Morale – Definition, Characteristics and Significance

Morale is the term usually applied to armed forces during wartime and to sports and athletic teams. It refers to team spirit and co-operation of people for a common purpose. Its importance has been realized by the management only in recent years. It is felt by the management that if the morale of the employees is high, production would be higher and vice-versa.

Meaning and Definitions of Morale

Morale represents the attitudes of individuals and groups in an organisation towards their work environment. Morale is an indicator of the attitude of employees towards their jobs, superiors and their organisational environment. It is a collection of the employees’ attitude, feelings and sentiments.

Various definitions of morale are;

  • Flippo has described morale “as a mental condition or attitude of individuals and groups which determines their willingness to co-operate. Good morale is evidenced by employee enthusiasm, voluntary confirmation with regulations and orders, and a willingness to co-operate with others in the accomplishment of an organization’s objectives. Poor morale is evidenced by surliness, insubordination, a feeling of discouragement and dislike of the job, company and associates.”
  • In the words of Yoder, “morale is a feeling, somewhat related to esprit de corps, enthusiasm or zeal. For group of workers, morale, according to a popular usage of the word, refers to the over-all tone, climate or atmosphere of work, perhaps vaguely sensed by the members.’
  • According to William Spriegel, “morale is the co-operative attitude or mental health of a number of people who are related to each other on some basis”.
  • According to Leighton, “morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose”.

Characteristics of Morale

  1. Morale is basically a psychological concept.
  2. Morale is intangible therefore it is very difficult to measure the degree of morale accurately.
  3. Morale is contagious in the sense that people learn from each other.
  4. Morale in dynamic in nature. It cannot be developed overnight. Managers have to make continuous efforts to build and maintain high morale. It is a long-term concept..]
  5. Morale is a group phenomenon consisting of a pattern of attitudes. It is the sum total of employees’ attitudes, feelings and sentiments.

Significance of Morale

Consequences of Low Morale

Low morale indicates the presence of mental unrest. This mental tension or unrest not only hampers production and productivity but also leads to ill-health of the working people. The other consequences of low morale are the following:

  1. High rate of labour turnover
  2. High rate of absenteeism
  3. Excessive complaints and grievances
  4. Resistance to change
  5. Lack of discipline
  6. Antagonism towards the organisation and its management
  7. Low quantity and quality of output

Low morale can be fatal to the organisation. In order to avoid the evil consequences of low morale, every manager should attempt to build high morale amongst his subordinates.

Steps to build High Morale

Every manager should attempt to build high morale of his subordinates. Both individual and collective efforts are required to develop and maintain high morale. The following measures are taken to improve the morale of employees in the organisation:-

  1. A fair system of wage and salary payments should be evolved.
  2. A sense of security of job should be ensured.
  3. The promotion policy should be sound and should be followed promptly.
  4. Competent supervisors should be appointed.
  5. The channel of communication should be effective.
  6. The employees should be made to feel proud of being employed in the organisation.
  7. Employees’ welfare schemes like housing, medical benefits, education facilities for children, canteen, credit facilities, and safety measures should be provided as they are very helpful in developing positive attitude among the employees.
  8. Workers should be given proper training so that they may perform their jobs without frustration and get job satisfaction.

Factors Determining Morale

The degree of morale in any organisation is determined by several factors. Some of them are merely psychological and difficult to identify, however researchers have succeeding in figuring out the following factors:

  • Confidence in leadership: If the leader of the organisation is able to win the confidence of the employees, morale will be high. For employees, the leader being mentioned is the immediate supervisor/superior. If the leader is systematic, fair, honest, helpful and friendly, he may win over the confidence of his subordinates and boost their morale.
  • Job Satisfaction: The morale of the employee would be high if he is satisfied with his job. Hence right men should be placed in the right job to boost up their morale in their jobs.
  • Confidence in co-workers: Mani is a social being and he finds himself more enthusiastic in the company of others. If he finds that his companions or fellow workers are co-operating with him, his morale would be high.
  • Sound and efficient organisation: Sound and effective organisation is an important factor affecting the employee’s morale. At the same time, the chance of communication should be effective and the personal problems of the employee should be heard and redressed as quickly as possible.
  • Fair remuneration: Fair and reasonable remuneration is essential to secure enthusiasm and willingness of the workers to do the job. The wages should be comparable with those paid in similar concerns. Besides, monetary incentives should be provided to them as and when necessary and possible.
  • Security of job: If the employee feels secured, they will be willing and co-operative to do the job allotted to them.
  • Opportunity to rise: The employees should also be made to realize that if they work properly, they will be promoted and adequately rewarded. This feeling of recognition will definitely boost their morale.
  • Working conditions: The conditions of work at which the employees are required to work also affect their morale. Providing safety measures, hygienic facilities, clean workplace etc. give them satisfaction and boost their morale.
  • Physical & mental health: An employee with weak health cannot be co-operative and willing to work. Similarly his mental strain shall also reduce his motivation of morale. Both physical and mental illness are detrimental to an individual’s work and thereby the organisational output.

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