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Motivation Overview General Framework

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Employment
Wordcount: 4067 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Motivation is set of reasons which forces to behave in a particular manner. Motivation in the workplace is defined as set of forces that cause people to choose certain behaviours among number of alternatives. This is the willingness to exert high level of efforts towards organizational goals and personal goals. In organizations employee’s performance influenced by motivation, ability and working environment. This is intangible in nature but very important for individual’s growth and development. Motivation is characterized as the procedure that starts, controls, and maintains goal-oriented behaviour. Motivation is the thing that makes you act, regardless of whether it is getting a glass of water to decrease thirst or perusing a book to pick up learning. Motivated employees improve productivity of the organization and work as a competitive advantage against the competitors. These employees highly involved in handling pressure, innovation, creative, handling uncertainties. Organizations which have motivated workers can grow more as compare to organization with less motivated employees. Motivated employees work as a blood of organizational body. Such organization become more profitable, get more customer satisfaction. Moreover, Motivated employees take less leave and increased overall productivity. (Campbell, n.d.).This has become an essential factor to reach the objective of organization, (Nohria, Groysberg and Lee, 2008).

There are three major components to motivation: Persistence, activation and intensity.

  1. Activation includes the choice to start a behaviour, for example, enrolling in a psychology class.
  2. Persistence is concerned with continue efforts to achieve the goal.
  3. Intensity can be found in the focus and energy that goes into seeking after an objective.


Motivation is a process to drawing out something from employees. In managing process motivation form employees is considered as very vital part. An organization can achieve its objectives through team of highly qualifies and motivated employees. There is direct relationship between motivation and employee performance. If a manager properly motivate employees, they can achieve hard goals also. There are numerous ways through which the managers can motivates their employees (Hafiza, Shah, Jamsheed & Zaman, 2011).  Employees can be motivated in both formal and informal ways. In some organization’s managers give freedom to employees to participate in decision making activities, to give opinions and ideas and in assisting development of various plans. To get desired output from employees’ manager must follow some Motivations techniques and focus on positive way of motivation. These ways can be negative or positive. Positive motivation includes monetary benefits like bonus, increment, advances etc and non-monetary benefits are rewards, recognition, appreciation letter, promotion etc. (Cruz, Pérez & Canter, 2009).  Managers can get guidelines from these theories and can implement to motivate the employees. It is well known that each employee in the organization will be different from each other in behaviours and other facts. Managers must have the capability to understand those behaviours and choose appropriate motivational technique to implement on employees according to their behaviour. Following are some ways to give coaching to motivate employees

1)     Training: Employees can be motivated through the trainings. Managers must organise training sessions focused on employee motivation.

2)     Maintain an open-door policy: To improve employee motivation organizations must follow open door policy so that employee feel free to discuss and ask.

3)     Give employees feedback: Managers should provide regular feedback to employees because they want to know how their performance is viewed, how they are doing. Feedback is important to tell an employee about his performance, weakness and strength so that he can work on these.

4)     Provide a time to improve behaviour or performance: To drawing out something from employees, managers should give reasonable time to them to improve their performance and behaviour. Employee should communicate about the expectations from them.

5)     Push them to attainable limits: You should push the employees to attainable limits not beyond the comfort zone. This thing may decrease their motivation. Identify each employee ‘s behaviour, skill set and experience, then give tasks according to that.

6)     Encourage employees to learn from colleagues:  Employees come from different backgrounds. The have different personalities, weak points and strengths. So they must be encourage to interact with each other and to learn from abilities of each other.

7)     Ask employees for opinions: Managers should make the workplace feel like a democracy instead of a dictatorship. Must value the opinions of employees. They should make involved into decision making and other strategy planning program, by this way employees will feel product and sense of loyalty with the organization.

Map of motivational theories

There are three types of motivation which includes content theory, process theory and reinforcement theory. Content theory concerned with the factors which motivates the employees in a work place. Process theory deals with how and why an employee should be motivated. The reinforcement theory emphasis on how the outcome of a process influences the behaviour of the employees in workplace (Dembo, & Seli, 2007).


Maslow’s Hierarchy of need Theory

This is the theory of motivation, developed by Abraham Maslow (1943) in the 1940s and 1950s.The theory focus on five categories of needs Which shown below in shape of pyramid.

1. Physiological needs: It included basic needs of human such as food, clothing and shelter. These are the dominant need to satisfy. These are hierarchical needs when lower level of needs satisfies then need for higher level arise. Fulfillment of these needs motivates to go for next level of needs.

