TESCO is one of the best well-renowned retailers in the world. The company was founded by Jack Cohen in 1919. TESCO is considered as one of the biggest retailers in the world. The core business of TESCO is retailing which provides them 60% of all sales. TESCO is also the widest provider of food among the other retailers exist in the country. In the past few years, TESCO is recognized globally as the company has expanded their operations in China, Czech Republic, India, Malaysia, Poland and Hungry (Hollingsworth, 2004). 

This paper is an attempt to identify the motivational and leadership issues currently prevails within TESCO. The paper is linked with and supported with different motivational and leadership theories.

Motivation issues

TESCO is facing a real problem in motivating their workers aged between 17 and 24. Employees falls in these age groups are less motivated. The head of human resource department at TESCO is of the view that most of the employee’s falls in these age groups belongs to Generation Y. Therefore, these employees require more work from their managers in order to inspire them. In order to solve the problem the head of human resource of TESCO said “We have to teach our managers that how to keep our employees motivated specially those who have Generation Y traits”. Approximately 20,000 employees of TESCO fall within the age group of 17-24 (Locke and Schattke, 2018).

Leadership Issues

TESCO has faced one of the biggest leadership crises in their 100 years history. The top management of TESCO has overstated its first half profit by £250 million; it is because TESCO has overestimated the amount of money they received from their suppliers. The TESCO has suspended four experienced senior managers. TESCO then decided to include some new faces to deal with the situation. Share in TESCO plunged after the announcement of the profit shortfall, TESCO has lost their investment grade credit rating and face some serious questions from the stakeholders. Due to leadership challenges faced by TESCO the company has fallen 20 percent of their shares in the first quarter (Nichols, 2016).

Motivation and leadership


The most classic definition of motivation is given by Mullins which states that,

Motivation is a driving force which pushes people to achieve their personal goals, fulfill a need or uphold a value” (Parshetty, 2019).

According to Pew,

“Motivation is dependent on three different factors these include, inner feelings, arousal and directions” (Fernandez and Pitts, 2011).


According to Mindy Gibbins,

“Leadership is all about having a vision and that particular vision inspires other to support your own vision while creating their own” (Fernandez and Pitts, 2011).

According to Stan Kimer,

“Leadership is an art in which leaders provides vision to employees and motivates them to achieve shared or a common goal and then understand the talent and aptitude level of each employee individually and effectively motivates each person to contribute their best towards achieving their common goal” (Fernandez and Pitts, 2011).

According to Kathy Heasley,

“Leadership is all about having a vision and humble enough to recognize achieving it will take the effort of many people”.

Maslow Theory

Maslow theory of need is one of the famous motivational theories recognized by the authors. The main crucks of the theory is that, actions are motivated in order to achieve certain needs. This concept was first established by Abraham Maslow in 1943 in his paper, “A theory of human motivation”.  Maslow has developed a hierarchy which is often displayed as a pyramid. In the lowest levels of pyramid the most basic needs of human life were discussed, whereas the most complex and luxurious needs were discussed at the top of pyramid.


The needs at the bottom of the pyramid are the most basic physical requirements which include food, water, sleep and warmth. Once the lower needs of individuals are fulfilled they move on the next level needs. Moreover, as people progress up in the pyramid needs become increasingly psychological and social.

Text Box: Maslow theory of motivation has five different elemtns which includes social needs, esteem needs, self actualization needs,security and safety needs. Psychological needs includes, food , water and shelter. At this stage maslow includes sexual reproduction as it is important for the survival and propagation of the species.

The second level of Maslow hierarchy of need is the requirements of security and safety. At this stage the needs for security and safety are primary as people want control and order in their lives. Some of the security and safety needs includes; Financial security, health and well-being and safety against accidents and injury. The social needs in Maslow hierarchy include things as love, acceptance and belonging.

Implication of theory on current motivational challenges faced by TESCO

TESCO needs to offer different incentives to their employees in order to help them and fulfill each need in turn so that the employees can progress the hierarchy defined by Maslow. In this regard, managers of TESCO need to understand that all the employees within the organization are not motivated in the same way. Every employee wants to excel in their life and same implies in the employees of TESCO. Every employee self-actualize him or herself at a better organizational position. The self-esteem needs of young employees working in TESCO were not fulfilled therefore the employees were unhappy. In a younger age most of the employees feel like they have to contribute within the organization. TESCO employees were not valued by the management and they were least participated in professional activities such as team participation.

