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With some companies employees are viewed as just bodies there to do the work and that is it. But if companies would really stop and think about it they would then realize that without employees the work would not get done. And without the work getting, and done correctly, then there wouldn't be any profit for the company. But by making sure those employees are doing the best job they can do, motivation is the key component. Employees are not solely motivated by money, their behavior and performance can be linked to their attitudes. (Dickson, 1973)
Motivation is defined in many ways by many different authors. Motivation has been defined as: the desire to perform (textbook); the drive that moves us to do what we do (M/E);
There has been plenty of research done to help understand what motivates employees. But there are five major theories that help understand motivation and those are Maslow's need-Hierarchy theory, Skinner's reinforcement theory, Adams' equity theory, Herzberg's two-factor theory, and Vroom's expectancy theory.
Some say that motivation is driven by unsatisfied needs that are un-fulfilled, and with that it makes it important for a manager to understand which needs are important for those individual employees. In 1954 Abraham Maslow, a behavioral scientist, developed a theory about various human needs based on the rank and the person's satisfaction (Gawel, 1997). Maslow's theory is starts with basic low level needs that must be satisfied before the high level needs can be (Netba.com). Many people find that they can relate to Maslow's theory. The theory is set up with five levels of basic needs that include Physiological needs; Safety needs; Needs for love, affection, and belongingness; Needs for Esteem; an d Needs for Self-Actualization (Hawaii.edu).
The first need is a person's physiological needs, which are biological needs, ones that are essential for living. These are the strongest needs because they are things such as oxygen, nourishment, water, shelter, and sleep (Maslow, 1968). According to Maslow's theory, if these needs are not satisfied than a person will become motivated to meet the needs. The higher needs can't be met until these basic ones are (Netba.com).
The safety and security needs are next after the physiological needs are met. These needs are in order to protect you from physical and economic harm (Maslow, 1968). To achieve some of these needs it may include reporting to the management about a dangerous workplace condition, maintaining safety equipment, and purchasing medical insurance or insurance with income protection in the event that an employee is unable to work. Also having job security is a big part of these needs, some employees may feel that they would prefer to work more and vacation less to make sure they have that security from their employer (Netba.com).
Maslow states that with satisfying the needs for love, affection, and belongingness it doesn't just mean receiving them but also giving them. These needs are also referred to as social needs because they are related to the interaction with other people (Hawaii.edu). These are needs for love, companionship, friendship, and the acceptance by others. In a workplace setting having groups or committees can help employees satisfy these needs (Maslow, 1968).
Once a person feels the sense of belonging then the need to feel important will arise. This is the need for esteem, which can be a dominant one. This need can be internal and external, because it involves the need not only for one's own self-esteem (internal) but also the esteem a person gets from others (external) (Netba.com). When some of meets their self-esteem needs it gives a person a feeling of self-respect and achievement. Social status and recognition are what people gets when the external esteem is satisfied. Other esteem needs could include attention and reputation as well as competition (Hawaii.edu). Competition is the need to feel that you can do something better than another. It will help motivate employees and their drive to performance in the organization. These needs are not as easy to satisfy as the lower needs because they do not always provide success for the employee (associatedcontent.com). These needs can be realized through rewards and also increase the involvement in organizational activities. But until these needs are met employees will focus their attention on achieving respect.
The fifth and final need in Maslow's theory is the need for self-actualization. This need is only met when all the other needs are met. This need is where an employee meets their full potential and being the best you can be. But unlike the lower level needs this need is never really fully satisfied because there are always new opportunities to continue to grow and learn. According to Maslow's only a small number of people will ever reach this level. (Maslow, 1968).
Maslow has added more levels to his theory over the years but the first 5 are the key ones to a person's motivation and success. Sometimes some of the levels may be switched a bit such as putting social needs before others. When people grow as people, they automatically become more effective and valuable as employees.
Theory X & Theory Y
In 1960 Douglas McGregor wrote a book on organizational management and motivational psychology. In his book McGregor proposed two theories, Theory X and Theory Y, for employee motivation that managers might recognize. Each theory assumes that the role of the manager is to organize resources, including employees, which benefit the organization.
With theory X McGregor says it's assumed that work is naturally unpleasant to most people and that the majority of people try to avoid work whenever possible. Theory X also states that people who don't desire the success and responsibility of jobs prefer to be directed by others. McGregor believes that motivation only occurs at the physiological and security levels in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory. With theory X it also assumes that people resist change, are gullible, and unintelligent. Basically theory X says that the main source of employee motivation is compensation, with security being a close second.
When using theory X, Management should approach motivation from a hard to soft approach. With the hard approach to motivation it relies on a command and control environment. But then with the soft approach to motivation it is more of an easy-going environment. Managers are more lenient and understanding so that employees are more than likely to return the generosity. But like maybe methods neither is the best. The hard approach can make for a hostel environment and with the soft environment can make of a laid back environment with no productivity.
By looking at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory, McGregor argues that a need will no longer motivate an employee once it is satisfied. He also believes that compensation and benefits is what organizations rely on to satisfy employees lower level needs, and once those levels are satisfied then the motivation is gone. A command and control environment isn't effective because it relies on lower needs of motivation. McGregor thinks that with theory Y motivation seems more likely.
Theory Y is said to have the higher level needs of esteem and self-actualization, and continuing these needs because they are never completely satisfied. But through theses higher level needs is where employees will be motivated the best. With a big difference to theory X, theory Y states that work can be more laid back if conditions are right and with the right amount of control. Employees are self-directed, committed, and creative. They are more likely to be productive in seeking and also completing new goals at work. Theory Y employees like to handle responsibility as well as welcome more to take on.
Motivation in Training
Why do we need to motivate our employees? With our rapidly changing workplaces, motivated employees are essential (Smith, 1994). Those motivated employees are what help organizations survive and employees are more productive when they are motivated. A big part of making sure your employees are motivated is by starting the motivation at the very beginning which would be with their training.
Creating a Motivating Workplace
People are motivated to do what they believe is in their best interest.