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Table of Contents

Introduction                                                                                                                         3

Maslow’s Need Theory                                                                                                        3

Herzberg’s – Hygiene Theory                                                                                                          4

ERG Theory                                                                                                                        5

McClelland Motivation Theory                                                                                           6

Usefulness of Motivation Theories                                                                                      7

Solutions that can be implemented                                                                                      8

Conclusion                                                                                                                           10

List of References                                                                                                                11                                           








Human Resource Management

Motivation can be defined as the psychological process, which creates the willingness in individuals in doing something in order to enhance need satisfaction. A need may refer that physiological or psychological force, which makes the accomplishment and attainment of certain outcomes attractive to individuals. Hoffmann (2007) argues that needs, which are not satisfied cause drives that end up generating a search for certain goals. The needs will only become satisfied after attainment of the goals. There are two basic forms of motivation, which are extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation refers to the type of motivation that entails the use of intangible and tangible rewards in motivating employees such as praise, promotions, punishment and payments, while intrinsic motivation is the kind of motivation that arise when individuals engage in activities for its own sake (Hoffmann 2007, 7). The paper will discuss various motivation theories that can be used in solving motivation problems, usefulness of the theories in handling the problem and appropriate solutions that can be implemented by a manager in solving the problem.

Question 1: Motivation Theories

A). Maslow’s Need Theory

The theory was founded by Abraham Maslow, who posited that there exist five different groups of human needs. Further, he argued that the distinct group of needs emerged in specific form of hierarchy in terms of importance for each individual. When one need is satisfied, then the next group of needs in the hierarchy starts to demand satisfaction. The next group of needs in the hierarchy will only demand satisfaction only if the prior needs in the hierarchy are fully satisfied. According to Maslow, the five human needs comprise of safety needs, self-actualization needs, social needs, physiological needs and esteem needs. Physiological needs are the needs at the bottom of the hierarchy and include shelter, water, food and sex. People will only be motivated in other needs up the hierarchy only if these needs are satisfied. Safety needs are the needs above the basic needs and comprises of the need of being free from threat, feeling secure and protected from all forms of dangers. These needs will only be sought after the physiological needs are satisfied. In the work environment, staffs need to feel secure in their work and even in the condition of the working environment should make them feel secure.

Social needs are the next group of needs up the hierarchy and include affection, love, sense of belonging and friendship. After both the physiological and safety needs are satisfied, individuals will seek social needs. In the workplace, staffs achieve these needs when they feel that they belong and have friends. Esteem needs are the next level of needs, which entails needs for self-respect and expression of respect and appreciation from others. People who are motivated by the desire to achieve esteem needs are the individuals who already have their physiological, safety and social needs met. Self actualization needs are the needs found at the top of the hierarchy, which is the needs that seek to realize one’s full potential in becoming all that one is capable of becoming. This need manifests itself very differently from one person to the other. (Fiore 2004, 62-65).

B). Herzberg’s – Hygiene Theory

This theory is also referred to as the two-factor theory. The theory divides the needs into motivators and hygiene factors. Motivators refer to those factors, which motivate people and lead to job satisfaction, while hygiene factors are the factors, which lead to job dissatisfaction. The hygiene factors are the dissatisfiers and may include supervision, organization policy and administration, interpersonal relations, status, personal life, salary, working conditions and job security. When dissatisfiers exist in high quality and quantity in the company environment, then they would not yield satisfaction; and their lack of existence would in fact result to dissatisfaction. The motivators are satisfiers, and; thus, are related to job content and include challenging work, recognition and growth in the job, advancement and recognition. The theory, therefore, argues that satisfaction and dissatisfaction in the workplace are not both opposite dimensions, but instead are separate dimensions of an individual’s attitude towards work. Hence, motivators contributed more to job satisfaction than job dissatisfaction, while hygiene factors contributed more to job dissatisfaction than to job satisfaction (Koontz 2007, 291-292).

C). ERG Theory

The theory was founded by Alderfer, C, which stands for existence, relatedness and growth needs. It is also based on the assumption that needs are important determinants of individual motivation. The three needs can be arranged in a hierarchy with the existence needs at the bottom, while the growth needs are at the top. This theory posits that more than one need may be operating in an individual at the same time rather than following a rigid progression. This implies that individuals may be motivated by more than one need simultaneously. For example, according to Alderfer, an individual may crave for relationships when having some unsatisfied existence needs (Pattanayak 2005, 179-180).

The existence needs are in line with Maslow’s physiological and safety needs and they include water, food, shelter, sex, clothing, security and safety. In the working environment, these needs may be represented by job security, salary and working conditions. The relatedness needs are in line with Maslow’s social and certain aspects of esteem needs, and Alderfer refers to them as all those interpersonal relationships. The interrelationships may be positive or negative and the relationships may be with family, friends, colleagues, subordinates and superiors. Growth needs equate to the Maslow’s self-actualization needs and some part of esteem needs. They are basically the intrinsic desires found in individuals in order to maximize their potential and create fulfillment (Aswathappa 2005, 362-363).

D). McClelland Motivation Theory

The theory was founded by McClelland and his associates. The theory argues that individuals are motivated by need for achievement, power and affiliation. The theory further argues that every person has a need for all the three and needs differ in individuals. Individuals who are motivated by achievement are competitive, value success and take value in the accomplishment of goals with excellence. In other words, such persons may desire to do things better for their own sake or for the intrinsic satisfaction. The theory also asserts that individuals motivated by achievement do better in moderately challenging tasks, try new and efficient ways of doing things, take responsibility for their performances and usually seek for feedback on their performance in relation to what they do. Such people have an intense desire for success and equally intense fear of failure (Fiore 2004, 62-67).

