Over the years, many psychologists have developed various theories of motivation based on what they believe motivates people and why different people react and behave differently in a range of situations. Motivation is the “extent to which an individual is engaged by the work role he or she occupies.” It is very important that in today’s society, managers have a successful motivational strategy put in place in order to maintain high levels of performance in the work environment.
The motivational theories that I have studied can be categorised into two groups; content and process theories. “Content theories are based on the assumption that we can attribute a similar set of needs to all individuals...” suggesting that everyone has the same underlying needs and can therefore be motivated to achieve and perform better if those needs are satisfied. Maslow, Alderfer and Herzberg were among the most famous psychologists to study and define the concepts of content theories. Process theories, on the other hand, are based on “the role of an individual’s cognitive processes in determining his or her level of motivation.” Alternatively this suggests that each person is motivated by different needs and therefore it is unfair to place the same targets and offer the same rewards to large groups of people. Adams, Baldamus and Vroom are some of the psychologists who studied this type of motivational theory. These two groups are then broken down into main theories, some of which have been implemented and used in the workplace today.
The two theories that are going to be contrasted and compared today are both content theories and are: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and McGregor’s theory X and theory Y. Abraham Maslow published his theory the hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper, “a Theory of Human Motivation”. In his theory he claimed that “Human needs
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