Motivated by money

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This essay will identify and explore issues, which influence most managers to assume employees are motivated by money. To help me to demonstrate whether employees are motivated by money alone I will make references to relevant theories from psychological researcher such as:

  • Abraham Harold Maslow (1908- 70)
  • Clayton Paul Alderfer (1972)
  • Frederick Herzberg (1923-2000)
  • Douglas Murray McGregor (1906-64)

The concept of this essay is divided into three sections. The first second looks at theoretical perspective, making connections between four theories ideas and evidence. Section two focus on research evidence whether different research gives different result. My third section will draw conclusion from motivation in practice where there's any practical example of what motivates in a workplace.

First sub topic- Theoretical Perspective

There are several different theoretical views about what motivates people to work. According to Maslow (1908-70, p.195) hierarchy people have five basic needs, which are:

All five physiological needs are listed in order, which people strive to satisfy their needs. Showing evidence from this theory the needs which are satisfied, are no motivator, individual is motivated by his or her unattained needs. This theory is supported by Alderfer (1972) ERG theory, which argues they are three basic categories of needs, theses, are:

  • Existence needs - physiological and safety needs
  • Relatedness needs - affiliation and esteem needs
  • Growth needs - self- actualization and self-esteem needs. -

All three categories of needs are in contrast with Maslow's 'progression hypothesis' which points to people trying to work their way up the hierarchy.

Alderfer (1972. p.247) realises that people will drop to a much lower category when they attempts to satisfy a higher need, they will become frustrated.

These two theories shows difference in importance, because Maslow argued when an individual is satisfied a need is less important. But research shows that Alderfer's had an opposite argument to Maslow where he's belief was growth and relatedness was more important when satisfied (Wanous and Zwany 1977).

One limitation of Maslow theory is the mechanisms by which needs are translated into behaviour is not clear, so how do they 'motivate' behaviour?

On the other hand, Hertzberg two-factor theory (et al.1954) on motivator factors and hygiene factors all focused on how satisfaction need occurs in the workplace, showing how motivation on workplace attitude and behaviour are link together. Hertzberg believes that both needs where important in order for an employee to be satisfied, although they work in a different pattern. Hertzberg stated if employee's lower needs are insufficient then they will show signs of dissatisfaction, but if satisfied by adding more hygiene factor such as work hours and wages then both individual and organisation goals are satisfied.

McGregor (1906-64) had two set of belief about human motivation; these are labelled 'Theory X' and Theory Y'. Theory X states people are intrinsically lazy and must be bribed and bullied even manipulated before they get any work done. But Theory Y mentioned that worked is natural for people and they will work if they have the right motivators.

One limitation of Hertzberg theory (1959. p. 199) was the original study was done only on accountants and engineers using the critical accidents techniques. This result might not be the same for blue- collar workers.

Second sub topic - Research Evidence

P. Rabey indicate that ''the ingredients of motivation lie within us all''. P. Rabey made it clear that individual motivates themselves when create a situation they will respond because they choose to. But in fact major de-motivators are caused because management at all levels fails to ask, listen and respond to their staff. This includes finding out what would make their job easier and the work more effective.

Osteraker suggested that Maslow's hierarchy of needs theories could have been more detailed, but the motivation factors are the same today. So could the conclusion therefore be drawn to show that theories of motivation have not changed at the same pace as our society has?

Manolopoulos researched findings was carried out using questionnaires-based survey, carried out in three organisation/corporations. Out of the 1,000 questionnaires 454 returned showing clear evidence of extrinsic rewards and intrinsic motives in an extended public sector of Grease.

Third sub topic - Motivation in practice

There are several practical examples of motivates people in the workplace; but I will identify:

  • motivations in practice- performance related pay

Within the education sector the Department of Education has linked teachers pay to performance to help modernised public sector services which includes workplace reform.

In 2002 the government introduced performance - related pay bonus scheme to boost teacher pay and to help retain staff. But only those who have been teaching for six years may apply.

Institute of education in London evidence shows that paying teacher bonuses do not lead to better exam result or attract more recruits to the job.

Summary and conclusion

This essay has gathered findings and evidence from theories and case studies from different psychological researcher and through different secondary research. I have argued that money is not the only motivator for employees, but in conclusion based on my reviewed theory, relevant research and relevant case studies shows that know psychological researcher such a Maslow or Hertzberg has the exact answer to what really motivates people, because each individual is motivates by different things. This does not mean that anyone of this researcher theory is wrong or right, but it does shows that people are motivated by different needs.

Evidence shows satisfying employees needs doesn't mean they will work harder or faster at their job, this just will keep them working with the company for as long as they don't find another job which will give them more benefits.


  • Fincham. R. Rhodes (2005). 'Principle Organizational Behaviour' (5th edition). Motivation and job satisfaction New York: Oxford University Press (p. 195).
  • David Buchanan and Andrezej Huczynski (2004). Organizational Behaviour An Introductory Text (fifth edition) content theories of motivation (p.247).
  • Hertzberg (1954), Information Technology and management. Approaches to understand motivation. Available from: ( Accessed: 06 December 2007).
  • Motivation in practice- performance related pay. Available from: 10(Access from: 10th December 2007).