Employee of the Month After watching “Employee of the Month,” it was clear to see that there were two main issues. These issues were motivation and ethics and they both came up throughout the entire movie. It was almost immediately shown that moviation was an issue at the Super Club (where they all work) with almost all of the employees, each seemingly being motivated in a different manor.
Since the main protagonist of the movie was Zack (played by Dane Cook), an in-depth look at how his motivation changes throughout the movie would be a great comparison to the real life problems of motivation that employers face. The best way to understand Zack’s styles of motivation would be to look at them through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s hierarchy states that people have five basic types of needs: physiological, security, affiliation, esteem, and self-actualization.
Through the accomplishment of these, a person would be able to work their way up the hierarchy and eventually come to the point at which they are maximizing their personal achievement with self-actualization. When looking at how this applies to Zack, it is clear that he was not at the top of the hierarchy at the beginning of this movie, and it is only through many different events and realizations that he begins to achieve what he is personally capable of.
As the movie starts, Zack seems to be somewhere between the stages of affiliation and esteem. It seems that he is finding the physiological, security, and most likely also the affiliation needs all achieved, but that is where it seems to stop. The physiological needs, which include basic survival needs such as food, water, air, and shelter, are all being provided as he has a home to go to and seems to be fairly well nourished throughout the film. The next stage, the security needs, also seem to be satisfied.
Being able to live with his grandmother and not engaging in any kind of dangerous activities seems to prevent him from being in danger of any pain or life-threatening situations. This leads him to the affiliation stage, which seems to be the last stage of the hierarchy that he has satisfied at the beginning of the movie. Affiliation needs are those that involve being loved, and having friendship, both of which Zack seem to have. Again, living with his grandmother seems to fulfill the part of being loved, as they have a very good relationship.
Along with that, his close group of friends at work seem to fulfill the part of having friendship, as he is seen constantly talking to them and hanging out with them. However, this seems to be the extent of what he has fulfilled at the start of this film. The next stage in the hierarchy is the esteem stage. Esteem focuses on respect, recognition from others, and feelings of self-worth. It seems apparent that other that his close friends, there aren’t many people that truly recognize Zack and probably even less that actually have respect for him.
Therefore, though it seems that he is content with his position at the beginning, he is not actually happy about where he is at and doesn’t have the feelings of self-worth that come with achieving the esteem stage of the hierarchy. This, however, soon begins to change with the arrival of a new cashier, Amy. When she transfers to the store, Zack suddenly has a reason to achieve a higher stage, both with a challenge against the lead cashier (Vince) and also challenging himself that he can become the employee of the month.
During this competition with Vince, Zack begins to focus more on being recognized by others for the work that he does, begins to be respected by both his peers and his supervisors, and finally starts to have a sense of self-worth because he is able to compete with the reigning 17 time employee of the month. This is probably the longest stage throughout the movie, leading to many changes in both his behavior and his relationships with his friends and his enemies. The final stage of Maslow’s hierarchy is the self-actualization.
Though it is a long time coming for Zack in the film, he eventually reaches this stage by losing everything that he has. It is towards the climax of the movie that everything seemingly falls apart for the main protagonist, and it is only after he apparently loses all that he has been working for that he realizes that he shouldn’t be working just to impress others, but instead take pride in the work he does and do the best he can simply for himself. When he reaches this stage, he is able to focus on what he must do and eventually makes right everything that had previously gone wrong.
He discovers the fact that trying to please everyone around him will only end up stretching him too thin, and the only way to truly achieve his own maximum personal achievement is to take pride in his work. Throughout the movie, it is possible to see the different stages of Maslow’s hierarchy and what kind of characteristics come with being in a certain stage. When only worrying about the lower levels of the hierarchy, it is easily possible to simply become complacent with your job and lack the motivation to achieve your personal best.
It is only when you can become proud of your work and strive to achieve the very best that you personally can that the achievement of self-actualization is possible. Not only are employees motivated by their own needs, but they are also motivated by different techniques that employers use. In the movie, it appears that they are partially relying on the goal-setting theory. This theory assumes that the mere existence of a goal is motivating. One of the techniques the managers apply is a gold star sticker every day for the person that shows the most dedication and hard work.
Then at the end of the month the stars are counted up and the one with the most is the employee of the month. In order for this theory to work, however, there are some principles that must be met: 1) Set clear and specific goals, 2) Assign difficult but achievable goals, 3) Increase employee acceptance of goals, 4) Provide incentives to achieve goals, and 5) Give feedback on goal attainment. The first principle is met in this instance. The employees are aware of what they need to do to attain a gold sticker, and that they need the most stickers to achieve the goal of employee of the month.
The second principle is met as well. The goal is difficult in that you have to be better than everyone for most of the month, but there is always a winner every month so it is obviously achievable. The managers may need to work on the third principle, though. Not all the employees, like Zack in the beginning, accept the goal or think they are worth achieving. The managers could potentially involve employees in the goal-setting process to make them more accepting of the goals.
