Topic 4: Supervising, Training, and Teaching Employees


Topic 4 provides scenarios where students can learn how motivational theories play a role in the development of employees. There are many motivational theories that play a role in supervising, training, and teaching employees. Understanding how to influence employees’ motivation is central to building successful relationships with employees for organizational success.

Scenario 1: Motivation Case Study

David was promoted to the position of Training Manager last week. His first project is to motivate the customer service representatives to provide better customer service despite the loss of three of their co-workers. The volume of work has not decreased, and no new employees will be hired. There will also not be any pay increases. Donna is the customer service supervisor, and it is her job to distribute the workload among the remaining 20 employees.

Donna has contacted David and requested cross-training of her employees as a motivational tool. She is hoping that the knowledge of new skills will be a motivation to the remaining employees so that they can obtain enhanced knowledge and skills for possible future promotions.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what way(s) can David motivate the customer service employees to learn new knowledge and skills?
  2. In what way(s) can Donna motivate the customer service employees to apply the knowledge and skills obtained during training?
  3. What key motivational theories are applicable to this case and why?

Scenario 2: Late to and Absent from Work

Monica started working at ABC Corporation five years ago. Monica recently married and now has an infant. Monica recently returned tow work after her pregnancy leave. Monica’s supervisor knows that she was previously an excellent worker; however, Monica has been late for work two times already and has also missed two days. If Monica is late or absent one more time, the supervisor will have no choice but to terminate her. The company policy must be followed and Monica signed the employee handbook  agreeing to follow all policies.

Discussion Questions

  1. Is there anything the supervisor can do to assist Monica? If so, what?
  2. Should the ABC Corporation make changes to its late and/or sick policies?

Scenario 3: Performance-based Pay and Age

Marcus has been a team leader of his work group since he was 35-years old. He truly enjoys the leadership role, but now that he is 55-years old, his organization has decided to institute a performance-based pay system. Despite his documented, stellar performance, he is now required to attend mandatory classroom training. Marcus does not know how to read or write. He only attended school until 3rd grade.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What will you do to ensure Marcus completes the required trainings?
  2. Will you allow Marcus to continue to be a team leader? Why?
  3. How do you counsel Michael without discriminating against him because of his age?


Supplemental Readings

Badura, K. L., Grijalva, E., Galvin, B. M., Owens, B. P., & Joseph, D. L. (2020). Motivation to lead: A meta-analysis and distal-proximal model of motivation and leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology105(4), 331-354.

Douglas, C. A., & McCauley, C. D. (1999). Formal developmental relationships: A survey of organizational practices. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 10(3), 203-220.

Eccles, J. S., & Wigfield, A. (2020). From expectancy-value theory to situated expectancy-value theory: A developmental, social cognitive, and sociocultural perspective on motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 101859.

Geen, R. G., & Gange, J. J. (1977). Drive theory of social facilitation: Twelve years of theory and research. Psychological Bulletin84(6), 1267-1288.

Locke, E. A. (1968). Toward a theory of task motivation and incentives. Organizational  Behavior and Human Performance3(2), 157-189.

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (1990). A theory of goal setting & task performance. Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist57, 705-717.

Porter, L. W., & Lawler, E. E. (1968). Managerial attitudes and performance. Richard D. Irwin, Inc.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2020). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation from a self-determination theory perspective: Definitions, theory, practices, and future directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 101860.

Schunk, D. H., & DiBenedetto, M. K. (2020). Motivation and social cognitive theory. Contemporary Educational Psychology60, 101832.

Taylor, J. A. (1956). Drive theory and manifest anxiety. Psychological Bulletin53(4), 303-320.

Van Vianen, A. E., Rosenauer, D., Homan, A. C., Horstmeier, C. A., & Voelpel, S. C. (2018). Career mentoring in context: A multilevel study on differentiated career mentoring and career mentoring climate. Human Resource Management, 57(2), 583-599.

Vroom, V. H. (1995). Work and motivation. Jossey-Bass.

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