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October 31, 2012

Essay on Need Based Theories of Motivation

Need Based Theories of Motivation

Motivation is a feeling or emotion that is felt at intrinsic and extrinsic levels by both human beings and animals. The term which has been derived from the ancient Latin word ‘movere’ which means to move or progress, in its simplest form, can be described as the feeling that provokes an energization or activates goal-oriented objectives and aims that are set in a person’s mind. It further pumps up energies that aggravate an internal drive within a human being to push his efforts and energies in a well-determined, sanguine and effective direction.
At human level, intrinsic motivation comes from the feeling of self-encouraging oneself on the success of a particular task performed even if a person is not appreciated for his efforts by anyone else. On the other hand extrinsic motivation comes when a person is lauded for his efforts and hard works on any task by any a third person which can either be a teacher, colleague or even the head of the company. It is generally believed and found that extrinsic motivation tends to increase positive energies in a person who has been motivated and drives him with a new compassion and obsession to carry on his work with greater zeal and vigor than ever.
Through the various studies that have been conducted on the topic of motivation it has been found out that this feeling is rooted in the fundamental need of all human beings that deals with the minimization of painful and stress creating feelings and the maximization of pleasure and subsequent fueling of positive energies. The different theories presented on the topic of motivation deal with the various aspects of the subject and define the term and its implications in a broad spectrum which over implementation can produce positive results for people in the queue on acquiring motivation. (Madsen, 1968)
Theories of Motivation
Theories of motivation have been categorized into two halves by sociologists, one which is known as the content theories and the other which is known as the motivational theories of processes. Even though both classes of theories are relevant in their respective contexts and applications, the article will only be dealing with content based theories related to the study area of motivation. All theories encompassed within the category of content based motivation will be described in detail.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
One of the most prominent and highly acknowledged theories based on the principle of motivation is that what was proposed by Abraham Maslow in his theory entitled as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
The crux of the theory is best understood and describe with the aid of a pyramidal representation of the salient features that accommodate the prime components constituting the life of a person. The low level of the pyramid provides us with an idea of the basic social and economic necessities of a human being on physiological, emotional and financial platforms. The bottom most tier of the pyramid, one with the greatest area is occupied by physiological needs which are a mandatory requirement for the survival of a human being. Physiological requirements also include some biological compulsions without which the physical existence of a person will not be possible. These include fulfillment of metabolic requirements such as breathing and having access to proper and nutritious food.
In addition to this there are other biological demands of a human being which must be fulfilled for the healthy physiological survival of a human being. These wants further include sexual intimacy and other biological functions necessary for survival such as homeostasis and excretion. Moving to the next layer, we have safety issues and requirements that a person requires for his survival in the society and which occupy the second position in terms of significance, once physical needs are pacified. It is important to mention here that the element of safety is not solely concerned at family level, but its repercussions overwhelmingly manifest itself in the form of employment security also. In a family a person seeks safety towards being treated fairly, his desires and wants must not be ignored and he must not be treated inferior to his siblings in any way. The prevalence of either element at parental front will sow seeds of inferiority complex within the person and will sideline him permanently from gaining motivation on any commendable performance. (Gorman, 2004)
Apart from this security and safety at commercial front is also an essential component. Economic security is estimated on a number of counts which include having insurance policies for health and education for family members and children in particular, job security in times of downturn, convenience of returning loans taken from banks and the financial capacity of fulfilling family needs and necessities. Once the requirements outlined by the first two intrinsic tiers are satisfied, the third one deals with a more emotionally demanding necessity of love allied with a sense of belongingness. It is human instinct that he needs to love and be loved, he needs to be appreciated and he needs encouragement for his efforts whether it is on social grounds, economic scale or among friends and all these factors collectively play a very important part in cultivating and harvesting the motivational grounds important for personality development. If these even though minor but extremely intrinsic requirements are sidelined, there is adequate possibility that a person might become a victim of social anxiety, depression which may in the long run prove as a harbinger for highly lethal diseases.