Theory X and Theory Y

McGregor’s ideas suggest that there are two fundamental approaches to managing people. Many managers tend towards theory x, and generally get poor results. Enlightened managers use theory y, which produces better performance and results, and allows people to grow and develop. McGregor’s theory is based on the principal that there are two fundamental principles to manage people. Most of the managers are using theory x but gets bad results. Enlightened managers use theory y, which develops better results and allows managers use more positive results. An average employee dislikes work, therefore the managers are forced their employees towards work in order to achieve organizational objectives. An average person prefers to be directed, avoid responsibility, and want security all above (Hammersley, 2013).

Implications of theory x and y on Tesco

Theory X managers don’t have much interest in human issues. Working on theory x for managers is not an easy job. Primarily, theory x managers are result oriented, they are more concerned about the facts and figures. Similarly, managers at the top level in TESCO are more concerned about the fact, figures and numerical values. There is a lack of theory Y implications in TESCO. Managers at the top level are reluctant to provide any innovative work to their subordinate’s therefore younger employees feels unworthy and unhappy. In simple words, managers at TESCO are not offering any work related timelines to young employees and failed to trust them. Generally, people falls in theory y category are happier in taking ownership of their work but they did not find sufficient opportunities in TESCO therefore, the results and consequences of not trusting young employee’s results in as high turnover. Managing and maintaining young employees can be one of the most difficult challenges for the managers of TESCO. Many managers think that it is difficult for them to bridge the gap between the motivation level between young and senior employees. However, managers falls in generation y theory believed that, younger employees will not be satisfied and does not communicate leadership direction is just a myth (Prescott, 2013).


TESCO is one of the most famous retailers in the world. The company is using various means to motivate their customers but the young employees of the organization are not happy the way top management deals with them. Younger employees have more urge and more willingness to participate in the organization. TESCO has failed to provide such opportunities to their young employees which results in lack of motivation within the young employees. A lack of opportunities providence results in lack or productivity and lack of organizational citizenship behavior within the employees (Fernandez and Pitts, 2011).

Members of the younger generation want to work for companies that espouse values in sync with their own. While work and compensation are important to younger workers, never underestimate the importance of values. TESCO company’s core values should include honesty, integrity, teamwork, respect, customer focus, accountability, excellence, continuous improvement, health and safety, family, commitment, and environmental stewardship. The latter is especially important as an overwhelming majority of young workers have expressed that they will lose respect for a company that doesn’t take sustainability seriously, according to numerous surveys (Prescott, 2013).  

TESCO trained their employees with traditional ways of motivation such as giving those incentives, perks and bonuses. On the other hand the company also uses intrinsic motivation factors such as acknowledgement and recognition. There are no special training and motivational training sessions conducted by TESCO for the young employees.  


Managing teenage employees is one thing and motivating them is another. Generally, younger employees in any organization want to excel as quickly as they can but the employees of TESCO did not get the desired opportunities and motivation level within the organization which can excel them. TESCO is using different techniques to motivate their employees intrinsically and extrinsically. However, the young employees of TESCO are less happy and do not feel as productive as their senior employees are. In this regard TESCO can take the following necessary measures to improve the motivation level of young employees.

  • Provide a consistent feedback to young employees to encourage them.
  • Excellent managers of organizations provide training sessions to their employees to enhance their motivation.
  • One of the most important thing managers of TESCO can do is to spend time with their young employees and keep them engaged in staff and shift meetings. The managers need to talk about challenges and ideas they have at work. Ask questions, encourage them to come to conclusions on their own, and listen more than you talk.
  • Managers need to ensure that employees are well-trained on every aspect of their job.


Fernandez, S. and Pitts, D. (2011). Understanding Employee Motivation to Innovate: Evidence from Front Line Employees in United States Federal Agencies. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 70(2), pp.202-222.

Hollingsworth, A. (2004). Increasing retail concentration. British Food Journal, 106(8), pp.629-638.

Hammersley, R. (2013). Constraint theory: A cognitive, motivational theory of dependence. Addiction Research & Theory, 22(1), pp.1-14.

Locke, E. and Schattke, K. (2018). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: Time for expansion and clarification. Motivation Science.

Nichols, A. (2016). What do people desire in their leaders? The effect of leadership experience on desired leadership traits. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 37(5), pp.658-671.

Parshetty, S. (2019). Employee Motivation and Their Impact on Employee Performance in Banking Sector in Hyderabad Karnataka Region. International Journal of Trend in Scientific Research and Development, Volume-3(Issue-4), pp.390-393.

Prescott, D. (2013). Motivational Interviewing: Theory, Practice, and Applications with Children and Young People. Motivational Interviewing: Training, Research, Implementation, Practice, 1(2), pp.22-23.

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