Motivation in the Workplace

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Psychology Pages: 9 (2379 words) Published: May 8, 2014


Motivation in the Workplace
University of La Verne

Motivation in the Workplace
The term motivation on its own can be defined in various ways, we can define motivation in its psychological aspect by looking into where motivation stems from and what makes people act in a certain way rather than in another. Motivation in a psychological point of view is concerned with determining why people act the way they do and what factors impact the behavior of human beings in general. On the other hand, we can define motivation from a managerial point of view, in this case we are more concerned with determining how to lead employees to show desired behavior in a work setting. In the first case, our motive behind defining motivation is to acquire knowledge and information about human behavior as a science. In defining motivation in its managerial aspect however, our motive is to understand how to apply the science to increase productivity, efficiency, effectiveness and other work related results. In order to understand motivation according to its managerial definition however, we must first understand it according to its psychological definition. Accordingly, this paper will explore the literature review on the topic of motivation in its psychological as well as managerial meanings. In addition, the paper will also explore the questions that both meanings of motivation pose on the researchers of the subject, the paper will also present the various findings that the gurus of motivation theories the likes of Maslow, Herzberg and others have come to conclude. Before we venture into exploring where our motivation stems from however, perhaps we should first embark upon the important works which are considered the beginnings of all motivation theories, some of these works as we will discover remained relevant and are still used in application since theorized to this day. We can divide all the theories that have been comprised from the study of human behavior so far into many different categories. For the sake of simplicity and consistency however, we will be dividing the theories into psychological and non-psychological theories. The majority of theories are considered psychological theories whether these are work-based or non- work-based theories, there are two theories that are considered non-psychological that were theorized by two of the greatest philosophers in the history of mankind namely Plato and Machiavelli. In his book Plato’s Republic, Rosen (2005) explains the origins of the philosopher’s contribution to the theories of motivation making reference to Plato’s tripartite theory of souls. Plato’s theory of souls divides the human soul into three parts; the logical, the spiritual, and the appetitive. Where each part of the soul is driven or motivated by a different type of desire. The logical part of our soul is the part that is motivated by seeking information and knowledge, it is also the part that is responsible for making sound and just decisions in its thrive to seek justice within one’s soul (Bloom, 1991). The spiritual part of the human soul on the other hand is driven by emotions, according to Plato it is the part that is responsible for experiencing high levels of emotion notably anger and high levels of temper, Plato goes on to illustrate that it is the balance between the logical and the spiritual parts of our soul that ultimately makes an individual’s soul a just one, where the logical part restricts the spiritual part’s unjust desires. The appetitive part of the soul is the one that is motivated primarily by body and physical needs such as thirst, hunger, and sex. Plato concludes that a just or a righteous souls is one that maintains a balance between the logical and spiritual parts together and the appetitive part on the other hand. In other words, a righteous soul is one that the logical and spiritual parts together rule and the appetitive part of the soul obeys...

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Machiavelli, N. (1910). The prince (Vol. 36). PF Collier.
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& Row
Herzberg, F. (1993). The motivation to work. Transaction Publishers.
Herzberg, F. I. (1966). Work and the nature of man.
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