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A Brief Introduction to Motivation Theory

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Management Theories > Motivation Theory

What is Motivation? Motivation is the answer to the question “Why we do what we do?”. The motivation theories try to figure out what the “M” is in the equation: “M motivates P” (Motivator motivates the Person). It is one of most important duty of an entrepreneur to motivate people. (I strongly belive that motivating people with visionary and shared goals is more favorable than motivating through tactics, incentives or manipulation through simple carrot and stick approaches because motivating with vision is natural wheras the former is artificial and ephemeral). Now, lets rise on the shoulders of the giants : A Classification of Motivation Theories (Content vs. Process) Motivation theories can be classified broadly into two different perspectives: Content and Process theories. Content Theories deal with “what” motivates people and it is concerned with individual needs and goals. Maslow, Alderfer, Herzberg and McCelland studied motivation from a “content” perspective. Process Theories deal with the “process” of motivation and is concerned with “how” motivation occurs. Vroom, Porter & Lawler, Adams and Locke studied motivation from a “process” perspective.

1. Content Theories about Motivation

According to this theory.Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs When motivation theory is being considered the first theory that is being recalled is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which he has introduced in his 1943 article named as “A Theory of Human Motivation”. Organizations fulfill this need for people. It is about relationships.  In the first level. simplified Maslow’s theory by categorizing hierarchy of needs into three categories: . families and friendship. physiological needs exist which include the most basic needs for humans to survive. safety needs exist which include personal security. well-being and safety against accidents remain. individual strives to seek a higher need when lower needs are fulfilled.  In the third level. self-actualization needs exist.  In the fourth level. Clayton P. This is where people looks to be respected and to have self-respect. self-esteem needs remain. such as air. water and food. This is where people need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. health. Alderfer. respect of others are in this level. Achievement needs. Once a lower-level need is satisfied. belonging needs exit. Needs are motivators only when they are unsatisfied.  In the top-level. Alderfer’s ERG Theory In 1969. This level of need pertains to realising the person’s full potential.  In the second level. it no longer serves as a source of motivation.

The hygiene factors determine dissatisfaction. David McClelland identified three basic needs that people develop and acquire from their life experiences . satisfaction does not correlate with productivity. He suggested that there are two kinds of factors affect motivation. McClelland’s Achievement Need Theory in his 1961 book named as “The Achieving Society”. introduced his Two Factor Theory in 1959. responsibility. and they do it in different ways: 1) Hygiene factors: A series of hygiene factors create dissatisfaction if individuals perceive them as inadequate or inequitable. 2) Motivators: They are intrinsic factors such as sense of achievement.  Self-esteem and Self-actualization needs are merged in Growth Needs Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory  Frederick Herzberg. In other words.  Belonging needs is named asRelatedness Needs. Hygiene factors are extrinsic and include factors such as salary or remuneration. and personal growth. job security and working conditions.Physiological and Safety needs are merged in Existence Needs. and motivators determine satisfaction. . yet individuals will not be significantly motivated if these factors are viewed as adequate or good. Herzberg theory conforms with satisfaction theories which assert that “a satisfied employee tends to work in the same organization but this satisfaction does not always result in better performance”. recognition.

Theory asserts that the motivation to behave in a particular way is determined by an individual’s expectation that behaviour will lead to a particular outcome. developed the expectancy theory in 1964. There is a strong need for feedback as to achievement and progress. Entrepreneurs usually have high degree of achivement needs.Needs for achievement: The person who have a high need for achievement seeks achievement and tries to attain challenging goals. Most managers have a high need for power.  Needs for power: The person who have a need for power wants to direct and command other people. Process Theories about Motivation Expectancy Theory Expectancy Theory argues that humans act according to their conscious expectations that a particular behavior will lead to specific desirable goals. Vroom.  Incentive Theory Incentive theory suggests that employee will increase her/his effort to obtain a desired reward. producing a systematic explanatory theory of workplace motivation. The belief of the person that her/his effort (E) will result in attainment of desired performance (P) goals. . multiplied by the preference or valence that person has for that outcome. Expectancy: E -> P.  Needs for affiliation: The person who have a high need for affiliation needs harmonious relationships with people and needs to be accepted by other people. generally individuals develop a dominant bias or emphasis towards one of the three needs. This is based on the general principle of reinforcement. Three components of Expectancy theory are: 1. This theory is coherent with the early economic theories where man is supposed to be rational and forecasts are based on the principle of “economic man”. (People-oriented rather than task-oriented). The person who have a high achievement need likes to take personal responsibility. The desired outcome is usually “money”. Victor H. and a need for a sense of accomplishment. Although these categories of needs are not exlusive. 2.

3. Instrumentality: P -> R. The harder the goal. Adams’ Equity Theory Developed by John Stacey Adams in 1963. The two most important findings of this theory are: 1. Adams asserted that employees seek to maintainequity between the inputs that they bring to a job and the outcomes that they receive from it against the perceived inputs and outcomes of others. then the individual feels satisfied. (e. The belief of the person that she/he will receive a reward (R) if the performance (P) expectation is met. Valence: The value of the reward according to the person. Is the reward attractive to the person?) The equation suggests that human behaviour is directed by subjective probability. The goals that are hard to achieve are linearly and positively connected to performance. fair or just in comparison with those received by others in similar positions in or outside the organization.g. the more a person will work to reach it. Equity Theory suggests that if the individual perceives that the rewards received are equitable. that is. Goal Theory Edwin Locke proposed Goal Theory in 1968. and where feedback is given on performance. 2. which proposes that motivation and performance will be high if individuals are set specific goals which are challenging.g. I want to earn a lot of money). but accepted.g. Setting specific goals (e.2. . I want to earn a million before I am 30) generates higher levels of performance than setting general goals (e.