Work Motivation and Job Satisfaction

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Fundamental human needs Pages: 108 (25676 words) Published: November 25, 2013


The relationship between the organisation and its members is influenced by what motivates them to work and the rewards and fulfilment they derive from it. The nature of the work organisation, styles of leadership and the design and content of jobs can have a significant effect on the satisfaction of staff and their levels of performance. The manager needs to know how best to elicit the co-operation of staff and direct their efforts to achieving the goals and objectives of the organisation.

Learning outcomes
After completing this chapter you should be able to:

explain the meaning and underlying concept of motivation;

detail main types of needs and expectations of people at work;

explain frustration-induced behaviour and possible reactions to frustration at work;

examine main theories of motivation and evaluate their relevance to particular work situations;

review the meaning, nature and dimensions of job satisfaction;

assess broader influences on motivation and job satisfaction;

evaluate the relationship between motivation, job satisfaction and work performance.

Critical reflection
‘Some writers argue that people do not lack motivation, only the right triggers to motivate them. Some claim that motivation can only come from within and attempts from other people to motivate you have little lasting influence.’

What are your views? In your own words, what motivates you most?



The study of motivation is concerned, basically, with why people behave in a certain way. The basic underlying question is ‘Why do people do what they do?’ In general terms, motivation can be described as the direction and persistence of action. It is concerned with why people choose a particular course of action in preference to others, and why they continue with a chosen action, often over a long period and in the face of difficulties and problems.1 From a review of motivation theory, Mitchell identifies four common characteristics which underlie the definition of motivation:2

Motivation is typified as an individual phenomenon. Every person is unique and all the major theories of motivation allow for this uniqueness to be demonstrated in one way or another.
Motivation is described, usually, as intentional. Motivation is assumed to be under the worker’s control, and behaviours that are influenced by motivation, such as effort expended, are seen as choices of action.

Motivation is multifaceted. The two factors of greatest importance are: (i) what gets people activated (arousal); and (ii) the force of an individual to engage in desired behaviour (direction or choice of behaviour).

The purpose of motivational theories is to predict behaviour. Motivation is not the behaviour itself and it is not performance. Motivation concerns action and the internal and external forces which influence a person’s choice of action.

On the basis of these characteristics, Mitchell defines motivation as ‘the degree to which an individual wants and chooses to engage in certain specified behaviours’. A fuller definition is given by the Chartered Management Institute: Motivation is the creation of stimuli, incentives and working environments that enable people to perform to the best of their ability. The heart of motivation is to give people what they really want most from work. In return managers should expect more in the form of productivity, quality and service.3

Underlying concept of motivation
The underlying concept of motivation is some driving force within individuals by which they attempt to achieve some goal in order to fulfil some need or expectation. This concept gives rise to the basic motivational model, which is illustrated in Figure 7.1. People’s behaviour is

Figure 7.1

A simplified illustration of the basic motivational model




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18 Steers, R. M. and Porter, L. W. Motivation and Work
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20 Adair, J. Leadership and Motivation, Kogan Page (2006).
21 Alderfer, C. P. Existence, Relatedness and Growth, Collier
Macmillan (1972).
Hall (2001), p. 361.
24 McClelland, D. C. Human Motivation, Cambridge
University Press (1988).
Approach, seventh edition, Prentice Hall (2001).
29 Vroom, V. H. Work and Motivation, Wiley (1964); also
published by Krieger (1982).
30 Porter, L. W. and Lawler, E. E. Managerial Attitudes and
Performance, Irwin (1968).
31 Lawler, E. E. Motivation in Work Organizations, Brooks/
Cole (1973).
(2001), p. 37.
(ed.) Advances in Experimental and Social Psychology,
Academic Press (1965)
Porter, L. W. Motivation and Work Behavior, second edition,
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37 Gratton, L. Living Strategy: Putting People at the Heart of
Corporate Purpose, Financial Times Prentice Hall (2000),
38 Hannagan, T. Management, fourth edition, Financial Times
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