Discipline Of Scientific Management In Steel

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Frederick Taylor was a foreman at Bethlehem Steel Works at the turn of the century. Developed a discipline called scientific management, which included a technique called time and motion studies, which revolutionized productivity in many industries.

Taylor dealt with the problem of how to get more out of workers. One principle he relied on was piecework. This is where you get paid by the number of X that you produce. Part of the manager's job, in Taylor's mind, was to analyze tasks and break them down in such a way that you could pay people on a piecework payment plan.

Another Taylor principle was that the manager does the thinking and the worker does the physical labor. He felt that if you let the worker the thinking, he would not do as good a job as someone who is a specialist in thinking. In particular, the worker would not figure out the best way to do the work. But a manager could analyze the task and figure out scientifically the best way to get it done.

The most famous example is moving pig iron (crude iron that comes in pieces called "pigs" weighing about 92 pounds). The task was simple: to take pig iron from the blast furnace and carry it up a plank onto a railroad car. Taylor studied the men as they did this. At the time, good workers were able to move about 12 tons per day. Based on some elementary bio-mechanical analysis of energy expenditure and efficiency, Taylor calculated that a man in good condition should be able to move 47 tons a day.

Now, he knew that simply telling the workers that this was now going to be the new norm would not work. Even if they were willing, they would surely try to speed everything up, and end up getting tired too quickly, with the possible result of moving even less than 12 tons. Based on his bio-mechanical analysis, Taylor knew that the only way to achieve 47 tons would be to walk at a certain measured pace, to carry it just so, drink water at measured intervals, and to take very frequent but very short breaks, whether the man thought he wanted one or not. So he put the men on a stopwatch, and told them when to move, when to stop, when to breathe, etc.

The very first day, his first subject moved 47 tons.

A key lesson he drew here was the worker himself does not have the means to figure out the best way to do the job. Instead, he does it the way it has always been done, which is not necessarily the best way. So he advocated a strong division of labor between management (thinking) and worker (doing). It is the manager's job to fully understand the worker's task, and to plan a method of doing it, and then forcing the worker to do it that way.

Taylor felt that workers' attempts to do things their own way were detrimental to the company and to the worker (since they would accomplish less and get paid less). He said that a trained gorilla would make a better worker than most humans. Today, this sounds offensive and that sort of attitude would not get very far. Furthermore, the basic focus on the needs of the tasks rather than the needs of the persons has not been in vogue over the last 20 years. Just now, however, as re-engineering gains popularity, the focus is shifting once again on structure over people as the variable to manipulate to improve performance.


Fayol (1841-1925) Functions and Principles of Management

Henri Fayol, a French engineer and director of mines, was little unknown outside France until the late 40s when Constance Storrs published her translation of Fayol's 1916 " Administration Industrielle et Generale ".

Fayol's career began as a mining engineer. He then moved into research geology and in 1888 joined, Comambault as Director. Comambault was in difficulty but Fayol turned the operation round. On retirement he published his work - a comprehensive theory of administration - described and classified administrative management roles and processes then became recognised and referenced by others in the growing discourse about management. He is frequently seen as a key, early contributor to a classical or administrative management school of thought (even though he himself would never have recognised such a "school").

His theorising about administration was built on personal observation and experience of what worked well in terms of organisation. His aspiration for an "administrative science" sought a consistent set of principles that all organizations must apply in order to run properly.

F. W. Taylor published "The Principles of Scientific Management" in the USA in 1911, and Fayol in 1916 examined the nature of management and administration on the basis of his French mining organisation experiences..

Fayol synthesised various tenets or principles of organisation and management and Taylor on work methods, measurement and simplification to secure efficiencies. Both referenced functional specialisation.

Both Fayol and Taylor were arguing that principles existed which all organisations - in order to operate and be administered efficiently - could implement. This type of assertion typifies a "one best way" approach to management thinking. Fayol's five functions are still relevant to discussion today about management roles and action.

to forecast and plan - prevoyance

examine the future and draw up plans of action

to organise

build up the structure, material and human of the undertaking

to command

maintain activity among the personnel

to co-ordinate

bind together, unify and harmonise activity and effort

to control

see that everything occurs in conformity with policy and practise

Fayol also synthesised 14 principles for organisational design and effective administration. It is worthwhile reflecting on these are comparing the conclusions to contemporary utterances by Peters, Kanter and Handy to name but three management gurus. Fayol's 14 principles are:

specialisation/division of labour

A principle of work allocation and specialisation in order to concentrate activities to enable specialisation of skills and understandings, more work focus and efficiency.

authority with corresponding responsibility

If responsibilities are allocated then the post holder needs the requisite authority to carry these out including the right to require others in the area of responsibility to undertake duties. Authority stems from:

that ascribed from the delegation process (the job holder is assigned to act as the agent of the high authority to whom they report - hierarchy)

allocation and permission to use the necessary resources needed (budgets, assets, staff) to carry out the responsibilities.

selection - the person has the expertise to carry out the responsibilities and the personal qualities to win the support and confidence of others.

