Motivation: What is the theory of Motivation in Management?

Today we will talk about how motivation drives people within. Motivation is defined as the inner drive to act in a certain manner. Behind every action there is a motive.

Importance of Motivation

  • Motivation fills the gap between ability and willingness. Motivation gives reason for people to get to work or action. Without motivation man wouldn’t feel the need to work. So in order to achieve goals he puts himself and his resources into use.
  • By judiciously putting resources to work and its repetition leads to efficiency in an employees work.
  • Motivation helps in achievement of organisational goals as efficiency and productivity in the work of an employee improves.
  • Motivation brings in a positive attitude in employees which helps them perform well and also brings in stability of human resource due to increased job satisfaction.

Theories of Motivation

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

  1. Physiological needs include basic needs like food, shelter, clothing etc. Without fulfilling these needs a person does not think about the next level.
  2. Security needs include physical safety and job security for basic sustenance.
  3. Social needs consist of affiliation needs like family, friendships and other informal groups.
  4. Self- esteem needs are the needs that bring confidence, self-respect and competence in a person.
  5. Self-Actualisation refers to the maximum potential a person can reach.

Herzberg’s Two –Factor Theory of Motivation

In 1959, Fredrick Herzberg propounded the two factor theory of motivation. In this theory if a factor does not satisfy, it may not even dissatisfy a person. The opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction. His theory was based on identifying two different aspects of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction- motivators and hygiene factors.

Hygiene factors are the job factors that cause dissatisfaction or no dissatisfaction in a job. Absence of hygiene factors are the reason for job dissatisfaction. Hygiene factors are also called maintenance factors and for most employees these could be the basic minimum requirements. Factors like pay, benefits, company policies, job security, status, physical working conditions are included in hygiene factors.

Motivators are factors that affect motivation in a positive manner. These lead to satisfaction or no satisfaction at all. Motivators yield for higher performance. Growth and recognition are identified as one of the most influential motivators. These root from the basic tasks that an individual performs during the work.

• Equity Theory
Equity theory is based on the principle of balance or equity. This theory says that a person’s motivational level is based on his perception of equity and fairness. An employee judges fairness by evaluating the correlation between his inputs, like the hard work, time and effort he puts into his work, and his outputs like salary and other perks. He compares the ratio with that of his colleagues. Employees expect an equitable or positive ratio compared to their co-workers. If they perceive that it is not positive their motivational level reacts negatively.

• Expectancy Theory
Expectancy theory was propounded by Victor Vroom in 1964. Unlike Maslow's and Herzberg's theory this theory focuses on outcomes. As the name reveals this theory relates an employee’s work to his expectancy of outcomes. An employee’s motivational level depends on his expected rewards. After he asses this he performs his work with an amount of motivation and efficiency that is equivalent to the expected rewards.

In this theory work motivation relationship has three phases-
  1. Effort-performance relationship- An employee's performance depends upon the effort he makes.
  2. Performance-rewards relationship- The employee believes that putting in a certain amount of work will fetch him attractive rewards, then he becomes motivated.
  3. Rewards-Outcome- Finally if the employee believes that the rewards match with his personal goals he tries his best to attain organisational goals.
Elements like instrumentality and valence play vital role in this theory. Instrumentality refers to the thought that effort and performance will lead to desired rewards. Valence is importance of a reward to a person. If the reward is significant to an employee only then does the employee put in effort.

Finally from all the motivational theories discussed above we observe that all theories revolve around a person’s needs and internal motivation also plays a great role in increasing motivational level. Because only if a person feels that the incentive or outcome is appealing to him and matches with his personal goals, only then does he become motivated. All these theories help a manager understand the employee’s psychology and then he carefully designs incentives and lays it down before his employees. Motivation derives a positive feeling in an employee which increases job satisfaction and helps reduce employee turnover in the longer run.

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