The need for power argues that individuals who are motivated by it seek influence and complete control over other people and their activities. Individuals, therefore, seek for leadership positions, are good conversationalists, argumentative, outspoken, forceful, demanding and enjoy public speaking. People, who seek the need for affiliation, basically derive pleasure from relationships and being loved and tend to avoid the repercussions of pain that emanate from rejection by social groups. Individuals with a need for affiliation are concerned with maintaining strong social relationships and are ready to console and help others when in problems, as well as, enjoy friendly relationships with others (Zepeda 2007, 214-216).

Question 2: Usefulness of Motivation Theories

Most of the discussed theories provides an important insight into what individuals may find motivating. Herzberg, ERG and Maslow theory can be used in examining the inherent motivation in the organization through the recognition that individual needs could be categorized and the fact that there is an element of hierarchical orientation towards individual and employees’ needs. Thus, managers can understand and start predicting what may be motivating to whom among the employees. There is an underlying prerequisite that the management needs to fully understand their employees well in order to institute appropriate motivating concepts. It is, therefore, important to use the broad concepts of the theories in understanding specifically what motivates each individual in the working environment (Griffin 2012, 94-97).

The theories are also useful in that they help management in examining what may have the greatest likelihood of being motivating to the employees. The managers through the use the theories are able to examine the importance of relations in the workplace, as well as, they may affect each individual performance of roles in the job. However, though the motivation theories are helpful, they also require management to have adequate knowledge about the lives and desires of the company employees. Such knowledge helps management in designing strategies and creating conditions, which provide employees with the sought after opportunities. (Fiore 2004, 71-72).

McClelland theory is useful in examining employee motivation in particular, since it helps managers in highlighting the importance of matching an individual and the job. For instance, this theory will help managers in establishing that employees who have high achievement needs may thrive in challenging, stimulating and complex work since they welcome autonomy and feedback from supervisors. On the other hand, it can be established that employees with low achievement needs prefer situations of security, stability and predictability. In other words, they respond better to low pressure supervision and look for co-workers at workplace for social satisfaction. The McClelland theory is also useful in examining how managers can raise the achievement needs level of employees by creating appealing and proper work environment (Aswathappa 2005, 359-365).

ERG theory is helpful in examining individual differences among people in organizations. Such variables such as cultural background, family background and education can influence the importance that a group of needs holds to certain individuals. Herzerberg’s theory is helpful in examining the content factors that lead to work motivation rather than the need for money. The theory can also be used in the job design technique for job enrichment to examine tasks that are best suited to each employee in order to achieve maximum output. The Maslow hierarchy of needs is useful in examining the motivation of employees at work and the extent to which the management rewards the diverse needs of humans at work (Van Vuuren 2009, 83).

Question 3: Solutions that can be implemented

A). Job Allocation and Design

This involves the allocation of tasks to employees based on their qualifications, skills, ability and experience. Jobs also need to be designed to suit the skills of employees. The strength of this solution is that productivity is maximized and employees do what they like doing. As a result, an organization realizes increased output. The limitation of this solution is that it may create boredom and monotony in doing the same type of work or role for a long period of time (Aswathappa 2005, 359-365).

B). Reinforcements (Rewards/Punishments)

Employees need to be recognized using both monetary and non-monetary techniques when they are perceived to have achieved extra-ordinary results. On the other hand, employees who fail to accomplish the desired results may be reinforced through coercion or other forms of punishment. This solution motivates employees in working hard and smart since they perceive that they will receive rewards such as recognition when they perform well. The limitation of this solution is that some forms of reinforcements such as coercion may lead to more dissatisfaction rather than enhance motivation (Aswathappa 2005, 359-365).

C). Trainings and Development

Employee development can be very essential to staffs, which may result to increased accountability by employees. Trainings on planning skills to employees are essential and can help employees in improving their productivity. Development helps in creating an organizational culture, which supports efficiency and effectiveness leading to continuous growth and improvement. The staff development programs need to be based on some taken need assessment. The limitation of this solution is that it may be time consuming and mostly depends on the employees acceptability of what is being trained (Fiore 2004, 72-75).

D). Performance Evaluation

Employees need to be evaluated on their performance and given immediate feedback in order to act accordingly. This solution helps in identifying where the employees may be going wrong and corrective measures may be put in place. This solution has a limitation in that some employees may perceive biases in relation to evaluated results from some supervisors, which may de-motivate them.

In summary, motivational theories are quite essential in determining certain employees’ behaviors, which may positively or negatively affect or influence their motivation and eventually their overall performance in the workplace. These theories include Maslow’s need theory, ERG theory, McClelland theory and Herzberg’s motivator and hygiene theory. Some solutions that may be implemented based on the theories include job allocation and design, performance evaluation, reinforcements through both reward and punishments and trainings and development.

List of References

Aswathappa, K 2005, Human Resource and Personnel Management: Text and Cases, New Delhi, Tata McGraw-Hill.

Fiore, DJ 2004, Introduction to Educational Administration: Standards, Theories, and Practice, Larchmont, NY, Eye On Education.

Griffin, RW, & Moorhead, G 2012, Organizational Behavior: Managing People And Organizations, Mason, OH, South-Western/Cengage Learning.

Hoffmann, S 2007, Classical Motivation Theories – Similarities and Differences between Them, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.

Koontz, H, & Weihrich, H 2007, Essentials of Management: An International Perspective, New Delhi, Tata McGraw-Hill.

Pattanayak, B 2005, Human Resource Management, New Delhi, Prentice-Hall of India.

Van Vuuren, M, & Wasserfall 2009, FCS Theory of policing practices L3, Pinelands, Cape Town, 7405, South Africa, Pearson South Africa

Zepeda, SJ 2007, Instructional Supervision: Applying Tools and Concepts, Larchmont, NY, Eye on Education.

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