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Can I stay
Working within 4-H
Stojanna Hollis

Purpose and Environment
Motivation is the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular manner.
Motivation is also the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. The purpose of this
research paper is to clearly define what motivates staff and volunteers for 4-H (head, heart, hand, and
health) in the upstate region to preserve and show resiliency every day to work with the youth within
this organization. There are several motivational theories that can be applied within this study, but to
truly see which ones are truly applied to the staff and volunteers is the primary study for this paper.
Recognizing what solely motivates 4-H staff and volunteers can help improve and better the
4-H is the nations largest youth development and empowerment organization, reaching
numerous 4-H youth in urban neighborhoods, suburban schoolyards and rural farming communities. I
felt compelled to do a research study on 4-H because of the lack of leadership and mentors in the
Upstate region. The caring support of adult volunteers and mentors inspires young people in 4-H to
work collaboratively, take the lead on their own projects and set and achieve goals with confidence.
Like I stated in the first paragraph there are several motivational theories; however, for the
concept and purpose of this research paper I found Herzberg Two-factor theory and Maslows Hierarchy
of Needs to be the most useful for my results.
Frederick Herzberg Theory
American psychologist, Frederick Herzberg's, two-factor theory, also known as the motivationhygiene theory or intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, concludes that while there are certain factors in the
workplace that cause job satisfaction, a separate set of factors can cause dissatisfaction. It is a content
theory which explains the factors of an individuals motivation by identifying their needs and desires,
what satisfies their needs and desires and by establishing the aims that they pursue to satisfy these
desires. The two types of factors may be listed as follows in order of importance:
Hygiene Factors (leading to dissatisfaction):

Company Policy
Relationship with Boss
Work Conditions

The first set concerns the basic survival needs of a person the hygiene factors (Herzberg, 1971 and
Herzberg et al., 2005). According to Herzberg, these factors can cause dissatisfaction when not satisfied.
However, when satisfied these factors do not motivate or cause satisfaction, they only prevent
dissatisfaction (Herzberg, 1971 and Herzberg et al., 2005).

Motivators (leading to satisfaction)

The work itself

These factors are according to Herzberg, the motivating factors, which implies that humans try to
become all that they are capable of becoming and when satisfied they work as motivators (Herzberg,
1971 and Herzberg et al., 2005).
Maslow Hierarchy of Needs
Humanist psychologist, Abraham Maslows attempted to synthesize a large body of research
related to human motivation. Maslow felt as though conditioning theories did not adequately capture
the complexity of human behavior. Maslows positive theories of human behavior and motivation were
pragmatic as well as hopeful. This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs
before moving on to other, more advanced needs. The hierarchy of needs is as follows 1 (in ascending
order of prepotency): the physiological needs, the safety needs, the belongingness or love needs, the
esteem needs, and the need for self-actualization (Maslow, 1970, pp. 35--47). Maslow also distinguished
his five categories by referring to some of the needs as deficiency needs and others as growth needs.
"Needs for safety, the feeling of belonging, love and respect (from others) are all clearly deficits"
(Maslow, 1955; p. 10). The growth needs incorporate self-respect, achievement, and self-actualization.
Study Design
I performed a qualitative design in the format of an interview. I formed ten questions that each
participant would answer (see questions in appendix). However, because of time and busy schedules I
had to host my interviews via email, FaceTime, and telephone communication. I did convey to my
interviewees that the information would be confidential, because I wanted them to be honest and have
the opportunity to analyze themselves as well as the organization that they work for.
The interview consisted of 4 individuals that work within the 4-H organization. I interviewed 2
staff members and 2 volunteers with hope that I would learn about the motivation that rise from within
from each individual. The age range for the participant ranged from 29-45 and each individual was
college educated. Also each participant has had the opportunity to work within the organization for
more than 5 years.
Data Collection

