Categories Of Need Motivation Theories Education Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Motivation, according to Huczynski and Buchanan (2007) can be defined as cognitive process by which individuals make decisions which govern our behaviour to energize, direct and maintain certain objectives through effort. Theories of motivation have been devised to explain motivation further. According to Ramlall (2004) motivation theories differ on what an individual is attempting to achieve, but theories agree that motivation requires a desire to act. Two theories will be examined separately and the similarities and differences explained. The way which managers may use these theories to motivate their staff in practice will also be explained.

There are two broad categories of need motivation theories, named content and process. The later points out the differences in individual needs and deals mainly in cognitive mechanisms with give rise to the differences (Fincham & Rhodes, 2005).Whereas content theories of motivation inform that the individual have essentially the same needs. According to Fincham & Rhodes, 2005), need Theories were developments of Freud's work and they suggest that behaviour is motivated by instincts which are governed by genetic heritage. This created a problem because they were seen as difficult to measure. However, at the present they are seen as helpful in understanding the different surface phenomena at a deeper level (Fincham & Rhodes, 2005).

The most famous of the content theories of motivation is Maslow's Need Hierarchy theory (1954, cited in Fincham and Rhodes, 2005 , p. 193) suggest that Maslow did not intend his theory of motivation to explain motivation in the workplace. His intention was to develop human potential and situations conducive to encouraging psychological maturity. Managers viewed this theory as one which offered a variety of predictions on what motivates people in societies which offered full employment (Fincham & Rhodes, 2005).

According to Fincham and Rhodes (2005), Maslow (1943) believed that human needs are instinctive in nature and have their basis in our evolutionary heritage this meant that Maslow believed that motivation was an unconscious process because we are mostly unaware of what motivates us as individuals. Fincham and Rhodes(2005).

Maslow (1954) stated that individuals are motivated by the desire to achieve and maintain various conditions upon which basic satisfactions rest by certain more intellectual desires. This is what he termed self actualization, the need to realize an individuals full potential .Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a series of psychological growth processes which progresses initially with what he termed deficiency needs, these start with psychological needs such as the need for food, warmth and clothing. Once these are satisfied security needs are next and they involve the need for safety and freedom this can be found in satisfactory, supportive relationships with others (Fincham & Rhodes, 2005).

The hierarchy of needs goes further to include higher order needs which comprise of the need for recognition and self belief, this according to Fincham & Rhodes,2005) is achieved by being thought of in a favourable manner, this is achieved when individuals gain recognition and prestige. At the top of the Hierarchy is the need to develop an individual's full potential this originates from behaviour motivated by the need to achieve self actualisation. (Fincham & Rhodes, 2005).

When unemployment is high, workers are motivated by their deficiency needs, however, when work is readily available and wages are at a sufficient level and jobs are secure, deficiency needs are satisfied more easily. At this point social needs become essential motivators of the workers. This means that organisations must facilitate opportunities for employees to satisfy their social needs. This can be achieved by providing social facilities to the workforce. When social needs are fulfilled, other aspects of work for example the amount of challenge and responsibility a job offers becomes prominent to employee motivation, therefore Maslow's theory suggests that employees are more likely to demand more from their employees and hence employers can not do enough. Furthermore, once subsistence needs are fulfilled the aim is to satisfy security needs, then satisfying social needs takes precedence and if this is achieved this tends to culminate in behaviour motivated by the need to realise ones full potential of self actualisation. Fincham and Rhodes(2005)

Fincham & Rhodes, 2005) suggest that the growth of higher order needs in people represent the final point of a process of psychological maturation. However, only a small number of us manage to achieve this level. Therefore ,Maslow's hierarchy of needs should not be treated as if once you satisfy one category you go on to the next because they are not exclusive to one another. As we develop needs differ in the way which they determine our behaviour. Furthermore, people might satisfy about 85% of their physiological and safety needs, perhaps 70% o their social and maybe just 40% of their self esteem and possibly only 10% of their self actualisation. Hence self actualisation for the majority of individuals motivates our behaviour (Fincham & Rhodes, 2005).

The next theory of motivation to be examined is Herzberg's Two-factor theory Herzberg (1959 cited in Fincham & Rhodes, 2005, p.199) arises from sources of satisfaction and sources of dissatisfaction. Herzberg interviewed two hundred engineers and accountants and he asked the participant to mention occasions when they felt exceptionally satisfied or exceptionally dissatisfied with their jobs. According to Fincham & Rhodes, 2005), sources of satisfaction were called motivators these involved achievement, recognition, advancement and other aspects of work. On the other hand, incidents which related to working conditions for example, remuneration (level of pay), company policy and relations amongst colleagues were termed hygiene factors. These were described as sources of dissatisfaction. Therefore Herzberg concluded that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction were caused by different factors. Fincham and Rhodes (2005).

When motivators were present in the workplace, this resulted in recognisable states of motivation amongst employees, whereas in their absence, on the other hand, did not lead to dissatisfaction. As for hygiene factors they produced an acceptable environment to work in and did not increase job satisfaction. Their absence was shown to cause job dissatisfaction. (Fincham & Rhodes, 2005).

