Compare and Contrast the Need Theories and the Process Theories of Work Motivation

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A Brief Introduction to Motivation Theory
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Management Theories > Motivation Theory
What is Motivation?

Motivation is the answer to the question “Why we do what we do?”. The motivation theories try to figure out what the “M” is in the equation: “M motivates P” (Motivator motivates the Person). It is one of most important duty of an entrepreneur to motivate people. (I strongly belive that motivating people with visionary and shared goals is more favorable than motivating through tactics, incentives or manipulation through simple carrot and stick approaches because motivating with vision is natural wheras the former is artificial and ephemeral).

Now, lets rise on the shoulders of the giants :

A Classification of Motivation Theories (Content vs. Process) Motivation theories can be classified broadly into two different perspectives: Content and Process theories. Content Theories deal with “what” motivates people and it is concerned with individual needs and goals. Maslow, Alderfer, Herzberg and McCelland studied motivation from a “content” perspective. Process Theories deal with the “process” of motivation and is concerned with “how” motivation occurs. Vroom, Porter & Lawler, Adams and Locke studied motivation from a “process” perspective.

1. Content Theories about Motivation

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

When motivation theory is being considered the first theory that is being recalled is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which he has introduced in his 1943 article named as “A Theory of Human Motivation”. According to this theory, individual strives to seek a higher need when lower needs are fulfilled. Once a lower-level need is satisfied, it no longer serves as a source of motivation. Needs are motivators only when they are unsatisfied.

In the first level, physiological needs exist which include the most basic needs for humans to survive, such as air, water and food. In the second level, safety needs exist which include personal security, health, well-being and safety against accidents remain. In the third level, belonging needs exit. This is where people need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. It is about relationships, families and friendship. Organizations fulfill this need for people. In the fourth level, self-esteem needs remain. This is where people looks to be respected and to have self-respect. Achievement needs, respect of others are in this level. In the top-level, self-actualization needs exist. This level of need pertains to realising the person’s full potential. Alderfer’s ERG Theory

In 1969, Clayton P. Alderfer, simplified Maslow’s theory by categorizing hierarchy of needs into three categories:

Physiological and Safety needs are merged in Existence Needs, Belonging needs is named as Relatedness Needs,
Self-esteem and Self-actualization needs are merged in Growth Needs Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory

Frederick Herzberg, introduced his Two Factor Theory in 1959. He suggested that there are two kinds of factors affect motivation, and they do it in different ways:

1) Hygiene factors: A series of hygiene factors create dissatisfaction if individuals perceive them as inadequate or inequitable, yet individuals will not be significantly motivated if these factors are viewed as adequate or good. Hygiene factors are extrinsic and include factors such as salary or remuneration, job security and working conditions.

2) Motivators: They are intrinsic factors such as sense of achievement, recognition, responsibility, and personal growth.

The hygiene factors determine dissatisfaction, and motivators determine satisfaction. Herzberg theory conforms with satisfaction theories which assert that “a satisfied employee tends to work in the same organization but this satisfaction does not always result in better performance”. In other words, satisfaction does not correlate with productivity.

McClelland’s Achievement Need Theory

in his 1961 book named as “The...
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