Hierarchy Of Needs Theory And Equity Theory Commerce Essay


The topic of individual motivation has played a vital role in the management field. Motivation is seen as an integral factor of the companys performance equation. Every people have their own different motivations to work, because the employees can receive something that they need. That is can be money or the basic wages, but with the society is developing, individuals' requirements are not only limited in material, but also ascend to spiritual and psychological territory stages. Some people work for right or love, the others prefer to the personal fulfillment as their goals. According to the definition of Landy, F.J, 'The psychological meaning of motivation is the initiation, direction, persistence, intensity and termination of behavior' (1987).In managerial field, motivation can be regarded as the activities of managers lead to produce anticipant result by encourage or motivated colleagues (Henry, L. T & Neal, P. M, 2003).Motivation is 'the cognitive decision-making process through which goal-directed behavior is initiated, energized, directed, and maintained'(Buchanan & Huczynski, 2010). Motivation can be divided into extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation related to tangible rewords like security, promotion, and salary. Intrinsic motivation related to psychological rewards, for example, a sense of challenge and achievement, recognition (Mullin, 2010). There are two motivation theories this essay will mention, one is Maslow's hierarchy theory, and another is Adams's equity theory. According to the survey, combine with the reality and evaluate if these two theories are appropriate and practical for the modern enterprise administration. At the same time, indicate the merit that can be reference and the limitation should be improved. It is proposed that the theory of Maslow's can be motivated in developing country like China. Finally, some recommendation via integrate the two theories together.

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Content theories concentrate in the things that can make employees motivated. These theories highlight the elements that can impel or hinder individual's behaviors (Kinge, J, 2012). As a result, content theory aim at distinguish everybody's requirement and satisfy their needs. The needs hierarchy model is the most widely adopted. Abraham H. Maslow suggested that 'people have a complex set of exceptionally strong needs, that can be arranges in hierarchy' (Ambrose, M. L and Kulik, C. T, 1990). Maslow assumed that motivation is separate into five level needs, physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization (Kinge, J, 2012). Before to illustrate the five types of needs, there are a number of basic assumption should be noticed. The first suppose is once a lower need is satisfied, the importance of this need will decline. While, as the lower desired is fulfilled, another higher needs will emerge directly and instead of the prior one (Slocum, J.W and Hellriegel, D, 2007). Secondly, the needs structure is very complex and influence by the emergency, such as staff reduction plan. Thirdly, higher level needs based on lower level needs are satisfied. At last, the higher the level, the more methods can be choosing to manage (Malslow, A, 1954).

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is the physical requirement for human, like air, food, shelter. These are the most compulsory and should be meet first. (Slocum, J. W and Hellriegel, D, 2007). According to the research of questionnaire, people focus on the physiological needs before demand a higher need. People claims that if these needs are unsatisfied, it will urge individuals attempts fulfill them (Vecchio, P. R, 2006).

Security needs related to safety, stability and job security. Without safety needs, people may deal with overstress. In the absence of work guaranteed, employees who are motivated primarily will defense to accept the managers' control. The superiors who notice the necessary of security needs can provide workers strong support.

The third higher levels need is love and belonging. In the other words, it can be called affiliation need. When people work in the same environment, people desire for love, making friends. On the basis of the survey, most employees can be satisfied with the two lowest needs in Maslow's hierarchy theory, but some of them find that it is different to establishing or get along with colleagues in a warm interpersonal relationship.

Above three kinds of needs can be divides to deficiency needs. With the other two levels of Maslow's hierarchy needs are classified as growth needs (Vecchio, P. R. 2006). Esteem needs are the requirement to achievement. Esteem need include the feeling of prestige and achievement. For example, a lot of leader may announce commendatory letter or reward result on the company's internal board, it can be easily to foster employees' confidence and pride feeling (Slocum, J. W and Hellriegel, D, 2007). Actually, in accordance with the research, in modern society, more and more people are not only restricted to the salary or welfare of the company, but also need to respected and feel glory in a group.

