Motivation and contemporary theory of motivation

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Psychology Pages: 14 (4634 words) Published: April 23, 2014
Motivation and Contemporary theories of Motivation

In the early days people worked only to satisfy their basic needs. As the time changed people also changed; they focused on various secondary and general needs. The working environment has also changed enormously over time. Conditions, attitudes and expectations that prevailed in the ages before the Industrial Revolution were different from those that developed during this great period of social, technological and economic change.

In current market, where companies seek a competitive edge, employee motivation is key for talent retention and performance. No matter the economic environment, the goal is to create a workplace that is engaging to employees, where employees want to belong, grow and contribute their knowledge, experience and expertise. It then becomes the responsibility of the manager to ensure that their key employee is motivated and retained.

A managers duties in today’s corporate world are multi-faceted. Not only do managers need to be versed in finance, economics, and information systems, it is now essential for them to have a firm grasp on organizational behavior and psychology. A key aspect of organizational psychology is motivation. They must know how their people think and what makes them do so.

So the question for all the managers is what is motivation?

There are many explanations by different authors about what motivation is, but in simple language “motivation is the need which generates the drive to do something / achieve something.”




Motivation is an important function, in which a manager has to perform to get things done from the people. It is an action that stimulates an individual to take a favourable course of action, which will result in an attainment of goals, or satisfaction of certain material or psychological needs of the individual. Motivation is a powerful tool in the hands of Managers. It can persuade convince and propel people to act. One can do the work of two people, but can't be two people. Instead, have to inspire the next man down the line and get him to inspire his people. Motivation is accomplishing things through the efforts of others. If one cannot do this, he / she will fail as a manager.

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Theories of Motivation
Motivation has been ever challenging to the managers and even to leaders who are responsible to bring commitment of their followers towards common tasks. Motivating requires understanding human nature and designing strategies for getting the work done. In this direction, a number of motivation theories have been advanced. Each theory have different implications on today’s manager. Some of the theories are – A. Content Theories – These theories deals with needs and driving factors of people. They represent a foundation from which process theories have grown. These theories try to list specific things that motivate behavior.

i) Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory:
Abraham Maslow is well renowned for proposing the Hierarchy of Needs Theory in 1943. This theory is a classical depiction of human motivation. This theory is based on the assumption that there is a hierarchy of five needs within each individual. The urgency of these needs varies. According to Maslow, individuals are motivated by unsatisfied needs. As each of these needs is significantly satisfied, it drives and forces the next need to emerge. Maslow grouped the five needs into two categories Higher-order needs and Lower-order needs. The physiological and the safety needs constituted the lower-order needs. These lower-order needs are mainly satisfied externally.

The social, esteem, and self-actualization needs constituted the higher-order needs. These higher-order needs are generally satisfied internally, i.e., within an individual. Thus, we can conclude that during boom period, the employees lower-order needs are significantly met. - Implications of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs...

References: -
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (2010), 83, 981–1002
Source - (2010) The British Psychological Society
Gagne´, M., & Deci, E
Motivation in today’s workplace: The link to performance – SHRM white-paper (Second Quarter-2010)
Bowey, Dr
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