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What motivates people? According to John Adair (1990), a person is motivated when he wants to gain something. Being an International student it becomes much more important to understand my motivational factors and what exactly I want to accomplish. I want to know what motivates me; hence I have selected this topic: "What aspects of motivational theory are relevant to you as an international student?" This will also help me to inline my career path accordingly. In this piece of writing first concept of motivation will be given and the different motivational theories will be reviewed. Later brief comparison of these different motivational theories will be done and evaluated against its applicability with reference to international student. Then a little more analysis will be done on the most relevant motivational theory which I think is most applicable to international student.
John Adair (1990), have defined motivation as "All reasons which underlie the way in which a person acts". This definition covers the most widely possible way of defining motivation. Mullins (2007) have accepted that motivation is multifaceted, and have defined it as an individual phenomenon and intentional. Mullins (2007) has describes motivation as "underlying source of push within individual by which each one try to achieve their goal, which is to fulfil their need or expectations". Through various definitions of motivation, it is clear that major component of motivation is some kind of need that could be money, recognition or anything. Another kind of motivation is the force.
Different Motivational Theories
There is enough research already done with respect to what motivation is, how it comes into play, etc. From these research different types of theories are born, in which attempt have been made to understand the factors of motivation. All these theories are known as motivation theories. Mullins (2007), have divided all motivational theories into two types: Content Theory and Process Theory. Content theory according to Rollinson (2008), says is for people's need, their strength, and the target they set for themselves to complete their needs. Relationship between motivational factors and other factors according to Rollinson (2008), is called Process theory. Process theory tries to explain how a person react, what makes him to do so, what keep him to do so.
Under content theories there are various theories, but most significant is Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Alderfre's modified need hierarchy theory, Herzberg's two factor theory and McClelland's achievement motivation theory. Maslow's assume that humans have needs that can be arranged in order of importance. William et al. suggests Maslow's hierarchy of needs have five levels are defined in order of increasing importance and these levels are: Physiological, Safety, Love, Esteem and Self-Actualisation. According to theory as described by William et al. once a lower level of need is satisfied, and then it does not act as motivating factor. In Alderfre's modified need hierarchy theory, five levels of Maslow's need theory are dropped down to three levels: existence need, relatedness needs and growth need. In Hertzberg's two factors theory Mullins (2007) have identified two factors for motivation, one set factors are those absence of which causes dissatisfaction. The other set of factor are those which are responsible for motivating. "One important thing here to notice is that in Hertzberg's theory absence of motivation does not mean dissatisfaction, and absence of dissatisfaction does not mean motivation and vice- averse", Mullins (2007) . McClelland's Need Theory is among the main theories of content theory group. McClelland's theory identifies three needs as Achievement, Affiliation and Power. Lussier and Achua(2007) have suggested in "McClelland theory relative importance of these need vary with occupation".
Expectancy theory, Equity Theory, Goal Theory and Attribution Theory are the main theories in group of Process theory of motivation as per Rollinson (2008). Expectancy theory defines motivation as a relationship between efforts applied to complete the task, the result, how good was it, and how much was it praised. "According to the theory behaviour of individual is derived by expectations of most favourable consequences", Mullins (2007). Based on Expectance theory there are many theories like Vroom's expectancy theory, and Porter and Lawler expectancy theory. Equity theory as identified by Mullins (2007) is based on "people's feeling of what they presume with respect to the equality of treatment they receive in comparison with others". It proposes that people expected something in exchange of the effort that they put for example, an individual could expect a promotion in return to the extra efforts he has put to meet assigned task. "The basic argument of Goal theory as described that people's goal or intentions are important and they result into behaviour", by Mullins (2007).
Comparison of different Motivational Theories and Aspect Relevant to International Student
Different set of theory have different ideas. One set of theory i.e. content theory revolves around the components or basic factors of motivation, whereas Process is about the interaction between these components. Most of the theories are developed based on research done mainly in office or work environment, and have management guidelines. For example Goal theory can very well be applied in typical office environment where appraisals are done. Feedback given by the tutor at the end of task, helps in finding out the motivational factor. Expectation theory is again more good when it comes to what company can offer in return of all the work done by employee. At different level the motivation factor is given by hierarchy of needs theory
Comparing all the motivational theories I find McClelland's Need Theory being most appropriate in international student scenario. International student, like me have desire to achieve something difficult and hence they come to foreign nation to study. Lowes et al study suggests that intrinsic factor that motivates student is sense of achievement and pleasure of study. International students are subjected to new environment which is different from their home country. They are exposed to new culture and new education system. This seems to be a challenge to them and overcoming this situation which means successfully completing the degree and learning new culture is an achievement for them. Being in new culture there is a high need for international student to get affiliated in society. Arthur (2004) agrees to the point that culture and its affiliation is major factor of motivation to international student. For international student it's a learning experience both in academic and social terms. For students knowledge is power. More they learn they get recognised about it. For international students, all aspects of McClelland's Need theory are relevant. Whereas some aspect of other theories are partly relevant to them. For example the need of safety and love and partly esteem plays an important role in international student life. Expectation of good grads in return of all the efforts put to learn and understand the subject is very much relevant to international student and is captured in expectancy theory. Being an international student equity of treatment that they get with respect to other national student is very important and derives their behaviour and very much relevant to motivate them.
To summarise the need of achievement, affiliation and power (measured in terms of knowledge) are the most relevant aspect of motivational theory applicable to international student. McClelland's Need Theory which proposes all these factors can be best applied in this case. Some other factors of other theories are also relevant, but partly.
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