Herzberg argued that eliminating the causes of dissatisfaction through the hygiene factors would not result in job satisfaction, but would result in a neutral state. Motivators showed that individuals need for self actualisation and hygiene factors were concerned with the avoidance of pain. Self actualisation emanates from the goal to realize our potential through perpetual psychological growth whilst Hygiene factors show that our needs originate from our basic drives as animals. As a result, Herzberg (1966) concluded that hygiene factors and motivators had separate origins. Fincham and Rhodes (2005).

There are certain similarities and differences with the two motivation theories which make up the next part of this exercise. According to Ramlall (2004) most motivation requires the passion to act, a capability to act and having a goal to achieve. Furthermore that motivation occurs as a result of the utilization of motivators and that the difference between the motivation theories lies mainly on the actual need that the individual is trying to fulfil.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory (1954) is similar to Herzberg's two-factor theory(1959) in the sense that they are both content theories of motivation. The two theories of motivation assume that individuals possess the same set of needs, however, they both differ in the regard to what these needs are. In Herzberg's two factor theory (1959) motivators reflected the need for self-actualisation whilst for Maslow self-actualisation is the need which motivates an individual's behaviour.(Fincham and Rhodes 2005).

The other difference between the two motivation theories was that Maslow suggested a progression through a five stage Hierarchy whilst Herzberg suggested two sets of incidents which were described as motivators because they represented sources of motivation and hygiene factors which where explained as sources of dissatisfaction. Herzberg theory was based on interviews with 200 sample group which made it easier to test whilst Maslow ideas did not have empirical support this made it problematic to measure in particular for self-actualisation.(Fincham and Robin 2005).

Another similarity with Maslow (1954) and Herzberg(1959) was that they were both inspired by humanistic values with particular regard to encouraging psychological growth and development. However, Maslow (1943) differs to Herzberg(1959) because he did not intend his theory to explain what motivates a workforce whereas for Herzberg(1959) the prime interest was the practical impact of workers' attitudes and behaviour and how satisfaction occurs.(Fincham and Rhodes 2005)

Managers in organisations use motivation theories in a practical way to motivate their staff in the workplace. This due to the fact motivation theories provide a good basis on which to develop a deeper understanding of what happens within a workforce. Steers and Porter (1983, cited in Ramlall, 2004, p.54) state that in order for managers to create a conducive environment to enable staff to develop their fullest potential, Maslow's need hierarchy (1943) can be applied to motivate them. For example security needs within the Maslow's theory can be achieved by giving awards and praising employees for good work. The avoidance of abrupt changes within the organisation and solving employee problems that might arise also satisfies security needs. Champagne and Mcfee (1989, cited in Ramlall, 2004, p.54) also inform that managers strategies based on Maslow (1943) are viewed as considerate and also show interest in the welfare of their employees.

The other way of motivating staff using this theory is by encouraging social interaction amongst employees. This can be achieved by enhancing team spirit by providing social activities outside of the organisation and also encouraging participation. Champaigne and Mcfee (1989) Furthermore, for managers to encourage self-actualisation they need to provide training, encourage creativity through certain challenges. Ramlall (2004) argues that the type of need amongst employee may in turn some ideas on motivation may be easy to implement whilst others may be expensive.

Managers also use the motivator-hygiene theory, Herzberg(1959) to motivate their staff. According to Steers,1983 cited in Ramlall, 2004,p.54) job enrichment can lead to increased motivation through basic changes in the nature of an employee's job, therefore jobs can be redesigned to facilitate opportunities for advancement, increased responsibility and challenge, recognition and personal growth. According to Herzberg (1959) the factors that lead to job satisfaction are distinct and separate from those that lead to job dissatisfaction thus, managers who aim to discard factors that lead to job dissatisfaction can achieve peace, instead of motivation (Ramlall 2004).

Kreitner and Kinicki, 1998, cited in Ramlall,2004,p.57)suggested that rather than giving employees duties of similar difficulty known as horizontal loading of jobs, managers should give workers more responsibility (vertical loading) this is where employees carry out duties usually performed by their supervisors. This was based on Herzberg,1968, cited in Ramlall, 2004,p.57) and suggested the following, eliminating certain controls and at the same time maintaining accountability the motivator involved to achieve this included responsibility and personal achievement. Another way to motivate staff using this model involves introducing new duties not previously handled and this involved motivators of growth and learning. Herzberg (1968) argued that for an employee to be motivated their job has to be enriched so the employee has an opportunity advancement and stimulation (Ramlall 2004).

The implications of the two motivation theories discussed in this exercise are clear because they provide a good basis for managers in organisations to motivate their staff. Maslow's need hierarchy (1954) and Herzberg two factor theory (1959) both are term content theories of motivation and their ultimate goal is self-actualisation. These theories of motivation differ in how they aim to achieve self actualisation. Within Herzberg's two-factor theory (1959) motivators reflected the need for self-actualisation whilst for Maslow self-actualisation is the need which motivates an individual's behaviour. Maslow's theory was not based on any experiments whereas Herzberg's theory had empirical support making it the more credible theory for managers to use in motivating their staff.