Early Theories of Motivation

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

This theory understands the needs of the employees and should the company take good care of the needs.
Early Theories of Motivation 1

  • Physiological needs: this includes the need for drink, food, clothes, sex, shelter and other needs.
  • Need for safety: an employee should be protected from the harms caused by emotions. Physical security and protection is mandatory.
  • Social needs: this is the kind of need where the employee needs to feel accepted and belonged.
  • Esteem needs: self-respect, internal as well as external is very important for any employee. The kind of status he or she maintains is very important. Thus this is one of the most important factors which the company should keep in mind.
  • Self-actualization needs: this is basically the drive to become the best and to attain his best potential.

The argument that was proposed by Maslow is that all of these needs and requirements should be fulfilled. However, the same theory also says that if all the requirements of the employee are satisfied then there is no such motivation to perform well. During the 1970s and 1960s his theory was widely supported however several studies were done which could not validate the theory.

Mcgregor’s theory x and theory y

The conclusion of this theory was that always yelling and scaring people might not motivate employees to perform well. There are some managers who think that only by yelling and scolding their subordinated they will bring good results to the company. However, that is not the case.

Theory X shows the negative side of people where they only want to avoid responsibility and they do not want to work. However, theory Y shows the positive side where the employees are highly motivated t de well in their work life. Thus, according to theory y group decision, challenges and other discussions will help maximize the motivation of an employee.

However, there was no evidence that supported the conclusion behind theory y. in some instances it has seen that theory x has worked wonders, thus the harsh approach of a manger towards its subordinates had motivated the employees to do well.

Early Theories of Motivation 2Herzberg’s two factor theory

According to this theory there are two theories which relate to job satisfaction. Extrinsic factor relate to dissatisfaction in their job whereas intrinsic factors relate to job dissatisfaction. Here are a few intrinsic and extrinsic factors which relate to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction. However, these are independent factors it means that, even if a manager eliminates all those factors which led to dissatisfaction with the job, it will not necessarily motivate the employees to perform well. Therefore, to motivate people to do the job you should try introducing the intrinsic factors. This theory has helped us in the long run and is still continuing to do so.

Early Theories of Motivation 3Early Theories of Motivation 4Three need theory

There are three needs which or rather three factors which help to motivate the way people. These are as follows:

  • Need for achievement.
  • Need for affiliation.
  • Need for power.

People who are desperately in need for achievement desperately strive to do better and perform well. They always want to do things more efficiently than before. There is difference between a high achiever and a good manager. Being a high achiever does not necessarily means that he will be a good manager. Because, high achieve only focus on what they think is best for them. Whereas, a good manager should focus on what is good for the entire team and not just itself.

The other two needs do not have sufficient research to support its findings.

TAT or thematic appreciation test is used to measure these needs. Here the person needs to react to a set of pictures. These reactions are then interpreted by a trained individual who records the results.

Early Theories of Motivation 5


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