#3: Key to Motivation Management during Organizational Turnaround

January 24th, 2023 [No. 105 – 2023]

Norihiko Takeuchi
Graduate School of Business and Finance, 
Waseda University, Japan

#3: Key to Motivation Management during Organizational Turnaround

In the previous article in this series, I dealt with the case of the President (Mr. Hoshino) of Hoshino Resort regarding the turnaround of his ryokan (Japanese-style inn). The case illustrates the key points of effective motivation management during organizational turnaround. In particular, I believe that the keys in this case were (1) shared sense of organizational direction and beliefs   and (2) *employee participation.

(2) Employee Participation

Another important key to increasing motivation is “employee participation.” In the case of the revitalization of the former Izumisou, Mr. Hoshino consistently involved his employees in the process of creating the Ryokan’s concept, presentation of the concept, and the subsequent process of devising customer services. In other words, he took the stance that “employees,” rather than the president, should play the leading role in the management of the company.

The most important point in this case is that Mr. Hoshino not only used scientific methods, such as customer survey data, to derive evidence for the initial concept, but also created opportunities for employees to think and share their ideas, and to give them a sense that they have all come to a single concept together. The former is the “technical” aspect of the project, and the latter is the “human mind” aspect. The technical part of the former is the behavior as a “manager,” and the psychological part of the latter is the behavior as a “leader.”

In fact, the goal-setting theory mentioned earlier has one important assumption. That is, it is very important that the goal be “accepted” by the individual. In other words, specific and somewhat difficult goals motivate people only if the goals are psychologically accepted by individuals. It is said that one key strategy to create this psychologically accepted state (i.e., a state of “getting it right”) is to involve the people (i.e., the employees) involved in the decision-making process. In other words, in this case, Mr. Hoshino’s attempt to involve employees in the new organizational concept creation process provided the groundwork for employees to accept the concept as “our” goals and concepts, rather than “the president’s” goals and concepts.

Today, when speed is demanded in management, such a “process of unraveling people’s hearts and minds” is often neglected. However, there are many companies that have neglected or omitted this process, and as a result, have faced HR and organizational problems as a result of rough and rampant organizational reforms. In this age of agility, it is necessary for organizational leaders to determine where time should be spent and where it should not. Definitely, leaders should allocate the necessary time on the process of changing employees’ mindset from one that is aligned with the norms of the past to one that is aligned with the norms of the new organization.