What is Motivation | Theory Of Motivation In Mordern Organization

Here is the complete note on “What is Motivation” and “Theory Of Motivation In Mordern Organization


Motivation is the driving force by which we achieve our goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. According to various  theories, motivation may be rooted in a basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, goal, state   of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with either volition or optimism. Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.

In spite of enormous research, the subject of motivation is not clearly understood and more often than not poorly practiced. To understand motivation one must understand human nature itself. And, there lies the problem! Human nature can be very simple, yet very complex too. Quite apart from the benefit and moral value of an altruistic approach to treating colleagues as human beings and respecting human dignity in all its forms, research and observations show that well motivated employees are more productive and creative. They will do what they want to do, or otherwise motivated to do. Whether it is to excel on the workshop floor or in the ‘ivory tower’ they must be motivated or driven to it, either by themselves or through external stimulus. Which are Positive reinforcement or high expectations, Effective discipline and punishment, treating people fairly, Satisfying employees needs, setting work related goals, restructuring jobs, Base rewards on job performance.

Although these are the basic strategies, the mix for the final ‘recipe ‘will vary from workplace situation to situation. Motivation, in effect, is a means to reduce and manipulate this gap. It is inducing others in a specific way towards goals specifically stated by the motivator. Naturally these goals, as also the motivation system, must conform to the corporate policy of the organization.

Among various motivation theories that have been embraced by American business are those of Frederick Herzberg and Abraham Maslow. Herzberg, psychologist, proposed a theory of job factors that motivates employees. Maslow, behavioral scientist and contemporary of Herzberg’s, developed a theory of various human needs and how people pursue these needs. Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs Theory’ is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid, with the largest and most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom, and the need for self-actualization at the top. Herzberg proposed the ‘Motivation-Hygiene Theory’, also known as the ‘Two-Factor Theory’ of job satisfaction. According to his theory, people are influenced by two sets of factors; motivator factors and hygiene factors.

  • Motivated employees always look for better ways to do a job.
  • Motivated employees are more quality oriented.
  • Motivated workers are more productive.
  • There are similarities between Herzberg’s and Maslow’s models. They both suggest that needs have to be satisfiedfor the employee to be motivated. However, Herzberg argues that only the higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy (e.g., self-actualization, esteem needs) act as a motivator. The remaining needs can only cause dissatisfaction if not addressed. In Maslow’s theory, he identified five sets of human needs (on priority basis) and their satisfaction in motivating employees. Hertzberg refers to hygiene factors and motivating factors in his theory. Maslow’s theory is rather simple and descriptive. The theory is based on long experience about human needs. Hertzberg’s theory is more prescriptive, and it suggests the motivating factors that can be used effectively. these  factors are;
  • Need for achievement; drive to excel.
  • Need for power; desire to cause others to behave differently.
  • Need for affiliation; desire for friendly and close interpersonal relationships.

The importance of each of these needs will vary from one person to another. If you can determine the importance of each of these needs to an individual, it will help you decide how to influence that individual. David McClelland believed that workers could not be motivated by the mere need for money—in fact, extrinsic motivation (e.g., money) could extinguish intrinsic motivation (e.g., achievement). Although, money could be used as an indicator of success for various motives (e.g., keeping score).

A motivated employee is someone that works hard because they feel fulfilled when they do so. Motivation is an important area of business research and over the years there have been many ‘motivational theories’. One of the best-known theories of motivation is based on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow argued that individuals have a hierarchy of needs. True motivation is achieved by fulfilling higher order needs. These needs are;

Basic needs

This needs Are for reasonable standards of food, shelter and clothing and those other items which are required to be the norm to meet the needs of the body and for physical survival. The base level of need will be typically met in modern industrial society by the exchange of labour for a wage packet or salary.

Security needs

These also concerned with physical survival. In the context of the workplace these needs could include physical safety, security of employment, adequate rest periods, pension and sick schemes, and protection from arbitrary actions.

