The need for motivation within firms


Motivation is a very important to all the organization as they provide a good output to the organization. This is because; they could help the organization to produce more output. This is why; the employers need to motivate their employees to work harder. Below are the few motivation theory which can show how to motivate a person and which is more suitable to apply in modern world.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow first introduced his concept of a hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation"(Maslow, 1943a: 370-96) and his next book, which is Motivation and Personality.(Maslow, 1943b). This hierarchy suggests that people can be motivated by providing the basic needs before moving to the next needs.

As human being move to the higher level of the pyramid, people needs become increasingly psychological and social (Maslow,1943a). So, they need friend, love and intimacy. Which is getting more important to them. Further up the pyramid, is the need for personal respect and feelings of being a important to the organization.

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Types of Needs

Maslow (1943a) stated the top of the pyramid as growth needs, which is everyone hope to reach there. Growth do not mean lack of something, but rather than it depend on the desire on someone to grow.

Five Levels of the Hierarchy of Needs

There are five different levels in Maslow's hierarchy of needs (Maslow,1943a):

1. Physiological Needs

These contain the base of everyone needs that are important, which keep them to continue survive. Such as the need for water, air, food and sleep. These need are very important to every human being. Maslow insists that these are the base of the everyone needs in the hierarchy because all needs become not important until these need has been met.

2. Security Needs

Which include the urge for safety and security. To survive, security needs is important but yet, physiological is base of every human being. So it is more important compare to security needs. The example of security needs is having a good environment to live at, provide a safely environment to work and medical insurance.

3. Social Needs

This includes relationship, love and intimacy. It had been considered these needs are less basic compare to the first two needs. This help someone to release their pressure and meet their needs. Like having a romantic attachment and family companionship.

4. Esteem Needs

After require the three needs, esteem needs play a influence role. It include social recognition, job responsibility, and respect from higher or lower authority.

5. Self-actualizing Needs

This is the top of the pyramid, which everyone to according to their feel. They do not care about others people opinion and only do it to have it own satisfaction.

What Is Self-Actualization?

Actually, what is self-actualization? It situated at the top of Maslow's hierarchy, he said to reach top level need to have following requirement:

"What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization…It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming."(Maslow, 1943a: 370-96.)

Maslow's theory is describing it as a fairly strong foundation hierarchy, Maslow stated that some of them can be success even without fulfill the condition.(Maslow, A. H. 1943a) For example, he stated there, people willing to forgo the pleasure to enjoy self esteem in order to get their self-fulfillment.

Criticisms of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's theories, did receive some support from others through some of the research. But most of the research are not able to calm the fact of the idea of a needs hierarchy which said to be foundation of the management. Wahba and Bridwell described that there was only some proof for Maslow's ranking of these needs and even less evidence that that show all this needs is going to follow by the hierarchical order.(Wahba, M.A. & Bridwell, L.G. 1976).

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Other disapproval on Maslow's theory state that his explanation of self-actualization is hard to test by the scientific way. His details study on self-actualization was also have some limited people, which already include people he knew and yet, he could not prove it to other that his way is able to test. But even with this disapproval, Maslow's hierarchy of needs still play a role in human behavior than paying attention on different than normal behavior and growth, Maslow's humanistic behavior was paying attention on the growth of a healthy person which is important to everyone.

Besides that, there is another theory about human behavior. Which is from Douglas McGregor

Douglas McGregor defined that, there are two sets of assumptions about human nature and it help us to understand better how these affect people's attempts to effect the behavior of others, more likely show how they influence managers' attitudes toward employees.( McGregor,1960)

McGregor (1960) suspect that large number of managers and supervisors at the time believed that their employees were lazy, non ambition people which have to be threatened, bribed, or directed, to make them work. The theory X is either the "apple" or the "stick" to deal with the motivation.  For the "soft" approach they tend to use the rewarding and coaxing system to replace the "apple." ( McGregor,1960) For the "hard" approach, they tend execute in punishment way or the "stick". (McGregor,1960)

McGregor name the two theories of human character and confidence about work "Theory X" and "Theory Y." ( McGregor,1960)  Theory X act as a old fashioned opinion of management; Theory Y act as a modern opinion in organizational psychology. (McGregor,1960)


In general, people:

Figure 2 



McGregor (1960) theory is a more, has a great influence on many people or a process of dividing things of managers.  It explains the failure of many management systems and introduces the concept of a new ways of managing.  There is only limited money that can be provided as a motivation and there is a limitiation to be applied, Theory-X management is limited to a certain level. ( McGregor,1960) Anyway, the chances to make the opportunities for people to have personal feeling, information, succeeded, challenge, respect, and a lot more rewards through work provide unlimited satisfaction. ( McGregor,1960) 

