Theories for Worker Motivation

At the dawn of the millennium, Milner (2003) figured motivation continues to hold a significant position in eyes of scholars. It really is a known fact that various organizations have resorted to different ways of boost staff inspiration, build a comfortable work place and therefore, increase outcome.

Motivation can be examined from various perspectives but for the goal of this essay, it would be reviewed from a work related perspective. Work desire is a couple of energetic forces that originate both within as well as beyond an individual's being, to start work-related behaviour and determine its form, course, intensity, and length (Pinder, 2005). We can therefore rightfully infer that inspiration is a subconscious process growing from contact between a person and his environment. To understand inspiration, one must understand the aspirations of a full time income being. Several determination ideas have been suggested to explain these human aspirations at different times and by diverse people.

Motivation ideas are broadly split into two but for this essay, two ideas, one from each extensive group has picked for analysis. They are;

Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory (content theory) and

Expectancy theory (process theory)

They will be evaluated, evaluated and compared, highlighting individual talents and limitations. In addition they would be utilized to determine the extent to that they influence individual drive of people in the task place. Furthermore information collated from completed questionnaires by employees on what motivates them will be summarized and compared with the idea propositions to see useful relevance.

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An appropriate starting take note would be answering the question, 'what is desire'? A suitable definition would be 'the cognitive decision-making process, by which goal-directed behaviour is set up, energized, directed and managed' (Buchanan & Huczynski 2010, p. 267). The need to study motivation, its stimulators and extinguishers continue to be very vital. Its importance to managers cannot be over emphasized. Understanding the concept of motivation would provide managers with the right skills to encourage subordinates, accomplish organizational goals, increase result and also enhance their quality of life. Drive is a combo of choice and intention. It offers come to a bottom line that folks dissent to their motivational state and the elements that effect it.


Motivation theories are generally categorized under two broad communities - content theory and process theory. Although there is absolutely no universally accepted theory that applies to everyone, each can help in different work scenarios. An effort has been made to clarify the variability noticed in the decisions people make about what they do at the job, their determination and the power they utilize in reaching goals using motivational theories.

Content ideas of inspiration question the point of view that views determination in terms of individuals' goals. Types of content theories include Herzberg's Two-factor theory and Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory. While process ideas view desire in terms of your choice making process influencing an individual's choice of goals. Instances are Equity Theory, Expectancy Theory and Goal Setting Theory.

Different content and process ideas have been developed having specific software to motivation with regards to work framework.

2. 1. 1 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory (Content theory)

According to R. Dailey (2008), Maslow proposed that folks are encouraged by the longing to gratify particular needs. He went on to set up this needs in a given order starting with the standard needs which he called lower level needs and increasing to the bigger level needs. He retained that the lower level needs must be majorly satisfied before higher level needs and that a satisfied need seizes to be a motivator.

Below are quickly described the several needs starting with the lower level needs.

Physiological Needs - these refer to basic needs necessary for survival and they include food, drinking water, shelter, air. Some researchers have added money to this group arguing so it has the capacity to provide some of the needs.

Security Needs - these reefers to the overall concern of a person to feel safe, steady and the absence of pain in his environment both literally and psychologically.

Social & Belongingness Needs - these refer to the desire for affiliation, camaraderie, love and being accepted by others consequently of conversation and connection. Theoretically, people who reach this level have primarily satisfied physiological and safe practices needs and are actually concerned with establishing satisfying relationships. (Hitt, Miller, and Colella, 2009).

Esteem Needs - these make reference to perceptions of personal value consequently of admiration from fellow individuals. When employees have accomplished a certain level in the organizational hierarchy, they yearn for recognition, fame and electric power owing to earlier achievements.

Self-actualization Needs - the need for self-actualization sits near the top of Maslow's hierarchy and few people are considered to have gained this level. They are generally motivated by the desire to work with their skill and increase their potential. They always seek new cutting edge opportunities to bring into play their skills which greatly motivate them.

Some other factors were at first included in Maslow's needs but have been omitted by succeeding experts. They are

To know and understand



Freedom of enquiry and expression

They come in this order respectively between esteem needs and self-actualization needs. Regarding to Maslow, the strongest way of motivating individuals is by provision of these principal needs which is the lowest unsatisfied need (Gordon, 1996).

