Monday, January 14, 2013

The Influence of Motivation on Journalists’ Productivity


Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. This study was focused on the influence of motivation on journalists’ productivity. Different theories of motivation were reviewed and the key concepts of the research were discussed.

A survey was carried out on journalists at the Nation newspaper and the Vanguard newspaper to research on the motivating factors that influenced their productivity. The primary interest of the researcher was the staff members who work in the editorial department in both media organizations.

The findings from the study revealed that while some journalists are motivated by money, others are motivated by a need for personal achievement and appreciation for a job well done.

It is important for media managers to know how to meet the unique needs of each journalist without assuming one approach of motivating one group of journalists will work for all.

Journalism can be described as the art of earning one’s living by writing for the print (or electronic) media. Those who contribute occasional articles to newspapers are not journalists (Daramola, 2003).
The basic role of journalists in a typical print media organization is to report news worthy events by gathering, processing and disseminating stories through a newspaper or magazine publication.

According to Daramola ibid, Journalists can use the media to destroy and build. They can moderate society or restrain it. This is more so because of its primary responsibility to inform, entertain, educate, influence and mobilize the public and foster development of the nation’s economy through advertising.

Giles (1991) states, “Journalists view themselves as creative people whose work requires critical judgement, a strong sense of events and the ability to act quickly.” Thus, to maximize their skills and ensure maximum productivity and high job performance, the right motivation needs to be provided by media managers.

Background of Study 
To set the pace of this study, it is necessary to define the subject of discourse in order to understand the basis of their relevance to the research. 

Motivation The word “motivation” was coined from the Latin word “movere,” which means to move. Motivation is a force that spurs people to apply for a job in a media organization as journalists, work hard to deliver news reports before deadline and compete to retain a higher position within the organization. To reiterate the relevance of motivation, Sharma (2006) describes it as the life-blood of an organization. There are different theories of motivation. These include Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s Two-Factor’s Theory, McClelland’s Achievement Motivation Theory, Expectation Theory of Motivation etc.

Journalist’s Productivity
The productivity level of journalists is measured by his or her job performance. Shadare and Hammed (2009) quoting Grequras (1996) describes job performance as the extent to which an organisational member contributes to achieving the objectives of the organization.

The level of performance of employees relies not only on their actual skills but also on the level of motivation each person exhibits (Shadare and Hammed, 2009). This implies that a skilled journalist can underperform or show lack of productivity if not well motivated. Berry (1998) states that being motivated to perform is distinct from learning how to perform.

However, Giles (ibid) argues that the concept of productivity in the newsroom is vague. According to him, it is impossible to define or measure productivity for most newspaper jobs. “Is increased productivity more stories? Or longer stories? Or fewer errors? We can count the number of stories or the number of bylines, but that is not a true measure of a reporter’s productivity.”

There is a need for media organizations to understand the basic motivational process identified by Giles (ibid), which enhances the management function in the organization and also help media managers know what contributes to a journalists productivity or causes lack of productivity.

The four components of the motivation process are (1) The need (2) The goal (3) The behaviour or action towards the goal and (4) The feedback. Motivation is like a stimulant that causes a journalist to pursue his news sources and gather relevant news for dissemination.

Journalist Motivation According to Nwaeze (2009), there are different ways to motivate a journalist. This could include money, insurance, remuneration, vacation oversea, granting sick leave with salary, granting of sabbatical leave, reducing the hours that journalists are expected to work, giving journalists equipment that enhances the job.

These different incentives when employed effectively will ensure that journalists are more satisfied and committed to their jobs to increase productivity. 

Work motivation was stimulated mainly by the famous Hawthorne studies (Lin, 2007). However, the idea that happy workers are productive workers first became popular in the 1940s. To boost employee morale, management implemented innovative techniques such as participative management, loose supervision, better communication and employee counselling.

As researchers built on the findings in the late 1950s and early 1960s, some weaknesses were exposed. New evidences showed that the initial conclusions drawn from the Hawthorne studies that stated that work productivity increased due to high morale of employees are not accurate. It was easy to find an unproductive employee with high morale as well as an unhappy employee who is highly productive (Giles ibid).

The dynamic nature of journalism requires media managers to employ people of different orientation and skills. A one-size-fits-all motivation approach will not work for journalists, as each have different needs, goals and experiences.

This study seeks to investigate the factors that influence journalists’ productivity in a Nigerian media organisation using the Nation newspaper and The Vanguard newspaper as a case study.

Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to determine the motivational factors that influence journalists. This study will examine those motivational factors identified by Nwaeze (2009).

This study is also seeks to comprehensively evaluate links between media organization management and Journalists’ productivity.

The findings from this research will enable media managers understand the need to motivate journalists in order to not only increase their job performance but also increase the organization’s competitive advantage in the industry. Recommendations will be made based on findings of the study.

Statement of Problem
In a democratic society, Journalism is indispensable (Daramola, 2003). Journalists play an important role of fostering a free and responsible society. Despite the relevance of the profession, journalism is not providing much succour for people in terms of financial satisfaction (Nwaeze, 2009).

Some employers in Nigeria do not believe much in effective motivation of workers to produce high performance. They believe that even if workers are not properly motivated, they will stay on the job as a result of the high unemployment rate in the labour market (Shadare and Hammed. 2009).

The following prepositions will be tested in the research:

P1: The media management’s leadership style affects journalists’ productivity.