The R = A correspondence is important to understand. R = A enables accountability in the delegation process. Who do we cope with situations where R > A? Are there work situations where our R< A?

"judgement demands high moral character, therefore, a good leader should possess and infuse into those around him courage to accept responsibility. The best safeguard against abuse of authority and weakness on the part of a higher manager is personal integrity and particularly high moral character of such a manager ..... this integrity, is conferred neither by election nor ownership. " 1916

A manager should never be given authority without responsibility--and also should never be given responsibility without the associated authority to get the work done.


The generalisation about discipline is that discipline is essential for the smooth running of a business and without it - standards, consistency of action, adherence to rules and values - no enterprise could prosper.

"in an essence - obedience, application, energy, behaviour and outward marks of respect observed in accordance with standing agreements between firms and its employees " 1916

unity of command

The idea is that an employee should receive instructions from one superior only. This generalisation still holds - even where we are involved with team and matrix structures which involve reporting to more than one boss - or being accountable to several clients. The basic concern is that tensions and dilemmas arise where we report to two or more bosses. One boss may want X, the other Y and the subordinate is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

unity of direction

The unity of command idea of having one head (chief executive, cabinet consensus) with agree purposes and objectives and one plan for a group of activities) is clear.

subordination of individual interest to the general interest

Fayol's line was that one employee's interests or those of one group should not prevail over the organisation as a whole. This would spark a lively debate about who decides that the interests of the organisation as a whole are. Ethical dilemmas and matters of corporate risk and the behaviour of individual "chancers" are involved here. Fayol's work - assumes a shared set of values by people in the organisation - a unitarism where the reasons for organisational activities and decisions are in some way neutral and reasonable.

remuneration of staff

" the price of services rendered. " 1916

The general principle is that levels of compensation should be "fair" and as far as possible afford satisfaction both to the staff and the firm (in terms of its cost structures and desire for profitability/surplus).


Centralisation for HF is essential to the organisation and a natural consequence of organising. This issue does not go away even where flatter, devolved organisations occur. Decentralisation - is frequently centralisaed-decentralisation !!! The modes of control over the actions and results of devolved organisations are still matters requiring considerable attention.

scalar chain/line of authority

The scalar chain of command of reporting relationships from top executive to the ordinary shop operative or driver needs to be sensible, clear and understood.


The level of generalisation becomes difficult with this principle. Basically an organisation "should" provide an orderly place for each individual member - who needs to see how their role fits into the organisation and be confident, able to predict the organisations behaviour towards them. Thus policies, rules, instructions and actions should be understandable and understood. Orderliness implies steady evolutionary movement rather than wild, anxiety provoking, unpredictable movement.


Equity, fairness and a sense of justice "should"pervade the organisation - in principle and practice.

stability of tenure

Time is needed for the employee to adapt to his/her work and perform it effectively. Stability of tenure promotes loyalty to the organisation, its purposes and values.


At all levels of the organisational structure, zeal, enthusiasm and energy are enabled by people having the scope for personal initiative. (Note: Tom Peters recommendations in respect of employee empowerment)

esprit de corps

Here Fayol emphasises the need for building and maintaining of harmony among the work force , team work and sound interpersonal relationships.


Douglas McGregor - theory x y

Douglas McGregor's XY Theory, managing an X Theory boss, and William Ouchi's Theory Z

Douglas McGregor, an American social psychologist, proposed his famous X-Y theory in his 1960 book 'The Human Side Of Enterprise'. Theory x and theory y are still referred to commonly in the field of management and motivation, and whilst more recent studies have questioned the rigidity of the model, McGregor's X-Y Theory remains a valid basic principle from which to develop positive management style and techniques. McGregor's XY Theory remains central to organizational development, and to improving organizational culture.

McGregor's X-Y theory is a salutary and simple reminder of the natural rules for managing people, which under the pressure of day-to-day business are all too easily forgotten.

