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MOTIVATION THEORY AND PRACTICE Motivation is a widely used, and equally abused, concept in Management Theory and Practice.

Purpose of the theory is to help the practitioner develop reliable and comprehensive practices based on causal relationships. Thus the theory has two basic purposes, one being the examination and establishment of causal relationships between or among relevant variables and understanding the nature and effects of such relationships; the other is the development of a knowledge system based on such theory building which could be used by others to practise or perform better. There is still a wide gap between the theoretician and the practitioner. This is a universal phenomenon. However, the width of the gap is in varying degrees. In the west, it is less, but in our; part of the world, it is relatively more. This is due to number of basic factors as shown below: State of Economic Development Social and Cultural Environment State of the Technology Management Philosophy and Style

The above, by no means, is considered an exhaustive list. It acknowledges the most dominant factors, which constitute the macro environment in which people work. DEFINITION Motivation is an inner state that energizes, activates or moves and that directs or channels behavior towards goals. Motivation is a psychological process that gives behavior purpose and direction. motivation is the arousal, direction and persistence of behavior. Motivation is the process that accounts for the individuals intensity , direction , and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal. Motivation Theory is based on the following assumptions on human behavior: Behavior is caused

Behavior is Goal Oriented Behavior that is not directly observable (thinking and perceiving) is also important in achieving goals Behavior is motivated






The model explains basic assumption of the motivation theory. It explains that human behavior is triggered by NEEDS (1). When an individual experiences a need, it causes unrest or tension, which DRIVES him/her to look for ways to satisfy such need. This PROCESS is shown in boxes (2, 3 and 4) Boxes 5 &6 show evaluation of his behavior in terms of the consequences, where he/she evaluates and decides on his/her subsequent behavior. This phase refers to satisfaction / frustration of the need and reinforcement of behavior. Accordingly, the model explain basic theoretical framework of motivation, which could be classified as follows: Need / content theories Process theories Reinforcement theories

NEED/CONTENT THEORIES: Content theories / need theories emphasize the needs that motivate people. At any point in time people have basic needs such as those for food, achievement, or monetary reward. These needs translate into an internal drive that triggers off a specific behavior pattern directed toward goal satisfaction. Among the content theories the following have been widely used by practitioners/theorist to understand and design motivational programs: ` Maslows Hierarchy of Needs Theory proposes that human needs are constituted in a hierarchy of prepotency, in which the individual moves upward in the hierarchy constituting 05 need levels. The theory emphasizes that at a given time an individual is interested in satisfaction of a given need level. Thus the need satisfaction is tightly compartmentalized and only moves upwards (satisfaction progression). This is considered one of the main shortcomings of the theory. It is believed that human behavior is too complex to be frozen into such simple framework.

Alderfer's ERG Theory is a modification of the needs hierarchy theory but only identifies 03 need levels as indicated by the letters ERG. The 03 need levels are (E) existence (R) Relatedness (G). However, this theory does not emphasize backward movement as against strict upward movement suggested by Maslow. Accordingly if an individual fails to meet a higher level need he may revert back to a lower level need. This is known as frustration regression Herzbergs Two Factor Theory distinguishes between Hygiene Factors and Motivators. The theory suggests that the factors known as Hygiene Factors are those relate to dissatisfaction at work. Removal of dissatisfaction will not lead to satisfaction of the employee but it wii bring him to less-dissatisfaction or no dissatisfaction state. In other words, factors that lead to employee motivation are separate from those leading to dissatisfaction. Absence or inadequacy of satisfaction of extrinsic needs(hygiene factors) make the worker dissatisfied, but improvement of them will only make him satisfied, but not motivated. Motivation depends on fulfillment or satisfaction of intrinsic needs or motivating factors.