McGregor (1960) work also is having great effect or influence for managers on a personal level.  The recognition of someone to a theory can reflect the human character.  People who recognise the Theory-X as important as they think, have a negative view of people, that people are not willing to work, have no own motivation, and do not try their best. ( McGregor,1960)  In the different side, people who recognise Theory-Y view are more optimistic, trusting that people are learning and if they got the chance from the managers, they will try their best.  The Theory-X and Theory-Y model is no doubt offers the best chances for human resource development improvement. ( McGregor,1960) 

But yet, in the modern world. Theory-X and Theory- Y do not really apply by the those corporate anymore. Then there is another Theory appear, Which is Ouchi.W.

Ouchi (1981, p. 58) "summarized seven principles of Japanese management (Theory J) as: lifetime employment; slow evaluation and promotion; non-specialized career paths; implicit control mechanisms; collective decision making; collective responsibility; and holistic concern."The main characteristic of the Japanese management was they provide u a lifetime employment, which work as a core of Theory J .(Alarid,and Wang,1970) Japanese management play the main role in the success of Japan's, but Ouchi also understand that Theory J cannot be fully put on to American management due to the different in term of culture. So, Ouchi get some of the ideas from Theory J to create Theory Z: consensual decisions, infrequent appraisal, slow promotion, and comprehensive concern which is the core in Theory Z. (Alarid,and Wang,1970) Ouchi has keep the individual responsibility because it was an core principle to American management.

Japanese management

Usually there are two ways to study Japanese management: either by a "universal/organizational" or a "historical/cultural" process (Sours, 1982, p. 27). Other people treat Japanese management as something outstanding in practice, quality control, industrial engineering, and in-house training can also be seen in overseas (Woronoff, 1992). For example, when Japan send their engineers from the Toyota company and went to American supermarkets, Toyota learns the Kanban system, an inventory-control method which is so important to them (Ozaki, 1991).

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The second way to study the Japanese management is through the cultural opinion. Historical supporters believe the Japanese managerial method was "an outgrowth and reflection of the Japanese historical experience, which molded a cultural tradition quite different from that of the West" (Sours, 1982, p. 29). Researchers discover that the Japanese-American managers were more involved in the teamwork, respect the official with higher ranking, self-development, and long-term employment than were Caucasian-American managers. (Alarid,and Wang,1970)

Cultural connection to Japanese management

What important to the Japanese is the idea of "groupism" (Hayashi, 1990; Kanfman, 1975) Groupism are star from the old agricultural activities. When they work in the wet paddy fields, friendly group work must have the specialized division of labor. Groupism pervaded in Japan with the appearance of the samurai (knight or warrior) class which was long time ago. The samurai compare the group and individual welfare and found out the group is better than individual. (Alarid,and Wang,1970) The values of duty, kind, and acceptance created in the samurai class were change into Japanese employees' respect for their higher authority and the belief of give up the individual needs for the need of the corporation (Hayashi, 1990; Sours, 1992).

Ouchi (1981, p. 18) notice that the corporate in Japan were organized into a small number of groups called zaibatsus. Every group consisted of such part which is very different other companies as trading, shipping, steel and insurance, surrounding around a major bank. (Alarid,and Wang,1970) For the Japanese, the corporate is treating as a second family in their life. The management acts as father or elder brothers who have the higher authority to them self and the employees are like children or younger siblings which have lower authority compare to them self. (Alarid,and Wang,1970)

So Theory-Z are replacing maslow theory, Theory-X and Theory-Y as Theory-Z has been prove as a better Theory to apply in a organisation. As the 3 theory is more toward self benefit compare to Theory-Z. Maslow Theory is more to own satisfaction, which requires the 5 needs. While Theory-X, is more to reward basis which might be a expenses to the organisation as they will only work when there is reward and do not make and sacrifice for the company. Then Theory-Y, is more to motivation and optimistic, but which might take a long time to succeed and it might be fail as well. As they will not sacrifice for the organisation in the future. They only go for own satisfaction.

So the Theory-Z is use in worldwide, especially in those corporate as they hope their employees will treat the company as part of their family and willing to sacrifice for the company. While they are in company, the employers hope they can work along and respect each other as their family member. Respect the higher authority which act as their father or elder brother, which they will learn from them and teach the lower authority as their elder brother.

So the conclusion by comparing of this few theory, it prove that, human will change according to time. So the theory need to keep on updated as there is different need from time to time.