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Abraham Maslow Theory of Motivation

People do things for certain motives. Abraham Maslow with his theory of motivation identifies different stages and forms of motives which will motivate people in different stages of their lives. This theory also presents a relationship between these needs. These needs are presented in a hierarchy. The higher level needs will be activated when the lower level needs are satisfied according to Maslow. The figure below presents the Maslows hierarchy of needs.

The lowest level of need for anyone is known as Physiological needs. This represents the requirement for food, shelter, water etc. certainly anyone can not exists without fulfilling these primary requirements. When people have a requirement falls into this category they are motivated with for that. For an example if someone is in hunger he will be motivated for food. When people satisfy their need for these basic stuff in life, they can no longer be motivated with them. People can be motivated with the safety needs of these people. That is people will be motivated for the consistency and safety. For an example when people have a job and when they can get food and shelter and other basic needs, they will look for the job security. Maslow explains this as the safety need. When people feel secure and their basics are sorted out they want to be in groups and they develop their need for affiliation. Here people will be motivated with good neighborhood, friends and family. According to Abraham Maslow, people would like to be respected. This is may be why people go for politics and social services after they feel they have achieved things they want to achieve personally. This is known as esteem needs of people. Everyone has a dream in theory life. This is the ultimate expectation of people. This will be highly subjective and will be different to person to person. This will motivate people when they achieve the esteem need. This is called the self actualization need. When it comes to business, it is important to understand what people want before we try to motivate them. This theory gives good guideline to this. For an example, people will not be motivated with money after they feel they have fulfilled their requirements which can be fulfilled with money. Then they should be motivated with other means.

There are three main categories of leadership styles: autocratic, paternalistic and democratic.
Autocratic (or authoritarian) managers like to make all the important decisions and closely supervise and control workers. Managers do not trust workers and simply give orders (one-way communication) that they expect to be obeyed. This approach derives from the views of Taylor as to how to motivate workers and relates to McGregors theory X view of workers. This approach has limitations (as highlighted by other motivational theorists such as Mayo and Herzberg) but it can be effective in certain situations. For example: When quick decisions are needed in a company (e.g. in a time of crises) When controlling large numbers of low skilled workers. Paternalistic managers give more attention to the social needs and views of their workers. Managers are interested in how happy workers feel and in many ways they act as a father figure (pater means father in Latin). They consult employees over issues and listen to their feedback or opinions. The manager will however make the actual decisions (in the best interests of the workers) as they believe the staff still need direction and in this way it is still somewhat of an autocratic approach. The style is closely linked with Mayos Human Relation view of motivation and also the social needs of Maslow. A democratic style of management will put trust in employees and encourage them to make decisions. They will delegate to them the authority to do this (empowerment) and listen to their advice. This requires good two-way communication and often involves democratic discussion groups, which can offer useful suggestions and ideas. Managers must be willing to encourage leadership skills in subordinates. The ultimate democratic system occurs when decisions are made based on the majority view of all workers. However, this is not feasible for the majority of decisions taken by a business- indeed one of the criticisms of this style is that it can take longer to reach a decision. This style has close links with Herzbergs motivators and Maslows higher order skills and also applies to McGregors theory Y view of workers. Summary of management styles
Description Autocratic Senior managers take all the important decisions with no involvement from workers Advantages Quick decision making Effective when employing many low skilled workers More two-way communication so motivating Workers feel their social needs are being met Democratic Workers allowed to make own decisions. Some businesses run on the basis of majority decisions Authority is delegated to workers which is motivating Useful when complex decisions are required that need specialist skills Disadvantages No two-way communication so can be de-motivating Creates them and us attitude between managers and workers Slows down decision making Still quite a dictatorial or autocratic style of management Mistakes or errors can be made if workers are not skilled or experienced enough


Managers make decisions in best interests of workers after consultation