The Motivation-Opportunity-Abilities (MOA) Model

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  • 0:04 The MOA Model
  • 1:23 The Impact of the MOA Model
  • 2:10 Application of the MOA Model
  • 5:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sally Cornett

Sally has a BS in computer science and over 10 years of engineering and business experience.

This lesson will provide a basic introduction to the Motivation - Opportunity - Ability (MOA) model for employee performance, and explore how the model can be mutually beneficial to both employee and employer.

The MOA Model

The Motivation-Opportunities-Ability (MOA) Model (sometimes abbreviated AMO) hypothesizes that employee performance can be influenced by an organization's ability to leverage these three concepts in a win-win capacity. By win-win, this means that both the employee and the organization benefit from efforts to apply the MOA model in the workplace. Before exploring this further, let's ensure we have a common understanding of these three terms.

  1. Motivation: The needs and wants of an individual may influence them to behave in a certain way. Motivation is the incentive for behavior. A dog is motivated to sit because of the praise or treat it wants to receive as a result. The reward motivates the dog to behave in the desired way.
  2. Opportunity: Relevant constraints that enable behavior is a good way to describe opportunity. Examples of relevant constraints that can enable behavior include the availability of time and resources. Typically, we seek opportunities to complete a task that will result in a benefit to ourselves or to others.
  3. Ability: Abilities, which are the level of cognitive, emotional, financial, physical, or social resources a person can apply to perform a specific behavior.

The Impact of the MOA Model

For the employee, motivation is provided by incentives and rewards for the type of behavior and results that benefit the organization. Opportunities, such as engaging employees in activities that make them feel like they're helping the organization be successful, may lead to new abilities through training and increasing knowledge and skills used on the job.

Research has shown that organizations able to focus on these three things achieve increased organizational performance in the form of increased:

  • profitability
  • productivity
  • customer satisfaction
  • quality of deliverables
  • growth of market share

It's easy to imagine that all business owners would be interested in experiencing any or all of the increases implementing these three concepts can achieve.

Application of the MOA Model

If motivation, opportunity, and ability can potentially have such a positive impact on so many business metrics, it seems sensible for any business to consider how they might focus on these key components of employee performance. How can the leadership team implement these concepts in a way that benefits the organization?

Motivation typically involves some concept of reward. A reward that entices desired behavior does not always need to be material. Certainly rewards in the form of a bonus, or results driven compensation growth, tend to get people's attention. Typically, organizations don't have the depth of financial resources to do as much of this as they would like. Alternatively, a motivating reward can be as simple as public recognition for a work-related accomplishment, or acknowledgement of sacrifices made. Smart leaders will find ways to motivate people by offering items of value to employees that come at no additional cost to the organization. For example, giving a salaried employee a day off is perceived as something of value, without incurring additional expense. The reserved parking space for the Employee of the Month is another example of a no-additional-cost reward. Basically the reserved parking space serves as public recognition.

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