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Content and Process Theories of Motivation Essay

Motivation is simply the methods by which an organisation can encourage it employees to increase their performance, both in quantity of output and in quality. Performance could also be in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and economy in the organisation’s operations. simply put, motivation is about the ways a business can encourage staff to give their best. The term motivation has been defined by different scholars using different formats and views, according to Dr Stephen P. Robbins, this is the process that account for an individuals intensity, direction and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal (S. P. Robbins, Organizational Behaviour 9ed, p.155). Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary says that motivation is the act or process of motivating, the condition of being motivated, a motivating for a stimulus or influence, incentive, drive.

Jones, George & Hill (2000) Motivation as physical forces that determine the direction of a person’s behaviour, a person’s level of effort and a person’s level of persistence in the face of obstacles. S.Hall believes motivation to be a process where members of a group pull together to effect an organisation through loyalty and commitment. some of these authors have gone as far as developing theories and models to help explain the motivation process. These include The Abraham Maslow hierarchy of Needs, Frederick Herzberg’s motivation and hygiene factors etc. Content and process theories of motivation

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The sum total of motivation theories can be broadly classified into two main categories; the content theories and the process theories. Content Theories deal with “what” motivates people and it is concerned with individual needs and goals. Authors like Maslow, Alderfer, Herzberg and McClelland studied motivation from a “content” perspective.

Content theorists believe that everyone has the same set of needs and expectations from a job. these needs are in physical, social and psychological forms. Process Theories deal with the “process” of motivation and is concerned with “how” motivation occurs. Authors such as Vroom, Porter & Lawler, Adams and Locke studied motivation from a “process” perspective. Process theories are more individualistic. ie they assume each individual has his/her unique set of needs and hence unique motivational factors.

Content Theories deal with “what” motivates people and it is concerned with individual needs and goals. Maslow, Alderfer, Herzberg and McClelland studied motivation from a “content” perspective. Process Theories deal with the “process” of motivation and is concerned with “how” motivation occurs. Vroom, Porter & Lawler, Adams and Locke studied motivation from a “process” perspective.

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