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Motivation Theory

Categories: EmotionMotivation

1. What motivates behavior?
According to humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow, our actions are motivated in order to achieve certain needs. This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs. This hierarchy is most often displayed as a pyramid. The lowest levels of the pyramid are made up of the most basic needs, while the more complex needs are located at the top of the pyramid. Needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic physical requirements including the need for food, water, sleep, and warmth.

Once these lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs, which are for safety and security. As people progress up the pyramid, needs become increasingly psychological and social. Soon, the need for love, friendship, and intimacy become important. Further up the pyramid, the need for personal esteem and feelings of accomplishment take priority.

2. Clayton P. Alderfer’s ERG theory from 1969 condenses Maslow’s five human needs into three categories: Existence, Relatedness and Growth.

Existence Needs
Include all material and physiological desires (e.g., food, water, air, clothing, safety, physical love and affection). Maslow’s first two levels. Relatedness Needs
Encompass social and external esteem; relationships with significant others like family, friends, co-workers and employers . This also means to be recognized and feel secure as part of a group or family. Maslow’s third and fourth levels. Growth Needs

Internal esteem and self actualization; these impel a person to make creative or productive effects on himself and the environment (e.

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g., to progress toward one’s ideal self). Maslow’s fourth and fifth levels. This includes desires to be creative and productive, and to complete meaningful tasks. Even though the priority of these needs differ from person to person, Alberger’s ERG theory prioritises in terms of the categories’ concreteness. Existence needs are the most concrete, and easiest to verify. Relatedness needs are less concrete than existence needs, which depend on a relationship between two or more people. Finally, growth needs are the least concrete in
that their specific objectives depend on the uniqueness of each person. Contrarily to the idea by Maslow that access to the higher levels of his pyramid required satisfaction in the lower level needs, the ERG areas of Alderfer are simultaneous needs. ERG Theory recognizes that the importance of the three categories may vary for each individual. Managers must recognize that an employee has multiple needs, which must be satisfied simultaneously. According to the ERG theory, if you focus exclusively on one need at a time, this will not effectively motivate.

3. The expectancy theory says that individuals have different sets of goals and can be motivated if they have certain expectations. This theory is about choice, it explains the processes that an individual undergoes to make choices. In organizational behavior study, expectancy theory is a motivation theory first proposed by Victor Vroom of the Yale School of Management in 1964. Motivation, according to Vroom. boils down to the decision of how much effort to apply in a specific task situation. This choice is based on a two-stage sequence of expectations (effort —> performance and performance —> outcome). First, motivation is affected by an individual’s expectation that a certain level of effort will produce the intended performance goal. For example, if you do not believe increasing the amount of time you spend studying will significantly raise your grade on an exam, you probably wilt not study any harder than usual. Motivation also is influenced by the employee’s perceived chances of getting various outcomes as a result of accomplishing his or her performance goal. Finally, individuals are motivated to the extent that they value the outcomes received. EXPECTANCY THEORY BELIEFS

1. Valence. Refers to the emotional orientations which people hold with respect to outcomes [rewards]. The depth of the want of an employee for extrinsic [money, promotion, free time, benefits] or intrinsic [satisfaction] rewards. Management must discover what employees appreciate.

2. Expectancy. Employees have different expectations and levels of confidence about what they are capable of doing. Management must discover what resources, training, or supervision the employees need.

Facts [+]

The 2011 Nielsen survey also showed that the top five dimensions students considered when it comes to seeking employment were high degree of independence at work, salary package, learning on the job, growth prospects and standing of the company in the market [Employer brand] respectively.

3. Instrumentality. The perception of employees whether they will actually receive what they desire, even if it has been promised by a manager. Management must ensure that promises of rewards are fulfilled and that employees are aware of that.

