Motivational Theories and Factors

The effective management is an ability of managers to extract the maximum energy and intellectual potential from their employees. It cannot be achieved without understanding the driving forces of human behavior in a company. It is common knowledge that high achievements in management require, among other things, good knowledge of human psychology. The vast majority of managers realize this truth, but, in fact, they are still using psychological knowledge in a microscopically small quantity.

Beyond a shadow of doubt, a company whose employees work with a will is successful and prosperous. The motivation enables employees to achieve the desired goals of an organization. Therefore, motivation is the psychological process that provides behavior, purpose and direction (Nnenna & Wilfred, 2011).

There are different motivational theories aimed at explaining factors that determine employees’ behavior. One of the most wide-spread and applicable theories is Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy concept. It focuses on the five types of human needs: physiological, security needs, social needs, the need for respect, the need for self-actualization which is “achievable when all other needs are met, and is described as “self-fulfillment” and being able to maintain feelings of self-esteem even when rejected by other” (Feist & Feist, 2009). Maslow emphasizes that every demand, which is not satisfied, may become a motivator for employees.

Another outstanding scholar Frederick Herzberg suggests a different approach to the study and understanding of motivation. He divides the low-level needs (so-called “hygiene factors”: status, salary, job security, working conditions and fringe benefits) and the true motivator requirements (recognition, achievement, opportunity for growth). He states that the hygiene factors could not serve as motivators because even in case of their satisfaction the employees could still demonstrate low motivation. In order to have the highly-motivated workers, the true motivator requirements should be met (Herzberg, 2003).

How to make people exert efforts and dedication to the activity they perform? Here are some ways to enhance motivation and improve the work quality:

  • Motivate by financial incentives. This is the most common type of motivation. Most of the managers consider that a desire to get extra payments creates a feeling of competitiveness among workers. As a consequence, they start to work better and more effectively. However, it is necessary to mention that this method has also some essential disadvantages and is far from ideal. Money is not the only employees’ need. Every person expects that their efforts and hard work will bring him or her not only financial stability but also social recognition, respect and status. Therefore, public acceptance is one of the primary needs which cannot be substituted by financial incentives.
  • Give them a punishment. It is one of the most widespread and effective ways to affect people with low performance or bad working behavior. At the same time, its long-term effect is widely argued.
  • Motivate by means of knowledge. A hungry for knowledge person will definitely develop more skills and achieve better results. Thus, training may be used as a reward. Knowledge is a powerful motivating factor, which costs surprisingly not so much compared with its true value to the development of both the employee and the company.

The best strategy for enhancing my own motivation in the workplace is to persuade me that my personal contribution is crucial for the development of the company. Moreover, I need to know that my work is socially useful. Finally, it is necessary for me to be a key person in the company.

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