A Study on a Rhetorical Approach to Effective Employee Motivation at Industries

DOI : 10.17577/IJERTCONV4IS30001

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A Study on a Rhetorical Approach to Effective Employee Motivation at Industries

D. Madhavilatha Murthy

Asst. Professor, Om College of Engg, Wardha RTM Nagpur University.

Dr. Madhumita Ghosal,

Head Department of App. Humanities, VNIT, Nagpur

Abstract:- This paper aims to help the industrialists view the employee Motivation in a more holistic manner because a positively motivated employee can definitely contribute productive output to the Industry. Man is the embodiment of emotions. The process of Motivation is related to the psychological element of human mind. As it is an internal trait one always cannot get motivated only by extrinsic motives like money, promotions etc. The employee can be motivated by patting the emotions as well as by stirring his reasoning power. It is possible only with good and effective LANGUAGE. By applying Aristotles Three Appeals of Rhetoric ie. Logos, Ethos & Pathos, to the process of Motivation positive results can be attained in Industries.

Key Words: Rhetoric, Logos, Ethos, Pathos


It has been universally known that people work, in order to satisfy the needs they want. Why they want and what they want & what they dont is still a anonymous. It is like a black box and almost impossible to penetrate through. According to George Terry (an Economist), Motivation is the desire within an individual that stimulates him or her to action and it is always internal to a person. We can show the individual perception of Motivation with a diagram.

Needs & Wants

Needs & Wants

Figure 1






To fulfil the needs people follow some actions. In return they may get reward or remuneration so that their needs would be satisfied. But the moment current needs are satisfied, the individuals speed and quality of action will get reduced. To bring back his original spirits we need to create new motives for them. The economists preach a good number of Theories of Motivation such as, Maslows Need Priority Theory, Alderfers ERG Theory, McGregors X Y Theory, Herzberg Two Factor Theory etc. All of them highlighted motives related to physiological and intellectual needs. They ignored the need of EFFECTIVE LANGUAGE in the process of Motivation.

As a part of my research work I have visited few industries of Vidarbha to survey the opinions of the

employees. There I am told that what the employees really want is much more than money. They also said that the concept of employee Motivation is a pivot to all fruitful outputs in industry. Job Characteristics, Management Practices & Employee Characteristics and Work Environmental Factors are the key variables which influence employee Motivation in an organization. Though there are numerable motives (both intrinsic & extrinsic) to make employees work with efficiency, Language used by the higher authority is also one of the most important factors in the process of employee Motivation.

This paper is going to throw some light over the application of Aristotles Theory of Rhetoric to effectuate effective language to motivate the employees at industries. What is Rhetoric?

Rhetoric is a practical art of using language to bring the best impact among the audience. It can be applied as a tool or device to extemporize the effectiveness of the communication. One has to pursue the employees at industries many a time to make them realize the importance of work and according to Aristotle, the effective persuasion is possible with three APPEALS . They are Logos, Ethos and Pathos.

Aristotles Rhetoric can be used in any field where language is used. Let us learn more about the three appeals of Rhetoric.

Logos: It refers to any appeal to intellectual reasoning, based on logical conclusions. These conclusions come from assumptions derived from a collection of solid facts and statistical data.

Ethos: It is the audience perception of the speakers credibility and authority over the subject he is speaking. The credibility of the speaker towards the audience can be acquired through his Personality, Character, Intelligence, Virtue, Good will, Being Just, Sensitive etc. Ethos is the collection of all these elements of an individual.

Pathos: It means appealing to the audience by arousing their emotions. With the help of Pathos the speaker can get connected emotionally with his audience.

With the right proportion of all these three persuasive appeals of Rhetoric a Manager can definitely use his language in an effective way to motivate his employees.

The three appeals of Rhetoric can be incorporated in a field where language is used. Language becomes more convincing with the application of Rhetoric. Employee Motivation needs effective but simple and subtle language. This is possible with the application of Rhetoric.

We can represent the three appels of Rhetoric with a diagram.

Figure 2

Why is Motivation Important?

Understanding Motivation is essential for both the managers as well as the employees at industries because it is one of the most effective tools to increase employee productivity. Motivation is internal state of mind, such as emotions and attitudes that can be controlled only by the individuals. The understanding of the basic human nature is important for employee Motivation at industries. This is because Motivation is a psychological process. The psychology differs from individual to individual. Hence we cannot plan the same strategies of Motivation for all the employees at work. At processing industries employees work continuously around the clock and they are responsible to their work throughout the year. If any breakdowns occur in the middle of the night they should attend the problem and fix it. Such is the amount of tension the employees at industries always been through. With such physical environment it is hard to maintain the employees motivated throughout the day.

The research and observations prove that motivated employees are more creative and productive at work. Though there are several factors that influence Motivation, such as pay, incentives, promotions, career opportunities, but a good & open communication will always plant the seeds of Motivation among the employees. But we cannot expect good communication with mere words. Words with appropriate reasoning, spoken with right expression would definitely create credibility among the listeners. This is possible only with effective use of Rhetoric. For example, a simple house plant flourishes if we give it the best combination possible of different nourishing elements like sunlight, warmth, water and food in order to grow in the way you would wish. By the same token, employees will be motivated by a good combination of the three persuasive appeals of Rhetoric, LOGOS, ETHOS & PATHOS.