Vroom suggests that an employee’s beliefs about Expectancy, Instrumentality, and Valence interact psychologically. In this way they create a motivational force, such that the employee will act in a way that brings pleasure and avoids pain. This force can be ‘calculated’ via a formula:

4. Adam’s Equity Theory
Equity theory, most popularly known as equity theory of motivation, was first developed by John Stacey Adams, a workplace and behavioral psychologist, in 1963. John Stacey Adams proposed that an employee’s motivation is affected by whether the employee believes that their employment benefits/rewards are at least equal to the amount of the effort that they put into their work.

Definition of equity

An individual will consider that he is treated fairly if he perceives the ratio of his inputs to his outcomes to be equivalent to those around him. Thus, all else being equal, it would be acceptable for a more senior colleague to receive higher compensation, since the value of his experience (and input) is higher. The way people base their experience with satisfaction for their job is to make comparisons with themselves to people they work with. If an employee notices that another person is getting more recognition and rewards for their contributions, even when both have done
the same amount and quality of work, it would persuade the employee to be dissatisfied. This dissatisfaction would result in the employee feeling under-appreciated and perhaps worthless. This is in direct contrast with the idea of equity theory, the idea is to have the rewards (outcomes) be directly related with the quality and quantity of the employees contributions (inputs). If both employees were perhaps rewarded the same, it would help the workforce realize that the organization is fair, observant, and appreciative.

This can be illustrated by the following equation:
Adam’s categorised employment benefits and rewards as outputs and an employee’s work effort as inputs. Input Examples
The number of hours worked by the employee
An employee’s work responsibilities
An employee’s work duties
The work commitment demonstrated by the employee
An employee’s loyalty
An employee’s flexibility such as undertaking tasks at short notice The support that the employee has provided to the organisation, colleagues and line managers

Output Examples
Recognition of the employee’s contribution
Positive work appraisals
Work promotions
Employer flexibility
Annual leave

Adam’s stated that if an employee believes that their work outputs are not equal or greater than their inputs then the employee will become de-motivated. Adams’ theory includes the assertion that when an employee is
assessing whether the outputs they receive are fair the employee will often compare their colleague’s work inputs and outputs with their own. The comparison will often be made with an employee at a similar level in the organisation to the employee. Propositions

Equity theory consists of four propositions:
Individuals seek to maximize their outcomes (where outcomes are defined as rewards minus costs). Groups can maximize collective rewards by developing accepted systems for equitably apportioning rewards and costs among members. Systems of equity will evolve within groups, and members will attempt to induce other members to accept and adhere to these systems. The only way groups can induce members to equitably behave is by making it more profitable to behave equitably than inequitably. Thus, groups will generally reward members who treat others equitably and generally punish (increase the cost for) members who treat others inequitably. When individuals find themselves participating in inequitable relationships, they become distressed. The more inequitable the relationship, the more distress individuals feel. According to equity theory, both the person who gets “too much” and the person who gets “too little” feel distressed. The person who gets too much may feel guilt or shame. The person who gets too little may feel angry or humiliated. Individuals who perceive that they are in an inequitable relationship attempt to eliminate their distress by restoring equity. The greater the inequity, the more distress people feel and the more they try to restore equity. (Walster, Traupmann and Walster, 1978)

5. Acquired Needs Theory: McClelland
McClelland proposes that those in top management positions should have a high need for power and a low need for affiliation. Psychologist David McClelland created Need Theory, a motivational model that attempts to explain how the needs for achievement, power, and affiliation affect the actions of people from a managerial context. McClelland’s Need Theory, created by psychologist David McClelland, is a motivational model that attempts to explain how the needs for achievement, power, and affiliation affect the actions of people from a managerial context. People who are achievement-motivated typically prefer to master a task or situation. This motivational need stems from a
person’s desire to influence, teach, or encourage others. is a motivational model that attempts to explain how the needs for achievement, power, and affiliation affect the actions of people from a managerial context. It is often taught in classes concerning management or organizational behavior (Figure 1). People who are achievement-motivated typically prefer to master a task or situation. They prefer working on tasks of moderate difficulty, in which the results are based on their effort rather than on luck, and to receive feedback on their work. Those who desire affiliation, however, prefer to spend time creating and maintaining social relationships, enjoy being a part of groups and have a desire to feel loved and accepted. People in this group may not make effective managers because they may worry too much about how others will feel about them. In his theory, people are not placed into categories but rather have degrees of these needs: No one is only in ‘one group’ of these needs.

