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Motivational Theories Essay

2543 words - 11 pages

Motivation is the act of stimulating someone or oneself to get desired course of action, it refers to a process that controls and sustains certain behaviors. Motivation can also be defined as the forces either within or external to a person that arouse enthusiasm and persistence to pursue a certain course of action
R L. Draft (1997:526) state that employee motivation affects productivity, and part of a manager’s job is to channel motivation towards the accomplishment of organizational goals. If managers understand the process of motivation they will have the knowledge of what prompts workers to initiate action, what influences their choice of action, and the reason they ...view middle of the document...

 According to PJ Smit (2007: 340) motivation theories are classified in terms of content, process, and reinforcement theories, were the content deal with the “what” of motivation and process theories deal with the “how” of motivation, reinforcement theories look at the ways in which desired behavior can be encouraged. The categories of motivational theories are going to be described in detail below.

The content theories highlight the specific factors that motivate an individual. Although these factors are found within an individual, things outside the individual can affect him or her as well. In short, all people have needs that they want satisfied. Cliffnotes (2007) state that some are primary needs, such as those for food, sleep, and water—needs that deal with the physical aspects of behavior and are considered unlearned. These needs are biological in nature and relatively stable. Secondary needs, on the other hand, are psychological, which means that they are learned primarily through experience. These needs vary significantly by culture and by individual. Secondary needs are responsible for most of the behavior that a supervisor is concerned with and for the rewards a person seeks in an organization.
Several theorists, including Abraham Maslow, Frederick Herzberg, David McClelland, and Clayton Alderfer, have provided theories to help explain needs as a source of motivation.
2.1 Maslow’s-Hierarchy of Needs Theory:
Abraham Maslow defined need as a physiological or psychological deficiency that a person feels the compulsion to satisfy. He proposed the hierarchy of needs theory based on the assumption that people are motivated by a series of five universal needs. These needs are ranked, according to the order in which they influence human behavior, in hierarchical fashion. The reason it is called the hierarchy of needs is because according to Maslow, it is necessary for an individual to fulfill the needs from the base of the pyramid in order to gain access to the second level and thus be able to move up the pyramid. The Maslow theory suggests that only after the individual has satisfied the need from the top of the pyramid will he reach self-actualization.

The five levels in Maslow’s hierarchy of need model are:
1) Physiological Needs: The first level contains the most basic needs. These are physiological needs that the individual is required to satisfy in order to survive. Such needs are water, sleep, food, shelter and clothes.
2) Security Needs: Once a person’s physiological needs have been satisfied, his or her security/safety needs come into play. Security in the workplace, job security, safety against accidents and illnesses and financial security.
3) Social Needs: This level is represented by the social needs of an individual and although these needs are not essential for the individual's survival, they play a major part in the individual's life. Not satisfying the need for friendship, intimacy and...

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