This section will look at those motivations and examine some theories to help us understand and explain them in more depth. Then we can start to apply them in setting up a new venture. Maslow
Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) is considered to be the father of motivation theory. His theories are still held in great esteem and form the basis of any study into the working of human motivation.
His most famous theory revolves around the concept that there is a hierarchy of needs which are common to all people. The manifestations of these needs will differ depending upon culture or age but in essence will remain with us throughout our lives.
The hierarchy moves from the basic needs of any living creature up to higher level needs which would only be found in more sentient beings such as humans.
Motivation can be considered the basis for all study into any workplace situation including self-employment and is not just the remit of large organisations.
In small businesses the motivation and commitment of the staff can be more important where everyone's efforts have a large effect on the overall productivity and success of the organisation. First-level needs
These are classed as 'physiological' and include such basics as light, correct temperature, food and water. These are things without which we would not survive for long.
The degree to which we need them will differ in each individual. What might satisfy one person would not necessarily satisfy the next.
Maslow's first hierarchy - Physiological
These are classed as 'safety' and include the need to feel secure in one's environment. Fundamentally, this would mean that you were not in fear of your life as, say, in a war zone; however, in normal conditions such as in the workplace this would mainly be about health and safety matters.
Examples would be "Will my chair collapse at any minute?", "Is this building safe and structurally sound?", 'Have adequate fire precautions been established?". If these are not in place then a preoccupation with these aspects of the work environment will dominate, and hence the motivation and effort given to the work itself will suffer.
Maslow's second hierarchy - safety
Third-level needs are classed as 'belonging and love' and include the need for company or companionship. They also include the need to feel wanted, which can be as important in the workplace as in our personal lives.
This level would include the use of teams at work. Some people would say that they hate working in a team but they do benefit from working in this way, as does the organisation.
Sharing and caring are important aspects of work as well as play; for this reason forums and discussion boards have been included in the design of this course to help overcome the feeling of isolation which can often be a problem for users of distance learning packages.
Maslow's third hierarchy - Belonging and love
Fourth-level needs are classed as 'esteem' and cover being praised for good work and effort.
This can be a powerful motivator and if not fulfilled it can lead to disenchantment with the work or organisation and in many cases good people will leave. In some cases they will set up on their own in new ventures where they hope they will find the rewards and recognition they didn't get in their old employment.
Maslow's fourth hierarchy - Esteem
Fifth-level needs are classed as 'self-actualisation' and cover the highest level of self-fulfilment.
This level is rarely attained and is very difficult to maintain. The university professor or the artist might be examples of those who attain this level. A definition of this level would be that you are happy doing what you love to do and that you feel fulfilled in life.
The problems of moving up the levels is that if a need from a lower level reappears then that becomes of paramount...
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