The data for these interviews were collected a couple of ways: for the individuals I interviewed
via FaceTime and over the phone(Staff) their information was collected from me writing and ensuring
that I wrote everything that they expressed. The other two (Volunteers) wrote their answers via
Microsoft word and submitted to me.
I found it very interesting that both staff and volunteers preferred to work behind the scenes.
No one wanted to be visible within their work because they felt as though the main purpose is the youth
achieving within 4-H. All participants within the study accepted, followed, and supported the
organizations goals and mission. One of the staff members mentioned that, I enjoy the fact that the
work is worthwhile and I feel as if Im contributing to the future of my community, but Im frustrated
because theres a little program support for the 4-H program at the campus level, there is no clerical
support in the office, I have worked without a raise or promotion in a number of years (Staff, 2014).
Sometimes, I feel like walking out; however, Im afraid of the lifestyle changes that a significantly
reduced income would force (Staff, 2014). While both volunteers and one of the paid staff members
feel as though 4-H does provide professional growth the second paid staff didnt feel the same way
because of budget. It was interesting that when asked, Do you feel you have a great support system
within your team? One staff member replied, She dont have support from the administration and she
have a definite sense of age discrimination. The second Staff replied, that was one of the main things
he was searching for in a job and his phone-chain co-workers have been nothing but helpful and
supportive since day one. All participants felt as though they brought experience, good work ethic, and
knowledge to the organization.
The ultimate goal of this paper was to figure out what motives these staff members and
volunteers to do the things they do and work within 4-H. Maslows Hierarchy of Need and Herzberg
Motivational Theory were properly chosen. While the concern for all the participants lies on the youth
there were still self-goals and circumstances that these participants wanted to achieve. Volunteer One
stated, I want to transition from volunteer to employee, to ownership. Staff one replied, I desire to
receive recognition of volume and quality of work through pay raises and promotions. These results
are related to the Two-Factor Theory by Herzberg, a framework that says, There are certain factors in
the workplace that cause a job satisfaction, while separate set of factors cause dissatisfaction (TwoFactor, 2014).Self-Transcendence is very prevalent, because all my participant have self-fulfillment and
although they seek organization growth, promotions, and raises, they all have the same goals in mind:
supporting the youth, and helping the organization grow. Staff two states, I want to help this
organization grow, support and encourage the youth. Staff one states, teaching youth, observing
progress, and seeing youth be rewarded for their achievements is what encourages me to work within
this organization. Volunteer two, stated, helping the youth and seeing them progress is my sole reason
for being involved.

I think 4-H could start doing research on motivational theories for their organization. With this
organization being nationally known I think it gives them the opportunity to do self-reflection and collect
information to see what changes need to be made within the organization to better accommodate their
staff and volunteers.

Herzberg, F. (1971). Work and the nature of man. World Publishing, New York (1971)
Herzberg F. Herzberg, B. Mausner, B. Bloch Snyderman. (2005). The motivation to work
Transaction Publishers, New Jersey (2005)
Hierarchy of Needs. (2014). Retrieved July 31, 2014, from: of
Maslow, A. H.Eupsychian management. Homewood, Ill.: Richard D. Irwin/The Dorsey Press, 1965.
Maslow, A. H. Motivation and personality. New York: Harper, 1955.
Maslow, A. H. Motivation and personality. New York: Harper and Row, 1970. 2nd. Ed.
Staff. (2014, July 29). Can I stay motivated through this? (S. Hollis, Interviewer)
Two-Factor Theory: Herzberg. (2014). Retrieved July 31, 2014, from:
Volunteer. (2014, July 31). Can I stay motivated through this? (S. Hollis, Interviewer)

Qualitative Interview Questions:
Do you accept, follow, and support your organization goals and mission?
S1: Yes
S2: Yes. I believe in the Mission of 4-H. We are providing education and researched based information
to help improve the lives of our youth both economically and quality of life. The 4-H mission to
empower youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring Adults.
That is what I try to do to help youth develop skills so they can be successful and more importantly
believe and have confidence in themselves.
V1: yes
V2: Yes
Does the organization provide growth for your professional career?
S1: As budget cuts and general economic downturn have affected all of 4-H and linking organziations
such as Extension for the past 6-8 years, the number of opportunities for formal professional
development as part of the regular routine of 4-H and Extension agents decreased significantly.
However, the State 4-H Program Leader, using grant funds or one-time funds she leverages from the
Extension budget, does an excellent job of providing training in subject matter at quarterly staff
meetings. For example, we have had training in the use of GPS units and other technology, meat
processing, and Health Rocks (youth drug/alcohol use prevention). Also, for the past two years, the
State 4-H Program Leader has arranged professional development tours to other states. 4-H agents have
traveled to Florida and to NC to spend 3-4 days learning about and getting new ideas from what those
states 4-H programs do. The SC Association of 4-H Agents offers opportunities for networking and
professional development at its one-day annual meetings. Those sessions usually focus on things that
effect workplace dynamics, such as negotiation skills, time management, working with difficult people,
and motivation. 4-H agents can use funds that they generate through charging fees for programs to
attend other professional meetings and trainings.
S2: Yes there are lots of opportunities for growth. There is a promotion ladder for Agents. Also the
State and National 4-H Associations provide workshops, seminars, webinars and Professional
Development conferences where you can learn and network with peers.
V1: yes
V2: Yes
So you value your organization?