Group needs

This deals with an individual’s need for love and affection. The majority of people want to feel that they belong to a group.


These Needs are based on an individual’s desire for self-respect and the respect of others. Employees have a need to be recognized as individuals of some importance, to receive praise for their work, and to have their efforts noticed.


Maslow placed self-fulfillment at the top of his hierarchy of needs. Self-fulfillment is concerned with full personal development and individual creativity. In order to meet these needs it is important for individuals to be able to use their talents and abilities fully. The organization that wants motivated employees must pay due care and attention both to lower and higher order needs.

According to the work of Frederick Herzberg complements that of Maslow. Herzberg showed that to truly motivate an employee you need to create conditions that make them feel fulfilled in the workplace. Herzberg set out a key difference between ‘movement’ and ‘motivation’. He said that you can get employs to move by ‘kicks in the ass’ – i.e. punishments and rewards e.g. penalties for poor work and high pay for good work. However, workers that move are not the same as workers that are motivated.

According to Herzberg if you want to motivate employees you need to create a series of ‘satisfiers’ which are quite different from high pay. Herzberg’s satisfiers included:

  • Recognition of effort and performance
  • The nature of the job itself – does it provide the employee with the appropriate degree of challenge and enjoyment?
  • Sense of achievement
  • Responsibility
  • The opportunity for promotion and improvement.


The ideas of Maslow and Herzberg have been built on in modern theories of Human Resource Development. Human Resource Development involves talking to employees to find out about their needs and aspirations so as to be able to establish Training and Development Plans. Human Resource Development recognizes that not only do organizations have objectives and requirements, so to do the individuals that work for them. Strategies such as empowerment i.e. trusting employees to think for themselves and to make decisions rather than be told what to do, and career development plans provide real motivation for employees. Both theories confer that a specific set of needs must be met in order to propiciate behavior, and maintain it. In Maslow’s theory, it is through a Hierarchy of Needs.  In Herzberg’s theory it is through a 2 way paradigm in which two specific needs must be met and they are hygiene (basic physical and psychological needs) and motivation.

The main difference is that Maslow is more specific in terms of categorizing the areas of human need and includes less concrete areas such as emotions and other feelings. Herzberg is more specific in what physiological and concrete things must be present to produce motivation. Also, Herzberg’s ultimate goal is for motivation to be the prevailing attitude among individuals (quite clearly a need for a good quality of life), while Maslow’s main goal is for needs to be met in order for an individual to develop in a healthy mental and physical way. Both uses a hierarchical scale. Where one stage must first be fully or largely completed before advancing to the next stage. Both are based on the argument that “we behave as we do because we are attempting to fulfill internal needs.” (Bartol et al., 2005) i.e. needs theory. They both specify the criteria as to what motivates people. However, this is controversial because entrepreneurs and people from different cultures have different values and norms, and therefore have different criteria or have criteria which are perceived as more important e.g. Greek and Japanese employees stated that safety and physiological needs are more important to them, where as employees from Norway and Sweden saw belongingness needs as being more important.


Herzberg’s hygiene idea corresponds with Maslow’s Physiological, Safety and Belongingness needs i.e. they both have the same criteria (basic pay, work conditions etc.Also, Herzberg’s motivator’s idea corresponds with Maslow’s Esteem and Self-Actualization needs i.e. they both have the same criteria (recognition, growth, achievement etc).

Both theories are influenced by environmental conditions, employee attitudes and as a result, their motivation. These influence an employee’s performance.

Maslow says that each stage of the 5 must be fully or largely completed before advancing to the next stage. However, Herzberg suggested that there were only two stages (hygiene and motivators) instead of five.

Maslow said that fulfilling each stage is a motivator; however Herzberg said that fulfilling the hygiene stage only results in an employee being in neutral state and that satisfaction and motivation only comes from the 2nd stage (motivator).


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