Work Motivation Theories: Content And Process Theories

The work inspiration theories can be broadly categorized as content theories and process ideas. The content theories are worried with determining the needs that folks have and how needs are prioritized. They are worried with types of bonuses that drive people to attain need fulfillment. The Maslow hierarchy theory, Fredrick Herzberg's two factor theory and Alderfer's ERG needs theory fall in this category. Although such a content strategy has logic, is not hard to understand, and can be immediately translated in practice, the research information points out limitations. There is very little research support for these models' theoretical basic and predictability. The trade off for ease sacrifices true understanding of the complexity of work motivation. In the positive part, however, this content models have given emphasis to important content factors that were largely ignored by real human relationists. Furthermore the Alderfer's ERG needs theory allows more flexibility and Herzberg's two-factor theory pays to as a conclusion for job satisfaction so that a point of departure for job design.

The process ideas are worried with the cognitive antecedents that go into determination and with just how they may be related to one another. The theories given by Vroom, Porter and Lawler, equity theory and attribution theory fall in this category. These theories provide a much sounder description of work motivations. The expectancy model of Vroom and the extensions and the refinements provided by Porter and Lawler help clarify the top cognitive variables and exactly how they relate to one another in the process of work inspiration. The Porter Lawler model also offers specific focus on the important romantic relationship between performance and satisfaction. An evergrowing research books is slightly supportive of these expectancy models, but conceptual and methodological problems stay. Unlike the content models, these expectancy models are relatively complex and difficult to result in actual practice. They also have failed to meet the goals of prediction and control

Motivation Theory 1 - Adam's Collateral Theory of Work Motivation

The theory explains that a major input into job performance and satisfaction is the amount of equity or inequity that individuals understand in work situations. Adam depicts a particular process of how this inspiration occurs.

Inequality occurs whenever a person perceives that the ratio of his / her final results to inputs and the percentage of a relevant other's outcomes to inputs are unequal.

Our Final results < Other's Final results = Inequity (under-rewarded)

Our Inputs Other's Inputs

Our Benefits = Other's Final results = Equity

Our Inputs Other's Inputs

Our Results > Other's Final results = Inequity (over-rewarded)

Our Inputs Other's Inputs

Both the inputs and the outputs of the individual and the other are established upon the person's perceptions, that are affected by age group, sex, education, sociable position, organizational position, certification, and how hard the individual works, etc. Final results consist generally of rewards such as pay, status, advertising, and intrinsic involvement in the job. Collateral sensitivity is the ratio based upon the individuals conception of what the person is providing (inputs) and acquiring (outcomes) versus the percentage of the actual relevant is providing and getting. This cognition may or might not be the same as someone else's observation of the ratios or the same as the real situation.

If the individuals perceived ratio is not add up to the other's, he or she will strive to restore the proportion to collateral. This striving to restore equity is utilized as the explanation of work desire. The effectiveness of this motivation is direct proportion to the identified inequity that exists.

Research suggests that individuals take part in illegal behaviors to maintain equity in relationships, either with the employing company or with other folks (Greenberg, 1990).

The theory was later broadened with the idea of "Organizational Justice". Organizational justice shows the extend to which people understand they are treated fairly at work. It discovered three different the different parts of justice: distributive (The identified fairness of how resources and rewards are sent out), procedural (The recognized fairness of the procedure and steps used to make allocation decisions) and interactional (The perceived fairness of your choice maker's behavior in the process of decision-making). (Copanzano, Rupp, Mohler and Schminke, 2001).


Equity theory is descriptive and it displays much of our everyday experience. As being a theory however collateral is only incomplete in analysis so when a predictor. There are numerous societal and institutional variables (inequalities) that people all navigate. The theory ignores people's natural resilience, their competitiveness, selflessness and selfishness, their honest dilemmas in decision-making and their passions.

It will not adequately explain connections in close romantic relationships such as matrimony or "emotional labor" - where we might provide health care to others at a burdensome cost of declining personal well-being and self-denial. Norms of collateral and reciprocity tend to be reduced in close and passionate friendships or where there are profound family bonds.

In the cultural exchanges of business, causal, or stranger human relationships, there may be more of a prominent assumption that inputs can be found with the expectation of any like response. There exists more of a formal contract of tangible and intangible pay back. A offer unfulfilled, without proper reciprocity incurs a debts of honor. A assurance is broken. In our community, obligations of reciprocal response operate. We are expected to use the Golden Guideline and to help where we can - an action ably showed by "the Parable of the nice Samaritan".

Social exchange theory assumes logical, calculated action relating an expected pay-off. We do not necessarily react rationally. Many will not be as selfish as rational action may suggest. Indeed our prize can be the inner glow of respecting oneself and living to one's own values. Such altruism, albeit self-referential, does not take a seat easily under the assumptions of the "logical, economic-person" model.


It is essential to focus on what employees' perceive to be good and equitable. For example: In my company, one of my colleagues was designated to a task that required him to work during non business time frequently. He worked well three days in the office and two days at home in weekly for per month and one half. This triggered others to begin working at home during business time.

