Theory of Motivation

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  • Topic: Motivation, Two-factor theory
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  • Published : February 16, 2011
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Different Types of Motivation Theories
inShare.0Share | Employee Motivation in the Workplace: Different Types of Motivation Theories Part 3
Does money motivate people effectively? In part 1 of this series on HR theories of motivation, we answered that question. No.

Well, if not money, how do we create an environment where people are motivated? Check part 2. The key: create productive work relationships.

But people are different; so how do we build productive work relationships with all types of people? In this last installment on workplace motivation, we’ll cover some of the main theories for how various people motivate themselves.

Of the many different types of motivation theories, I would like to highlight three that are of particular use:

1.David Merrill and Roger Reid’s work on the four personal styles 2.David McClelland’s theory of motivation involving three basic needs: achievement, power, and affiliation 3.Fredrick Herzberg’s work on money as a demotivator at work There are many more good motivation theories – Maslow, Myers-Briggs, etc. – but I’ve found these three to be most useful in managing groups.

The Power of Intrinsic Motivation
Do you fret over losing your top employees? Feel confident you're paying and managing them better than anyone else in your industry. View our webinar Employee Retention: High Impact Performance Management for Engaging and Retaining Your Top Performers and get ahead of the competition.The starting point for all three different types of motivation theories is that they are built on the concept that intrinsic motivation is much stronger than extrinsic. This bedrock fundamental is perhaps the most powerful concept to apply in your work; see my post on top employee motivators for a more thorough review of incentive plans.

Briefly, it means that to get great results, you need people to be intrinsically interested in their work. Your efforts to control, set expectations, and reward people are all methods of extrinsic motivation, which helps explain why managers are often disappointed with employee results when relying on those motivation tools.

So, to help you get better results, here are three methods of intrinsic motivation that all build on that intrinsic bedrock.

Employee Motivation Theory 1: Personal Styles
In their theory on motivating different types of people, Merrill and Reid identify four personal styles:

Style Major Drivers Prefers to
Driver Action Oriented: Focus is on present time frame, direct action. Minimum concern for caution in relationships. Tends to reject inaction. Control, Tell Expressive Intuition Oriented: Focus is on involving others, future time frame. Minimum concern for routine. Tends to reject isolation. Emote, Tell Amiable Relationship Oriented: Focus is on relating, supporting; present time frame. Minimum concern for affecting change. Tends to reject conflict. Emote, Ask Analytical Thinking Oriented: Focus is on cautious action, “getting it right”, historical time frame, cautious action. Minimum concern for relationships. Tends to reject being wrong. Control, Ask

* Information adapted from their book, Personal Styles & Effective Performance.

Application: To help people feel connected intrinsically with their work, structure their work so these personal style needs are met.


Style More Effective Less Effective
Driver • When you want to make a point, ask, as in, “What do you think of this idea?”

• Get things done quickly that are going to be effective, even if they aren’t perfected. • When you want to make a point, lecturing them, as in, “Here’s how it is."

• Spending time in reflection and consideration, in an attempt to perfect.
Expressive • Make work a party while you’re getting stuff done; breathe life into work.

• Make use of their good gut instincts. • Spend 3 hours in a room sequentially creating a step-by-step checklist.

• Don’t trust them until they...
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