2. Safety and security

 When physiological needs fulfilled then new needs of safety and security appears. These needs are secure source of income, security and safety of life and health. The peaceful society make feel an individual secure from criminal assaults. These needs are the first line motivators. For example: secure job, insurance policies, safety mesh against accidents, financial security.

3. Belongingness and love: Once the physiological needs and safety need fulfil next level needs of belongingness and love arises. Human is a social animal and cannot live isolated. Everyone in society depends upon each other for so many activities. People need love both sexually and non-sexually involved affection from peer, family members and society.

4. Esteem: These are needs of self-respect and self-esteem. Human need to be feel valued and respected in the world.

5. Self-actualization: These are higher level of needs where people set their own self goals, own visions and challenging positions. Maslow described this level as the ‘need to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be’.

According to the above discussion, human needs follow a sequence from lower level to high level. Theory explains that second need arise only after the completion of first need and third need does not emerge after the fulfillment of second need. In addition to it need of hierarchy is unlimited.

Alderfer – ERG theory (Existence needs, relatedness needs and growth needs)


The Frederick Herzberg overcome the weakness of Maslow’s theory and develop a new theory of motivation which popularly known as Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene or Two-Factor Theory. Herzberg conducted an experiment on 200 accountants and engineers which were employed by firms of Western Pennsylvania.

He asked following two questions to the employees at their jobs:

(1) When did you feel good about your job.

(2) When did you feel so bad on the job?

After the analysis on accountants and engineers Alderfer developed this theory. Alderfer Gives three needs of existence, relatedness and growth. Both Alderfer and Maslow tried to explain how needs effect the motivational level of individuals:

Existence needs: These are the necessity needs. In other word it includes physiological and physical safety needs of an individual.

Relatedness needs: This concerned with relationships, love, belongingness. It deals with relationship between family, peers and superiors.

Growth needs: These are same as Maslow’s self-actualization and self-esteem needs. These needs are personal growth, development, advancement etc.

McClelland – Need for achievement, affiliation and power

 This theory was developed by McClelland in 1960s. He describes three motivators. This theory is also called Learned needs Theory. The three motivators of this theory are following are:

Achievement motivation – It concerned with a person’s needs for achievement or goals in life. These may be some challenging goals. This need is influenced internal drivers and external drivers. Individual who are afraid of failure will have low need of achievement and high need of achievement will be in individuals who like to take risk and choose challenging tasks. These individual often like to work alone and like to receive regular feedback.

Affiliation motivation – The people with affiliation needs have a strong need for friendship, need for love, relatedness and belongingness. These people may be team players and can be persons involved in warm interpersonal relationships. When people are under stress, they need more affiliation. They finds security in each other.

Authority/power motivation – This is concerned with the need to control over the work of other and also own’s work. These individuals are authority motivated. These are the persons who has strong need to lead in their own ideas. This also includes the need of prestige and personal status. These are the individuals who want to influence and control over others. person would like to control and influence others.

For Example: Men with high need for power are more aggressive.

Herzberg – Two factor theory

This theory is also called motivation-hygiene theory.  The theory focus on MOTIVATIONAL FACTORS and HYGIENE FACTORS.  The theory explains that there are some motivational factors which increases the job satisfaction, and some are hygiene factors which causes dissatisfaction.

Herzberg’s five factors of job satisfaction (motivating factors):

  • achievement
  • Work itself
  • Responsibility
  • Advancement
  • Recognition

Above factors can motivate us. Despite this there are some factors which leads to dissatisfaction.

Herzberg’s five factors of job dissatisfaction (hygiene factors – deficiency needs):

  • company policy and administration
  • Salary
  • Working conditions
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • supervision


Reinforcement theory:

This is developed by skinner. It include two types of reinforcement: Positive reinforcement and Negative reinforcement.

Positive Reinforcement:  These are recognition, appreciation from seniors, praise, any money, reward, good marks, trophy. Praise, appreciation, a good mark/grade, trophy, money, promotion or any other reward can increase the possibility of the rewarded behaviours’ repetition.

For example: If a student gets good grades and positive feedback for his performance from his teacher. This reinforcement encourage the student. He will get motivation to perform better in future.

Negative reinforcement:  These reinforcements are negative comments, insult, punishment etc.

For example: If an employee get insulted in front of his colleagues. This reinforcement may demoralise him and decreases his performance in future.

