Business Management -> Human resource management: motivational theories
There are many motivational theories that Human Resource Managers may use. However, what HR Managers must be aware of is that no two individuals are alike and that what motivates one individual will not necessarily be appropriate for the next employee.
The classical school of thought said what will motivate employees is constant repetition of tasks associated with the division of labour within the workplace so that their skill levels improve accordingly.
The scientific approach extended the classical approach and used remuneration based on output as the motivating force in the workplace together with careful monitoring of work practices.
The organisational theory approach used the approach that if employees were correctly managed then motivational levels would improve as shown by Henri Fayol setting out his 14 principles of sound management.
The behavioural approach adopted the approach that the employees will be motivated if management meets their psychological needs. There were numerous strategies adopted by theorists that adopt this approach. These include:
Mayo stated that motivating employees was associated with giving adequate attention to the employees and improving the social environment of the workplace.
McGregor adopted a theory that stated that employees were motivated according to what type of person they were - type X or type Y. Type Y people are best motivated by encouraging them to achieve their goals and treating them as individuals. Type X people are best motivated within a controlled environment where they are told what to do and how to do it.
Maslow established a hierarchy of needs that must be met if employees are to be motivated. The lower levels of need should be met first and management should work their way up the hierarchy in order to fully motivate employees.
Image - Maslow's hierarchy of needs is based on a pyramid structure
Self-actualization - Morality, Creativity, Spontaneity, Problem solving, Lack of prejudice, Acceptance of facts
Esteem - Self-esteem, Confidence, Achievement, Respect of others, Respect by others
Love/Belonging - Friendship, Family, Sexual intimacy
Safety - Security of body, of employment, of resources, of morality, of the family, of health, of property
Physiological - Breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion
Herzberg also established a motivational theory. This theory was based on Maslow's theory. He distinguished between needs that he defined as job satisfiers (higher order needs) and those he defined as job dissatisfiers (lower order needs). Management must find the means to make jobs more enjoyable and challenging for employees in order to motivate them. The dissatisfiers are associated with external or extrinsic needs whilst the satisfiers are associated with internal or intrinsic needs.
Other theorists including Alderfer, Skinner and McClelland - all attempted to establish how best to motivate employees in order to improve their performance level and to ensure that they stay with the organisation.
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