A Theory Of Human Motivation Commerce Essay


Organisations are successful when employees are emotionally engage in their work. According to Herzberg (1966), "people are motivated to work in co-operation with others by both extrinsic motivators, such as money and intrinsic motivators, such as recognition for achievement, responsibility, advancement and personal growth". Maslow (1954) in his hierarchy of needs suggested that when an organisation creates conditions in which people can satisfy their "self-actualisation" needs then they are powerfully motivated to work for the good of the team and of the organisations. Luthans (1998), states that "motivation is the process that arouses, energizes, directs, and sustains behavior and performance". In brief motivation is a process which stimulates employees to reach desired tasks.

In 1943, Abraham Maslow introduced the concept of hierarchy of needs in his paper "A Theory of Human Motivation". According to him people are motivated to accomplish fundamental requirements before moving into other advance needs. This hierarchy of needs is displayed in a pyramid where the lowest level is made up with basic needs such as food, water, shelter and the more complicated needs are located in the top of the pyramid.

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According to the above pyramid five levels of the hierarchy needs are psychological needs, security needs, social needs, esteem needs and self-actualizing needs.

Physiological Needs - These are the basic human needs that human need to stay energetic and reproduce. These can be taken as the most dominant motivating factors which should take care first. As there is a tremendous pressure on human behavior and this affect the behavior at the working place as well.

Security Needs - though they are not demanding like psychological needs, they need for the survival. In the working environment, this can be included such as steady employment, job security, and insurance.

Social Needs - Belonging, love, friendship, and sense of connection can be taken as the social needs. Maslow considers these are less basic needs than psychological and security needs.

Esteem Needs - Confidence, achievement, social recognition, personal worth, and appreciation can be taken as esteem needs and theses are become increasingly more important. These are essential to achieve prestige and status in the life.

Self- Actualization Needs - This is the top level of the Maslow's hierarchy of needs. In this level people are more concerned with their personal growth, and interested in fulfilling their potential.

When we relate the Maslow's hierarchy of need theory to the working place, the organizations should offer better salary in order to purchase basic needs for the life. At the same time, the organizations should provide job security, safe working environment, and retirement plan to retain their staff. The proper rewarding system will also help the organizations to fulfill the esteem needs of the employees. At the same time, the employees can be provided by the promotions, and growth opportunities in the organization to climb up the career ladder.

Company Policy & Administration




Working Condition

Herzberg (1959) developed the two factor theory of motivation and this is based on the factors affecting people's attitudes in their working environment. According to Herzberg motivation factors and the hygiene factors are the two different categories that affect the employees' motivation to work.



Work itself




Growth Hygiene Factors


Figure: MMMM Hygine factors and Motivators, Aswathappa, K, Human resource and Personnel Management, P.360

Motivation Factors

Hygiene Factors



Work Itself




Pay and Benefits

Company Polices


Job Security

Working Condition

Working Environment

Motivational factors indicate the personal growth of the human beings. They help to create the job satisfaction among the employees. Effective motivate factors inspire employees to achieve high performance in the organization. Hygiene factors helps to keep employees away from the unpleasantness at the working place. When employees are de-motivated in the working place it ended in low productivity, poor quality, and industrial disputes. Therefore, Herzberg suggests three ways that organization should rearrange the work to get better results of motivation factors. They are job enrichment, job rotation and job enlargement.

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Job Rotation - This is a systematic plan which moves employees from one job to another to provide range of inspiration. It enhances the experience of the employees and make available for individual development. The objectives of job rotation is to reduce the monotony of the job, job fit, testing employee's skills and competencies, and developing a wide a rage of working experience. This will help the management to identify the different talents within the employees.

Job Enrichment - This expand the task set that employees to perform by providing more stimulating and interesting tasks to provide a challenge to an employee's daily routine. This increases the employees' responsibility towards the tasks and has the direct control over them. Job enrichment can be taken as a good feedback channel for employees. It helps them to identify strengthens and weakness in them. There are some benefits of job enrichment. This helps to reduce the staff turnover, absenteeism and increase the job satisfaction.

Job Enlargement - Job enlargement or horizontal loading involve in the additional tasks to a job. There are many benefits of job enlargement. It helps to reduce monotony, increased work flexibility, and employees are able to acquire new skills. The negative consequences of this may be that employees are dissatisfied due to the high workload. Employees may be ending up with frustrated as increase activities would not increase their salary.

McGregor (1961) influenced the study of motivation with his formulation of two contrasting sets of assumptions about human nature - Theory X and Theory Y. Gitman & McDaniel (2008) describes this theory in their book, The Future of Business: The Essentials.

The theory X management style is based on a pessimistic view of human nature and assumes the following:

The average person dislike and will avoid it if possible.

Because people don't like to work, they must be controlled, directed or threatened with punishment to get them to make an effort.

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

This view of people suggests s that managers must constantly prod workers to perform and must closely control their on-the-job behavior. Theory x managers tell people what to do, are very directive, like to be control, and show little confidence in employees. They often foster dependent, passive, and resentful subordinates.

In contracts, Theory Y management style based on a more optimistic view of human nature and assumes the following:

Work is as natural as play or rest. People want to and can be self-directed and self-controlled and will try to achieve organizational goals they believe in.

Workers can be motivated using positive incentives and will try hard to accomplish organizational goals if they believe they will be rewarded for doing this.

Under proper conditions, the average person not only aspects responsibility but seeks it out. Most workers have a relatively high degree of imagination and creativity and are willing to help solve problems.

Mangers that operate on theory Y assumptions recognized individual differences and encourage workers to learn and develop their skills.

Employee motivation will contribute to; better utilization of available resources, reduction of employee problems, pay increase for employees, better image of the organization, high level of productivity, and increased the satisfaction of the employees.

The future of business:The essentials Gitman. L,J, McDaniel C 2008 south Western Cengage Learning 4th edition, USA

Preface to Mnagement Kansal B.B., rao P.C. K. Paragon Books, new Delhi 2006

Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., & Snyderman, B. B. (1959). The Motivation to Work (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and Personality (2nd ed.). New York: Harper and Row.

McGregor, D. (1961), "The Human Side of Enterprise" Harper & Row

Aswathappa, K. (2005), Human resource and Personnel Management, 4th edition McGraw Hill companies, New Delhi