Motivation can be defined as the act of encouraging someone to behave in a certain way. Manipulation,however,is to influence someone to act in a certain way in order to gain something from him or her. Control on the other hand,is to have influence over someone else. Managers are interested in motivation so that they can get the most output from their employees.
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There is a thin line between motivation and manipulation. A manager willing to motivate employees will create the right environment within the workplace to encourage them to achieve their potential. A manager who manipulates employees,will tell them what they should do and convince them about how right his decision is instead of letting them choose to do it on their own. This is manipulation because it is wrong to make someone do something they do not want to do. No one has the right to control others (Mugisho 34-35).
Some experts believe that employers who give expensive gifts to employees as a means of encouraging them,take a wrong approach since the best motivators actually cost nothing. These can include a pat in the back,praise for good work done,great learning opportunities and autonomy in carrying out their duties (Salacuse 53-54).
Managers need to know that they may manipulate employees but the benefits are temporary,most of the time. Sooner or later,employees will resent being forced to do something they do not want to do and this could prove to be detrimental to the organization or company.
In conclusion,managers should motivate employees to do what they want but leave it at that since further coercion will border on manipulation which may be detrimental to the organization. After all,the best motivational means cost very little or nothing at all.
Mugisho, Raha, The power inside you. New York: Author House, 2007.
Salacuse, Jeswald W. , Leading Leaders: How to manage smart, talented, rich, and powerful
people. Washington: AMA COM div American management Association, 2005.