McGregor maintained that there are two fundamental approaches to managing people. Many managers tend towards theory x, and generally get poor results. Enlightened managers use theory y, which produces better performance and results, and allows people to grow and develop.


theory x ('authoritarian management' style)

The average person dislikes work and will avoid it he/she can.

Therefore most people must be forced with the threat of punishment to work towards organisational objectives.

The average person prefers to be directed; to avoid responsibility; is relatively unambitious, and wants security above all else.

theory y ('participative management' style)

Effort in work is as natural as work and play.

People will apply self-control and self-direction in the pursuit of organisational objectives, without external control or the threat of punishment.

Commitment to objectives is a function of rewards associated with their achievement.

People usually accept and often seek responsibility.

The capacity to use a high degree of imagination, ingenuity and creativity in solving organisational problems is widely, not narrowly, distributed in the population.

In industry the intellectual potential of the average person is only partly utilised.


tools for teaching, understanding and evaluating xy theory factors

The XY Theory diagram and measurement tool below (pdf and doc versions) are adaptations of McGregor's ideas for modern organizations, management and work. They were not created by McGregor. I developed them to help understanding and application of McGregor's XY Theory concept. The test is a simple reflective tool, not a scientifically validated instrument; it's a learning aid and broad indicator. Please use it as such.

characteristics of the x theory manager

Perhaps the most noticeable aspects of McGregor's XY Theory - and the easiest to illustrate - are found in the behaviours of autocratic managers and organizations which use autocratic management styles.

What are the characteristics of a Theory X manager? Typically some, most or all of these:

results-driven and deadline-driven, to the exclusion of everything else


issues deadlines and ultimatums

distant and detached

aloof and arrogant


short temper


issues instructions, directions, edicts

issues threats to make people follow instructions

demands, never asks

does not participate

does not team-build

unconcerned about staff welfare, or morale

proud, sometimes to the point of self-destruction

one-way communicator

poor listener

fundamentally insecure and possibly neurotic


vengeful and recriminatory

does not thank or praise

withholds rewards, and suppresses pay and remunerations levels

scrutinises expenditure to the point of false economy

seeks culprits for failures or shortfalls

seeks to apportion blame instead of focusing on learning from the experience and preventing recurrence

does not invite or welcome suggestions

takes criticism badly and likely to retaliate if from below or peer group

poor at proper delegating - but believes they delegate well

thinks giving orders is delegating

holds on to responsibility but shifts accountability to subordinates

relatively unconcerned with investing in anything to gain future improvements



how to manage upwards - managing your X theory boss

Working for an X theory boss isn't easy - some extreme X theory managers make extremely unpleasant managers, but there are ways of managing these people upwards. Avoiding confrontation (unless you are genuinely being bullied, which is a different matter) and delivering results are the key tactics.

Theory X managers (or indeed theory Y managers displaying theory X behaviour) are primarily results oriented - so orientate your your own discussions and dealings with them around results - ie what you can deliver and when.

Theory X managers are facts and figures oriented - so cut out the incidentals, be able to measure and substantiate anything you say and do for them, especially reporting on results and activities.

Theory X managers generally don't understand or have an interest in the human issues, so don't try to appeal to their sense of humanity or morality. Set your own objectives to meet their organisational aims and agree these with the managers; be seen to be self-starting, self-motivating, self-disciplined and well-organised - the more the X theory manager sees you are managing yourself and producing results, the less they'll feel the need to do it for you.

Always deliver your commitments and promises. If you are given an unrealistic task and/or deadline state the reasons why it's not realistic, but be very sure of your ground, don't be negative; be constructive as to how the overall aim can be achieved in a way that you know you can deliver.

Stand up for yourself, but constructively - avoid confrontation. Never threaten or go over their heads if you are dissatisfied or you'll be in big trouble afterwards and life will be a lot more difficult.

If an X theory boss tells you how to do things in ways that are not comfortable or right for you, then don't questioning the process, simply confirm the end-result that is required, and check that it's okay to 'streamline the process' or 'get things done more efficiently' if the chance arises - they'll normally agree to this, which effectively gives you control over the 'how', provided you deliver the 'what' and 'when'.

And this is really the essence of managing upwards X theory managers - focus and get agreement on the results and deadlines - if you consistently deliver, you'll increasingly be given more leeway on how you go about the tasks, which amounts to more freedom. Be aware also that many X theory managers are forced to be X theory by the short-term demands of the organisation and their own superiors - an X theory manager is usually someone with their own problems, so try not to give them any more.

theory z - William ouchi

First things first - Theory Z is not a McGregor idea and as such is not Mcgregor's extension of his XY theory.