Process theories are a group of theories, which explain how employees select behaviors with which to meet their needs and determine whether their choices were successful. There are two Basic Theories in this category. They are: Equity Theory focuses on individuals perception of how fairly he /she is treated compared with others. The main focus of the theory is in perceived equity. Equity involves at two levels: Personal Equity and Social Equity Social Equity is defined as a situation that exists when the ratio of one persons outcomes to inputs equals those of another. Personal equity is the perceived fairness of the outcome for the input at an individual level without making reference to an outside party. Expectancy theory is one of the most widely accepted explanations of motivation. Victor Vrooms expectancy theory has its critics but most of the research is supportive. Expectancy theory argues that the strength of a tendency to act in a certain way depends on the strength of an expectation that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual. It says that an employee will be motivated to exert a high level of effort when he/she believes that: Effort will lead to good performance. That a good Performance will lead to rewards. That the rewards will satisfy his/her personal goals.

Reinforcement theory This is a motivation theory based on the relationship between a given behavior and its consequences. This approach sidesteps the issues of employee needs and thinking process described in the content and process theories. This approach is based on a theoretical assumption known as the Law of effect. Law of effect states that positively reinforced behavior tends to be repeated and unreinforced or negatively reinforced behavior tend to be inhibited .In other words behaviors, which result in pleasant consequences, are likely to be repeated, and behaviors, which result in unpleasant consequences, are likely to be avoided. Manager's motivation 'toolkit' There is no universal theory or approach to motivation Motivation is a complex process

Organizational Reward System is a powerful motivation mechanism Manager is the key element in the motivation process Recognize individual differences Match people to jobs Use goals Ensure that Goals are Perceived as Attainable Individual Rewards Link Rewards to Performance Check the System for Equity Do not ignore monetary rewards

The manager's main task is to motivate his or her team, both individually and collectively so that they can deliver the 'goods' and also derive satisfaction from it. This may appear somewhat contradictory, but it seems to work. The main tools in the manager's kitbag for motivating the team are:

approval, praise and recognition; trust, respect and high expectations; loyalty, given that it may be received; job enrichment; good communications; financial incentives.

Don't coerce - persuade! Persuasion is far more powerful than coercion, just as the pen is mightier than the sword. Managers have a much better chance of success if they use persuasion rather than coercion. The former builds morale, initiative and motivation, whilst the latter quite effectively kills such qualities. The three basic components in persuasion are:

suggest; play on the person's sentiments; and appeal to logic.

Cultural Impacts Motivation Theories Are Culture Bound Many Theories Were Developed in the United States

Most theories are based on the cultural characteristics inherent in the country of origin. Therefore, there is the strong emphasis the people of those societies with their values, norms and ethics. For instance the Northern culture bases a strong emphasis on Individualism, which is in contrast to collective orientation prominent in the Asian countries like Japan, India and Sri Lanka. This will, understanbly, have a great impact on their needs, drive, goals and goal seeking behavior. Both goal-setting and expectancy theories emphasize goal accomplishment as well as rational and individual thought. Maslows need hierarchy People start at the physiological level and then move progressively up the hierarchy in this order: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization. This hierarchy aligns with American culture. In countries where uncertainty avoidance characteristics are strong, Japan, Greece and Mexico, security needs would be on top of the need hierarchy. Countries like the Netherlands and Denmark who score high on quality of life characteristics would have social needs at the top. The view that a high achievement need acts as an internal motivator presupposes two cultural characteristicsa willingness to accept a moderate degree of risk and a concern with performance. Equity theory It is based on the assumption that workers are highly sensitive to equity in reward allocations. In the United States, equity is meant to be closely tying pay to performance. However, in collectivist cultures such as the former socialist countries, employees expect rewards to reflect their individual needs as well as their performance. Moreover, consistent with a legacy of communism and centrally planned economies, employees exhibited an entitlement attitude. 4. There are cross-cultural consistencies. The desire for interesting work seems important to almost all workers. Growth, achievement, and responsibility were rated the top three and had identical rankings in another study of several countries.

(Further reading: Organization Behavior , Robbins, S (9th Edition) Chapter7