Nordstrom Motivation Analysis

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The expectancy model of motivation can be used to analyze certain behaviors that led to Nordstrom’s successes and failures during its rapid growth period between the 1960s and 1980s. The expectancy model contains three main pillars to evaluate the level of motivation in a situation: effort, performance, and outcome. An individual’s motivation is highest when each of these is clearly defined and tightly linked together in the person’s mind. Nordstrom made several mistakes in motivating their employees, which cost them in the long run.
The goals of Nordstrom’s executive team were rapid growth, profit, and unmatched customer service. Motivating new salespeople in Nordstrom department stores was essential for the company’s success. To do this,
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New employees, such as Lori Lucas, realized that management in some branches purposely kept employees from tracking time spent on Saturday department meetings and other after hours activities. Any employee complaints were shot down quickly, and, due to the decentralized nature of Nordstrom, employees had no corporate HR system to file complaints. The link between effort and performance was not as clear as management had intended, and corporate had no system in place to prevent abuse. Many managers encouraged a culture of profitability on paper at all costs, which decreased motivation for teamwork or excellent service. As a result of these factors, talented or tenured salespeople didn’t trust management, lost motivation, and often left the company.
The Nordstrom management sought to put equal emphasis on service, profitability and middle-managerial autonomy, but the performance tracking of sales per hour (SPH) favored profitability over all else. This SPH system was a clear and consistent metric to which all salespeople across the organization were measured. Since the data was published publicly every two weeks, employees could compare their performance to their peers, which does indicate some level of fairness in compensation among
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Some employees expected to be more intrinsically motivated as a “Nordie” but found that sales per hour was the only motivator. Extrinsic motivations such as money often lose their luster over time, so this also hurt employee motivation. Nordstrom rewards individualism and profitability at the cost of teamwork, customer service, and retention. There is no incentive for salespeople to help others sell more or to spend any of their time benefiting their own store outside of themselves. Since managers can punish the struggling salesmen with worse hours or less sell time, the good salesmen are further motivated towards

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