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Motivation Theories

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Motivation Theories


According to Darwin's theory, living creatures will naturally seek to preserve their lives and this is a testament of the inherent need for survival. Both man and animals have developed mechanisms that help them to protect and preserve their lives (Ospovat, 1995). Every day we are faced with the need for survival and this act as a major driving force in our lives. This need to survive makes both man and animals to devise methods and tools to assist in the quest of survival (Craig, 2009). Motivation has been identified in many studies as one of the important things in the quest for survival. Motivation is intrinsically or extrinsically a moving force, which man and animals use as they strive to fight against elements that can be detrimental to their living (Laurie, 1977). In the business sphere, motivation is seen as an important ingredient in the business survival and continuation (Vidaver-Cohen, 2001). Researchers have carried a lot of research on motivation and its impact in businesses. Renowned philosophers such as Maslow, McClelland, Bandura and Herzberg have put forward management and motivation theories relating to use of motivation by management in improving performance as well as survival of the businesses (Adetule, 2011). According to Rollinson & Broadfield (2005), " It is commonplace to hear managers refer to motivation as if it is some sort of medicine that can be dispensed in variable quantities to those who need it most. This is impossibility." This paper will critically evaluate this statement using the knowledge of motivational theories and finally offer a conclusion summarizing the evaluation.



Motivation will relate to a wide range of psychological processes, which will guide individuals towards a goal and keep them pursuing the goal. Motivation often is described in terms of direction (the choice of one activity over another), intensity (how hard an employee tries) and persistence (how long an employee continues with a behavior, even in the face of obstacles or adverse circumstances). Workers become more productive and engage more in the organizational culture if they are motivated.

Everyone is capable of being motivated and according to Syed Noman Mustafa, "Everybody has a motivational fuse i.e. everybody can be motivated. It is just a matter of knowing how to ignite it" (Mustafa, 2010). There are two types of motivations namely intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation will come from within. It will come from personal enjoyment and achievements in education that one will achieve from doing a particular thing. Extrinsic motivation will come from factors that are outside of the self. For example, motivation to work hard so as to get a promotion is an extrinsic motivation. Other examples of this type of motivation will include money and material achievements.

Syed Noman Mustafa continues to state that there are 10 laws of motivation, which he summarizes as

* An individual has to be motivated in order to motivate others: A person cannot expect to motivate others if he/she is not individually motivated (Fein, and Klein, 2005)

* Motivation requires a goal: Without a specific goal in mind, it is impossible for a group or team to be motivated.

* Motivation, Once Established, Never Lasts: Motivation should be an ongoing process. It cannot be a once a year booster.

* Motivation Requires Recognition: People will strive harder for recognition than for almost any other single thing in life.

* Participation Motivates: It is vital to get people involved and to seek their opinions.

* Seeing Progression Motivates: When individuals progress as a group, moving forward and achieving, they will always be more motivated.

* Challenge Only Motivates if there is a Potential to Win: If targets for results are set to high, they may actually have a de-motivating effect. If the consensus of the group or team is that the targets are out of reach or impossible to achieve, de-motivation will be the result.

* Everybody Has a Motivational Fuse: Everyone can be motivated. Everyone has a fuse; it is just a matter of knowing how to ignite it.

* Group Belonging Motivates: People want to have a sense of belonging. The smaller the group or team, the greater the loyalty, motivation and effort. Extra-curricular activities can be used to draw people together (Mustafa, 2010).

Importance of motivation

The benefits of motivating employees an organization can be summarized as follows; It helps to put the human resource into action- through motivation human resource can be fully utilized in an organization. This can be done by making workers more willing to be productive (Broeck et al, 2011). It helps to improve the level of efficiency among workers- a workers efficiency has been proven not to be dependent upon only qualification and abilities , but also on motivation levels. When workers are motivated they tend to be more productive, reducing the cost of operation and ultimately make them more effective (Segelken, 2008). Motivation helps in achievement of organizational goals- when workers are motivated they integrate well within the organization and are ready to implement and implement the organizational goals. Motivation helps to create a working environment that is conducive. Motivation will help in creating a stable workforce- research has shown that in organizations where workers are motivated there is a lower turnover in workers leaving the organization. One of the reasons cited by many workers as a reason for abandoning an organization and seeking another one is lack of motivation.

Theories of Motivation

As noted above there are various theories that have been put forward that tries to investigate what will motivate workers. Below are some of the theories and one thing notable is that they draw different conclusions about what will motivate employees.

Taylor (Theory of Scientific Motivation)

Frederick Winslow Taylor proposed that workers are motivated mostly by the pay in his theory of scientific management. He argue that workers are by nature apprehensive about working and require close supervision and control. It is therefore, the work of the manager to organize work in a way that it is delegated to workers in small portions. Furthermore, workers should be equipped with the right training and tools so that they can be effective



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