Motivation is the process of initiating and directing behaviour based on the persistence of effort to satisfy an individual goal or need (Petri, 1991; Robbins et al, 2000 and Robbins et al, 2001). There are two approaches to understanding motivation, each of which has theories expanding to support the nature of motivation. Content theories focuses on what motivates an individual. In contrast to process theories of motivation which focus on how individual behaviour is motivated. This essay will focus on motivation in an educational context and the importance to provide opportunities and motivation for students. The purpose of this essay is to present a theoretical overview of the key differences between content theories and process theories of motivation. Then a programme developed from a theory to be applied to an undergraduate business course at Monash University. The motivational programme will focus on improving the assessment technique used by lecturers and tutors (“teachers”) that will motivate and improve undergraduate students learning ability. The aim will be to encourage students to gain a better understanding of the core concepts of business. Assessment in universities needs to be reshaped in order to motivate students. CONTENT THEORIES OF MOTIVATION
Content theories are also referred to, as need theories. That is, motivational theories that look at what individual needs motivate and direct behaviour to respond to specific goals. Many early theories from the 1950′s, include Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y and Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory, established core concepts which have helped explain motivation especially in an organisational setting. McClelland’s three needs theory is a more contemporary view on the content theory approach to motivation that focuses on three important needs in work situations. Each theory identifies individual needs in order to understand behaviour. The main factors that underlie this approach is the need to understand that individuals have different needs, and what can be offered in response to these different needs as well as the importance on the external working environment to give individuals the opportunity to satisfy their needs (Robbins et al, 2000, p558). An example of a content theory of motivation is Douglas McGregor theory of the ÃÂ±ÃÂµeconomic manÃÂ±ÃÂ¶. He proposed 2 contrasting views of human nature. McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y suggested one negative (Theory X) and one positive (Theory Y) view on human beings. He “concluded that a manager’s view of the nature of human beings is based on a certain grouping of assumptions and that he or she tends to mould his or her behaviour towards employees according to these assumptions” (Robbins et al, 2001, p199). The negative assumptions were labeled “Theory X”, which held four dominant assumptions of workers. Workers dislike work and go to great strengths to avoid it. Based on this it is believed that workers need to be punished with tight control systems in order for them to achieve goals. In addition, workers lack responsibility, thus need formal directions from superiors to perform. Such Theory X workers are predominately motivated by lower-order needs according to Maslow’s hierarchy for example they need security. In contrast, “Theory Y” assumes higher order needs dominate individuals. Thus, Theory Y workers enjoy responsibility where they can exhibit self-direction and self-control. Therefore, in order to motivate workers, mangers need to provide a working environment that provides challenging jobs and minimal formalisation. Applying this to an educational context, it can be assumed that teachers can either have a Theory X or a Theory Y view of students. That is, teachers can view students as ÃÂ±ÃÂ·lazy or un-cooperative” (Theory X) OR as “being clever and work hard” (Theory Y). Teachers that adapt a Theory Y approach, are more likely to be attuned to students’ needs,...
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