Vroom’s expectancy theory

This was developed by Victor Vroom in 1964. According to this theory an employee’s performance influenced by many factors which include probability of completing tasks and output from these tasks. These factors are:

Expectancy – Expectancy means a person’s belief that his more effort will result in more success.  If you will do work harder, that will result in better performance. If you work harder, it will result in better performance.

Instrumentality – It means that an individual has belief that there is deep connection between goal and activity. You will get reward, if you perform well.

In this case the question is that: “Will I get the promised reward (a good mark) for performing well on a math test?” Appraisal of this factor is based on the accuracy and consistency For example: If first day you get a good grades and second day you obtain bad grade for the same performance then motivation will automatically decrease. 

Valence –Valence is the degree to which a person values the reward, the results of success.

A person who can’t perceive the connection between effort and performance will have zero expectancy. A person who doesn’t see the link between performance and reward will have zero instrumentality. For a person who doesn’t value the anticipated outcome, reward will have zero valence.

motivation = expectancy * instrumentality * valence

Adams’ equity theory

 As from the name it is clear that this theory was suggested by Adamas in 1965. This is based on social exchange theory. This theory says that people will be motivated if they are equally treated. According to this theory, employees compare their cost of actions, contribution of work and benefits.

From the below figure it can be see that workers put inputs into the job like skills, energy, efforts, education, experience which results in output of salary, reward, recognition, bonus and promotion in equal amounts.




Goal setting theory

Goal-setting theory is suggested by Locke’s in 1990.

This theory focus on setting specific goals and commitment to achieve these goals. These goals are described as a desired future goal. According to this theory achievement of one goal motivates the individual to achieve next level goals.

We can describe the goals based on specificity, difficulty and acceptance. Specific goals are those which can be measured and lead to higher performance. A difficult goal can be more motivational than easy ones. 

For example, if Someone decide to pass a medium level language exam in America in four months – this goal is specific and difficult– because someone want to work in America – this goal is very important and goal commitment is high which will motivate to pass the exam.

Guidelines for goal setting:

• Set challenging but attainable goals.

• Set measurable and specific goals.

• Goal commitment must be obtained.

• Support elements must be provided.

• Knowledge of results is necessary.

John Holland theory of personality and job fit


John Holland theory of personality and job fit is another theory of motivation. This is used to motivate the employees at work. According to this theory, personality of the employees can be categorized into six elements:

  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
  • Social
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional.

Realistic employees: These are practical and having good working skills. They are familiar with using and operating tools, machinery, designing, equipment. They like to work manually with hands. They like to do work of assembling.  For example: Pilot, farmers, horticulturalist, engineer, electrician etc.

Investigative employees: These are more scientific and intellectual. These kinds of personalities possess problem solving ability and decision-making skills. Persons with these personality traits likes to discover ideas, do experiments. These are problem solver. They think analytically and logically. For example: Chemist, dentist, marine scientist, zoologist, technician, doctors etc.

Artistic employees: Persons with these personality traits are more creative and more expressive. They are friendly and trust worthily. For example, Artist, illustrator, photographer, sign writer, composer, singer, instrument player, dancer, actor, reporter, writer, editor, advertiser, hairdresser, fashion designer.

Enterprising employees: Employees with these kinds of personalitiesare ambitious and energetic. etc. They have good leadership skills. They have interest in meeting people, influencing and encouraging others.  For Example: Salesperson, Business owner, Lawyers etc.

Social employees:  These kinds of employees like to help people, to teach them, train and inform, heal and cure etc. For Example: Nurse, teachers, police officer, social workers, waiter etc.

Conventional: Employees with these personalities likes working indoor. They have skills of recording, maintaining records, computing, meeting, doing calculations, greeting, organizing, handling calculations etc. For example: Receptionist, librarian, bank clerk computer operator, data entry operators, office workers etc.

Holland’s theory demonstrated that individuals of a similar identity type cooperating in a job make a situation that fits and rewards their type.

Difference between Content theory and process theory:

We can differentiate between content and process motivation theories. Content theories mainly focus on WHAT, while process theories focus on HOW behaviour of human is motivated. The main difference between process theory and content theories is that content theory focuses on needs of individuals, while process theory focuses on behaviour of human beings. These theories put light on those attributes which motivates people to act a certain way in a situation.


This is concluded that motivation can make the working environment smooth, happier and energetic. Such environment can increase the productivity and overall performance of organization. Managers can motivate employees through various approaches and techniques like coaching, training and development, role modelling, mentoring, monitoring etc.  Above mentioned various theories of motivation explained about the numerous of theories which can be implement according to the behaviour of the employees.


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