S1: Yes. I value its mission and its original mandate. I value the experience, education, and statewide
network of people that 4-H has provided me. However, I value mostly the financial security that working
for 4-H has provided.
S2: I would not work as a 4-H Agent if I did not value the organization. They have been very supportive
of me throughout my career as a 4-H Agent.
V1: yes
V2: Yes
Do you feel as though you add value to your organization and work? Why?
S1: Yes. I have a good work ethic. I truly feel that I have not been very creative or innovative with
programming for several years; however, I volunteer to help with projects and participate fully as a team
member in regional and state level programming. I love and have a desire to teach.
S2: Yes. I feel that I am professional, I have a positive attitude and I try to give my best in everything
that I do. I believe that I portray this organization in a positive way. I share with others the success that
comes from the local program and I help mentor new agents that are starting a career in 4-H.
V1: yes, management skills, sales and customer relationship building
V2: Yes, because I communicate effectively and I work hard and Im creative
Do you like to work alone or prefer a team? Why?
S1: I prefer a team for a couple of reasons: 1) ideas generated are usually better than mine alone; 2)
resulting impact is greater in terms of numbers of youth reached and amount of information and
resources provided.
S2: It really depends on what I am doing. If it is something that requires a lot of thought then yes but
generally and in this job I enjoy working as a team. I like to get ideas from others and see what they are
thinking. Usually when you work as team it is easier to divide the workload and gives more of a variety
of ideas so hopefully what you are doing will be successful and beneficial to many different people. For
example when planning programs for youth I often ask my teen leaders to help plan the programs
because they see things differently. That is also why I rely on my advisory committee. Plus I enjoy the
interaction with others in planning and conducting activities and events.
V1: With a team, primarily because my job is tailored to that.
V2: Team, because I love to hear others ideas and suggestions to implement or either make things
Why are you a part of the organization? Are you afraid of change?

S1: During my first 15 years, I worked with 4-H because of the pay and flexibility to juggle schedule as
needed with regards to family needs. I also enjoyed the fact that the work was worthwhile and I felt as
if I were contributing to the future of my community. I have been with 4-H for 25 years. I only have a
few years left until retirement, so I guess Im not going anywhere, even though I do get frustrated with
the lack of pay and promotions within the last 10-15 years. Are you afraid of change? Yes. Sometimes I
get very frustrated with 4-H administration and the fact that we are very short-handed at the office,
there is little program support for the 4-H program at the campus level, there is no clerical support in
the office; I have worked without a raise or promotion in a number of years. Sometimes, I feel like
walking out; however, I am afraid of the lifestyle changes that a significantly reduced income would
force. I am also afraid that I would not be able to find a job. I am a very good people person and enjoy
working with groups, teens, teaching, etc.
S2: Its a well-respected organization with opportunities to grow and learn new skills. I enjoy working
with the people in this organization. The organization is well structured. Change is always occurring. I
welcome change. Sometime change is good and some changes you like. It keeps the job interesting.
V1: family business, not afraid of/to change
V2: To help encourage youth and I admire change when its for accurate reasons
Do you feel like you have a great support system within your team?
S1: Yes, from 4-H agents and the state 4-H Program Leader, i.e., those that I have the closest and most
cordial working relationship. I do not have support from administration. I have a definite sense of age
discrimination. I am now often overlooked when work committees and task forces for various project or
administrative projects are being formed in favor of younger agents.
S2: That was one of the main things I was searching for in a job. Everyone needs support. You have to
make important decisions every day and you need to know that you have a great support system to help
guide you through it. My phone chain co-workers have been nothing but helpful and supportive since
day one.
V1: average
V2: Yes
Are you a better leader (visible) or invisible person?
S1: I like being invisible and helping youth and coworkers succeed. I like seeing other enjoy their
S2: I prefer to be behind the scene but in this job you have to be very visible sometime. I would prefer
to be a leader who guides, gives advice and encouragement. In this job lots of time people need and
want to see you do and I welcome those opportunities. I enjoy when people I have worked with or

giving them encouragement succeed. I am more of a behind the scenes kind of person. Being a leader
comes with major responsibilities.
V1: Invisible
V2: Invisible
What contributions do you offer this organization?
S1: An experienced, mature employee with a good work ethic, who is willing to work on weekends,
evenings and go the extra mile to serve others, work within schedules of volunteers, etc. I do not like
to tell my volunteers no.
S2: Great customer service, being dependable and reliable. Being courteous and respectful. Knowledge
and experience. Good listener and caring about people. Positive attitude and good work ethic.
V1: experience, a different perspective, business growth focused
V2: Experience, Knowledge, Work ethic
What do you desire from working within this organization?
S1: Support staff to help with clerical mandates. Recognition of volume and quality of work through pay
raises and promotions.
S2: To help this organization grow and be the best it can be. Support and encouragement. Reward
when doing good work. Feedback whether good or bad. Family atmosphere.
V1: Transition from employee to ownership
V2: Helping the youth and seeing them progress is my sole reason for being involved.
What encourages you to work within this organization?
S1: Teaching youth, observing their progress, and seeing them be rewarded for their achievements.
S2: All of the above. The support system, interacting with people every day, and getting involved with
our community. I enjoy working with young people and seeing them succeed. I grew up with a great
love and respect for the Upstate area. I also learned a lot that has helped me through 4-H and FFA. This
job allows me to do all of that and I thrive in it. I love the flexibility and the fact that it is something
different every day. I feel that this was and is my calling.
V1: self-motivated to succeed and grow the business
V2: Seeing the youth succeed and the opportunity to grow