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In this essay we will be discovering the definition of motivation, then examine the content and process motivational theories and come a conclusion with the differences.


Motivation means the internal and external factors that encourage aspiration and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job or a role to exert persistent effort in achieving a target goal. Motivation could results from interaction factors such as the reward value of the target goal, intensity of need and the expectations of individuals (Buelens, Sinding, Waldstrom, 2011).

In this competitive world the companies must always use variety of motivation techniques to make the employees stay within the company. It is often said that money is the main motivator but the enjoyment, convenience and experience also involves making the employees motivated, for instance appreciations, annual parties, appraisal, providing internal training, giving annual bonus, providing staff vouchers and encouraging the staff performance.

Motivation is the key task to achieve the goals of an organization. Basically a management must make sure the team of the people thinks that their needs are being met by listening, getting their ideas and suggestions.

One of the important responsible of a management is to make their employees feel that she/he is being treated as a part of the team whereby all the staffs share the aim of wanting to achieve an agreed goal.

According to Maslow’s theory employees are motivated by their unsatisfied needs. The two well-known founding theories include Maslow’s Hierarchy and Alderfer’s ERG theories are both present the basic needs of human. money is a main motivator. it must satisfy the lower level needs before it try to satisfy the upper level needs. such as physical needs. Maslow’s hierarchy shows that money at the bottom level and has other needs are better motivators to employees. a management should be clear about the basic theories of motivation (Cheng.Content theories The best way to understand how to motivate employees. according to Maslow (1954). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs The bottom level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. A best management will recognize which levels of needs are suitable for an individual. if a management needs to improve its employees by satisfying their needs. Also the management has to remember that not every employee will be motivated by same needs. 1995). However David McClelland believed that employees cannot be motivated just by the mere need for money-for example money as extrinsic motivation could extinguish intrinsic motivation such as other achievement motivations. but this tends to have a motivating fact on employees that has not lasts for a long period (in accordance with Herzberg’s two factor motivation theory). Alderfer’s ERG theory Alderfer’s ERG theory (1969) is taking a little further suggesting of first two needs on Maslow’s are under existence needs-survival needs (safety and physiological . For instance. The bottom level of the needs have to be achieved before top level needs are to be satisfied.

1993). which covers the Maslow’s selffulfilment needs. Herzberg’s two factor theory Another content theory is Herzberg’s two factor theory. job security and interpersonal relation as extrinsic factors (motivating factors). In 1993 Balmer and Baum applied the Herzberg’s factor theory to a certain department of hotel guest satisfaction in Cyprus. Baum. The second different is that Maslow’s theory says motivation must start from the lower level. 1999). Process theories Equity theory Equity theory is based on a function of fairness and justice in social exchanges. assumes that individually employees are strongly motivated to maintain a balance between what they receives adequate rewards for their contributions and inputs. Siu and Tsang. and it could happen up to the circumstances (Wren. .needs). considers job factors such as work environment. but Alderfer said sometimes people could go to the higher level before the lower level. opportunities for growth and the advancement are known as intrinsic factors (Wong. On the other side of Herzberg’s theory the hygiene factors such as the job. then the relatedness needs-to keep well personal relationships. There are two differences between Maslow’s and Alderfer’s theories. recognition. are the second level of Alderfer’s theory. status. Finally they said Herzberg’s theory is more relevant in the point of changes in customer expectation and the concept of quality (Balmer. 1995). Aderfer said that sometimes more than one need could simultaneously. good pay. Extrinsic factors have disruptive effect if these needs are not met adequately that the employees will become dissatisfied with their jobs. Then finally the growth-oriented needs such as learning something new and potential development. feeling of achievement.

a perceived equity or inequity theory results when an individual compares input and output with other (Wren. and output such as promotion. greater will be the efforts that he/she put in when the individual face the challenging task. 1995). goal theory indicates how a direction should be given to an employee about what needs to be done and how much efforts are required to be put in. they get out of it the same as other who did the same activities. good pay. For example. Goal setting theory has two certain eventualities such as: Goal commitment. this could be depend on following factors: • Goal are known. In general. Equity theory mainly focuses the exchanges that take place between the management and the individual. Tetlock and Kim motivated people to use accuracy goals by giving them a task and . Self efficiency. This theory also states that when there is a challenging goal with suitable feedback will contribute to higher and better task performance. open and easier • The goal must be set-self by individual • Goal should be consistent with organizational goals and vision. Managers must treat their employees fairly. and also the faith that he/she has the potential talent of performing the specific task. in terms of input such as taking effort to do something with good performance. The higher level of self efficiency. and then only the employees will believe that whatever they put into job. Goal setting theory Goal setting theory focuses how individual links to the task performance. In another the individual’s self confidence.the individual is committed to certain goal and he/she will not leave the goal.Employees evaluate this by comparing the perceived fairness with their relevant people at work.

J. equity theory. Sinding. expectancy and goal setting theories (Buelens. 1987) Conclusion As we can see the content theories of motivation are mainly focuses the things that actually motivate people in their jobs |(Buelens. Alderfer’s ERG theory and McClelland’s theories are demonstrating the human needs in different ways. & Kim. and their goals that they want to achieve in order to satisfy their needs. improve or stop the behaviour. Waldstrom. . tries to recognize the process of motivation by answering the question how people become motivated such as. Herzberg’s job enrichment |theory also a content motivational theory. 2011). The process theories are much more complex than the content theories. These theories explain the goals that the people aspire and focus on the factors within an |individual that direct. Specifically the need theories such as Maslow’s hierarchy. E. content theories are used to identify the employees’ needs. The key feature of the process motivational theories is people can make cognitive decision with several choices.telling them they would have to explain their thinking.. In general. P. The people wrote more cognitively complex responses than the control group (Tetlock. Sinding. 2011). Waldstrom. because it also focuses what could motivate people to satisfy their unmet needs.

Waldstorm.) motivational theory in practice. [Online] Available at: http://www.204-252.d. 4th ed. Sinding.managementstudyguide. [Accessed: . www.d.managementstudyguide. London: McGraw-Hill Education (UK) (n. et al.REFERENCES | | Buelens. The Times 100 (n.htm 12/06/2012]. (2011) Organisational [Accessed: 08/06/2012]. K. [online] Available at: http://businesscasestudies. C.) motivation theories. M.