Motivation Theories

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Abraham Maslow Pages: 23 (4274 words) Published: December 16, 2012


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and Motivation
Nancy H. Shanks

By the end of this chapter the student will be able to:

Frame the context for understanding the concept of motivation, particularly who and what motivates employees; Provide an overview of the different theories of motivation; Identify extrinsic and intrinsic factors that impact motivation; Assess misconceptions about motivation; and,

Suggest strategies to enhance employee motivation.

Managers are continually challenged to motivate a workforce to do two things. The first challenge is to motivate employees to work toward helping the organization achieve its goals. The second is to motivate employees to work toward achieving their own personal goals. Meeting the needs and achieving the goals of both the employer and the employee is often difficult for managers in all types of organizations. In health care, however, this is often more difficult, in part as a result of the complexity of healthcare organizations, but also as a function of the wide array of employees who are employed by or work collaboratively with 23



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healthcare providers in delivering and paying for care. The types of workers run the gamut from highly trained and highly skilled technical and clinical staff members to relatively unskilled workers. To be successful, healthcare managers need to be able to manage and motivate this wide array of employees.

According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, a motive is “something (a need or desire) that causes a person to act.” Motivate, in turn, means “to provide with a motive,” and motivation is defined as “the act or process of motivating.” Thus, motivation is the act or process of providing a motive that causes a person to take some action. In most cases motivation comes from some need that leads to behavior that results in some type of reward when the need is fulfilled. This definition raises a couple of basic questions.

What are Rewards?
Rewards can take two forms. They can be either intrinsic/internal rewards or extrinsic/external ones. Intrinsic rewards are derived from within the individual. For a healthcare employee this could mean taking pride and feeling good about a job well done (e.g., providing excellent patient care). Extrinsic rewards pertain to rewards that are given by another person, such as a healthcare organization giving bonuses to teams of workers when quality and patient satisfaction are demonstrated to be exceptional.

Who Motivates Employees?
While rewards may serve as incentives and those who bestow rewards may seek to use them as motivators, the real motivation to act comes from within the individual. Managers do exert a significant amount of influence over their employees, but they do not have the power to force a person to act. They can work to provide various types of incentives in an effort to influence an employee in any number of ways, such as by changing job descriptions, rearranging work schedules, improving working conditions, reconfiguring teams, and a host of other activities, as will be discussed later in this chapter. While these may have an impact on an employee’s level of motivation and willingness to act, when all is said and done, it is the em-



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ployee’s decision to take action or not. In discussing management and motivation, it will be important to continually remember the roles of both managers and employees in the process of motivation.

Is Everybody...

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