Motivation Theory

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Psychology Pages: 11 (4299 words) Published: January 11, 2014
Motivation Theory
Needs – drives – behaviour – goals – reduction or release of tension Behaviour is both directed to, and results from, unsatisfied needs. The word unsatisfied is most important. As Maslow says, “If we are interested in what actually motivates us and not what has or will, or might motivate us, then a satisfied need is not a motivator.” Kelly’s model of motivation presents a sort of chicken-egg dilemma. Which comes first, the goal or the need? When we talk about behaviour being goal-oriented, we mean that individuals feel a need, want, desire or drive to do something that leads to the achievement of a goal. But is the goal, as part of the self, already there? Is it the factor that stimulates the need? Are goals and needs the same thing? It is useful to separate the two concepts. We can define a goal as that outcome which we strive to attain in order to satisfy certain needs. The goal is the end result, the need the driving force that spurs us towards that result. A student might have a goal to get an A in a course, but this goal may reflect a number of different needs. He or she may feel a need to confirm his or her competence; friends may all be getting A’s; he or she may wish to have the esteem of others; simply to do the best possible: to keep a scholarship. It is difficult to infer needs from goals. We talk about money as a motivator. Money represents so many different things to different people that saying that individuals “work for money” is meaningless. What we have to know is what needs the money is satisfying. Is it survival, status, belonging, achievement, a convenient scorecard for performance? Remember, behaviour is both directed to, and results from, unsatisfied needs. Every individual has a number of needs which vie for satisfaction. How do we choose between these competing forces? Do we try to satisfy them all? Much like a small child in a candy store, faced with the dilemma of spending his or her allowance, we are forced to decide what we want the most; that is we satisfy the strongest need first. Although there is general agreement among psychologists that man experiences a variety of needs, there is considerable disagreement as to what these needs are – and their relative importance. There have been a number of attempts to present models of motivation which list a specific number of motivating needs, with the implication that these lists are all-inclusive and represent the total picture of needs. Unfortunately, each of these models has weaknesses and gaps, and we are still without a general theory of motivation. In this article, I will describe the four main theories of motivation. These are Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Herzberg’s Dual-Factor Theory, The Need for Achievement and David McClelland’s work and Vroom’s Expectancy Motivation Theory. Hierarchy of Needs – Abraham Maslow

One model of motivation that has gained a lot of attention, but not complete acceptance, has been put forward by Abraham Maslow. Maslow’s theory argues that individuals are motivated to satisfy a number of different kinds of needs, some of which are more powerful than others (or to use the psychological jargon, are more prepotent than others). The term prepotency refers to the idea that some needs are felt as being more pressing than others. Maslow argues that until these most pressing needs are satisfied, other needs have little effect on an individual’s behaviour. In other words, we satisfy the most prepotent needs first and then progress to the less pressing ones. As one need becomes satisfied, and therefore less important to us, other needs loom up and become motivators of our behaviour. Maslow represents this prepotency of needs as a hierarchy. The most prepotent needs are shown at the bottom of the ladder, with prepotency decreasing as one progresses upwards. SELF-ACTUALISATION – reaching your maximum potential, doing you own best thing ESTEEM – respect from others, self-respect, recognition

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