Lots of people are interested in motivation; they try to find out the reason why someone behaves in a particular way. What is motivation? There are a number of definitions of motivation: Baron (1991) stated “motivation is the internal process that activate, guide and maintain behaviour (especially goal-directed behaviour).” This definition assumes all behaviour is a consequence of motivation which ignored how and why it is instigated. So, Kanfer (1998) declared that “motivation is only about the ‘free will’ element of behaviour and defines it as ‘the psychological mechanisms governing the direction, intensity, and persistence of action not due solely to individual differences in ability or to overwhelming environmental demands that coerce or force action” (Sarah ,2002). A survey carried out 500 of top 1000 businesses in UK, 95 per cent of those companies responded they hope their employees could be more motivated. ‘To motivate others is the most important of management task’. It comprises the abilities to communicate, to set an example, to challenge, to encourage, to obtain feedback, to involve, to delegate, to develop and train, to inform, to brief and to provide a just reward” (Richard Deny, 1993). From all have been mentioned above we could find no matter employees or managers and leaders they are need to be well-motivated in a successful company. The purpose of writing this essay is to explore how motivation theories has developed overtime and then we will discuss how motivation theories can influence business performance by give an example.
The most common classification was proposed by Thierry and Koopman-Iwema (1984) has classified theories as two main theories: content theories and process theories. If make this classification more wide other two kinds of theories will be considered, its behaviour modification theories and work design theories. So in this essay we will analyse how these four kinds of theories developed over time. See the diagram1 back of the pages.
Behaviour modification theories suggest the environment effect on people’s behaviour. There are significant influences on the behaviour of the external environment of the enterprises. The most frequently mentioned behaviour modification theories are Taylor’s theory of the study scientific management (1919) and Elton Mayo’s theory (1923) about social relationship in workplace. Taylor (1919) developed “scientific management” in America steelworks. In this theory he made three main key points of assumptions about human behaviour when they are working: Man is a rational economic animal concerned with maximize his economic gain; People respond as individuals, not as groups; People can be treated in a standardized fashion, like machines; Taylor held his viewpoint that the only thing make people work is money. They design a system about piece-rates, the worker who did not finish his daily work will be less-paid or pay nothing, on the contrary if the one who did more than a fair day's work (e.g. exceeded the target) would be paid more. In his observation he also find if the employees were not been watched they will not work initiatively.
The weakness of Taylor’s theory ignored the differences between people and theirs individual feelings. There couldn’t have a “best way” to suit every individual. Besides, although money is an important motivation to every people, some other reasons are necessities. In terms of Mayo’s theory, the experiments ignored environmental factors e.g. gender. Therefore researchers found the flaws of behaviour modification theories and carried out a series of new theory that's the famous content theories.
Content theories ‘focus on the underlying human needs that supposedly shape motivational drive’ (Shields, 2010). The theories proposed human’s behaviour motivated by unsatisfied needs and they always avoid the felling of dissatisfaction (Shields, 2010). It emphasizes the reason of motivation and from that way to motivate...
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