The balance of needs brings out a profile.
Needs do not explain competencies in any area. One can have high needs in one area and still be effective in an area where these needs are not necessarily fulfilled. This motivational need stems from a person’s desire to influence, teach, or encourage others. People in this category enjoy work and place a high value on discipline. The downside to this motivational type is that group goals can become zero-sum in nature. For one person to win, another must lose. However, this can be positively applied to help accomplish group goals and to help others in the group feel competent about their work. McClelland proposes that those in top management positions should have a high need for power and a low need for affiliation. He also believes that although individuals with a need for achievement can make good managers, they are not suited to being in top management positions.

6. Herzberg’s two-factor theory states that certain factors cause job satisfaction, and a separate set of factors cause dissatisfaction. According to Herzberg, understanding what causes employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction is important for management. The factors that motivate people can change over their lifetime, but “respect for me as a person” is one of the top motivating factors at any stage of life. Satisfaction and
dissatisfaction are not on a continuum with one increasing as the other diminishes, but are independent phenomena. To ensure a satisfied and productive workforce, managers must give attention to both sets of job factors.

Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory, also known as the motivation-hygiene theory or intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, concludes that while there are certain factors in the workplace that cause job satisfaction, a separate set of factors can cause dissatisfaction. The factors that motivate people can change over their lifetime, but “respect for me as a person” is one of the top motivating factors at any stage of life. Figure 1 According to Herzberg, intrinsic motivators such as challenging work, recognition, and responsibility produce employee satisfaction, while extrinsic hygiene factors, including status, job security, salary, and fringe benefits – if absent – produce dissatisfaction. Herzberg’s theory appears to parallel Maslow’s needs hierarchy. Individuals look for the gratification of higher-level psychological needs having to do with achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement, and the nature of the work itself. However, Herzberg added a new dimension to this theory, including factors that cause dissatisfaction as well, such as company policies, supervision, technical problems, salary, interpersonal relations on the job, and working conditions. This two-factor model of motivation is based on the notion that the presence of one set of job characteristics or incentives leads to worker satisfaction, while another and separate set of job characteristics lead to dissatisfaction. Thus, satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not on a continuum with one increasing as the other diminishes, but are independent phenomena. If management wishes to increase satisfaction on the job, it should be concerned with the nature of the work itself – the opportunities it presents employees for gaining status, assuming responsibility, and achieving self-realization. If, on the other hand, management wishes to reduce dissatisfaction, then it must focus on the job environment – policies, procedures, supervision, and working conditions. To ensure a satisfied and productive workforce, managers must give attention to both sets of job factors.

Examples of Business Goal-Setting Theory
Business owners will often set individual goals to motivate employees and reach company objectives. Goals that are hard to reach are often more intriguing, as more work is required to fulfill them. Edwin A. Locke introduced the theoretical approach to setting goals and building motivation, which can be directly applied to a professional setting. In fact, this type of goal-setting theory is one of the more useful motivational theories used in industrial and organizational psychology and management.

