level of job satisfaction and more loyalty towards the organization. They feel motivated and appreciated for their work and are therefore likely to stay with the same enterprise.
4. Better Employer-Employee Relations:
Mutual respect and understanding are common features of organizations having high morale. When employees are treated with respect and are made to feel as valuable members of the organizations, they tend to carry forward this behaviour with their own subordinates and customers. Thus, good relations are maintained between all the parties involved.
Employees with high morale like their jobs and always co-operate to achieve organisational goals. It comes from job satisfaction. High morale is indeed a manifestation of the strength of the employees, their dependability, confidence and devotion to the job.
Existence of high level of morale benefits the organisation in following ways:
(1) The employees extend co-operation in achieving the goals of organisation that too willingly.
(2) High morale generates loyalty towards the organisation through leaderships.
(3) Employees follow the rules and regulations and thus behave in disciplined way.
(4) It generates high interest in the employees towards the jobs and ultimately towards organisation.
(5) The employees feel pride to be the part of organisation.
(6) Rate of absenteeism is reduced and turnover is increased.