Motivation in the Workplace

Topics: Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Motivation, Abraham Maslow Pages: 9 (2419 words) Published: April 30, 2013

Organizational Communication Capstone Project Motivation in the Workplace: Theory and Practice

Author’s Note: OLRM 250 Organizational Communications Dr. Jeffrey Yergler Sandy Johnson August 18, 2011



There are few things worse in an average person’s life than working at a job you detest. What is even worse is that your manager does nothing to make it better. Motivation, whether is it personal or in the workplace has been proven to be a fact of life throughout human nature. My purpose for selecting motivation is to discuss not only the practice of but also the theory behind motivation and why it is extremely important in the workplace.

I always go back to my days at Fabricare as a major source of motivation in my life; however, it was all negative motivation. I use Fabricare as the example of ‘what NOT to do’ to your employees if you want to increase production, attendance, morale, or quality in workmanship.

I am the one who inspires and motivates others whether it is at home, with friends, at work, or on a committee. I love to see people reach higher than they dared reach before. Ferdinand Foch, renowned WWI French leader, once said, “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” (Leading Thoughts: Building a Community of Leaders, 2009) I believe this to be true. A human soul on fire achieves remarkable things and with the right breeze spreads that fire to others. Motivation.



In order to understand how motivation is affective in the workplace, one must understand how motivation works with human relations in general. There have several theories regarding different motivation styles and I will discuss the major ones here. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was a renowned Russian psychologist. In the late 60’s he (and Carl Rogers) became one of the founding fathers and driving force behind a new school of psychological thought called the humanistic theory. According to the humanistic theory people are motivated to realize their highest personal potential. Although this motivation is thought to be inborn, it is also recognized that the environment is strongly influential. Without support and encouragement from family, friends, social, environment, and cultural we wouldn’t be apt to achieve our highest potential. (Simons, Irwin, & Drinnien, 1987) In 1943 Maslow wrote a paper called “The Theory of Motivation” and he developed the Hierarchy of Needs. This theory states, “that human behavior seeks either to increase need satisfaction or to avoid a decrease in need satisfaction.” (pg. 141) Here is a general overview of Maslow’s ever-popular Hierarchy of Needs; however, I inverted the pyramid to show basic human needs as the top, largest layer of human nature. Without the most basic of needs we could never achieve self-actualization. Physiological Needs These include the most basic needs that are vital to survival, such as the need for water, air, food and sleep. Maslow believed that these needs are the most basic and instinctive needs in the hierarchy because all needs become secondary until these physiological needs are met.

MOTIVATION IN THE WORKPLACE Security Needs These include needs for safety and security. Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as demanding as the physiological needs. Examples of security needs include a desire for steady employment, health insurance, safe neighborhoods and shelter from the environment.


Social Needs These include needs for belonging, love and affection. Maslow considered these needs to be less basic than physiological and security needs. Relationships such as friendships, romantic attachments and families help fulfill this need for companionship and acceptance, as does involvement in social, community or religious groups.

Esteem Needs After the...

References: 11
Herzberg, Fred(erick) (1923-2000). (2005, Sept 8). Halicon Publishing. Retrieved May 27, 2011, from Leading Thoughts: Building a Community of Leaders. (2009). Retrieved May 31, 2011, from Marshia, K. e. (2005, May). Report on Factors Contributing to High Attrition Rates of Correctional Officers. Retrieved June 1, 2011, from VA Department of Corrections: Pollock, T. (2005). How to Motivate People. Products Finishing , 69 (10), p. 8. Shockley-Zalabak, P. (2012). Findamentals of Organizational Communication: Knowledge, Sensitivity, Skills, Values (8th ed.). (K. Bowers, Ed.) Pearson Education, Inc. Simons, J. A., Irwin, D. B., & Drinnien, B. A. (1987). Maslow 's Hierarchy of Needs. Psychology - The Search for Understanding . New York, New York, USA: West Publishing Company. Udechukwu, I. (2009, June 1). Correctional Officer Turnover: of Maslow 's Needs Hierarch and Herzberg 's Motivation Theory. Public Personnel Management , 38(2).
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