Motivational Theories and Factors

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 5 January 2017

Motivational Theories and Factors

According to DuBrin, “…motivation is an energizing force that stimulates arousal, direction, and persistence of behavior” (2004, p. 121). It is the force inside the individual and process which allows us to get others to put forth effort. There are many motivational theories that can be used to motivate others (DuBrin, 2004). In the workplace, managers may need to find ways to motivate their employees. Three ways a manager might motivate their employees are: Setting goals, using operant conditioning to change behaviors, and using monetary incentives.

These may all be used to motivate employees (DuBrin, 2004). Goals are what motivate us and others to strive to achieve accomplishments either set by ourselves or others. Goals create a self-dissatisfaction within us which gives us an incentive to reduce this dissatisfaction by achieving our goal. By setting goals, employees can improve performance and increase productivity (DuBrin, 2004). Another way to motivate employees is to use operant conditioning as used by B. F. Skinner.

By providing rewards and punishments for behaviors, an employer can motivate employees to modify behaviors by providing consequences. An employee can use an incentive for positive behaviors such as increasing sales and receiving a commission or promotion. For negative behaviors such as not meeting goals set, an employer might demote the employee or even take away commissions or the promise of a promotion (DuBrin, 2004). Monetary rewards can be used to motivate an employee to improve performance and production.

By offering commission or a raise, an employee will be motivated to achieve. By setting clear expectations, an employee can strive to attain or exceed expectations, knowing what they will be eligible to receive the incentive. (DuBrin, 2004). I believe that the three ways of motivating others, can also help me motivate myself. By setting personal goals for myself, I can motivate myself to accomplish those goals. After achieving the original goals, I will set higher goals to challenge me. Monetary or recognition rewards will also motivate me to be more productive.

When given a choice between being rewarded or punished for behaviors, I will always avoid the negative behavior and opt for achieving rewards (DuBrin, 2004). Vroom’s Expectancy theory and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory are two popular motivational theories. The Expectancy theory and Hierarchy of Needs theory have similar and contrasting ways of motivation. The Expectancy theory focuses on personal choices that an individual must make when faced with the possibility of working hard to achieve rewards and are affected by individual perceptions.

Expectancy is how a person perceives the subject probability that one thing will lead to another. How a person’s perception of expectancy for effort will lead to performance and how performance will lead to reward probabilities (valance) increase, so does a person’s motivation force increase. (Scholl, 2002). The Hierarchy of Needs theory is based on satisfying our innate physiological needs first (food, shelter, water), then safety (job security, earning an income), then moving up the hierarchy ladder to satisfy our need for growth (love and belongingness needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs.

Maslow states that until our basic needs are met first, we cannot move up the hierarchy ladder (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2011). The two theories are similar because they both have forces that drive our motivation. However, Maslow generalizes about our motivation whereas Vroom shows that ‘the same people are motivated by different things at different times and that different people are motivated by different things at the same time’ (Motivation Types, 2009).

Vroom does not attempt to explain a person’s motivation like Maslow. Instead, he explains how people arrive at decisions to achieve the end they value. Both can be motivated by needs and self-esteem (Scholl, 2002). While financial incentives can be a good motivational tool, it can also have drawbacks. By offering monetary, promotions, or employee benefits to employees, it can increase an employee’s performance and production. However, the drawbacks to this are: a decrease in teamwork and inequitable rewards.

If a person is working toward a goal to receive a monetary reward, he will most likely be less of a team player due to competition with coworkers. If monetary rewards go by income, a person who makes less will receive less monetary rewards than someone who receives a higher salary. An example of this is profit sharing (Ehow Money, 2012). Sometimes it may be better to have monetary rewards given as a team effort or equitable financial rewards for the same job performance.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 5 January 2017

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