There may not be any monetary incentives for the employee of the month, but there is a higher status associated with the title. This fact means that the fourth principle is being met. When someone is made employee of the month, they receive the intangible incentive of being recognized by their co-workers and managers as being worthy and a hard worker. There is also feedback given on achieving the goal of employee of the month. In the movie, there is a banquet and a car that was going to be in Vince’s honor for being employee of the month for 18 months in a row.
One of the managers from corporate comes to the store to give recognition, also. Reinforcement theory is also apparent in the movie. The gold sticker method is an example of operant conditioning under this theory. Operant conditioning proposes that if a pleasurable consequence follows a behavior, the behavior will continue. When an employee displays good behavior or is an outstanding employee, they receive a gold star. This encourages employees to continue to get gold stars and continue their behavior so that they can eventually become employee of the month.
Operant conditioning is also apparent in how they deal with bad behavior. The managers use extinction for this. Instead of punishing employees for unwanted behavior, they ignore it. Zack never was really punished for not being his best, he was just ignored. But Vince was the center of attention because of his good behavior. Although there were many factors involved, ignoring Zack did help stop his bad behaviors, like being late and slacking off. The most popular approach to designing work for increased motivation in the U. S. is the job characteristics model.
The core characteristics are: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. These are all things that increase an employee’s psychological motivation because they feel their job is meaningful. Not all people, however, like jobs with enriched job characteristics. Zack at the beginning of the movie is a prime example of this. He is only working for the extrinsic values, like a paycheck. He wasn’t concerned with doing extra or with getting anything extra out of his job. Another big issue that was prominent throughout the entire movie was ethics.
There are many examples of common ethical situations that were broken and there was not much done to stop all the nonsense that went on during the workdays at Super Club. In our textbook it states that “Usually, procedures and policies in a company regarding social responsibility reflect the ethical values and decisions of the top management team. ” Now the top management team in the movie seemed out place and not really caring what went on with the employees. They were more worried about other things going on in the store and outside the store.
So while the managers worried about other activities going on most of the employees just goofed off most of the day and made work seem more like a hang out than actual work. Everything the employees did during the movie made it funny, but in all reality most of the employees would have been fired for what they have done. There were three main managers in the movie: Glen Gary (store manager), Dirk (Assistant Manager), and Glen Ross (CEO). Glen Gary and Dirk most of the time were walking around with a check board looking for good things that were happening and figuring out who they could give the gold star to that day.
They were only aware of the good things going on in the store and were really missing out on what the employees really did at work. Glen Gary was more worried about impressing corporate and making his older brother Glen Ross happy and keeping him out of their store. Dirk was just there doing the same things as Glen Gary and was sucked into his management style. It seemed that their store was performing exceptionally well under the circumstances of the management style and the work ethic of some of the employees, but they probably could be doing a better job than what was really going on.
Ethics was something never talked about in the movie, and one can clearly see that the managers were not concerned with the ethical dilemmas of the store. In our textbook it has a section in Chapter 4 named “Ethical Philosophy”. There are two traditional views discuss under this topic in the chapter. The first view is teleological ethical theories, which is the morality of an act or practice that comes from its consequences. There are several different examples throughout the movie that prove this theory correct.
One example is in one of the opening scenes where a young boy wants a remote control truck, but his mom tells him no and that it is too expensive for them to buy. Zack overhears this conversation as he casually rolls by and cuts the box open and states that there is now a 40 percent discount on the box because it is open. Although it is not in the best interest of the store to sell it a low, discounted price, Zack is just being himself and trying to help the boy out in getting the new toy.
The consequences of this act could be brutal for Zack or nothing could happen to him. If he gets caught on surveillance or another employee reports him, he could very easily be fired or put on some sort of probation for disobeying store policies. On the other hand if Zack does not get caught he will continue to do this for other customers and therefore lower the stores income. The people that Zack is giving the discounts to are going to think that he is very nice for doing that or may question the ethics of the store. So their response may either be a good or bad as well.
They can either return to the store and expect to receive the same treatment with a good deal or someone will cut a package open for them again. The good outcomes would be like utilitarianism. Cutting a box open for a customer, to lower the price of the product, is crucial to Zack, because he wants to make customers happy. The bad outcome would be that the customer would not come back to the store because they were offended by the act that Zack committed. There are many different ways one can analyze the situation, but the consequences can be good for some and bad for others and vice versa.
This is when the deontological theory comes into play. The theory focuses on actions that have a good or bad morality regardless of their outcomes. One should simply follow their companies ethic guidelines, even if that means that the customers you are working with aren’t happy. In the end, motivation and ethics played a big role in the film, “Employee of the Month. ” Having motivation and having there be ethics in a workplace, is a big part in most companies today. Without these the company would most likely fail.