Motivational Theories

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Motivational Theories

Over the years, many have studied the behavior of individuals and what lies beneath their motivation. To completely understand these concepts we must fully understand the meaning of motivation. I will first discuss the definition of motivation, then I will briefly present three different motivational theories, the pros and cons of each, and strategies for which organizations can use in order to successfully implement motivational tactics.

The New Penguin Business Dictionary defines motivation as “The effort and drive to satisfy an individual need, e.g. a person might work, and work harder, because of a need for money and status.” (2003). Understanding what drives people to do something, enables managers to help employees maintain focus for the good of the organization.

Modern day motivational theories are all derived from the early theorists such as Taylor, Maslow, Herzberg, Mayo, and McClelland. Taylor’s theory was that individuals were motivated by pay. Maslow’s theory, probably the most recognized, was based on an individual’s basic needs – physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization, while Herzberg’s theory focused on an individual’s attitude towards their job and/or job duties. Mayo’s theory was based on meeting an individual’s social needs in order to achieve motivation. McClelland’s theory focuses on the need for achievement, the need for power, and the need for affiliation. There are some of these same concepts incorporated into the modern theories in which I will present next.

The first theory is that of the Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations also know as Self-Determination Theory developed by Richard Ryan and Edward Deci of the University of Rochester. This theory’s basic foundation focuses on intrinsic, (something that comes from within one’s self) and extrinsic (something that comes from outside one’s self) forms of motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000). For example, compensation would be...
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