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Motivational Theories

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What is motivation?

Motivation in simple terms is the general desire or willingness of someone to do something

In general terms everyone needs to work to earn a living, while at work everyone has needs that need to be met for them to be satisfied and motivated to do their job to the best of their ability and to enhance their performance to the benefit of the business by being more productive

The satisfaction of needs

From a business perspective motivation is about the ways a business can encourage employees to give their best

To do this it will look at different reward systems to motivate its staff as each individual is different and has different needs a variety of motivation incentives will be offered

This could be;

* Salary/ Pay levels- reliable structured pay system of increased increments based on skill levels, performance etc.

* Job security

* Promotional prospects

* Enhanced training- to keep workers up to date and to give them opportunities to learn new skills needed to gain promotion, thereby making them more confident in their abilities

* Generous holiday entitlement

* Job flexibility- work/life balance benefits such as flexible working hours, working from home etc.

* Autonomy- left to carry out work by oneself without supervision

* Bonus/commission structure based on performance

* Recognition-being valued at work

* Responsibility- opportunities for increased responsibility and more challenging roles based on performance

* Working conditions

* Involvement in organisation- being able to have an opinion -for example participating in decision making

* Job enrichment-being a valued member of a team

There are numerous other incentives that will be offered and these will be different for every business, and the importance of each of these will be unique to the individual employee as what incentive motivates one person to work harder will not incentivise another

Some of the benefits to a business organisation of satisfying certain needs that are important to the individual employee

* Employee retention- By retaining employees there is a cost saving as there are less costs involved in recruitment and selection, retraining of new replacement staff

* Increased productivity levels - happy staff are likely to work harder

* Continuity of skills are kept within the company

* Customer Relationships-employees who stay with a company over time build quality relationships with customers, as employees get to know individual customers' needs, they give these clients an added reason to keep coming back

* Enhanced reputation- good public relations - when customers see that a business retains its employees over extended periods of time, they understand that it treats its workers well, this can lead to;

* increased customer loyalty

* High quality of potential employees who want to work for a business that looks after their needs

Theories of Motivation

There are a number of different views as to what motivates workers; the most commonly held views or theories are discussed below

Mazlows Theory

Mazlow developed a hierarchy of needs theory which was based on the premise that individuals have a range of needs that they try to satisfy; physiological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualisation

* Physiological Needs

These are the basic level that people need for survival: air, water, food, sleep, and shelter, today this could be having the necessary resources to do the job, having adequate breaks, wages high enough to meet weekly bills

* Safety Needs

These are needs to do with personal safety and security, it can be mean working in a safe environment and it can also be to do with job security (knowing that they will have a job in the future)

* Belonging Needs

These are our desires to belong, the need to feel we belong to a group (friendship) this could be work groups, social groups, team building groups, clubs, etc. today this could be working in a team focussed environment working with colleagues that are supportive

* Esteem Needs

These are our needs to know that we are good at what we do, and earning praise and recognition when we do a good job for example employee of the month, or equally being told by our manager that we did a good job

* Self-Actualisation Needs

This is our need to believe that we are able to reach our full potential, to be creative and have the opportunity to grow and develop

According to this theory, motivation depends on the person's position in this needs hierarchy

Mazlow believed that people need to satisfy their needs at the bottom of the hierarchy (basic needs) before they can begin to think about the others

For example Individuals are motivated to satisfy their physiological needs before they show interest in their self-esteem or safety needs

When needs at a particular level of the hierarchy are satisfied, the individual then turns his or her attention to the next higher level

Maslow's theory implies that once a need has been satisfied it is no longer an effective motivator

The exception is the top level the need to fulfil one's own potential; although everyone is capable and wants to achieve this very few do

Mayo Theory




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