Top Motivation Theories explained and compared

I would like to point to the most important motivation theories, because I have not seen such a summary before in a blog and this was yet another little part of the extensive christmas present we got from our business english lecturer…

MASLOW’S THEORY OF MOTIVATION AND HUMAN NEEDS Maslow’s classical theory is taught in every basic management course. Structuring the dependency of needs of human beings is a good beginning when starting to analyze humans in general.

McGregor’s Factor X/Y theory theory categorizes employees in two types and explains possible behavior of their managers. Even if I know that at least these two types exists I believe it?s a too broad spectrum in human behavior to explain it with these two types.

The Hawthorne study found out that employees got more motivated as soon as they recognized that they got more attention than before. It was illustrated with the example of changing lights in the factory where only the change of light intensity was important, not if it was brighter or darker. interesting, huh?

Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory extends Maslow’s model very well. It?s actually obvious that people cannot be motivated without giving them a feeling of security or acceptance first. It applies very well to the situation with motivation in the workplace because it explains the needs for correct “hygiene factors” like expected salary, a good work place with proper lighting and desks for example.

The equity theory assumes that the own social comparison of employees to their peers is the most important factor for motivation. The expectancy theory suggests that people are motivated to work toward rewards, bonuses and other goodies. In my opinion only a combination of these two, with the expectancy theory following the equity theory in relevance, is a valid approach. I do not believe in only the social aspects and mind-setting of employees, although the social position and treatment is probably the required precursor before additional goodies and goals can create a vital effect on motivation.

While searching for some relevant link resources I found Scholl’s page with class Notes for students in Doctoral, Masters, and Undergraduate courses in Management, Organizational Behavior, and Labor Relations and Human Resources… pretty comprehensive page indeed… 🙂