What Is Motivation?

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Abraham Maslow Pages: 26 (8083 words) Published: January 6, 2008
The word "motivation" is often used to describe certain sorts of behaviour. A student who studies hard and tries for top grades may be described as being "highly motivated", while her friend may say that he is "finding it hard to get motivated" to study for an exam or to start an assignment. Such statements imply that motivation has a major influence on our behaviour but they don't really tell us how. A Definition of Motivation

Motivation can be defined as a concept used to describe the factors within an individual which arouse, maintain and channel behaviour towards a goal. Another way to say this is that motivation is goal-directed behaviour. While it is easy to see the things that a person does, it is much harder to guess at why they are doing it. As an example let us look at our hard-working student. It may be that that student is working hard because she wants to get high marks, but it might also be that she really enjoys learning that subject. She may be striving for high marks because she wants to impress her friends or because she wants a good job, so that the marks themselves are really a step toward another goal. It is dangerous to assume that you know what is motivating someone because you really can't "read their mind". Since it is part of a manager's job to get their work done through others, managers need to understand why people do things (that is, what motivates them?) so that s/he can convince their employees to work towards the goals of the organisation. A good first step towards understanding what motivates people is to ask "What do people want from their jobs?" We might answer, "money" or "power" but really it is very difficult to judge because depending on our own individual values and beliefs, we are not all motivated by the same things to the same degree. Managers need to be aware that the things that motivate them may not necessarily motivate their employees. Consider the following discussion between two workers. It is clear that the things that they think are important in their jobs are quite different. Jim - I think that you are crazy for quitting your job at the factory. The work may have been boring but it pays better than any other job around here. Frank - Maybe your right but I couldn't hack it. The job drove me up the wall. Even though I don't earn as much money in my new job, I enjoy it. There's something new every day and I'm glad I made the move. What do you think are the most important aspects to a job? Rank these motivating factors from 1-10. Money Tactful discipline Job Security Appreciation Promotion Sympathetic help in personal problems Working conditions Interesting work Loyalty from the company Feeling of being "In on things" (involved in decision making). The "Answer" to the task.

Managers need to provide the right organisational climate to ensure that their employees can see that by working towards the organisational goals they are also achieving some of their own goals. These goals could be such things as financial rewards or personal rewards such as the respect of their colleagues or job satisfaction or a combination of any number of things that the employee considers to be important. It is no good giving someone a pay rise if they are dissatisfied with the job and they do not see money as a very important factor in their working life. Yvonne McLaughlin suggests that there is an equation which gives a good model of the basic requirements and how they relate to each other in order to achieve the best staff performance in your organisation. Performance = Ability x Effort x Organisational support

The performance of your organisation's staff is an equation of their ability to do the job (what they can do) multiplied by the effort that they are actually willing to put into the job multiplied by the amount that the organisation helps them to achieve their tasks. APPROACHES TO UNDERSTANDING MOTIVATION

Theories are ways that we try to explain and understand complex and abstract...
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