Literature Review

Topics: Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Motivation, Abraham Maslow Pages: 7 (1941 words) Published: September 14, 2013
Literature Review


I will present some relevant theories to concern the two research questions in my research proposal. For the first question “what can motivate a high skilled employee in a small and medium sized-company in China?’,the basic theories for the motivation will be presented. For the second research question ‘What kind of tools can be used by the small and medium sized company to develop talents in their company?’, the theories about the approaches for the talent retention will be presented. In the end, a conclusion will be given about these theoretical foundations for my research.

The theories for retaining and developing talents

Talent recruiting, talent retention and talent development are the processes of the talent management (Snell, 2007). To retaining the high quality employees in the company for long period always is the most struggling part in the process of talent management. It is very harmful to a company when a high quality employee left. It may increase many direct cost for the company, such as cost for leaving, cost for transition and cost for replacement. And it also can increase some indirect cost, such as the level of performance will be reduced and the morale in the company will be getting lower.

Rothwell and Kazanas claim the development of talent is a competitive advantage in an organization and it is a changing process. (Rothwell and Kazanas,2004)Through the talent development, the organization can maintain the competitive advantage.

It is very clear when the Chinese small and medium sized-companies understand the strategies of talent development and talent retention they will be more confident and be more successful. The next step is to explore the basic theories of motivation to help to understand the talent retention and development.

Basic theories of motivation

Vainman and Vance claim motivation is always a hidden force to keep talent in an organization. (Vainman and Vance, 2008) Motivation is always different between different countries and different continents because it is grounded in individual’s value, attitude and beliefs.

It is very useful to review the following basic theories to understand the motivation.

Hierarchy of needs

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the one of recognisable motivation theories. It is a five-level of needs in order of importance pyramid. From lower level to higher level, it includes physiological needs which is the basic needs for a human being; then the safety needs; love/belonging needs; esteem needs; finally the self-actualisation needs. (Maslow, 1954) Maslow claims that before the employees move to high level of needs, they must be satisfied by the lower level of needs. As Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is based in America-dominated market, there are some limitations for Chinese companies to apply this theory into practice because the eastern culture is totally different with the western culture. Such like, one Chinese employee always put his family in a high level.

Acquired needs theory

David McClelland claims the higher order needs of individual’s can be divided into achievement, affiliation, or power. (David McClelland, 1962) If these three factors are applied in talent management, they will help the company to motivate different employees with different background and different needs.

The theory X and the theory Y

These two theories are about two different attitude of workforce management. With theory X, the management of a company always think their employees are lazy, these employees need to be watched closely because if they are not closely supervised they will avoid to work for the company. With the theory Y, the management of a company always think their employees are ambitious to work for the company. The management of the company assume their employees are self-control and they do not need to be closely supervised for their work (McGregor, 1960). At the moment, the...
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