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The top need of Maslow's hierarchy need theory is self- actualization needs. It involve individuals express their potential and realize personal-value. People need to get more opportunities to practice abilities and make the skill unique in their work, The questionnaire show that the elder employees who have a certain extent work experience are much more regard this level as their needs. They can manage themselves well and find a chance to promotion due to the excellent skills. On the contrary, the equity theory is very different from Maslow's hierarchy of need. The process theory tries to illustrate the actual process of motivation and the issue to encourage and maintain employees' behavior (Kinge, J, 2012).

Equity Theory means individuals who are considered excess return or reward will be frustrated by the difficulties in this effort to restore impaired right relationship. It focuses on whether it is equitable resource allocation among people. Social equity is a measure of internal relations, by comparing the proportion of contributions and interests of all. No matter the staffs who receive either under-payment or over payment will bring and experience distress, and this distress will rebuild the relationship between colleagues.

When people feel unfair, they will never feel satisfied with their job. In 1963, Adams claims that 'equity model focus on an individual's feeling of low fairly she is treated in comparison with others' (1963). If the relationship between the colleagues and themselves cannot solve well or treated inequitable, it means people will not satisfied with their work.

The key components of equity theory are input, outcomes. Input means how much to contributes, outcomes represent that the volume or value can be received from the exchange (Slocum, J. W and Hellriegel, D, 2007). Input present contributions that employees bring to a job situation. For which the employees expect a return from their work. Input includes the personal skills, education background and experience. Outcomes are punishments and rewards that employees receive from a job. The organizations offer things like wages, salaries, payment and fringe benefits. The feeling of equity depends on whether he or she gets adequate feedback for his or her input to the company. The standard to measure the fairness of their exchange is comparing. Although various mathematical formulations have been proposed, employees are thought to feel inequity whenever their ratio of outcomes to inputs does not equal the ratio of outcomes to inputs of their referent other. Equity theory is frequently identified as a vital theory for understanding employee motivation.

Based on the Maslow's theory and equity theory, according to their characters, the questionnaire aim to find the limitation of these two theories, check whether the two theories follow the real situation. This survey found 5 people from China as the present of developing countries, and the other people who have work experience from developed countries. Compare with the different countries' development and organizations' specialty to verify if Maslow's theory is fit for every situation.

Despite of Maslow's theory and equity theory are referenced generally in management field. However, some people may argue that Maslow's hierarchy needs theory cannot be supported by the evidences. Actually, not all people will climb up to an upper stage when their lower level needs are satisfied. In some cases, people prefer to maintain on the low level needs. On the other hand, the research show that Maslow's hierarchy theory is not very fit for Chinese situation. It is widely known that Chinese business have a special processing structure (Carrell and Dittrich, 1978). The first can be observed is for developing country, there is an uncertain future. In addition, Maslow, the American professor came up with the motivation analysis about 65 years ago. Maslow's theory has been used influential. The first argument mentioned is that in China, People focus more on relationship and have different perspectives. With the developing of China, the Chinese government attempt to build a correct spirit on employment. It making the individuals to believe work can be voluntary, creativity and higher needs. For instance, Lu (1999) claims that the most of Chinese just regard work as work. They have not been covered by the higher level need. Work make Chinese staff intense. For example, according to Xinhua News Agency report, eighteen Foxcoon employees suicides between January and November in 2010. In short, the employees of Foxconn always to work over time, whereas got the lowest payment, this situation cause high pressure living problem. That means poor management has no motivation to work even live at all. So Maslow's theory does not consider the external power to damage his theory.

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In spite of Maslow's theory has some weaknesses to evaluate the modern China society, it ignore the fact that background and cultures are always developing. Chinese employees' motivation is changing over time. The manager cannot neglect the prosperity that people aim to achieve. The need of self-actualization is still an final aim of socialism.

