Psychology and Motivation

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This essay examines the topic on ‘psychology and motivation’, where money has long been considered the most effective motivator of staff. Therefore, three specific management theories would be used in this paper to evaluate the use of monetary incentives in employee motivation. Motivation is purely a simple active process of leadership behavior. It creates conditions which drives an individual to do things right. Motivation is a built-in response in an individual and it appears within an individual instead of establishing from the outside (Baldoni, 2005).

Motivation is the key to performance improvement. Unfortunately, in today’s working society, the traditional approach of monetary incentives tempts individuals only to a certain extent. Though monetary incentives are able to fulfill the basic needs (hunger, thirst and daily necessities) of an individual, it cannot ‘buy happiness’ like work satisfaction or help people attain power. Money makes people feel self-sufficient. Human beings are thus more likely to put forth effort to attain personal goals (Buchanan, 2009).

Instead of using the traditional approach, employers can consider adopting another method of motivating their staff – Maslow’s theory of motivation – Hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s motivation theory shows that individuals are being motivated by unfulfilled needs (Clifford & Thorpe, 2007). According to Maslow, there are five types of needs. These needs are illustrated in the figure below.

Maslow Theory of Motivation – Hierarchy of Needs (tutor2u)

Maslow identified these five needs which are considered the “deficiency needs.” When one is motivated to satisfy these needs, one will work hard to achieve it. Therefore, these needs must be satisfied in order for work productivity to be improved. When these needs are satisfied, naturally, employees would want to remain in the company.

Thus, employers can motivate individuals by satisfying these five types of needs mentioned by Maslow differently. For physiological motivation, employers can provide sufficient meal breaks for employees. This is done in the hope that employees can not only have sufficient time to eat a proper meal, but also time for them to rest and to be re-energized. This time can also be used for the employees to run their errands, since most shops are often closed for the day when these employees knock off. To meet the employees’ safety needs, employers can provide a safe working environment that is generally free of threats to the employees. In this way, employees would feel at ease during work as their safety is being well taken care off. If the employees have job security, it also enhances their satisfaction. For social needs, employers have to ensure that employees do feel a sense of belonging with the company. In order to do so, employers can maintain traditions and working characteristics to create a sense of belonging and of shared values and objectives. By using all means of communications, employers can create a relaxed and collaborative mood between all workers, and also to encourage a team game and a sense of responsibility in the employees. However, this would also mean transferring some of the control from the employers to the employees. For esteem motivators, employers can recognize employees’ achievements by appreciating their work in forms of incentive pay systems. Other than monetary forms, employers can also recognize their efforts in the company’s annual dinners by showing their appreciation with medals or trophies that enhance the rewarded employee’s status, allowing them to feel valued and appreciated for their hard work. Lastly, for self-actualization, employers can offer more challenging and meaningful work assignments which would require employees to be creative and innovate, so that they can progress with accordance to their long-term goals.

However, not every individual is motivated by the exact same needs. Employers have to recognize such needs that each...
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