Business owners and managers also need to understand the role of application of Rhetoric in the process of communication in employee Motivation, as it can sometimes be the most basic communication errors that lead to employee dissatisfaction. Effective communication can help improve employee Motivation in several ways by increasing productivity and good will in the market. Individuals use certain kinds of language patterns tend to exhibit certain kinds of behaviour patterns. There is direct link between language and behaviour. Words have the power to incite physical and emotional reactions. Language triggers the emotions of individuals and motivate them to action in the desired direction. Work place values like, respect, commitment, accountability, gratitude, iitiative and a positive mind set can be incorporated with help of right words spoken at right time.

Communication is key to effective Motivation which percolates professional competence among the employees. Due to the fact that nowadays the number of employees from services and offices is bigger than the number of production workers, a need for improving communication has been noticed because it is necessary to have a deeper collaboration between work colleagues and the hierarchical levels as teamwork has been spreading. Working in a team cant be efficient without collaboration between all the members. Moreover, technology changes have brought new trends in the structure and activities of the organizations. Thats why communication practices and technologies have become more and more important for all types of organizations. The importance of communication as a vital factor in achieving maximum organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

Research Aim and Objective

"People often say that Motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing — that's why we recommend it daily." –Zig Ziegler

"People often say that Motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing — that's why we recommend it daily." –Zig Ziegler

This paper attempts to analyse the way Rhetoric Application influences the process of Motivation in an organization effectively.

The process of Motivation is continuous. It has to be on and on, every moment at work place. The language is the only tool to keep this process continuously. It is important in business to choose your words wisely because they sprout the positive collaborative mind set among the employees. Words announce the world, your feelings and emotions. They help people to win friends.

Application of Rhetoric to improve the Language in the Process of Motivation

  • While talking to the employees, it is for the manager to have absolute knowledge about the subject he speaks. He should use facts and reasons while explaining any situation to his employees. If not the employees cannot get convinced by him. They develop a sort of distrust over him. It needs both Logos and Ethos in the words of the manager

to create positive impact and inspire them to motivate.

  • Say the word YOU more than I while motivating. YOU and YOUR are the most persuasive words. The manager can command the focus of his employees if he uses the word YOU very often. While speaking, the manager should give more stress over the employee perception.

  • The most loving word for everyone would be ones own name. Hence it is necessary for the manager to take the names of his employees while conversing. It creates a cordial relation between the employee and the manager. It highlights the third persuasive appeal of Rhetoric, Pathos. It connects the speaker and listener.

  • One should not forget the three As Appreciate, Acknowledge and Ask. If the manager uses these expressions the employee develops a sort of respect towards him because he feels that his contribution to the organization is valued. Expressions such as, We could not have done this job successfully without you, or Thank you, I really appreciate your efforts, spoken sincerely by the manager would create a positive job satisfaction in the hearts of the employees. Words and phrases which only take few seconds to say, can create sense of faith in the minds of employees. This attempt intensifies the Ethos of the speaker and thus creates effective Pathos among the employees. This would help them to get motivated.

  • The manager should always try to use positive expressions. He should never say, I cannot help you as thats not my job, instead he should try something like : I can see you are swamped . How can I help you? The verbal attitude convey empathy and support to the employee. It enhances the Ethos of the manager and due to the increase in the levels Pathos among the employees, they get connected to the manager psychologically. As a result they work hard to accomplish even tough targets.

  • The managers should provide counselling to the individual employees at work to reduce the load of tension. They should make the employees to feel how important they are for the organization. This is because psychological satisfaction at work is essential to motivate the employees towards positive side. This approach intensifies the third appeal, Pathos. This generates a kind of oneness with the organization. This approach would bring all employees together and ascend their feeling of Motivation.

  • Non- verbal gestures have potential influence over the process of Motivation. The gestures like, waving the hands, raising the eye brows, twisting the lips will send negative message to the individuals.

  • The manager should have control over his body language because body speaks more than lips. A person whose Ethos (personality & character) are

    powerful, would transfer a positive message with his non- verbal gestures. Positive gestures like, patting on the back, a pleasant smile, controlled movement of hands would drag the attention of the employees at work towards the verbal expressions of the manager and inspire them to productive Motivation.

    • Sometimes, excessive communication would hamper the process of Motivation. It is the responsibility of the manager to segregate the information logically, so that there wont be any confusion among the employees. Logical approach of the

      manager to the psychology of the employee enhances the speed of the Motivation. This also sharpens the Ethos of the manager.

    • Human is the embodiment of emotions because his heart and mind get influenced by emotions. By keeping these elements in his mind if manager speaks to his employees they would definitely pay attention and get motivated to work.

    • The manager for surety should have absolute knowledge over the work that goes on at the industries. It moulds his Ethos. He should try to illustrate the present situation with related examples to make his employees understand the situation. Unless the managers have effective Ethos he cannot influence his employees.

These are just some applications of the three appeals of Rhetoric, with which the speech of manager can be made effectively so that the process of Motivation can be maintained continuously.

Conclusion: Motivation is a biologically driven need to survive for mankind. Though there are numerable motives (Internal and External) to make employees work with efficiency, language used by the higher authority is one of the most vital factors that affects the speed of the process of Motivation.

Firstly, As Motivation is a psychological process the manager has to remember the mood of his employees. It shows the importance of Pathos.

Secondly, According to the various Motivational theories manager has to design logically his strategies of Motivation of the employees. It shows the importance of Logos.

Thirdly, the manager has to improve his Ethos by enhancing his knowledge, virtue, experience at work so that his words could leave long lasting impact over the minds of these employees.

With judicious blending of all the three appeals of Rhetoric the employee Motivation can be achieved positively, provided the manager should have an appropriate strategy of Motivation according to the situation.


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