Another argument about the theory does not consider the background and culture. Gambrel and Cianci argued that 'Maslow's theory is designed for individualism, every level of needs are the personal view and insight' (2001). Hofstede (2001) state that 'different cultures could be differentiated by the discrepancy in what they value'.

Equity theory point of view there is an objective, but the fairness is a very complex problem, which is due to subjective judgment, because employees either for individual inputs and reward others inputs and reward are decided by virtue of personal feeling, and most people always overestimated themselves, underestimated the investment in others (Kinge, J. 2012). Secondly, it is a fair standard held by individuals, such as some people think should be evenly distributed, and some people think should be classified according to the degree of economic difficulties. Thirdly, it is associated with the assessment of the performance, many companies have advocated to pay compensation in accordance with the performance, and should be balanced between people, but how to judge the performance is a very difficult problem, it was suggested to be judged in accordance with the quantity and quality, so that more objective and clear, but in real life it is difficult to achieve, and sometimes have to take the other method, it is related to the taxation of people, who is going to assess performance, leadership or colleagues will produce different results. As an organization more often than not to be judged by the same person, so bring a different result.

Lots of criticism have questioned the simple model and consider the practical of the theory. Because the impartiality of the impact of demographic and psychological variables, some people view and interact with others. In addition, more support basic proposition of equity theory been studied in the laboratory, and in suspicious circumstances applicable to the real world (Huseman, Hatfield and Miles, 1987). Critics also believe that people can be treated fair or unfair depends on inputs and outputs, but also the terms and conditions of the whole system, determine the input and outcome. The business situation, people may feel that their employee compensation is fair, but it may be that the total compensation system unfair (Carrell and Dittrich, 1978).

Although equity theory has limitations, but equity theory reveals to us the fact that, for the majority of the employees in the organization, the incentive is not only affected by their own reward, but also by their concern for remuneration, staff hope to see a reasonable return on allocated equity theory and provides a good theoretical framework for better management and organization staff, is also a leader should be noted and learned.

In generally, the equity theory mentions the motivation of individual is decided by inputs and outcomes. Actually, almost everyone cannot endure unfair approach. The individuals will compare their outcomes and input perceived ratios with the people who are the same position or environment. In brief, people regards others as a objects of comparison (Scheer.L.K., Kuman, N., and Steenkamp,J,B.2002). Especially in the same department and same position this phenomenon is more significant. For example, Jay Loar, the director of program engineering at Lockheed Martin, he always works harder than others, but still receive the same wage and salary as his colleagues. (Messick, D. & Cook, K. 1983). This situation makes him feel unhappy and unfair. On the other hand, the employees who are overpaid will be motivated by the pressure from social. No matter which phenomenon happen, they have changed the balance between inputs and outcomes. It is underspecified (especially in terms of the ways individuals respond to inequity. Equity theory is based on an equity rule, for instance, those who contribute the most should receive the highest outcomes, rather than other types of rules that might determine resource allocations, such as equality, needs or hierarchy. This theory focuses on distributive justice and failure to consider the importance of procedural justice or interactional justice. Even though equity theory has a lot of criticisms, it continues to be used in research examining job attitudes and employee behavior (Gill, D, and Stone, R, 2010).

Work motivation is come from different people and different work need. The motivation always brings driving force to make people work hard. Consequently, work motivation is always gives individuals power and motivation of work. Content theories of motivation relate to specific factors that motivate an individual in the workplace. In order to satisfy their needs goals are established between manager and employees. Maslow's hierarchy needs theory is the foundation of people's desire, analysis the requirement in the work but ignore some details to unite. Inequity causes the bad relationships between colleagues. Even though it looks visible to find an inequity decisions, but in reality, managers notice that equity is a complex problem that because it depends on subjective factor and the personal fair standard. And the equity is relevant to personal performance. As the equity standard, it is difficult to evaluate.


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