Clarity and Focus
One part of business goal-setting theory is creating clear and focused goals that are obtainable. Having a goal of pulling in $100,000 in business profits within a single year may not be obtainable for a small business owner. A clear and focused goal may be to get $50,000 in profits based on $20,000 in product sales, $10,000 from investments and $20,000 from service sales. A single goal must have a plan to reach the goal, whether it is a monthly plan with mini-goals or a weekly plan for short-term goals. Commitment and Teamwork

Employees of a given business may be more committed to a goal if they are a part of setting the goals and deadlines. In addition, a team may also work closer together if they have a mutual goal. Commitment and responsibility to a goal may also increase the motivational level within the business. In addition, each employee may have his own goal, but keep all workers informed of larger goals to ensure continuous commitment and teamwork in a business. Feedback and Progression

Another theoretical perspective on setting successful goals in a business environment involves getting feedback from managers and other employees as the work towards the goal progresses. Part of the feedback includes getting clarity on tasks, adjusting the goals or methods, making budgetary changes and getting additional help from managers. This feedback may alter the progression of the goal, so the employee working to reach the goal must be informed of the changes. Complexity and Success

A single goal may become overwhelming, especially if the goal is long-term or very complex. Fulfilling these types of goals requires a reasonable time period, including time to learn and practice skills to meet expectations. Meeting a revenue goal may not be reasonable within a single month or quarter, so extending the goal deadline for a reasonable time period may lead to more success. Having a short period of time to fulfill goals may inhibit employees from reaching expectations and may end up failing.

Dr. Edwin Locke formulated and clarified what has come to be called “goal-setting theory” in the 1960s. Since then, businesses have found that employees are more likely to do their best work once they have set clear, attainable goals. Goal-setting theory affects many aspects of your business and once you understand specific applications in each area, you can improve your company in concrete ways. Sponsored Link

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To be effective, goals must be clear according to goal-setting theory. Employees must know exactly what they’re supposed to achieve and when. Merely telling an employee to “do better” does not offer a clear course of action and doesn’t indicate how the employee will know when he has achieved the goal. An example of a clear goal is telling an employee you expect a 10 percent increase in sales in three months. Another example might be asking an employee to produce 15 more units per day over a period of six weeks. Such goals make it clear what the employee is supposed to do and what the deadline is. They allow for objective measurement. Challenge

A goal is most effective when it presents a challenge to the employee. According to the article, “Building a Practically Useful Theory of Goal Setting and Task Motivation” written by Dr. Edwin Locke and Gary Latham, if a task is too easy or too hard employees will not put in their best efforts. However, a goal that is just difficult enough to be challenging inspires maximum performance. For example, asking a production manager to cut costs
by 90 percent might be overwhelming. Cutting costs by 20 percent might make a reasonable challenge. Similarly, requiring order takers to double the amount of orders they take in an hour could discourage them. A goal of 15 percent more orders per hour might be more reasonable and challenging. Commitment

Getting employees to buy in to the goals you set makes it more likely they will reach those goals. You can do this by asking employees to participate in setting goals. Their commitment will provide the energy and perseverance that will help them achieve those goals. For example, getting your accounting department to agree to having all of your assets labeled and tracked by the end of the year can give them a sense of purpose and direction that will help them work together and improve their ability to value assets for tax purposes. Feedback

You don’t just add goals and then check on their completion at deadline time. If you provide benchmarks along the way, this lets your employees know how they are doing. You can also hold periodic meetings so they can give you feedback about any issues that have arisen and adjustments that have to be made. This two-way feedback approach helps measure progress towards achieving goals and provides encouragement in the face of difficulties. For example, if you want the production department to have 20 percent fewer rejections from the quality-control department in six months, you can meet with them each month to give them their current figure and identify any areas where the problems seem to be occurring. In addition, if you would like a 30 percent improvement in customer service ratings, you can give your customer service department feedback on a weekly or monthly basis to let them know how they’re doing. Task Complexity

Complex tasks can be overwhelming. Help your employees break such tasks into smaller parts so that they can achieve smaller goals on their way to the big one. For example, if you want to migrate all the data from one database to another, you can set smaller goals of moving a set number of accounts each week or month. Another example might be that if you want expansion plans for a new facility done in six months, you could set smaller goals of completing
an analysis for the financing needed, construction costs and the new personnel that will be required as separate goals to achieve.

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Motivation Theory. (2016, Mar 30). Retrieved from

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