Motivation Theories

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Introduction
If I ask any person who is successful in whatever he or she is doing what motivates him/her, very likely the answer will be "goals". Goal setting is extremely important to motivation and success. We are still students but almost everybody of us has been working somewhere. I have few simple questions for you. So what motivates you? What do you expect from your current position? What do you think are the most important aspects to a job?

A good first step towards understanding what motivates people is to ask "What do people want from their jobs?" We might answer, "money" or "power" but really it is very difficult to judge because depending on our own individual values and beliefs, we are not all motivated by the same things to the same degree. Managers need to be aware that the things that motivate them may not necessarily motivate their employees.

Consider the following discussion between two workers. It is clear that the things that they think are important in their jobs are quite different.

Jim - I think that you are crazy for quitting your job at the factory. The work may have been boring but it pays better than any other job around here.

Frank - Maybe you are right but I couldn't hack it. The job drove me up the wall. Even though I don't earn as much money in my new job, I enjoy it. There's something new every day and I'm glad I made the move.

1. WHAT IS MOTIVATION?
Since motivation influences productivity, supervisors need to understand what motivates employees to reach peak performance. It is not an easy task to increase employee motivation because employees respond in different ways to their jobs and their organization's practices. Motivation can be defined as a goal-directed behavior as I sad at the beginning of our presentation. Another way to say this is that it is a concept used to describe the factors within an individual which arouse, maintain and channel behavior towards a goal. While it is easy to see the things that a person does, it is much harder to guess at why they are doing it. Since it is part of a manager's job to get their work done through others, managers need to understand why people do things (that is, what motivates them?) so that s/he can convince their employees to work towards the goals of the organization. Managers need to provide the right organizational climate to ensure that their employees can see that by working towards the organizational goals they are also achieving some of their own goals. These goals could be such things as financial rewards or personal rewards such as the respect of their colleagues or job satisfaction or a combination of any number of things that the employee considers to be important. It is no good giving someone a pay rise if they are dissatisfied with the job and they do not see money as a very important factor in their working life. There is a formula which gives a good model of the basic requirements and how they relate to each other in order to achieve the best staff performance in the organization. Performance = Ability x Effort x Organizational support

The performance of the organization’s staff is an equation of their ability to do the job (what they can do) multiplied by the effort that they are actually willing to put into the job multiplied by the amount that the organization helps them to achieve their tasks.

2. APPROACHES TO UNDERSTANDING MOTIVATION
Theories are ways that we try to explain and understand complex and abstract issues and ideas. Abstract ideas are ideas like truth or love. They are very difficult to talk about because they are very hard to describe and define. They are not clear cut or concrete. Motivation is a fairly difficult area and there are a number of theories which have been developed to try to explain why people behave in the ways that they do and to try to predict or guess what people actually will do, based on these theories. Many methods of employee motivation have been developed....
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