Understanding Motivation: the use of Theories. Motivational Theories Groups of Theories, страница 3

The need hierarchy theory is based on the assumption that employees are motivated to satisfy a variety of needs, only some of which can be satisfied by money. The needs of an individual are said to exist in a hierarchy as follows: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization. Once a need has been sufficiently involves two categories of factors that relate to motivation. The first category, satisfied, it no longer serves as a motivator.

The work of managers is to ensure that staff work efficiently in an organisation. To achieve this, it is clear that managers must know what motivates people. By understanding the factors influencing motivation they can create the conditions in which employees will perform to their maximum potential.

One of the best known theories of motivation was put forward by an American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, in a book entitled Motivation and Personality (1954). In his theory, he presents a hierarchy of needs. He identified certain basic human needs and classified them in an ascending order of importance. Basic needs were at the bottom of the hierarchy, higher needs at the top. His classification is shown below:


Physiological needs

These were things required to sustain life dike food, water, air, sleep etc. Until these needs are satisfied, Maslow believed, other needs will not motivate people. Security needs

They are the needs to be free from danger, physical pain and loss of a job. They include the need for clothing and shelter. Social needs

A human being needs to belong to a group, to be liked and loved, to feel accepted by others, and to develop affiliations." Esteem needs

After people have satisfied their social needs, they want to have self-respect and to be esteemed by others. They have a need for power, status, respect and self-confidence.

Self-actualisation needs

These are the highest needs, according to Maslow. They are the desire to develop, to maximize potential and to achieve one's goals.

Maslow said that people satisfied their needs in a systematic way. When a need had been met, it stopped being a motivating factor. For example, if a person was starving, he would not be too concerned about security and social needs. But once he had enough food, he would start thinking about those other needs.

Research into Maslow's theory has not been very conclusive. Studies have tended to show that needs vary greatly among individuals. At the higher levels in a company, self-actualizing needs may be very strong whereas at lower levels, social and security needs may be dominant.

Herzberg's Two Factor Theory

Another theory of motivation, which has been very popular with managers, is Frederick Herzberg's 'two-factor' theory. Herzberg conducted a number of studies in the region of Pittsburg, USA, in the late 1950s. Based upon extensive research, Frederick Herzberg concluded that the degree of satisfaction and the degree of dissatisfaction felt by an organization member as a result of performing a job are two different variables that are determined by two different sets of items. He concluded that at work there are certain factors which cause job satisfaction while others lead to dissatisfaction.

The set of items that influences the degree of job dissatisfaction is called hygiene or maintenance factors. They concern the work environment and include interpersonal relations, supervision, company policy and administration, job security, working conditions, salary and fringe benefits, status and personal life. These factors must receive proper attention in the job for motivation to occur.

However, the hygiene factors do not motivate employees but rather keep them from being dissatisfied. These factors are considered to be only 'dissatisfiers', not motivators. If they do not exist, they cause dissatisfaction. If they do exist in ' quality and quantity, they do not, however, give increased satisfaction. Herzberg claims that if hygiene factors are undesirable in a particular job situation, the organization member will become dissatisfied. If, for example, you do not get along with your boss and think that you are grossly underpaid, you will become dissatisfied with your job. Moreover, making these factors more desirable, perhaps by increasing your salary, will generally not motivate you to do a better job, but merely keep you from becoming dissatisfied. Generally, you will be motivated to do a better job only if motivators are high in the particular job situation.