Motivation Theory

The word motivation originated from the Latin word "movere", which means to move. Motivation is defined as an inner human drive that activates, shape behavior and gives it direction. Motivation theory is concerned with the processes that describe why and how human behavior is activated and directed towards achieving certain goals. It is known as one of the most important areas of study in the field of organizational behavior. Organizational behaviour studies and theories of motivation account for the need to get the most out of workers in industrial or business concerns is very much a twentieth century phenomenon. 

Two different categories of motivation theories exist and they are known as content theories and process theories. Even though there are different motivation theories, none of them are universally accepted.

Also known as need theory, the content theory of motivation mainly focuses on the human internal factors that energize and direct certain behavior. Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Alderfer's ERG theory, Herzeberg's motivator-hygiene theory (Herzeberg's dual factors theory), and McClelland's learned needs or three-needs theory are some of the major well-known content theories.

Of the many different types of content theories, the most famous content theory is Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. Maslow developed five levels of basic needs through his theory. Human basic needs are categorized as physiological needs, safety and security needs, needs of love, needs for self esteem and needs for self-actualization.

Like Maslow's hierarchy of needs where our needs are constantly changing, ERG theory explains existence, relatedness, and growth needs. Through dual factors theory, Herzeberg describes certain factors in the workplace which result in job satisfaction. McClelland's learned needs or three-needs theory uses a projective technique called the Thematic Aptitude Test (TAT) so as to evaluate people based on three needs: power, achievement, and affiliation. People with high need of power take action in a way that influences the other's behavior.

The other type of motivation theory is process theory. Process theories of motivation provide an opportunity to understand thought processes that influence behavior. The major process theories of motivation include Adams' equity theory, Vroom's expectancy theory, goal-setting theory, and reinforcement theory. Expectancy, instrumentality, and valence are the key concepts explained in the expectancy theory. Goal setting theory suggests that the individuals are motivated to reach set goals that were created by themselves. It also requires that the set goals should be specific. Reinforcement theory is concerned with controlling behavior by manipulating its consequences.  While it is useful for understanding and influencing others, this motivation theory is best used to affect your own self improvement.


Quotes for the day:

"No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. 
 No stream or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. 
 No Niagara ever turned light and power until it is tunneled. 
 No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined." 

-- Harry Emerson Fosdick 

Good Thoughts

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