Why is an understanding of theories of motivation important to managers when they carry out their professional roles? This report will examine why an understanding of theories of motivation is important to managers when they carry out their professional role, by examining different motivational theories in turn and analyzing their relevance to managers. Firstly the terms ‘manager’ and ‘motivation’ will be defined. Secondly, the history of motivational theories will be looked at, and then an in-depth look into six different motivation theories and their relevance to managers today. These theories are Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1954), Herzberg’s two-factor theory(1966), Adam’s Equity theory (1963), Vroom’s Expectancy theory (1964), Maccoby’s ‘fit’ theory (1988) and Locke and Latham’s Goal Theory (1984). These different theories will be examined as each theory has something different a manager can learn from it. Initially, the term ‘manager’ must be defined. It is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a person who manages an organization, group of staff, or sports team”, stated as “There are five basic operations in the work of a manager.
Together they result in the integration of resources into a living and growing organism” The five stated operations are, a manager: In relation to motivation Dixon, R. (1995 p69) states “Managers must motivate employees to achieve company objectives” Subsequently we must define ‘motivation’. The term “motivation” was originally derived from the Latin word mover, which means to “move”. But for the purpose of this report, we must look at motivation in the context of an organization. Dixon, R. (1995, p69) defined motivation as “an individual’s willingness to respond to the organization’s requirements in the short term”, Vroom (1964) defined it as “. a process governing choice made by persons or lower organisms among alternative forms of voluntary activity”.
Before we analyze motivational theories we must see why employees may be demotivated. Drucker, P. F. (1955, p 296) states “He may also be dissatisfied because he wants to do a better job, wants to improve his own work and that of his group, wants to do bigger and better things” and continues by saying “And this dissatisfaction is the most valuable attitude any company can possess in its employees, and the most real expression of pride in job and work, and of responsibility”. There are many different ways of fulfilling this dissatisfaction and this report will now look at some of the theories behind it. Before the industrial revolution, the main form of ‘motivation’ took the form of fear of punishment-physical, financial, or social. “The present concern for satisfaction arose out of the realization that fear no longer supplies the motivation for the worker in industrial society”. The traditional approach to motivation, in the early 1900s, saw pay as a motivator. FW Taylor saw pay as an incentive and believed that workers would be most motivated if companies offered a ‘price-rate’ system.
In the late 1920s, initial efforts were begun to discover why the traditional model was inadequate for motivating people. Elton Mayo’s study at Western Electric Company in the early 1930s showed that employees are not just motivated by economic means and that social contact can be a very high motivator. Bendix (1956) best summarised this evolution in managerial thinking by noting that the ‘failure to treat workers as human beings came to be regarded as the cause of low morale, poor craftsmanship, unresponsiveness, and confusion’. Motivation theories can now be split into two main groups Content theories which believe individuals are motivated by a ‘package’ they want to peruse. The second is Process theories which state people are motivated by an attractive outcome to events (Adam’s Equity theory). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states that humans are wanting creatures.
The first stage of the diagram “physiological” is can be satisfied a work, by managers, by pay, pleasant working conditions, and a cafeteria. The second level is “safety”. This can be achieved at work through safe working conditions, company benefits, and job security. The third stage is “social”. At work, this means a cohesive workgroup, friendly supervision, and professional associates but managers must be careful as some managers are known to regard this as a threat to a company and seek to break up informal groupings. “Esteem” can be filled by social recognition job title, high-status job, and feedback from the job itself. This is normally the easiest of all factors for managers to encourage. The final stage is “self-realization” and is realizing your own potential. This is hard for managers to help with as individuals need to achieve this on their own. Maslow states satisfying needs are not motivators, only unsatisfied needs are motivators and the hierarchy of needs shows when lower needs are satisfied the needs in the next level up act as motivators.
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