Theory Z was developed by not by McGregor, but by William Ouchi, in his book 1981 'Theory Z: How American management can Meet the Japanese Challenge'. William Ouchi is professor of management at UCLA, Los Angeles, and a board member of several large US organisations.

Theory Z is often referred to as the 'Japanese' management style, which is essentially what it is. It's interesting that Ouchi chose to name his model 'Theory Z', which apart from anything else tends to give the impression that it's a McGregor idea. One wonders if the idea was not considered strong enough to stand alone with a completely new name... Nevertheless, Theory Z essentially advocates a combination of all that's best about theory Y and modern Japanese management, which places a large amount of freedom and trust with workers, and assumes that workers have a strong loyalty and interest in team-working and the organisation.

Theory Z also places more reliance on the attitude and responsibilities of the workers, whereas Mcgregor's XY theory is mainly focused on management and motivation from the manager's and organisation's perspective. There is no doubt that Ouchi's Theory Z model offers excellent ideas, albeit it lacking the simple elegance of Mcgregor's model, which let's face it, thousands of organisations and managers around the world have still yet to embrace. For this reason, Theory Z may for some be like trying to manage the kitchen at the Ritz before mastering the ability to cook a decent fried breakfast.

The doc version, is helpful for teaching and training, presentations and project work, and is adapted from McGregor's ideas so as to convey simply and quickly the essence of the concept.

Bureaucracy (Max Weber)

The last century saw the perfection of the bureaucracy -- a form of organization that has been enormously successful and is the result of thousands of years of trial and error evolution. Max Weber outlined the key characteristics of a bureaucracy:

specification of jobs with detailed rights, obligations, responsibilities, scope of authority

system of supervision and subordination

unity of command

extensive use of written documents

training in job requirements and skills

application of consistent and complete rules (company manual)

assign work and hire personnel based on competence and experience

Today, many of these principles seem obvious and commonplace. However, they are all inventions --- organizations did not always have these features.

Today we also think of bureaucracies as inefficient, slow and generally bad. In Weber's time, they were seen as marvelously efficient machines that reliably accomplished their goals. And in fact, bureaucracies did become enormously successful, easily outcompeting other organization forms such as family businesses and adhocracies. They also did much to introduce concepts of fairness and equality of opportunity into society, having a profound effect on the social structure of nations.

However, bureaucracies are better for some tasks than others. In particular, bureaucracies are not well-suited to industries in which technology changes rapidly or is not yet well-understood. Bureaucracies excel at businesses involving routine tasks that can be well-specified in writing and don't change quickly.

Weber's Rational Bureaucracy

(At the turn of the century a sociologist named Max Weber began to study the new forms of organization being developed for managing large numbers of people in far-flung and complex activities. Since he was German, he was very familiar with Moltke's development of the General Staff (see course packet material on 19th Century Bureaucracies). Furthermore, Germany had been an early leader in developing a civil service. At the same time, German industry was beginning to adopt the organizational methods developed in the United States. Surveying this scene, Weber attempted to isolate the elements common to all of these new organizations.

Weber concluded that all these new large-scale organizations were similar. Each was a bureaucracy. Today many of us regard bureaucracy as a dirty word, suggesting red tape, inefficiency, and officiousness As we shall see, bureaucracies can develop these features, especially if authority is highly centralized. Weber's purpose, however, was to define the essential features of new organizations and to indicate why these organizations worked so much better than traditional ones. Let us examine the features that Weber found in bureaucracies.

Above all, Weber emphasized that bureaucratic organizations were an attempt to subdue human affairs to the rule of reason-to make it possible to conduct the business of the organization "according to calculable rules." For people who developed modern organizations, the purpose was to find rational solutions to the new problems of size Weber saw bureaucracy as the rational product of social engineering, just as the machines of the Industrial Revolution were the rational products of mechanical engineering. He wrote:

"The decisive reason for the advance of bureaucratic organization has always been its purely technical superiority over any former organization. The fully developed bureaucratic mechanism compares with other organizations exactly as does the machine with non-mechanical modes of production." [Weber, 1946].