P2: Employees in different news desk are influenced by the same motivational factors.

P3: Organizational communication plays a crucial role in motivating employees.

Significance of study
1. The study will examine the relevance of motivation in boosting journalists’ productivity
2. The study will investigate the leadership and organizational communication system of a typical media organization in enhancing Journalist motivation and performance.
3. The study will serve as a guide and reference for future researchers or as a resource to media managers
4. The findings and recommendations will serve to improve the way journalists are motivated on the job.

Scope and limitation of study 
This research focuses on the Nation newspaper and the Vanguard newspaper. All investigations are restricted to these two media organizations, which might not be a full representation of other media organizations in Nigeria. The time constraint of three months dedicated to the study may limit the researcher in further investigation.

Research Questions
The questions the research seeks to answer include:
1. To what extent does wage/salary motivate journalists?
2. Does domineering leadership style affect journalists’ productivity?
3. Does the organizational communication system affect a journalist’s productivity?
4. Are Journalists willing to stay longer in an organization based on the organizational goals or are they driven by personal interest?
5. Will a journalist choose an environment that produces high morale to increase productivity over a more challenging job opportunity?

Operational Definitions
Journalism: The activity or profession of writing for newspaper or magazines.
Journalist: A person who writes for newspapers or magazines.
Employee: A person employed for wages or salary.
Managers: A person responsible for controlling or administering a company
Motivation: The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
Productivity: The effectiveness of a productive effort
Theory: A system of ideas intended to explain something
Influence: The capacity to have an effect on a character or person
Leadership: The action of leading a group of people or an organization
Communication: The imparting or exchanging of information
Organization: An organized body of people with a particular purpose
Summary, Conclusion & Recommendation 
 Research Summary 
The level of performance of employees relies not only on their actual skills but also on the level of motivation each person exhibits. This study was focused on the influence of motivation on journalists’ productivity. A survey was carried out on journalists at the Nation newspaper and the Vanguard newspapers to research on the correlation between media organization management and journalists’ productivity as well as the independent variables that influenced their motivation.

The total number of the journalists who participated in this research was 80, out of which 55 were male while 25 were female. This reveals that men dominate newsrooms in the print media. Although the respondents were between the age of 20years to 51years above, the age frequency showed that older journalists between 31 years to 50 years are still active in service. The implication of this is that young people are not motivated to stay in the newsroom.

The least amount of salary the respondents earned was below N20,000 after tax while the highest was above N100,000. But majority of the respondents, 40% of them, earned between N41,000 to N80,000. Out of these salary earners, 50% were married. This means that majority of them had dependants. The respondents, about 41% stated that money is a motivating factor for them. This means that if they are not well paid, their level of motivation is affected.

Meanwhile, majority of the respondents had a university degree and covered different editorial desk at their respective media organizations. They stated that the need for personal achievement, growth and promotion at work are factors that influence their motivation.

Clear communication and good leadership structure as well as good working environment and resource tools were also strong motivating factors that influenced journalists. However, a commitment to public service/social good, need for public recognition and appreciation for a job well done were also identified as factors that influenced journalists. 

Journalists play important role in the society. To ensure that the vision and objectives of the media organization they work for are met, media managers should keep journalists motivated.

The dynamic nature of journalism requires media managers to employ people of different orientation and skills. Different theorists have provided different approaches to motivate them. It is important for media managers to know the different approaches to use, as there is no one-size-fit-all approach.

To increase journalists’ productivity, and ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the industry, media managers must make an effort to continually know the dynamic nature of their staff as well as industry. Acquiring competent managerial skills through trainings is imperative. Journalists also must make an effort to be self-motivated and induce increase in their productivity.

Media managers and Journalists should take the motivation factors examined in this study into consideration.

Media organizations should pay good salary to their staff and also provide other benefits such as insurance, training opportunities, vacation overseas, granting sick leave with salary, granting of sabbatical leave etc. in order to keep their staff motivated. When Journalists are motivated their productivity level increases through better job performance and thus contribute more to the achievement of the organization’s vision and objectives.

In addition, it is imperative for journalists to be self-motivated. This they can through by identifying training opportunities and enrolling in order to satisfy their need for personal achievement. The more trained they are, the better their work performance that will ensure better chances of growth and promotion at work.

Media managers must ensure that they communicate the goals and expectations of their organization clearly to journalist. They should also provide good working environment as well as work tools that will make work easy for journalists. It is also important for them to always appreciate their staff for a job well done. These have been identified as factors that keep Journalists highly motivated through consistent work-place appraisal.

This study has shown that there is a correlation between media management and journalists’ motivation. It has also shown that while some journalists are motivated by money, others are motivated by a need for personal achievement and appreciation for a job well done. It is important for media managers to know how to meet the unique needs of each journalist without assuming one approach of motivating one group of journalists will work for all.

This study has however not exhausted all the issues relating to journalists and motivation theory. The following are recommended for further study:

¨ The different motivators that influence journalists in both print and broadcast media.

¨ A comparative study in factors that influence young journalists and older journalists.

¨ How organization culture can be a factor that motivate journalists

¨ Differences in motivation levels of freelance journalists and full time journalists. The influence of technology innovations in media industry and Journalists’ motivation.

This is an abridged version of a research on "The Influence of Motivation on Journalists’ Productivity."