Most Popular Theories of Motivation
It is difficult to explain behavior by motivation. However, behavior is driven when it is deliberately wanted and when it holds a certain meaning or a purpose. Theories of Motivation can be rendered to be a psychological progression that results in the initiation, track, and maintenance of human behavior. It is therefore based on 2 fundamental postulates:
· An individual is free in selecting what to do and what not to do.
· His actions are always directed towards a goal, whether he is conscious or not.
Theories of Motivation
Motivation is explained by many authors, belonging to various schools of thought and diverse disciplines. Some authors distinguish motivation to be an internal factor predisposing to accomplish particular actions, whereas another group of authors considers it to be a response to an external factor, to given stimuli. Authors such as Vallerand and Thill have defined motivation as being “a hypothetical construct which is used for explaining internal as well as external forces producing the onset, intensity, direction as well as persistency of behavior”.
On the other side, Pintrich and Schunk, explain this concept in terms of “the procedure through which certain activities are initiated and maintained”. Additionally, Maslow and Herzberg state that, “Motivation is rendered to be those forces which act on or within a person to push them to behave in a specific, goal-oriented manner” (Louart, 2002). Gagnon and Brunel offer a summary definition of these different authors: “motivation tends to arise as an explanation to action, a dynamic force, the source of energy which pushes and predisposes an individual to act and aim over an objective.
The Role of Motivation:
The role of motivation is not limited to the triggering of action, but it also influences its intensity, direction and persistency” (Gagnon and Brunel, 2017). Rolland Viau, for his part, understands motivation from a different perspective. Indeed, for this author, “motivation is a dynamic concept which roots its origins over a perception that a [individual] has of himself and his environment which tends to encourage him to select an activity, to do it. engage and persevere in its accomplishment in order to achieve a goal” (Huart, 2001). This last dimension integrates the individual as such, in the perception, he has of controlling certain parameters which are specific to him. This is the point of view that we adopt, it is understood that the individual is in a particular context (work, school, etc.) and that he has the capacity to act within this framework.
Some Major Theories Of Motivation That Are Need-Based Include:
Maslow’s Hierarchical Model (1954)
Abraham H. Maslow (1954) is the author of the very famous theory Hierarchy of Needs which is “the most widely used theory in management” Maslow undertakes that an individual holds an unusually strong set of needs, which can be ranked in a hierarchical order. Therefore, the founder of this hierarchy of needs has presented five comprehensive categories of needs which he classified in a pyramid fashion. These are, in increasing order: physiological needs; security needs; belonging needs; esteem needs; and finally, the need for self-fulfillment which sits at the top of Maslow’s pyramid (Maslow, 2000).
Later, in the decade of1970s, the Maslow’s theory has discovered two additional types of needs which are: cognitive needs (to know, understand, etc.) and aesthetic needs (order, harmony, etc.) that respectively classify the above needs of esteem as well as the need for self-realization. For Maslow, only the satisfaction of a need will motivate a person, as well as his pyramid of needs, will work in such a manner that a new need will arise only if needs at an immediate low level are met. All behavior is determined by the search for satisfaction concerning one of the basic needs (Maslow, 2000).
Maslow’s Hierarchical Model (1954)
The search for needs is prioritized. Man seeks first to meet basic needs and then to elevate himself. However the first level needs are absolute, self-realization might not be possible in the first place. The physiological needs of an individual are not satisfied. Additionally, the need for self-actualization is the broadest and is said to be insatiable. The theory does not state that a single need is motivating at a specific time but rather than a single need is dominant and thus relativizes the importance of others. Maslow’s theory is not in fact a theory of motivation; it tells us which needs may be at the root of behavior but does not say why or when the individual will behave in a particular manner for satisfying a need, nor even when a need is sufficiently satisfied for the benefit of another (Scheuer, 2000).
In addition, the needs are often multiple and contradictory. It is the concrete aspirations and desires that determine motivation and guide behavior. Maslow doesn’t explain how it is possible to remain demotivated when not all needs are being met, which they always are (Foster, 2000).
Merits and Criticism of the Theory
Merits of the Maslow Theory
1- Maslow’s theory of motivation greatly helps bank managers to understand how they can motivate employees.
2- The theory is very easy to understand, simple and common.
3- This theory accounts for both intra-personal as well as inter-personal variations that occur in human behavior.
4- This theory is dynamic because motivation is presented as a changing force – changing from one level on changing needs to that of the other.
Criticism of the Theory:
There is a group of researchers who are of the opinion that the theory lacks the hierarchal structure of needs as every individual holds some form of ordering for needs satisfaction (). In a bank, there may employees who are deprived of their lower-level needs but, they may still be striving for self-actualization needs. There will always be some people for whom the need for self-esteem is more protruding than their social needs.
Alongside this, researchers state that Maslow’s theory of motivation refers to the operationalization of some concepts hence, making it somewhat difficult for the researchers to test this theory.
In my opinion, the fact that for some people they need for self-esteem is more important than their social needs, and a good example can be the developed countries where the basic needs of most people are met however, there is a still-high rate of divorces. From this, one might think if that Maslow’s theory is valid, there would have been peaceful marriages, lesser despairs as well as transcendence in cultural and socio-economic strata through which physiological, as well as safety needs, are met.
Application of Maslow’s Theory
You can apply Maslow’s theory in the banking sector where the senior managers are responsible for assuring that the process of the bank is efficient. Utilize updated technology and the bank employees help in the process at some point or other. This can refer to the account opening process, which is applied and opened online however; the bank employee guides the individual during the entire process and ensures that every query is resolved.
In this way, the employee will remain motivated that, although the entire process is carried out automatically, there is still a point in having the employee recruited by the bank. When employees are happier, they will do their job in a more enthusiastic way and will spread out positive feelings to others and to clients. Additionally, happy employees are less likely to leave the job for another opportunity. In general, the more an employee stays at the job the more they will improve.
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