The Study Of Motivation Is A Study In Why People Behave In A Certain Way

2004 words - 9 pages

Managing People and Change


The study of motivation is a study in why people behave in a certain way. There are four main theories of motivation Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Alderfen’s modified need hierarchy model, Herzberg’s two-factor theory and McClelland’s achievement motivation theory.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory arranges five main levels of needs. Physiological as the lowest need, then safety, love, esteem and then self-actualisation as the highest. The order of needs can depend on the individual.

Physiological needs are our basic needs such as food, drink, oxygen and sleep. Safety needs are things such as our need to be safe and for predictability. ...view middle of the document...

A problem with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is that, because it was not based on the workplace, needs can be met outside of the workplace as well as in the workplace. Therefore a manager would not know which need or needs an individual had already met.

For example a manager may not know that an individual has already met their love need by having a successful relationship with their spouse and a close network of friends. The manager would therefore try to motivate the individual by placing them in a work team to make them feel like they belong. This would not motivate this individual as they have already met this need. To motivate them the manager would need to move onto the next need which has not been met. In this case esteem. To motivate this individual the manager could advertise a team leader position which would motivate them to work towards the new position and this would increase their self-esteem.

Another problem with Maslow’s hierarchy is that some rewards cover more than one need. For example a promotion would cover all the needs. Their physiological need would be met through the pay rise which comes with the promotion. Their Safety need would be met as the promotion shows the individual is indispensable therefore they are not in any threat of loosing their job. Their love need would be met as they would feel that they belong in the company and that they are appreciated and valued. Their esteem need would be met as it would give them a higher status in the workplace and would boost their self-esteem. Their self-actualisation need would be met as they have furthered in their career. As all these needs have been covered through one reward the manager would find it difficult to motivate the individual further.

Overall I do not think that Maslow’s hierarchy or Alderfen’s modified need hierarchy model would be beneficial to managers as they would need knowledge of personal and background information on their staff in order to know what needs their members of staff have and what order they come.

Herzberg’s two-factor theory is based on the workplace and consists of two needs, hygiene and motivators. Hygiene factors are similar to Maslow’s lower levels physiological, safety and love. The motivators are similar to the higher levels of needs, esteem and self-actualisation.

When the hygiene factors are met an individual has no dissatisfaction. Hygiene factors are not motivators but are just as important as they bring the individual up to zero so they can be motivated. When the motivators are met these give the individual satisfaction. If no motivators are met then the individual has no satisfaction and is back to zero.

The theory works the same for all individuals unlike Maslow’s which could change depending on the individual.

Herzberg also emphasised the importance of ‘quality of work life’ and supports the restructuring of jobs to have more emphasis on motivating factors and to make jobs more interesting and to...

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