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There are numeorus motivation techniques available to employers, and one of such techniques is offering employees an option of four days working week. In the area of work motivation there are numerous empirical findings in support of theoretical and methodological advances in applied research. Moreover, substantial technological developments have been made in the last years. Today we know much more about the effectiveness of motivation techniques, for example, how to change the motivating potential in organizations in order to make work more interesting and effective. Hackman and Oldham have contributed substantially to this knowledge and progress through their Job Characteristics Model. (Ward 1997) J. Algera has reviewed important studies on this model and has summarized their findings. He explains which parts of the model are valid and supported by empirical evidence and where further investments are needed. This report shows possible practical applications of the four days working week when designing motivation principles in organizations.
Further motivation techniques can be derived from looking at the goal setting model in the context of achievement behavior. The field study of Kleinbeck and Schmidt done in a manufacturing department of an electronics company demonstrates that employees are much better in organizing the working hours when they can use a computer system that provides them with a feedback on their actual performance level with reference to the production goals. (Kohn et al 1993) Beyond the evidence of an improved work situation the study shows a decrease in psychological stress and strain as a consequence of motivation techniques.
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Pritchard also uses the concepts of goal-setting and feedback as a basis for his approach. He shows that the measurement of production indices with regard to concrete goals and specific kinds of financial incentives goes along with a substantial increase in effectiveness as well as an increase in productivity. (Kohn et al 1993) The development and application of motivation techniques needs good managers. Graen has pointed this out in his contribution. He has developed a dyadic role concept of management getting support from findings in social psychology. This model of planning productive management systems outlines how such a system can be developed and how it can be used to increase productivity. (Kohn et al 1993)
In the recent studies concerning the competitive situation between the JCM and the SIP approach, some authors advocate an integration of these two approaches. The results of the research provide more support for an integrated viewpoint than for either of the other models (Ward 1997). For example, Vance and Biddle found very interesting results on the interaction of social cues and experience with the "objective" cues by exposure to the task. One interpretation of their results is that the timing of social cues and objective cues might be important. In their study social cues were effective only when they occurred before the subject had a chance to acquire many objective cues. They conclude that job attitudes are formed based on both direct experience with objective characteristics and social information. (Ward 1997)
In general, one finds rather strong relationships between job characteristics (including the working hours and ability to be flexible in selecting one’s working hours) and personal outcomes (e.g., satisfaction), but the correlations between job characteristics and behavioral outcomes (e.g., performance) are much lower. Further, it turns out that specific outcomes are tied to specific job characteristics (Kohn et al 1993). This would imply that if one has specific organizational outcomes in mind interventions based on specific job characteristics should be considered. Aiming for more general effects, the researchers state that job feedback is the job characteristic that is most promising. This is the case, because job feedback is associated with all the personal and behavioral outcome variables investigated in their meta-analysis study (overall job satisfaction, growth satisfaction, internal work motivation, job performance, absenteeism).