2. 2 Expectancy Theory (Process theory)

People are motivated to work or require in a process only when they are assured of or understand personal benefit. The procedure through which benefits become attractive is discussed by the expectancy theory (Buchanan & Huczynski, 2010).

This theory thus moves along to establish that we take action in manners that aid the accomplishment of treasured goals. It helps in explaining employee behaviours' relating to issues such as career choice, performance, subscribing to a new group, absenteeism, turnover and control effectiveness (Dailey, 2008).

Expectancy theory was explained as a function of three ideas: valence, instrumentality and expectancy.

Mathematically, it can be expressed as

Motivation = V x I x E ( Valence x Instrumentality x Expectancy)

If the prices has zero value, then therefore, motivation is zero.

Valence can be said to be personal value placed on an incentive or the identified value of outcome. Because it is subjective, that means valence results in to various people in several ways. Employees ascribe valences to specific final results and they can be either negative or positive. A negative valence can be linked to undesirable outcomes and consequently makes employee show avoidance behaviours.

Instrumentality is the personal notion that good performance would produce appreciated rewards. It may also be positive or negative. While positive instrumentality identifies the employee perception that good performance would lead to desired rewards, negative instrumentality means the contrary.

Expectancy is the non-public belief that work would lead to good performance. When employees opt to dedicate time for it to employment, they expect positive effects. Contrastingly, there would be no identified work if the worker believes that it would not bring about positive performance. Additionally it is noteworthy that performance reviews would boost effort.

Diagrammatically, expectancy theory can be summarized by the number below.

Motivational Push = Work Performance Outcome 1 V1

Outcome 2 V2

Outcome 3 V3

E = Expectancy I = Instrumentality V = Valence

1 = Not valued by any means 2 = Not firmly respected 3 = Strongly valued

Fig 1. 0: Expectancy Theory Model


The strengths and weaknesses of Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory and the Expectancy theory have been summarized in the desks below.




Shows the essence of seeing employees and providing them with a sense of owed within the company.

Strong empirical support.

Shows a straightforward, reasonable information of human behaviour.

Reflects need for consistent rewards.

It still remains very influential

Recognizes individual variances.

Encourages employee career development.

Provides explicit ways to increase employee motivation.




Lacks empirical validity.

Using the components independently cannot firmly predict desire.

Focused only on positive development without reflecting the likelihood of an relapse in individuals.

Assumes behaviour is rational.

Does not carry universally

Predictive vitality low for uncertain conditions.

Does not take specific differences under consideration.

Questionable view of humans.


Those selected for the review cut across multicultural backgrounds, different varieties of jobs ranging from white collar jobs to ordinary careers and various organizational levels - professionals and subordinates. The questions were carefully determined to demonstrate or disprove the validity of the theories. (See attached questionnaire in Appendix 1).

Beginning with Maslow's theory, the effect of physiological needs was absolutely mirrored in the study. 80% strongly decided that the absence of physiological needs would adversely impact their drive. Another issue is the contention over social needs. While 40% highly accept the need to be socially accepted, an in depth 30% argue that the need to be accepted would not have any adverse on the result not because they lack thoughts but owing to the nature of their work e. g. medical research. Some others strongly underplayed the result of interpersonal needs claiming that they boosted their self confidence independently and did not need to be accepted to be motivated which contradicts Maslow's theory. The effect also shows an extremely strong point that lower across the whole respondents which is the result of pay.

The survey email address details are summarized in the amount below.


For the expectancy theory, the components - instrumentality, valence and expectancy were generally accepted though the percentage for those that strongly agreed had not been overwhelming. 30% strongly agreed to the affect of instrumentality, 30% for valence and 40% for expectancy. Worth word is the feedback factor whose importance is overwhelmingly clear from the physique below (80%). But most oddly enough is the fact that even though 80% strongly subscribed to inspiration from a good pay check, a stunning 60% decided that they might accept a far more interesting job for a pay slash (question 1). A general conclusion of the review associated with the expectancy theory is shown in the number below.



