You are on page 1of 17

Motivation – One of the Most Important Management Tasks

Motivation is getting others to do something because they want to do it. To motivate

others is one of the most important management tasks. It comprises the abilities to
understand what drives people, to communicate, to involve, to challenge, to encourage,
to set an example, to develop and coach, to obtain feedback, and to provide a
just reward.
"Motivation is about cultivating your human capital. The challenge lies not it the work
itself, but in you, the person who creates and manages the work environment."3

The Process of Motivation

The basic inputs of a simple motivational model are:

• Needs or expectations
• Behaviour or action
• Goals or incentives
• Some form of feedback that would modify the inner state of an individual or his

A simple model of motivation is shown in Figure 1-1.

Figure 1-1: Process of Motivation

Basically, this model suggests that individuals possess a multitude of needs, desires or
expectations in varying intensity. The emergence of such a need generally creates some
sort of imbalance within the individuals which in turn gives rise to certain actions which
the individual may believe would restore the equilibrium. The initiation of such actions
then sets up a series of reactions, either within the individuals or from the environment
providing feedback concerning the impact of behaviour. Such feedback may enable one
to modify the present behaviour or pursue the present course of action.

Classification of Theories

Maslow’s theory

Physiological Needs

These are the basic needs of human organism.

The need for oxygen, food, drink, rest illumination, temperature regulation etc.

These needs are relatively independent of each other and can be identified with specific
organs of the human body.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, 'God can afford to appear before a hungry man only in the
form of bread.' Similarly, a drowning man's greatest need is air and that of a fatigued and
exhausted man the rest.

Safety and Security Needs:

When man’s physiological needs are relatively satisfied his desire for safety and security
becomes dominant. He then wants to be free from danger, threat and other insecurities of
life. He wants economic security. He does not want to depend upon others for meeting
his needs

Social Needs

When man’s physiological and safety needs are reasonably satisfied, his social needs
become dominant. Man is a gregarious animal. He likes the company of others, wants to
live with others, belong to others. He wants to give and receive friendship and affection.
He likes to develop warm, affectionate and emotionally supporting relationships with
others. He wants to be accepted and respected by others. For achieving this objective, he
is ready to sacrifice his individuality and egoistic needs to a certain degree

Ego or Esteem Needs

A man does not want to feel weak, inferior or helpless. The first part of these needs
therefore, refers to man’s self – respect, self – confidence, competence, sense of
achievement and independence. The other part refers to his needs or reputation; the
appreciation and recognition he receives from his superiors, subordinates and colleagues,
and the status he acquires in society.

Self Actualisation Needs:

When all other needs of man are satisfied, his desire to grow psychologically still
remains. Mallow states, ‘What a man can be, he must be.’
He has broken down the self-actualisation needs into sixteen qualities or attributes which
are referred as meta-needs.. These are :

• Efficient perception of reality

• Acceptance of self and others
• Solitude
• Fresh appreciation
• Human kinship
• Interpersonal relationship
• Means and ends
• Creativity

In spite of some of the criticism levelled against Maslow's theory, behavioural scientists
are of the view that his model still holds great relevance even today.

The theory can be summarized as follows:

 Human beings have wants and desires which influence their behavior. Only
unsatisfied needs influence behavior, satisfied needs do not.
 Since needs are many, they are arranged in order of importance, from the basic to
the complex.
 The person advances to the next level of needs only after the lower level need is at
least minimally satisfied.
 The further the progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality, humanness and
psychological health a person will show.

The needs, listed from basic (lowest-earliest) to most complex (highest-latest) are as
Herzberg’s two-factor theory or intrinsic/extrinsic motivation
Motivator-Hygiene Theory" and/or "The Dual Structure Theory."

concludes that certain factors in the workplace result in job satisfaction, but if absent,
lead to dissatisfaction.

He distinguished between:

Hygiene factors or maintenance factors

 that do not motivate if present, but, if absent, result in demotivation and

dissatisfaction. (e.g. status, job security, salary and fringe benefits) The name
Hygiene factors is used because, like hygiene, the presence will not make you
healthier, but absence can cause health deterioration.

