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Friday, July 13, 2012

Early Theories of Motivation

In the 1950s three specific theories were formulated and are the best known: 

Hierarchy of Needs theory, Theories X and Y, and the Two-Factor theory.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

According to this theory, proposed by Maslow (1943), human beings have wants and desires which influence their behaviour; only unsatisfied needs can influence behavior, satisfied needs cannot. The needs are arranged in order of importance, from the basic to the complex. The person advances to the next level of needs only after the lower level need is at least minimally satisfied. The further they progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality, humanness and psychological health a person will show.

Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Pyramid

The five needs are:

Ø  Physiological: Includes hunger, thirst, shelter, sex, and other bodily needs
Ø  Safety: Includes security and protection from physical and emotional harm
Ø  Social: Includes affection, belongingness, acceptance, and friendship
Ø  Esteem: Includes internal esteem factors, such as, self-respect, autonomy, and achievement; and external esteem factors, such as, status, recognition, and attention
Ø  Self-actualization: The drive to become what one is capable of becoming; includes growth, achieving one’s potential, and self-fulfillment

Maslow separated the five needs into higher and lower orders. Physiological and safety needs are described as lower-order. Social, esteem, and self-actualization are classified as higher-order needs. Higher-order needs are satisfied internally, whereas, Lower-order needs are predominantly satisfied, externally.

Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor argued that a manager’s view of the nature of human beings is based on a certain grouping of assumptions and he or she tends to mould his or her behavior toward employees according to these assumptions.

Theory X –

In this theory management assumes employees are inherently lazy and will avoid work, if they can. Workers need to be closely supervised and a comprehensive system of controls and a hierarchical structure is needed to supervise the workers closely. It is also assumed that workers generally place security above all other factors and will display little ambition.

Theory Y –

In this theory management assumes employees may be ambitious, self-motivated, anxious to accept greater responsibility, and exercise self-control, self-direction, autonomy and empowerment. It is believed that employees enjoy their mental and physical work duties. It is also believed that, if given the chance employees have the desire to be creative and forward thinking in the workplace. There is a chance for greater productivity by giving employees the freedom to perform to the best of their abilities without being bogged down by rules.
From the above, it is clear that Theory X assumes that lower-order needs dominate individuals. Theory Y assumes that higher-order needs dominate individuals.

Herzberg’s Two Factor theory

Herzberg (1959) constructed a two-dimensional paradigm of factors affecting people's attitudes about work. These two factors are motivators and hygiene factors and this theory is also called motivation-hygiene theory.

Motivators are intrinsic factors, such as, advancement, recognition, responsibility, and achievement. Presence of these factors ensure job satisfaction. Extrinsic factors, such as, company policy, supervision, interpersonal relations, working conditions, and salary are hygiene factors. The absence of hygiene factors can create job dissatisfaction, but their presence does not motivate or create satisfaction.

Hygiene factors or Extrinsic factor
Motivator factors or Intrinsic factor
Company policy
Working conditions
Work it
Interpersonal relationship
Growth and Advancement
Challenging job

In summary, motivators describe a person's relationship with what she or he does, many related to the tasks being performed. Hygiene factors on the other hand, have to do with a person's relationship to the context or environment in which she or he performs the job. The satisfiers relate to what a person does while the dissatisfiers relate to the situation in which the person does what he or she does.

Removing dissatisfying characteristics from a job does not necessarily make the job satisfying. Job satisfaction factors are separate and distinct from job dissatisfaction factors. When hygiene factors are adequate, people will not be dissatisfied; neither will they be satisfied. To motivate people, emphasize factors intrinsically rewarding that are associated with the work itself or to outcomes directly derived from it.

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