Motivational Theory and Management

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How might in depth knowledge of motivational theory help someone to become a better manager?

Since motivation influences productivity, managers 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 is “driving force within individuals” (Mullins,2002), thus the manager (motivator) should influence factors that motivate employees to gain higher levels of productivity. Factors that affect work motivation include individual differences, job characteristics, and organizational practices. Individual differences are the personal needs, values and attitudes, interests and abilities that people bring to their jobs. Job characteristics are the aspects of the position that determine its limitations and challenges. Organizational practices are the rules, human resources policies, managerial practices, and rewards systems of an organization. Managers must consider how these factors interact to affect employee’s job performance. Many methods of employee motivation have been developed. Motivation theories are important to managers in attempting to be effective leaders. Two primary approaches to motivation are content and process. The content approach to motivation focuses on the assumption that individuals are motivated by the desire to fulfill inner needs. Content theories focus on the needs that motivate people. A. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs identifies five levels of needs, which are best seen as a hierarchy with the most basic need emerging first and the most sophisticated need last. People move up the hierarchy one level at a time. Gratified needs lose their strength and the next level of needs is activated. As basic or lower-level needs are satisfied, higher-level needs become operative. A satisfied need is not a motivator. The most powerful employee need is the one that has not been...
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