 The second last trapezium shaped component that Marlow deals with is the characteristic of human self-esteem and self-respect. Both these instincts have a highly dominating nature and an attack on either of these may coerce a person either to become violent or react in a rebellious way. The need for having an affluent social status and standing in the society, recognition of work, money, fame, prestige and a chance to fair hearing and reward are some of the instruments that cumulatively constitute the mantra of self-esteem in a person. Any adversity on these instincts of a human being may make him either a victim of inferiority complex or he may capitulate himself to the existing scenario of situation, losing the hope for any kind of personal rejuvenation.
After the gratification of all above mentioned requirements comes the top most tier of self-actualization. The term in its broad-spectrum applies to the realization of all the possible potentials and qualities that a person possess and in what ways he can extract maximum benefit from his personal attributes. The stage of self-actualization is basically a profitable outcome that testifies the fact that all previous stages mentioned have worked and operated in flawless order.
Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
The two-factor or the motivation-hygiene theory proposed by Frederick Herzberg deals with the concept that there are certain components that are responsible for satisfaction and dissatisfaction at the workplace, according to Herzberg individuals at a particular workplace are always in need and keep on unearthing opportunities that may provide them greater satisfaction on psychological basis and these ventures demand greater responsibility and accountability while promising greater rewards, recognition and achievement. A major difference between Herzberg and Marlow’s theory of motivation is found when a novel dimension added by Herzberg is carefully analyzed. Discussing the two-factor he says that there are elements that cause satisfaction in one working class group which may dissatisfy the other and that the existence of both these feelings are completely independent. An important suggestion proposed by the theory is that organizational administration must carefully consider the concerns and must properly recognize and address to problems being encountered at both characteristics.
Furthermore the theory also provides a distinguishing ground between the dual factors of motivation and hygiene. Motivators are factors that contribute to job satisfaction and include challenging work, acknowledgement of work and job satisfaction that collectively add up to intrinsic motivation in their work. The second half which includes the hygienic factors encompasses employment security, fringe benefits, salary and status. All these components are features that make up extrinsic motivation.
It also outlines another major factor which is that the presence of these factors does not necessarily provide positive satisfaction but their absence can be of importance when dissatisfactions are considered. Fundamentally, the presence of hygienic factors offered by an organization plays a role in reducing the element of dissatisfaction among employees whereas motivating factors are present to ensure greater and superior employee performance. (Green 1992)
Aldefer’s ERG Theory
Clayton Aldefer’s ERG theory is based on three prime principles which are Existence, relatedness and growth. The first one that is existence extends on the same agenda which has been laid down by Maslow as the list of basic necessities without which human survival is not possible. The clause of relatedness once again provides an extension to the Maslow model by shedding light on the different relationships between a person and his family members, colleagues of the workplace and others which also play an integral part in furnishing his motivation skills. The growth stage of the theory highlights the stage of self-actualization in which tends to bring his potentials and attributes the directions he wills to as all previously designated functions have been performed without creating any personality imbalance.
The ERG theory further stretches to discuss that if any of the functions that ascend up to the stage of self-actualization are not preformed as they should have, a person will automatically slump into previous levels and the feeling of inferiority that will take place within him as a result of this will foster a strong feeling of frustration within him, the emergence of such feeling is known as the frustration-regression feeling and it is considered a major hurdle towards workplace motivation, some other associated effects of such feelings may also manifest itself in the form of regression towards relatedness activities, indifference towards work and family needs and marginalization from socializing groups. (Dweck, 2000)
Self-Determination Theory
Pioneered by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan this theory further lime lights the topic of intrinsic motivation and its subsequent involvement in driving the needs of human behavior and motivation. Even though much like its counterparts Self-Determination Theory also outlines and revolves around the very same issues and discusses similar situations which have been highlighted by Maslow in this theory, but the major feature that distinguishes it from other theories is it accentuates on the presence of the encouragement element from outside environment as a necessary force of motivation which are primarily autonomy and competent feedback and contrary to other theories does not discuss or talk about an auto pilot program through which all of this can be made possible. (Deci and Ryan, 1985)


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