6 Theories on Motivation and application in Organizations to Increase Productivity

When employee are not motivated , business owners whether private or state owned often face low productivity and high turnover rates since man is a wanting animal driven by unsatisfied needs which influence his behaviour.

whether at work place, be it at school, family processes and indeed wherever effort output is in comparison, motivation is a strong factor to inspire employees ,to develop the drive to achieve.

To make employees your biggest asset and retention purposes, motivation should be a priority. One thing all successful leaders and managers would realize, is that different people are motivated by different factors. Having a firm grasp on the motivational factors i am going to discuss in this article will greatly help improve your business

Motivation can be monetary reward,promotion, salary increase or recognition , company policies, e.t.c. The needs, wants, and desire which exist within individual make up their internal motivation.

There are many theories of human motivation which include Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene (or two-factor) theory, Alderfer’s Existence, Relatedness and Growth theory, Adam’s Equity theory and Victor Vroom’s Expectancy Theory.

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  1. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Abraham .H,Maslow formulated one of the most popular theories of human motivation in 1943. the aim of this theory is that individuals’ needs are arranged in a hierarchy of important ranging from the lowest need. i.e the physiological to safety, love [social],esteem [ego] and finally self actualization

Man is continually waiting, therefore ,all needs are never fully satisfied .As soon one need is satisfied, its potency diminishes and another needs emerge to replace it.

physiological needs : This basic human needs to sustain life itself (food, shelter, clothing); once this needs become gratified ,the safety or security needs become predominant .

safety and security needs These need include safety in terms of ill health, economic disaster and unexpected loss of job and fringe benefits. employee want an assurance that these catastrophes will be avoid if possible

Social affiliation needs: (association with others) since people are social animal most employee like to interact and be with other in situation where they feel they belong and are accepted. It was found that when people are excited ,confused or unhappy ,they do not just seek out anyone,they tend to be with others who is the same boat, “misery does not just love company it love other miserable company.”

Esteem needs (receiving acknowledgement from others); this the needs of awareness of importance , i.e. needs for reputation and recognition from others

Self-actualization needs (the desire for accomplishment : This refer to the desire for self fulfillment. self actualization is a difficult need to pin down because people satisfied this need in different ways.

Application on workplace

Employee are  like all people,  they have needs that have to be satisfied. Besides the basic needs for food, shelter and clothing, safety from physical, harm, and social interaction, they also need the recognition and appreciation from their employer , colleagues also business owners need to support them in other aspects of their lives outside work and  financially stable with good pay of salary/wages.

2. The theory  X and theory  Y  was propounded by Douglas McGregor to explain human nature and human motivation.

Theory X assume employees prefer to be directed, are not interested in assuming responsibility, and want safety above all. They an inherent dislike for work and avoid it if possible; As a result they must be coerced, controlled, directed and threatened with punishment to make them work.

Accompanying this philosophy is the belief that employee are motivated by money,fringe benefits and threat of punishment. managers feels that external control is clearly appropriate for dealing with unreliable, irresponsible and immature people.

Theory Y assumptions take the opposite view ; This theory assumes that people are not by nature lazy and unreliable, employee can be basically self directed and creative at work if properly motivated.

Therefore ,it should be an essential task of management to unleash the potential in employee. Workers can exercise caution and discipline to have objectives achieved, but the hunger in their desire to commit to objectives is dependent on how big are the rewards as assigned to that kind of achievement.

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3. The Equity Theory

This theory is  basically  concerned with defining what employee in a company or society perceive to be equitable [fair] and their reaction to being in a situation they perceive as unfair.

The theory simply says employee or individual compare the ratio of his/her inputs and outcome to the input and outcome ratio of another employee who he/she believes to be comparable . Inputs is any thing a worker perceives as deserving a pay-of, e.g. education, numbers of hours worked, job experience. While outcome on the other hand is anything the employee perceives to be a pay-off for invested efforts.e.g. pay, fringe benefits, recognition e.t.c

employees who perceive that they receive more output from their jobs than what they put into them will experience job satisfaction, but when an employees perceives an equity , he can make any of these devices.
Change his inputs/relaxes his effort. thereby causing low productivity.

Reduce quantity and quality of work, seek a raise in pay, choose a different reference, distort perception of self , distort perceptions of others and they become dissatisfied and less motivated.

Equity theory recognizes that employees are concerned not only with the absolute amount of rewards they receive for their efforts but also with the relationship of this amount to what others receive. They compare their inputs[efforts,experience,education and competence ] and outcome[salary level, recognition and other factors].

The impact of under rewarding employee could constitute menace in work place.It could arouse industrial action, low productivity, etc.

For most employee motivation is influenced significantly by relative rewards as well as absolute rewards.

4. Vroom’s Expectancy Theory

Vrooms’s expectancy theory stipulates that an employees will be motivated to produce at high level if he perceives that his effort will result in successful performance.

It also explains that performance, motivation, and effort are within an individual’s motivation and variables such as valence, instrumentality, and expectancy verifies this. The higher the effort in work relates to the higher the performance.

An employee who has been putting much effort in his job expects a good pay or promotion, if he places much value on this and it is given to him, he will be motivate for higher productivity. This motivation will sustain only if his salary is increase or promoted.

5. Hertzberg’s Two-Factor Theory[ Motivator-Hygiene]

Herzberg found 2 factors that influence employee motivation and satisfaction from a study conducted among accounts and engineers to determine what makes an individual feel good or bad about their job.

The theory found out that human being or employee lives at two level , the physical and the psychological level. His interpretation of the result led Herzberg to state his two factors theory Hygiene factors known as dissatisfiers and the Motivators known as satisfiers

According to Herzberg’s findings, while motivator and hygiene factors both influenced motivation, they appeared to work completely independently of each other…

While motivator factors increased employee satisfaction and motivation, like achievement and recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement and growth. The absence of these factors didn’t necessarily cause dissatisfaction. Likewise, the presence of hygiene factors didn’t appear to increase satisfaction and motivation but their absence caused an increase in dissatisfaction like Poor company’s policies and administration, nature of supervision, poor working condition,pay/salary and job security.

Application at work place.

To prevent job dissatisfaction, managers should make sure that their employees feel that they are treated right by offering them the best possible working conditions and fair pay. Make sure you pay attention to your team and form supportive relationships with them.

Management should create opportunities for “personal growth, enrichment and recognition” among their employees. Employees should be promoted after completing certain stages of their career and should receive recognition for special achievements.

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6. Alderfer’s theory:

Alderfer’s theory conceptualises human needs that are relevant to organisational settings. This theory is also known as ERG theory. Need category can be classified into three classes:

Existence: this human need relates to survival which is similar to Maslow’s physiological and certain part of safety need, physiological and materials desires such as hunger,thirst and shelter

Relatedness: This is comparable to Maslow’s social needs and a certain part of esteem and safety needs.In an organization setting, the need for pay, benefit and physical working condition are also include in this category.

Growth: this includes personal development and growth. It can be related to Maslow’s esteem and self-actualization needs like creating personal growth on job satisfaction



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