 Motivators; served to motivate the individual to a superior effort and

performance. These factors are related to job content of the work itself The strength
of these factors will affect feelings of satisfaction or no satisfaction, but not
dissatisfaction. (e.g. challenging work, recognition, responsibility) which give
positive satisfaction.

For example:- Motivators are more concerned with the actual job itself. For instance how
interesting the work is and how much opportunity it gives for extra responsibility,
recognition and promotion. Hygiene factors are factors which ‘surround the job’ rather
than the job itself. For example a worker will only turn up to work if a business has
provided a reasonable level of pay and safe working conditions but these factors will not
make him work harder at his job once he is there.

he has identified three major needs, which give direction to human behaviour. He termed
these needs as:

• Need for affiliation.

• Need for achievement.
• Need for power.
Need Affiliation

A person with high need for affiliation (n-Affiliation) is a missionary at heart. He has an
intense desire to form warm, friendly, compassionate relationship with others, consoling
estranged friends, and bringing about peace and harmony among warring parties. He likes
participating in meeting parties, friendly gatherings and club activities.

Need Achievement

This need (n-Achievement) is the manifestation of an individual's competitive spirit. A

man with a high degree of this need, spends most of his time thinking how to do his job
better, how to advance in his career, how to accomplish something unusual and important
and how to excel others. He is neither a dreamer nor a gambler. He works hard and plans
his activities with a good deal of foresight He dislikes routine and easy jobs and likes
taking calculated risks. He sets goals that are beyond his reached but can be achieved
with concentrated efforts. He believes in the principle of stretching. He satisfaction lies
more in the intense efforts he makes for the performance of a task than in the results
Need Power

Vroom’s Expectancy theory

Elton Mayo’s theory of motivation

Elton Mayo (1880 – 1949) believed that workers are not just concerned with money but
could be better motivated by having their social needs met whilst at work (something that
Taylor ignored). He introduced the Human Relation School of thought, which focused on
managers taking more of an interest in the workers, treating them as people who have
worthwhile opinions and realising that workers enjoy interacting together.

Mayo conducted a series of experiments at the Hawthorne factory of the Western Electric
Company in Chicago

He isolated two groups of women workers and studied the effect on their productivity
levels of changing factors such as lighting and working conditions.

He expected to see productivity levels decline as lighting or other conditions became

progressively worse

What he actually discovered surprised him: whatever the change in lighting or working
conditions, the productivity levels of the workers improved or remained the same.

From this Mayo concluded that workers are best motivated by:
Better communication between managers and workers ( Hawthorne workers were
consulted over the experiments and also had the opportunity to give feedback)

Greater manager involvement in employees working lives ( Hawthorne workers

responded to the increased level of attention they were receiving)

Working in groups or teams. ( Hawthorne workers did not previously regularly work in

In practice therefore businesses should re-organise production to encourage greater use of

team working and introduce personnel departments to encourage greater manager
involvement in looking after employees’ interests. His theory most closely fits in with a
paternalistic style of management.


There are a number of different views as to what motivates workers. The most commonly
held views or theories are discussed below and have been developed over the last 100
years or so. Unfortunately these theories do not all reach the same conclusions!


Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856 – 1917) put forward the idea that workers are motivated
mainly by pay. His Theory of Scientific Management argued the following:

Workers do not naturally enjoy work and so need close supervision and control

Therefore managers should break down production into a series of small tasks

Workers should then be given appropriate training and tools so they can work as
efficiently as possible on one set task.

Workers are then paid according to the number of items they produce in a set period of
time- piece-rate pay.

As a result workers are encouraged to work hard and maximise their productivity.

Taylor’s methods were widely adopted as businesses saw the benefits of increased
productivity levels and lower unit costs. The most notably advocate was Henry Ford who
used them to design the first ever production line, making Ford cars. This was the start of
the era of mass production.

Taylor’s approach has close links with the concept of an autocratic management style
(managers take all the decisions and simply give orders to those below them) and
Macgregor’s Theory X approach to workers (workers are viewed as lazy and wish to
avoid responsibility).

However workers soon came to dislike Taylor’s approach as they were only given boring,
repetitive tasks to carry out and were being treated little better than human machines.
Firms could also afford to lay off workers as productivity levels increased. This led to an
increase in strikes and other forms of industrial action by dis-satisfied workers.