NEED-BASED THEORIES TO MOTIVATION

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Need-based theories try to answer the question, “what factor(s) motivate people to choose certain behaviors?” Some of the widely known need-based theories are as follows:

 

(a) Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow Abraham proposed his theory in the 1940s. This theory, popularly known as the Hierarchy of Needs assumes that people are motivated to satisfy five levels of needs: physiological, security, belongingness, esteem and self-actualization needs.

Maslow suggested that the five levels of needs are arranged in accordance with their importance, starting from the bottom of the hierarchy. An individual is motivated first and foremost to satisfy physiological needs. When these needs are satisfied, he is motivated and ‘moves up’ the hierarchy to satisfy security needs. This ‘moving up process continues until the individual reaches the self-actualization level.

Physiological needs represent the basic issues of survival such as food, sex, water and air. In organizational settings, most physiological needs are satisfied by adequate wages and by the work environment itself, which provides employees with rest rooms, adequate lighting, comfortable temperatures and ventilation.

Security or safety needs refer to the requirements for a secure physical and emotional environment. Examples include the desire for adequate housing and clothing, the need to be free from worry about money and job security and the desire for safe working conditions. Security needs are satisfied for people in the work place by job continuity, a grievance resolving system and an adequate insurance and retirement benefit package.

Belonging or social needs are related to the, social aspect of human life. They include the need for love and affection and the need to be accepted by one’s peers. For most people these needs are satisfied by a combination of family and community relationships and friendships on the job. Managers can help ensure the ‘satisfaction of these important needs by allowing social interaction and by making employees feel like part of a team or work group.

Esteem needs actually comprise of two different sets of needs:

  • The need for a positive self-image and self-respect.
  • The need for recognition and respect from others.

 

Organizations can help address esteem needs by providing a variety of external symbols of accomplishment such as job titles and spacious offices. At a more fundamental level, organizations can also help satisfy esteem needs by providing employees with challenging job assignments that can induce a sense of accomplishment.

At the top of the hierarchy are those needs, which Maslow defines the self-actualization needs. These needs involve realizing one’s potential for continued: growth and individual development. Since these needs are highly individualized and personal, self-actualization needs are perhaps the most difficult for managers to address. Therefore, an employee should try to meet these needs on his own end. However, an organization can help his employee by creating a climate for fulfillment of self-actualization needs. For instance, an organization can help in fulfillment of these needs by encouraging employee’s participation in decision-making process and by providing them with an opportunity to learn new things about their jobs and organization. This process of contributing to actual organizational performance helps employees experience personal growth and development associated with self-actualizing.

Maslow’s concept of the need hierarchy possesses a certain intuitive logic and has been accepted universally by managers. But research has revealed several shortcomings of the theory such as some research has found that five levels of needs are not always present and that the order of the levels is not always the same as assumed by Maslow. Moreover, it is difficult for organizations to use the need hierarchy to enhance employee motivation.

 

(b) ERG Theory of Motivation

Clayton Alderfer has proposed an alternative hierarchy of needs – called the ERG Theory of Motivation. The letters E, R and G stand for Existence, Relatedness and Growth.

ERG Theory the need hierarchy developed by Maslow into three 9.2. The existence needs in this theory refers to the physiological and security needs of Maslow. Relatedness needs refers to belongingness and esteem needs. Growth needs refers to both self-esteem and self-actualization needs.

 

Although ERG Theory assumes that motivated behavior follows a hierarchy in somewhat the same fashion as suggested by Maslow, there are two important differences.

  • Firstly, ERG theory suggests that more than one kind of need might motivate a person at the same time. For example, it allows for the possibility that people can be motivated by a desire for money (existence); friendship (relatedness), and an opportunity to learn new skills (growth) allat the same time.
  • Secondly, ERG theory has an element of frustrations-regression that is missing from Maslow’s need hierarchy. Maslow maintained that one heed must be satisfied before an individual can progress to needs at a higher level, for example, from security needs to belongingness. This is termed as satisfaction—progression process. Although the ERG theory includes this process, it also suggests that if needs remain unsatisfied at some higher level, the individual will become frustrated, regress to a lower level and will begin to pursue low level needs again. For” example, a worker previously motivated by money (existence needs) is awarded a pay rise to satisfy this needs. Then he attempts to establish more friendship to satisfy relatedness needs. If for some reason an employee finds that it is impossible to become better friends with others in the work place, he may eventually become frustrated and regress to being motivated to earn even more money. This is termed as ‘frustration-regression’ process.

 

The ERG theory emphasis on the following key points regarding needs:

    • Some needs may be more important than others.
    • People may change their behavior after any particular set of needs has been satisfied.

 

(c) The Dual-Structure Approach to Motivation   

Another popular need-based approach to motivation is the dual-structure approach developed by Frederick Herzberg. This is also known as Two-factor Theory. Herzberg developed this approach after interviewing 200 accountants and engineers in Pittsburg. He asked them to recall such occasions when they had been dissatisfied and less motivated. He found that entirely different sets of factors were associated with satisfaction and dissatisfaction. For instance, an individual who identified ‘low pay’ as causing dissatisfaction did not necessarily mention ‘high pay’ as a cause of satisfaction. Instead, several other factors, such as recognition or accomplishment, were cited as causing satisfaction.

 

This finding suggests that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are at opposite ends of a single scale. Employees would, therefore, be satisfied, dissatisfied or somewhere in between. Herzberg argued that attitudes and motivation consists of a dual structure. One structure involves a set of factors that result in feelings ranging from satisfaction to no satisfaction. The other structure involves a set of factors that result in feelings ranging from dissatisfaction to no satisfaction.

 

Herzberg identified two sets of factors responsible for causing either satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The factors influencing satisfaction are called motivation factors or motivators, which are related specifically to the job itself and the factors causing dissatisfaction are called hygiene factors, which are related to the work environment in which the job is performed.

 

Motivators

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Advancement
  • The work itself
  • The possibility of personal growth
  • Responsibility

 

Hygiene or Maintenance Factors

  • Company policies
  • Technical supervision
  • Interpersonal relations with supervisor
  • Interpersonal relations with peers
  • Interpersonal relations with subordinates
  • Salary
  • Job security
  • Personal life
  • Work conditions
  • Status

 

Based on these findings, Herzberg recommended that managers seeking to motivate employees should first make sure that hygiene factors are taken care of and that employees are not dissatisfied with pay, security and working conditions. Once a manager has eliminated employee dissatisfaction, Hertzberg recommends focusing on a different set of factors to increase motivation, by improving opportunities for advancement, recognition, advancement and growth. Specifically, he recommends job enrichment as a means of enhancing the availability of motivation factors.

 

Although widely accepted by managers, Hertzberg’s dual structure approach however suffers from certain drawbacks. Other researchers who measured satisfaction and dissatisfaction based on different aspects reached very different conclusions. They have also criticized Herzberg’s theory for its inability to define the relationship between satisfaction and motivation and to pay enough attention to differences between individuals. Hence, at present Herzberg’s theory is not held in high esteem by researchers in the field of motivation. The theory, however, had a major impact on managers and has played a key role in increasing their awareness of motivation and its importance in type work place.

 

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