Creating Work Motivating assignment

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Creating Work Motivating assignment

Creating Work Motivating assignment


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Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you will be able to

1. Define motivation and discuss its basic properties

2. Explain content and process theories of motivation

3. Distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

4. Design jobs to increase motivation

5. Demonstrate how pay programs can increase motivation

6. Explain the effect of motivation on individual performance and organizational outcomes

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© 2013 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Not for resale. Use of this e-book is subject to the Terms of Service available at

CHAPTER 7Section 7.2 Theories of Motivation

7.1 The Importance of Worker Motivation What motivates people at work? For the past century, I/O psychologists have been try- ing to answer this elusive question. Think about how you might answer it. Do coworkers motivate you? Rewards? Perhaps the fear of punishment? No matter how you respond, chances are your reasons for doing your job differ from those of your friends, family, and coworkers. Because everyone has different needs, values, emotions, and personality traits, each person will likewise possess a different set of factors that drive his or her motivation. The indeterminate number of variables that influence motivation are what makes study- ing this topic difficult.

Despite the challenges, researchers have, over time, gained considerable insight into how to improve worker motivation. This chapter is divided into two sections: The first deals with content and process theories of motivation, and the second focuses on ways in which organizations can improve worker motivation. Before discussing the theories, however, let’s begin by defining motivation and identifying its basic properties.

What Is Motivation? Motivation is one of the most basic and important drivers of human behavior, especially when we work. Traditionally, motivation has been viewed as a goal-oriented process that starts with a need or a deficiency. People have an inherent drive to act or behave in certain ways in order to meet a goal or alleviate a deficiency.

The three basic elements of motivation are intensity, persistence, and direction. Each of these elements is required in order for a person to perform a job well. People most commonly think of intensity, or the amount of effort an individual puts into achieving a goal, when they think about motivation. However, the direction of the effort also matters: Workers must direct their efforts toward behaviors that lead to positive outcomes for the organiza- tion. Finally, workers must demonstrate persistence—that is, they must be able to continue working until they achieve the desired outcome. A motivated worker, then, will apply effort (intensity) as long as it takes (persistence) in such a way (direction) as to achieve the desired goal.

7.2 Theories of Motivation In general, the various theories and writings on motivation can be described as focus- ing on either content or process. Content theories of motivation try to comprehensively identify what motivates people, whereas process theories of motivation attempt to dis- cover how motivators trigger the drives that can lead to behavior. Both types of theories are important and informative for people interested in motivating themselves and others by managing the antecedents and conditions that can facilitate desirable behaviors. To begin, let’s look at four content theories: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s two- factor theory, Alderfer’s existence-relatedness-growth (ERG) theory, and McClelland’s needs theory.

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CHAPTER 7Section 7.2 Theories of Motivation

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Some content theories of motivation deal with needs, or the physiological and psycho- logical wants or desires people attempt to satisfy by achieving particular goals. These theories aim to identify not only the different needs people have but also the conditions under which they will be motivated to satisfy these needs in a way that contributes to performance. American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, developed in 1943, is the most influential of the needs-based theories of motivation.

According to Maslow, needs can be organized hierarchically, from the most basic to the most advanced. Maslow defined five levels of needs, beginning with (1) physiological needs, such as the need for food, water, and shelter. After satisfying the primary needs, human motiva-

tion progresses sequentially through higher levels of needs, including (2) safety, or the need for phys- ical and emotional security; (3) belonging, or the need for love, affection, and affiliation; (4) esteem, or the need for admiration and respect from oth- ers; and (5) self-actualization, or the striving toward the achievement of one’s full potential.

Maslow emphasized the importance of fulfilling each level of needs sequentially. According to his theory, a given level of needs will not motivate a person’s behavior until the needs from preceding levels have been met. For example, people will not be motivated to meet their needs to belong (level 3) until they have met their basic physiolog- ical and safety needs (levels 1 and 2, respectively). Moreover, Maslow argued that once a need has been satisfied, it ceases to be motivating. Further motivation requires moving to the next level in the motivational hierarchy. Finally, in order to achieve self-actualization, a person must have opportuni- ties for growth and responsibility. This striving toward personal growth and self-actualization is what creates long-term worker motivation.

Because it is intuitively logical and easy to use, Maslow’s theory has been highly influential in the workplace. However, research indicates that the hierarchy of needs is limited, and some of its precepts can be refuted (Rauschenberger, Schmitt, & Hunter, 1980). For exam- ple, many people pursue higher-level needs such as esteem and self-actualization even when they seem not to have met their most basic needs. Additionally, a person’s need for self-actualization does not ever seem to reach satiation. In fact, highly accomplished indi- viduals seem to have a stronger need for self-actualization than other people. Despite some limitations, however, Maslow’s theory offered a significant contribution to the thinking and practice in the fields of psychology and organizational sciences, as it clearly demonstrated that workers are motivated by a wide range of needs, not simply the traditional rewards (such as wages and financial incentives) and punishments (such as job termination).

