A Study of Motivation in the Workplace
Tamara M. Coleman
Motivation is difficult to explain and practice. However motivation is still the one thing that makes people productive in their jobs. Whether the motivation is tangible or not, it all depends on the individual and how management takes the information and applies it. There are many theories and practices that can be studied and applied to any situation. Motivational theories are studied and practiced by theorists and companies to increase productivity. According to Jerald Greenberg (1999) scientist have defined motivations “as the process of arousing, directing and maintaining behavior towards a goal”. The act of arousing is related to the desire and vigor to produce. Directing is the election of behavior, and maintenance is the inclination to behave a certain manner until the desired outcome is met (Greenberg 1999). Much of the motivation theories will be related to the definition provided. Some major motivation theories along with the method to successfully motivate employees will be introduced. The theory and method that a manager may choose to use will depend on the environment and on the individual. There are two types of motivation theories content and process. The Content theories are based on the basic need and drives. The other theories focus on the process by which people are motivated (Pepitone, 1999). Content theories of motivation focus on this question: What causes behavior to occur and stop? The answers usually center on (1) the needs, motives or desires that drive pressure and forces employees to action and (2)employees' relationships to the incentive that lead, induce, pull and persuade them to perform. The needs or motives are internal to the individual. They cause people to choose a specific course of action to satisfy a need. Incentives are external factors that give value or utility to the goal or outcome of the employees' behavior (Pepitone, 1999). Abraham H. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a content motivational theory. Maslow’s basis was human behavior. He conducted his investigation between 1939 and 1943. The hierarchy of needs has five sets of goals that are called basic needs. Maslow’s idea was “ people will not be healthy and well-adjusted unless they have their needs met” (Greenberg 1999). Maslow arranged the needs in different levels in order of importance. As in a hierarchy the lower level are the most basic needs and the top are the higher level needs. Looking at the figure below one can see how the hierarchy works.
The lower order needs must be met before proceeding to the higher order needs. According to Greenberg (1999), Maslow’s needs are in the following order: physiological need, safety need, social need, esteem need, and self-actualization. Man’s basic needs are physiological, for example, hunger, thirst, sleep, etc. When these are satisfied they are replaced by safety needs reflecting one's desire for protection against danger or deprivation. These in turn, when satisfied are replaced by the need for love or belonging to, which are functions of man’s desire to belong to a group, to give and receive friendship and to associate happily with people. When these needs have been satisfied, the esteem needs seeks to be met. One desires self -esteem and self-respect, which are affected by a person’s standing reputation, and his need for recognition and appreciation. Finally, individuals have a need for self-actualization or a desire for self-fulfillment. The urge by individuals for self-development, creativity and job satisfaction (Boeree 1999) In the past, management rewards systems have attempted to satisfy an individual’s lower level needs for safety and physiological security, for protection against deprivation and the threat to a worker or his family. However, management rewards systems should be, aiming to satisfy the individual’s actual need (Boeree 1999). When believed that a...
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