Dick Learns About Tipping

Dick Learns About Tipping

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Motivation Theories Assignment

Video Case—”Dick Learns About Tipping”

First, before attempting to answer the questions below, make sure you have completed the assigned readings that you have your notes from the class lecture on Motivation and Job Design, and that you have read the premise of the TV show from Wikipedia provided in the next paragraph. You should then watch the video case in Moodle, “Dick Learns About Tipping” from the TV comedy series 3rd Rock From The Sun. There are two copies of the video—a quicktime version (mov) and a flash version (flv) in case your computer prefers one format over the other. You can watch either one, they are identical.

Wikipedia provides the following summary of the show 3rd Rock From The Sun:

The premise of the show revolves around the members of an extraterrestrial research expedition attempting to live disguised as a normal human family in the fictional city of Rutherford, Ohio, where they live in a loft apartment. Humor is principally derived from the aliens’ attempts to study human society and, because of their living as humans themselves while on Earth, to understand the human condition. In later episodes, they became more accustomed to Earth and often became more interested in their human lives than in their mission.

Dick Solomon (John Lithgow), the High Commander and leader of the expedition, is the family provider, and takes a position as a physics professor at Pendelton State University. Information officer Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has been given the body of a teenager and is forced to enroll in high school (later college), leaving security officer Sally (Kristen Johnston) and communications officer Harry (French Stewart) to spend their lives as thirty somethings hanging out at home and bouncing through short-term jobs.

In this episode, “Sex and the Sally,” (Episode 7 from Season 5) Dick Solomon, the alien High Commander, while having dinner in a restaurant with his girlfriend Mary Albright (Jane Curtain), attempts to understand, and even improve on, the process of tipping. Unfortunately he has not had the advantage of taking CSUN’s MGT 360 course and therefore does not understand how to apply basic theories of human motivation. From what you have learned in the reading assignments, and from our discussions in class, answer the following questions about the actions of the characters in this video case.

You will probably find that you need to watch the video case multiple times in order to clearly identify how specific behaviors of the characters reflect various components of different motivation theories we have studied.

As a reminder, the eight motivation theories discussed in the book and in class were:

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Alderfer’s ERG Theory
Herzberg’s Two-factor Theory
McClelland’s Acquired Needs Theory
Equity Theory
Expectancy Theory
Reinforcement Theory
Goal Setting Theory
Answer all three of the following questions:

Selecting from the motivation theories above, choose three of the theories that you think are most appropriate and explain how Dick Solomon’s attempts to motivate the waitress can be explained by each theory. Be explicit in linking how both Dick’s and the waitress’ specific behaviors and comments relate to specific aspects of each theory and how that theory explains why Dick’s strategy is either successful or not. Common sense explanations are not sufficient, you have to explain it using the theories. The word count suggested is a maximum but answers can be shorter if they are well written and concise.

Try to summarize your answers in about 3 to 4 pages essay (Times New Roman, 12pt Font Size, Single Spaced). That is, approximately one page per question. Please do not refer to the same theory more than once. (That is, if you wish to refer to one of the theories that you referred to for question 1 or 2, in response to question 3, you will need to rephrase and refer to a different theory in your answer to question 1 or 2.)

1. Theory 1.

2. Theory 2.

3. Which of the eight theories would best explain why Dick and Mary’s drinks “taste funny” at the end of the video. Explain using specific aspects of the theory. (Please do NOT reference the same theory that you referred to in response to question 1 or 2.)

This assignment will be graded 70% on your ability to correctly apply motivation theories and 30 % on grammar and spelling. It is therefore important that you carefully edit your answers before turning them in.Motivation Theories Assignment


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