For Weber the term bureaucracy was inseparable from the term rationality. And we may speak of his concept as a "rational bureaucracy" But what were the features developed to make bureaucracies rational? We have already met them: (1) functional specialization (2) clear lines of hierarchical authority, (3) expert training of managers, and (4) decision making based on rules and tactics developed to guarantee consistent and effective pursuit of organizational goals.

Weber noted additional features of rational bureaucracies that are simple extensions of the four just outlined, To ensure expert management, appointment and promotion are based on merit rather than favoritism, and those appointed treat their positions as full-time, primary careers.

To ensure order in decision making, business is conducted primarily through written rules records, and communications.

Weber's idea of functional specialization applies both to persons within an organization and to relations between larger units or divisions of the organization. We have already seen how this applied to Swift & Co. Within a Swift packing plant, work was broken down into many special tasks, and employees were assigned to one or a few such tasks, including the tasks involved in coordinating the work of others. (Such coordination is called administration or management.) Furthermore, Swift was separated into a number of divisions, each specializing in one of the tasks in the elaborate process of bringing meat from the ranch to the consumer. Weber argued that such specialization is essential to a rational bureaucracy and that the specific boundaries separating one functional division from another must be fixed by explicit rules, regulations, and procedures.

For Weber it was self-evident that coordinating the divisions of large organizations requires clear lines of authority organized in a hierarchy. That means there are clear "levels of graded authority." All employees in the organization must know who their boss is, and each person should always respect the chain of command; that is, people should give orders only to their own subordinates and receive orders only through their own immediate superior In this way, the people at the top can be sure that directives arrive where they are meant to go and know where responsibilities lie.

Furthermore, hierarchical authority is required in bureaucracies so that highly trained experts can he properly used as managers. It does little good to train someone to operate a stockyard, for example, and then have that manager receive orders from someone whose training is in advertising. Rational bureaucracies can be operated, Weber argued, only by deploying managers at all levels who have been selected and trained for their specific jobs. Persons ticketed for top positions in bureaucracies are often rotated through many divisions of an organization to gain firsthand experience of the many problems that their future subordinates must face. [Recall how Moltke rotated his General Staff officers through various regiments.]

Finally, Weber stressed that rational bureaucracies must be managed in accordance with carefully developed rules and principles that can be learned and applied and that transactions and decisions must be recorded so that rules can he reviewed. Only with such rules and principles can the activities of hundreds of managers at different levels in the organization be predicted and coordinated. If we cannot predict what others will do, then we cannot count on them.

Moltke had to be sure that staff officers faced with an unexpected crisis would solve it as he would. To ensure that, officers had to be trained in Moltke's tactical principles and rules. Similarly Gustavus Swift had to know that his stockyards would not buy meat faster than his packing plants could process it or that more meat would not be shipped than his eastern refrigerators could accommodate, of course, it is impossible to spell out detailed rules to fit all contingencies. Therefore, decision makers must be highly trained and must report their decisions promptly and accurately to their superiors.

For a long time, Weber's rational bureaucracy model dominated social science thinking about large, modern organizations. If organizations did not operate quite as Weber had said a bureaucracy should, then the solution was to bring them in line with the ideal bureaucratic procedures. However by World War II, sharp criticism of Weber's ideas began to surface. social scientists began to argue that Weber had ignored much of what really went on in organizations-the conflicts, the cliques, and the sidestepping of rules and the chain of command. The problem, according to Philip Selznick 1948,1957), lay in the fact that bureaucracies were not and could not be like machines because they consisted of human beings. In the final analysis, people will simply not imitate machines.

Maslow's Theory of Motivation - Hierarchy of Needs

In 1943, Dr. Abraham Maslow 's article "A HYPERLINK "http://www.abraham-maslow.com/m_motivation/Theory_of_Human_Motivation.asp"Theory of Human Motivation " appeared in Psychological Review, which were further expanded upon in his book: Toward a Psychology of Being  In this article, Abraham H. Maslow attempted to formulate a needs-based framework of human motivation and based upon his clinical experiences with people, rather than as did the prior psychology theories of his day from authors such as Freud and B.F. Skinner, which were largely theoretical or based upon animal behavior.  From this theory of motivation, modern leaders and executive managers find means of motivation for the purposes of employee and workforce management. Abraham Maslow's book Motivation and Personality (1954), formally introduced the Hierarchy of Needs.

The basis of Maslow's motivation theory is that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower factors need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied. According to Maslow, there are general types of needs (physiological, survival, safety, love, and esteem) that must be satisfied before a person can act unselfishly. He called these needs "deficiency needs." As long as we are motivated to satisfy these cravings, we are moving towards growth, toward self-actualization. Satisfying needs is healthy, while preventing gratification makes us sick or act evilly.

