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Content and process theories of motivation


In this essay am going to talk about the theories that I’ve studied in this course and to be clearer the theories are content theories of motivation and process theories of motivation. The content theory has 4 points of theories and the process theory has 3 points of theories.

Firstly, content theory (Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory) in this theory there is a pyramid and this pyramid contain five stages which they are starts with the physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization and these are the function of the motivation and each of these function completes the other function.

The first step is the physiological and it is the most basic need such as, food, air and water. The second step is the safety which consists of the need to be safe from physical and psychological harm. The third step is the love which means the desire to be loved and to love contains the needs for affection and belonging. The forth step is esteem, need for reputation, prestige and recognition from the others and this step contains need for self-confidence and strength.

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The last step of the Maslow’s need hierarchy pyramid is the self-actualization, desire for self-fulfillment and to become the best one capable of becoming. Each steps of the Maslow’s pyramid it should be in order.

The advantage of this theory is that the theory is very sample to understand and even layman can understand or a normal person who is not educated, also we all go through the stages of the pyramid during our life.

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Another advantage of this theory is that this theory give the consider to the human nature that demand more as lower level needs are satisfied. Third advantage is that this theory can be used in our daily life and we using it every day without notice it we either using it at work or at home, for example, you start your day with the basic things like when you woke up in the morning to have a breakfast at home and then you prepare you self for the work and before you leave your home you make sure to secure the home and then it comes the next step which is to call the friends and the family and communicate with them.

Disadvantages of this theory, First of all, not all of the people think in the same way, for example, some people they prefer the social affection and respect and they think is more important than the safety. Another disadvantage is the culture difference. For example, in foreign countries such as USA, the families they don’t need to be worry about their kids when they reach at 18 years old and even the kids they don’t have to live with their parents and they can start living alone, so the social affection here is low and it’s not important. One last disadvantage, difficulty to measure which means the satisfaction levels in each stage can be very different from people to another.

Secondly, the process theory ( Adam’s Equity Theory of Motivation ) this theory is talking about the model of motivation that explains how people strive for fairness and justice in social exchanges or give-and-take relationships. The Adam’s theory has three points which they are; Negative inequity means (Comparison in which another person receives greater outcomes for similar inputs). Positive inequity which means (Comparison in which another person receives lesser outcomes for similar inputs), and the last one is Equity which means (When person receives equal outcomes for similar inputs). The Adams Equity Theory was developed by the American psychologist John Stacey Adams in 1963. It’s about the balance between the effort an employee puts into their work (input), and the result they get in return (output). Input includes hard work, skills, and enthusiasm. Output can be things like salary, recognition, and responsibility and a proper balance between input and output ensures that an employee feels satisfied and motivated, contributing to their productivity.

Disadvantage of this theory it could be in the output side. For example, in a organization there are employees are working so hard and they are expecting to have a reward at end, but the organization don’t give any rewards to good employees and that will result a negative impact on the organization itself and on the employees skills at the work. Another advantage, when employees experience equity, the achievement levels of employees increase and employees will also have a greater retention rate because the employees would like to stay with the company as the policies are equitable. On the other hand, diversity of an organization increases if the equity theory is used where people from different backgrounds feel that there is equity in the workplace and the more diverse the organization, the more experienced employees it will have and last employees are recognized for their inputs and get outputs according to their inputs.

Advantage of this theory is for example, if the organizations has been applied this theory they will have a good impact on their organization and in the employees skills by giving them a rewards after a hard work and on the other hand by giving them a rewards they will motivate them to develop their skills and they will work more efficient. Another disadvantage, does not predict overpayment conditions; how people handle those conditions and does not account for individual differences that have an impact upon equity.


In this part am going to choose a company and talk about their rewards that they are offering for the employees. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), they offer a lot of benefits and rewards for their employees under a program called (Employee Happiness Program) such as, Wesal

  • Employee Happiness Survey
  • Child Care Centers
  • Al Khair Fund
  • DEWA Store (for employees)
  • Tejori Al Sadaa
  • Barzatna Program
  • Estisharati
  • Sports Committee
  • Happiness Lounge

To conclude Adam’s equity theory shows the level of motivation among the individuals in the working environment. An individual is said to be highly motivated if he perceives to be treated fairly. While the feelings of de-motivation arise, if an individual perceives to be treated unfairly in the organization and individual’s level of motivation depends on the extent he feels being treated fairly, in terms of rewards, in comparison to others. On the other hand, the Maslow theory includes five motivation need of five steps and the 5 stages model can be divide into basic needs such as, food, water, safety, love and esteem) and the psychological needs are (prestige, friends and growth needs) and this theory it can be used in our daily life easily without taking any effort and everyone can apply it.


  • URL
  • Website TitletoolsheroPublication Day06
  • Publication MonthFebruaryPublication Year2019
  • Access Day18
  • Access MonthseptemberAccess Year2019
  • Article TitleAdams Equity Theory, a powerful theory of motivation
  • URL
  • Website TitleManagement Challenges
  • Access Day18
  • Access MonthseptemberAccess Year2019
  • Article TitleEquity Theory
  • URL
  • Website TitleDubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA)
  • Access Day18
  • Access MonthseptemberAccess Year2019
  • Article TitleEmployee Happiness Programs
  • Bouzenita, A. I., & Boulanouar, A. W. (2016). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: An islamic critique. Intellectual Discourse, 24(1), 59-81. Retrieved from
  • Michael Kainose Mhlolo. (2014) Performance appraisal systems equity perceptions of mathematics teachers: an exploratory study. Journal of Psychology in Africa 24:6, pages 487-491.

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Content and process theories of motivation. (2019, Nov 28). Retrieved from

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