Motivation Theory - More Than Maslow

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Part A:
Motivation can be considered to comprise an individual’s effort and persistence and the direction of that effort – motivation is the will to perform. (Brooks, 2009) Most managers have to delegate because the job that they have is too big for one person to do. In having to work through other people it is necessary that managers understand what motivates an employee to act positively in the interests of the organization. (Buckley, 2009) Maslow’s theory of needs tends to be treated as classical within the field of organisational behaviour, being referred to as a ‘classic among classics’ (Matteson, Ivancevich, 1989; Wilson, 1999). However I aim to prove that motivation theory is a much broader topic than the principles of Maslow with the use of two content theories; ‘two-factor theory’ and ‘Theory X & Theory Y’, as well as process theories; Expectancy Theory and Equity Theory. To further prove my point I will use Marx’s theory and Taylor’s scientific approach.

Firstly some background - Maslow suggested individuals are motivated to satisfy a set of five needs which are hierarchically ranked according to their salience (Brooks, 2009). Physiological, safety and social needs (lower-order needs) are satisfied from the context within which the job is undertaken. Self-esteem and self-actualization (higher order needs) are met through the content of the job. Maslow further argued that at any one time one need is dominant and acts as a motivator. However once that need is satisfied it will no longer motivate, but be replaced by the next higher level need which remains to be satisfied. (Buckley, 2009) In order to be motivated, individuals need to be given the opportunity to satisfy the need at the next level in the hierarchy. (Brooks, 2009) Maslow recognised that this was not a fixed (yet quite rigid) hierarchy and that for some; motivators may be at different levels but little chance for deviation. Content theories deviate from the ‘classical’ Maslow approach to motivation, they attempt to identify and explain the factors which motivate people. (Brooks, 2009) Firstly Herzberg formed the ‘two factor theory’ – based on a study designed to test the concept that man has two sets of needs: his need as an animal to avoid pain and his need as a human to grow psychologically (Herzberg, 1959; Brooks, 2009). He found factors that created job dissatisfaction (hygiene factors – pain avoidance) were related to the context of the job (extrinsic rewards) and factors that caused job satisfaction (motivators – psychological growth) were related to the content of the job (intrinsic rewards). (Sankar, 1994) One example of the successful use of motivators especially achievement & recognition is in ASDA, one of the first to admit it doesn’t pay its employees particularly well; instead it lavishes them with ‘bursting with pride’ and ‘thank you’ certificates (French, 2008). However the concept presents a problem with semantics, for we normally think of satisfaction and dissatisfaction as opposites (Clark; Chandler; Barry, 1994). However eliminating dissatisfaction does not produce satisfaction because they are determined by different factors, so the opposite of satisfaction is no satisfaction and the same is said for dissatisfaction (Sankar, 1994). Hygiene factors have to be met adequately to avoid dissatisfaction, but do not motivate employees and the presence of motivators creates positive job satisfaction. This contradicts Maslow’s beliefs that certain needs have to be met before the individual can progress, as all these factors can be addressed at once. Herzberg believed one way management could create motivation is not through horizontal loading (increasing workload) but by vertically loading, giving people complete natural work units. (Herzberg, 1987) In short the evidence of Herzberg’s theory at work suggests motivation is not only the product of the hierarchy of needs being achieved. Secondly, the human behaviour at work:...
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