Belonging—the need for love, affection, and affiliation—is the third level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

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CHAPTER 7Section 7.2 Theories of Motivation

Consider This: Your Needs and Motivation

• Which level of Maslow’s needs applies the most to you right now? • In relation to Maslow’s hierarchy, have your lower-level needs been satisfied? • Do you agree with the sequence of needs in Maslow’s hierarchy? Why or why not? How would

you change the sequence based on your own needs and experiences?

Find Out for Yourself: More on Maslow

Visit the website below, which lists publications by and about Maslow, to expand your knowledge about Abraham Maslow’s seminal work.

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory In the 1960s, another American psychologist, Fredrick Herzberg, developed a different model: Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation, also known as motivation-hygiene the- ory. The basis for the two-factor theory stemmed from studies in which Herzberg asked professionals to report incidents at work that exceptionally motivated them as well as those that exceptionally discouraged them. The professionals’ responses showed consis- tent themes. The factors related to positive feelings about work, which Herzberg called motivators, tended to be associated with the job itself, such as job content, responsibili- ties, and achievements. On the other hand, the factors related to negative feelings, which Herzberg called hygiene factors, tended to be associated with the job context, such as pay, working conditions, and the manager’s style. Although hygiene factors can, according to Herzberg’s theory, prevent job dissatisfaction, only motivators can lead to motivation and job satisfaction. Examples of motivators and hygiene factors are displayed in Table 7.1.

Table 7.1: Examples of Herzberg’s motivation and hygiene factors

Motivator Factors Hygiene Factors

• Achievement • Salary and benefits

• Recognition • Work conditions

• Job characteristics • Quality of supervision

• Advancement opportunities • Coworker relationships

• Growth opportunities • Job security

• Responsibility • Company policies

The most significant contribution of the two-factor theory is the notion that job content is a powerful motivator, necessary for the development and retention of the right talent within

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© 2013 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Not for resale. Use of this e-book is subject to the Terms of Service available at

CHAPTER 7Section 7.2 Theories of Motivation

an organization. At the time of the theory’s inception, the primary emphasis of manage- ment was on hygiene factors such as pay, benefits, and working conditions. Although these peripheral factors are important in attracting new employees, Herzberg found that they are unlikely to create motivating and satisfying jobs unless complemented with inter- esting and challenging work.

More recently, researchers have studied the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. As with the two-factor theory, these studies differentiate between motivation generated by workers’ interest in the job for its own sake (intrinsic motivation) and moti- vation triggered by tangible, externally generated rewards and/or punishments (extrin- sic motivation). Much debate surrounds the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. One side views the two as additive, overlapping, and complementary. For example, a promotion might be both intrinsically and extrinsically motivating: the former because the employee desires interesting new work that makes better use of his or her skills; the latter because the employee needs a larger income. Conversely, some studies suggest that extrinsic motivation can adversely affect intrinsic motivation. A hobby, for example, might be interesting and engaging as long as a person does it for fun (intrinsi- cally motivating), but should it become a paying job (motivated by external factors such as money), it can become yet another chore to complete and thus lose much of its motiva- tional power (Wiersma, 1992).

Consider This: Your Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

• What are your most intrinsically motivating activities? List 3–5 activities that you really enjoy spending time on. These are the types of activities you get fully absorbed in, those that make you lose track of time and feel really good afterward.

• What are some shared characteristics of those activities? • How are those activities a reflection of your current needs? • How would you feel about those activities if you could find a job that would pay you to do them

on a regular basis? • Do you believe that extrinsic and intrinsic motivation are complementary or contradictory?


Existence Relatedness Growth (ERG) Theory Clayton Alderfer’s existence relatedness growth (ERG) theory, first published in 1969, continued to build upon the work of Maslow and Herzberg. ERG recognizes various types of needs, falling between Maslow’s hierarchy and Herzberg’s two-factor theory with three basic categories: existence, which includes basic survival needs; relatedness, or the desire for support, relationships, and recognition; and growth, which deals with self- actualization and esteem needs. Although the categories are hierarchical (existence needs have priority over relatedness, for example), Alderfer did not necessarily agree with Maslow’s notion that each level must be attained in sequence before moving on to the next. Rather, ERG theory holds that individuals may work on meeting different categories of needs simultaneously. Furthermore, Alderfer recognized a potential regression mecha- nism, the frustration-regression principle, in which existence and/or relatedness needs

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