The process that
account for an individuals intensity, direction and persistence
of effort towards attaining a goal. Its probably safe to say that
the most well know theory of motivation is Abraham Maslows hierarchy
of needs. He hypothesized that within every human being there exists
a hierarchy of five needs. These needs are:
1. Physiological: includes hunger, thirst, shelter and other bodily
2. Safety: includes security and protection from physical and emotional
3. Social: includes affection, belongingness, acceptance and friendship.
4. Esteem: includes internal esteem factors such as self-respect, autonomy
and achievement and external esteem factors such as status, recognition
5. Self-actualization: the drive to become what one is capable of becoming;
includes growth, achieving ones potential and self-fulfillment
hierarchy of needs
As each of these
needs become substantially satisfied the next need becomes dominant.
So if you want to motivate someone, according to Maslow you need to
understand what level of the hierarchy that person is currently on and
focus on satisfying the needs at or above that level.
Maslow separated the five needs into higher and lower orders. Physiological
and safely needs were described as lower order and social, esteem and
self-actualization as higher order needs. The differentiation between
the two orders was made on the premise that higher order needs are satisfied
internally whereas lower order needs are predominantly satisfied externally.
Maslows need theory has received wide recognition, particularly
among practicing managers. This can be attributed to the theorys
intuitive logic and ease of understanding. Unfortunately, however research
does not generally validate the theory. Maslow provided no empirical
substantiation, and several studies that sought to validate the theory
found no support for it.
Old theories, especially ones that are intuitively logical, apparently
die-hard. Although the need hierarchy theory and its terminology have
remained popular with practicing managers, it has minimal empirical
support for its predications. More specifically, there is little evidence
that need structures are organized along the dimensions proposed by
maslow, that unsatisfied needs motivate or that a satisfied need activates
movement to a new need level.
The 1950s were a fruitful period in the development of motivation concepts.
Three specific theories were formulated during this period, which although
heavily attacked and now questionable in terms of validity are probably
still the best known explanations for employee motivation. These are
the hierarchy of needs theory, theories X & Y and two factor theories.
The Theories represent a foundation from which contemporary theories
have grown and practicing managers still regularly use these theories
and their terminology in explaining employee motivation.Thus motivation
is one of the most frequently researched topics in an organization.
In spite of the fact that managers continue to search for innovative
ways to motivate their employees and that a significant proportion of
todays workers seem to be unmotivated, we actually know a great
deal about how to improve employee motivation.
The three key elements in the definition are intensity, direction and
persistence. Intensity is concerned with how hard a person tries. This
is the element most of us focus on when we talk about motivation. However
high intensity is unlikely to lead to favorable job performer outcome
unless the efforts are channeled in a direction that benefits the organization.
Therefore we have to consider the quality of effort as well as its intensity.
Effort that is directed towards and consistent with the organizations
goals is the kind of effort that we should be seeking. Finally motivation
has a persistence dimension, this is a measure of how long a person
can maintain their efforts. Motivated individuals stay with a task long
enough to achieve their goals.
Human wants are innumerable it is these want which are responsible for
all economic activities. When one need is satisfied another need crops.
Thus an individual has to priorities his needs with the available resources
to optimize his satisfaction. Motivation is a tool that is used to increase
the morale and output of an individual. All the employees in an organization
need to be motivated directly or indirectly to get the best out of an
employee. Motivation can be done by way of giving a rise in salary,
or a promotion, a appreciation letter from the senior member etc.