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Some of the most important theories of motivation are as follows: 1. Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory 2. Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory 3. McClelland’s Need Theory 4. McGregor’s Participation Theory 5. Urwick’s Theory Z 6. Argyris’s Theory 7. Vroom’s Expectancy Theory 8. Porter and Lawler’s Expectancy Theory.
From the very beginning, when the human organisations were established, various thinkers have tried to find out the answer to what motivates people to work. Different approaches applied by them have resulted in a number of theories concerning motivation.
These are discussed in brief in that order.
1. Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory:
It is probably safe to say that the most well-known theory of motivation is Maslow’s need hierarchy theory Maslow’s theory is based on the human needs. Drawing chiefly on his clinical experience, he classified all human needs into a hierarchical manner from the lower to the higher order.
In essence, he believed that once a given level of need is satisfied, it no longer serves to motivate man. Then, the next higher level of need has to be activated in order to motivate the man.
These are now discussed one by one:
1. Physiological Needs:
These needs are basic to human life and, hence, include food, clothing, shelter, air, water and necessities of life. These needs relate to the survival and maintenance of human life. They exert tremendous influence on human behaviour. These needs are to be met first at least partly before higher level needs emerge. Once physiological needs are satisfied, they no longer motivate the man.
2. Safety Needs:
After satisfying the physiological needs, the next needs felt are called safety and security needs. These needs find expression in such desires as economic security and protection from physical dangers. Meeting these needs requires more money and, hence, the individual is prompted to work more. Like physiological needs, these become inactive once they are satisfied.
3. Social Needs:
Man is a social being. He is, therefore, interested in social interaction, companionship, belongingness, etc. It is this socialising and belongingness why individuals prefer to work in groups and especially older people go to work.
4. Esteem Needs:
These needs refer to self-esteem and self-respect. They include such needs which indicate self-confidence, achievement, competence, knowledge and independence. The fulfillment of esteem needs leads to self-confidence, strength and capability of being useful in the organisation. However, inability to fulfill these needs results in feeling like inferiority, weakness and helplessness.
5. Self-Actualisation Needs:
This level represents the culmination of all the lower, intermediate, and higher needs of human beings. In other words, the final step under the need hierarchy model is the need for self-actualization. This refers to fulfillment.
The term self-actualization was coined by Kurt Goldstein and means to become actualized in what one is potentially good at. In effect, self- actualization is the person’s motivation to transform perception of self into reality.
According to Maslow, the human needs follow a definite sequence of domination. The second need does not arise until the first is reasonably satisfied, and the third need does not emerge until the first two needs have been reasonably satisfied and it goes on. The other side of the need hierarchy is that human needs are unlimited. However, Maslow’s need hierarchy-theory is not without its detractors.
The main criticisms of the theory include the following:
1. The needs may or may not follow a definite hierarchical order. So to say, there may be overlapping in need hierarchy. For example, even if safety need is not satisfied, the social need may emerge.:
2. The need priority model may not apply at all times in all places.
3. Researches show that man’s behaviour at any time is mostly guided by multiplicity of behaviour. Hence, Maslow’s preposition that one need is satisfied at one time is also of doubtful validity.
4. In case of some people, the level of motivation may be permanently lower. For example, a person suffering from chronic unemployment may remain satisfied for the rest of his life if only he/she can get enough food.
Notwithstanding, Maslow’s need hierarchy theory has received wide recognition, particularly among practicing managers. This can be attributed to the theory’s intuitive logic and easy to understand. One researcher came to the conclusion that theories that are intuitively strong die hard’.
Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory:
The psychologist Frederick Herzberg extended the work of Maslow and propsed a new motivation theory popularly known as Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene (Two-Factor) Theory. Herzberg conducted a widely reported motivational study on 200 accountants and engineers employed by firms in and around Western Pennsylvania.
He asked these people to describe two important incidents at their jobs:
(1) When did you feel particularly good about your job, and
(2) When did you feel exceptionally bad about your job? He used the critical incident method of obtaining data.
The responses when analysed were found quite interesting and fairly consistent. The replies respondents gave when they felt good about their jobs were significantly different from the replies given when they felt bad. Reported good feelings were generally associated with job satisfaction, whereas bad feeling with job dissatisfaction. Herzberg labelled the job satisfiers motivators, and he called job dissatisfies hygiene or maintenance factors. Taken together, the motivators and hygiene factors have become known as Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation.
According to Herzberg, the opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction. The underlying reason, he says, is that removal of dissatisfying characteristics from a job does not necessarily make the job satisfying. He believes in the existence of a dual continuum. The opposite of ‘satisfaction’ is ‘no satisfaction’ and the opposite of ‘dissatisfaction’ is ‘no dissatisatisfaction’.
According to Herzberg, today’s motivators are tomorrow’s hygiene because the latter stop influencing the behaviour of persons when they get them. Accordingly, one’s hygiene may be the motivator of another.
However, Herzberg’s model is labeled with the following criticism also:
1. People generally tend to take credit themselves when things go well. They blame failure on the external environment.
2. The theory basically explains job satisfaction, not motivation.
3. Even job satisfaction is not measured on an overall basis. It is not unlikely that a person may dislike part of his/ her job, still thinks the job acceptable.
4. This theory neglects situational variable to motivate an individual.
Because of its ubiquitous nature, salary commonly shows up as a motivator as well as hygine.
Regardless of criticism, Herzberg’s ‘two-factor motivation theory’ has been widely read and a few managers seem untaminar with his recommendations. The main use of his recommendations lies in planning and controlling of employees work.
McClelland’s Need Theory:
Another well-known need-based theory of motivation, as opposed to hierarchy of needs of satisfaction-dissatisfaction, is the theory developed by McClelland and his associates’. McClelland developed his theory based on Henry Murray’s developed long list of motives and manifest needs used in his early studies of personality. McClelland’s need-theory is closely associated with learning theory, because he believed that needs are learned or acquired by the kinds of events people experienced in their environment and culture.
He found that people who acquire a particular need behave differently from those who do not have. His theory focuses on Murray’s three needs; achievement, power and affiliation. In the literature, these three needs are abbreviated “n Ach”, “n Pow”, and “n Aff” respectively’.
They are defined as follows:
Need for Achievement:
This is the drive to excel, to achieve in relation to a set of standard, and to strive to succeed. In other words, need for achievement is a behaviour directed toward competition with a standard of excellence. McClelland found that people with a high need for achievement perform better than those with a moderate or low need for achievement, and noted regional / national differences in achievement motivation.
Through his research, McClelland identified the following three characteristics of high-need achievers:
1. High-need achievers have a strong desire to assume personal responsibility for performing a task for finding a solution to a problem.
2. High-need achievers tend to set moderately difficult goals and take calculated risks.
3. High-need achievers have a strong desire for performance feedback.
Need for Power:
The need for power is concerned with making an impact on others, the desire to influence others, the urge to change people, and the desire to make a difference in life. People with a high need for power are people who like to be in control of people and events. This results in ultimate satisfaction to man.
People who have a high need for power are characterized by:
1. A desire to influence and direct somebody else.
2. A desire to exercise control over others.
3. A concern for maintaining leader-follower relations.
Need for Affiliation:
The need for affiliation is defined as a desire to establish and maintain friendly and warm relations with other people’. The need for affiliation, in many ways, is similar to Maslow’s social needs.
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