As a result, for adequate workplace motivation, it is important that leadership understands the active needs active for individual employee motivation. In this manner, Maslow's model indicates that fundamental, lower-order needs like safety and physiological requirements have to be satisfied in order to pursue higher-level motivators along the lines of self-fulfillment. As depicted in the following hierarchical diagram, sometimes called 'Maslow's Needs Pyramid' or 'Maslow's Needs Triangle', after a need is satisfied it stops acting as a motivator and the next need one rank higher starts to motivate.


Esteem Needs

Social Needs

Safety Needs

Physiological Needs


Self-actualization is the summit of Maslow's motivation theory. It is about the quest of reaching one's full potential as a person. Unlike lower level needs, this need is never fully satisfied; as one grows psychologically there are always new opportunities to continue to grow.

Self-actualized people tend to have motivators such as:





Self-actualized persons have frequent occurrences of peak experiences, which are energized moments of profound happiness and harmony. According to Maslow, only a small percentage of the population reaches the level of self-actualization.

Esteem Needs

After a person feels that they "belong", the urge to attain a degree of importance emerges. Esteem needs can be categorized as external motivators and internal motivators.

Internally motivating esteem needs are those such as self-esteem, accomplishment, and self respect.  External esteem needs are those such as reputation and recognition.

Some examples of esteem needs are:

Recognition (external motivator) 

Attention (external motivator) 

Social Status (external motivator) 

Accomplishment (internal motivator) 

Self-respect (internal motivator)

Maslow later improved his model to add a layer in between self-actualization and esteem needs: the need for aesthetics and knowledge.

Social Needs

Once a person has met the lower level physiological and safety needs, higher level motivators awaken. The first level of higher level needs are social needs. Social needs are those related to interaction with others and may include:


Belonging to a group

Giving and receiving love

Safety Needs

Once physiological needs are met, one's attention turns to safety and security in order to be free from the threat of physical and emotional harm. Such needs might be fulfilled by:

Living in a safe area

Medical insurance

Job security

Financial reserves

According to the Maslow hierarchy, if a person feels threatened, needs further up the pyramid will not receive attention until that need has been resolved.

Physiological Needs

Physiological needs are those required to sustain life, such as:





According to this theory, if these fundamental needs are not satisfied then one will surely be motivated to satisfy them. Higher needs such as social needs and esteem are not recognized until one satisfies the needs basic to existence.

Applying Maslow's Needs Hierarchy - Business Management Implications

If Maslow's theory is true, there are some very important leadership implications to enhance workplace motivation. There are staff motivation opportunities by motivating each employee through their style of management, compensation plans, role definition, and company activities.

Physiological Motivation: Provide ample breaks for lunch and recuperation and pay salaries that allow workers to buy life's essentials.

Safety Needs: Provide a working environment which is safe, relative job security, and freedom from threats.

Social Needs: Generate a feeling of acceptance, belonging, and community by reinforcing team dynamics.

Esteem Motivators: Recognize achievements, assign important projects, and provide status to make employees feel valued and appreciated.

Self-Actualization: Offer challenging and meaningful work assignments which enable innovation, creativity, and progress according to long-term goals.

Remember, everyone is not motivated by same needs.  At various points in their lives and careers, various employees will be motivated by completely different needs. It is imperative that you recognize each employee's needs currently being pursued. In order to motivate their employees, leadership must be understand the current level of needs at which the employee finds themselves, and leverage needs for workplace motivation.

Maslow's Theory - Limitations and Criticism

Though Maslow's hierarchy makes sense intuitively, little evidence supports its strict hierarchy. Actually, recent research challenges the order that the needs are imposed by Maslow's pyramid. As an example, in some cultures, social needs are placed more fundamentally than any others. Further, Maslow's hierarchy fails to explain the "starving artist" scenario, in which the aesthetic neglects their physical needs to pursuit of aesthetic or spiritual goals. Additionally, little evidence suggests that people satisfy exclusively one motivating need at a time, other than situations where needs conflict.

While scientific support fails to reinforce Maslow's hierarchy, his thery is very popular, being the introductory motivation theory for many students and managers, worldwide. To handle a number of the issues of present in the Needs Hierarchy, Clayton Alderfer devised the ERG theory, a consistent needs-based model that aligns more accurately with scientific research.