I have been bothered by the fuss made about the Employment Relations Act and the Employment Contracts Act for some time. For some it is almost paranoia. Really neither system should work when we look at the development of mankind.

We moved from our prehistoric days from being an individual striving to survive, to living in loose bands of hunter gathers. Our next progression was groups of families, which became tribes then finally amalgamation of tribes into communities.

The ECA tried at best to return us to loose bands or in the worst case individuals. The ERA is persuading us to start talking with, but not living as communities.

The flaw in all of this is that neither takes account of the human behaviour that drives our work function. There are essentially two theories that underpin workers satisfaction with the job and the company.
Expectancy and Equity Theories

These well researched behavioural theories identify the behavioural aspects of individuals and no employment contract or agreement will ever be able to change this behaviour.

In short the two theories have this effect in the workplace.

worker one feels that their contract or pay is lesser than worker two then we have inequity. Worker one and worker two will both expect to get rewarded commensurate with the effort that they put into the job. (Expectancy theory)
If W
orker one and two are doing the same job then we have a problem. This is where Equity theory takes effect. Worker one will look at Worker twos' work rate and reduce their effort to match what they perceive to be the value of their effort. Worker two will also look at the effort of worker one and reduce their effort to match. This can be the start of a downward spiral. The best we can get in this scenario is compliance and I'm sure that is not what I want in a worker.

I want enthusiasm and some one who can offer creativity and advancement to my company. 

Peter Drucker cracked it by saying that we know little about motivating employees but plenty about demotivating.

Consider the effect of these two theories in your workplace.

Murray Dixon
Dip Bus St

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