The answers to the questionnaire would appear to point that workers weren't remarkably convinced that good performance would lead to valuable rewards which raise a strong concern about the drive of workers in today's organizations. The argument is the fact if the employees do not see a clear pathway from excellent performance to appreciated rewards, inspiration would be on the drop with the consequences clearly clear.

Moreover, 60% of the respondents opted for a more interesting work with less pay. This shows a path to self-actualization and that more value placed onto it. When the job is more interesting, that provides the worker with an atmosphere to exploit his potentials longing for a valued reward. This further points out the idea of instrumentality because respondents located more value on job satisfaction.

The last two questions were intended to get firsthand the kind of rewards that truly charm to individuals and also to provide them with an possibility to say what really motivates them. 70% of the respondents had financial rewards as their first choice and it was accompanied by recognition with a detailed rating of 60%.

This reflects Maslow's sociable and belonging's need and also his esteem needs similarly and the valence element of the expectancy theory. This shows a romance in both theories when compared.

Also very visible was the opinions factor similarly portrayed by both theories. Similarly significant was the decision of campaign and self-actualization as valuable rewards. Campaign for example of instrumentality can also increase esteem needs.

The study results highlighted show very close similarities between Maslow's hierarchy of needs and the Expectancy theory. Despite the fact that they were suggested by various people and age ranges ago, they have stood the test of time and are still very valuable today. The results also show that motivation would depend on the average person and the surroundings.


Most work places meet the first two basic needs heading by Maslow's hierarchy needs theory. Employers meet physiological needs by paying pay and wages which provides food and shelter. In most countries, also, they are obligated for legal reasons to meet the next level of needs by providing safe and secure work places. To meet up the next level of needs, professionals need to encourage team work. The work environment is a social place and at that team nature should be developed. Managers should go quite a distance to foster socialization and a sense of owed through effective inner communication, public gatherings, etc. If this is done, a much better working environment would be created, public needs provided and drive heading north.

An appropriate praise system is very essential and would go a long way to meet esteem needs.

Clear links should be produced between attempts and goals and an appraisal system which recognizes achievement using respected rewards like pay rises, executive official vehicles and deals should be put in place. These exact things also add a status sign with their office which promotes esteem. Evidently, the esteem of individuals in diverse careers is boosted in several ways. If managers possess the capability to assess and route instrumentality rightly, desire would be surely achieved.

All management guidelines that crack, withstand, alter or flex instrumentalities should be investigated to avoid lowering employee effort and performance.

Self-actualization, sitting on the top of Maslow's hierarchy can be likened to respected pay back - instrumentality in the expectancy theory and this wouldn't normally immediately come to every person as possible through work but it really is. Professionals should ensure quality training and support in order to achieve clear performance goals and provide an avenue to inspire innovation.

When employees are faced with challenging goals and can see a clear path to positive instrumentality through expectancy then this objective is feasible and personal expansion achieved. On the contrary, self-actualization has been found to experiment with a marginal role in a few cultures. Japanese ethnicities offer jobs forever which appear to meet only physiological needs and offers predicated on seniority which diminishes the desiring self-actualization in the task place. Also in some highly collectivist cultures, attempts to be in person ground breaking may be regarded as aberrant (Hofstede, 1991).


The present analysis tries to crystallize certain factors which impact motivation by examining the partnership between employees, employers and the work environment. Both Maslow's theory and Expectancy theory can explain motivation only to a certain magnitude from various view items. Maslow's theory proposes that individuals are motivated based on drives and needs while expectancy theory postulates that alternatives are made founded on how we make selections regarding goals. The response from the questionnaires corroborated aspects of both ideas but highlighted the great need for pay and responses in influencing determination. It is recommended that professionals and employers pay great focus on these factors between the others.

As hinted recently, no theory can conclusively describe the concept of determination. The relevance of the theories cannot be over emphasized or neglected. They experienced a substantial effect on managers directly and employers as a whole in helping to determine how and what to do to boost staff motivation. Furthermore, they have produced further passions in the area of specialty area.

The most crucial limitation to this survey was the restriction to the quantity of men and women surveyed and the issue in convincing unskilled staff to partake in the review.

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