Allow employees to have a "voice" and an opportunity to appeal. Organizational changes, promoting assistance, etc. will come easier with equitable results.

Management's failure to accomplish equity could be costly for the business. For example: Among my technically team members had not been very proficient. He took double enough time to complete any give work when compared to others. Management didn't take any action; instead the others were given more work. Eventually, even the competent workers had taken it easy to revive equity causing project delays.

Motivation Theory 2 - Vroom's Expectancy Theory of Inspiration

Expectancy theory offers a framework for analyzing work motivation, which is eminently useful. It offers a checklist of factors to be looked at in virtually any managerial situation and it details to the links between your relevant factors and the route, which these factors have a tendency to follow in their interrelationships. (Tony J. Watson, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986).

Expectancy theory contains that people are determined to behave with techniques that produce desired mixtures of expected outcomes. It can be used to anticipate motivation and habit in virtually any situation in which a choice between several alternatives must be produced. (Kreitner R. & Kinicki A. , Mcgraw Hill, 7th Model). Vroom offered the following equation of Drive

Motivation (M) = Valence (V) x Expectancy (E)

Valence means the preference of a person for a particular results. Thus, when an individual desires a specific outcome the value of V is positive. On the other hand when the average person does not desire a certain outcome, the worthiness of V is negative.

The value of expectancy amounts between zero and one. Whenever a certain event will definitely not occur the value of E is zero. On the other hand when the event will occur the value of E is one.

Since its original conception, the expectancy theory model has been processed and extended many times. The better know of most is the Porter-Lawler model. Although standard intelligence argues that satisfaction causes performance, Porter and Lawler argued the change. If rewards are ample, high degrees of performance may lead to satisfaction. In addition to the features contained in the original expectancy model, the Porter-Lawler model includes expertise, traits, and role perceptions.


Vroom's theory does not directly donate to the techniques of motivating people. It really is of value in understanding organizational tendencies. It clarifies the relationship between individuals and the organizational goals. The model is designed to help management understand and evaluate employee motivation and identify some to the relevant variables. However, the theory falls in short supply of providing specific answers to the motivational problems.

The theory also will not take into account the individual differences based on specific perceptions nor can it assume that a lot of people have the same hierarchy of needs. It snacks as a variable to be investigated just what it is that one employees are seeking in their work. Thus the theory suggests only the conceptional determinants of motivation and how they can be related.

Research studies have validated that the relationship of both sorts of expectancies and valences with work and performance. The determined behavior of people arises from their valuing expected rewards, thinking effort will lead to performance, and this performance will result in desired rewards.

The expectancy theory clarifies desire in the U. S. better than elsewhere and for that reason may well not be ideal for other parts.


This theory can be used by the professionals to

· Determine the principal outcome each worker wants.

· Make a decision what levels and varieties of performance are needed to meet organizational goals.

· Make sure the desired levels of performance are possible.

· Website link desired outcomes and desired performance.

· Analyze the situation for conflicting targets.

· Make sure the rewards are large enough.

· Make sure the entire system is equitable for everyone.

Motivation Theory 3 - Maslow's Theory of Hierarchy of Need

Maslow believed that within every individual, there is a hierarchy of five needs and that all level of need must be satisfied before an individual pursues the next higher-level of need (Maslow, 1943). As an individual progresses through the various degrees of needs, the proceeding needs loose their motivational value.

The basic individual needs put by Maslow within an ascending order worth focusing on can be summarized and shown as below

The desire to become what one is with the capacity of becoming.

These will be the must be presented in esteem both by oneself and by others.

These are the needs to belong also to be accepted by various teams.

These are the needs to be free of physical risk. The safety needs turn to the future.

These are the basic needs for sustaining real human life itself, such as food, water, comfort, shelter, and sleep.

Maslow in his later work (Maslow, 1954) said

1. Gratification of the self-actualization need causes a rise in its importance rather than a decrease.

2. Long deprivation of confirmed need, results fixation for that require.

3. Higher needs may emerge not after gratification, but instead by long deprivation, renunciation or suppression of lower needs.

4. Real human tendencies is multi-determined and multi-motivated.


Part of the appeal of Maslow's theory is that it offers both a theory of human being motives by classifying basic real human needs in a hierarchy and the idea of human desire that relates these must general tendencies. Maslow's major contribution lies in the hierarchical strategy. He was the first ever to recognize a need once satisfied is a spent force and ceases to be a motivator.

Maslow's need hierarchy reveals a paradox in approximately while the theory is extensively accepted, there's a little research research open to support the theory.

It is said that beyond structuring needs in a certain fashion Maslow will not give concrete information to the professionals as to that they should motivate their workers.


The need hierarchy as postulated by Maslow will not come in practice. Chances are that over fulfillment of anyone's particular need may cause fixation for the necessity. If so even when a specific need is satisfied a person may still engage in the fulfillment of the same need. Furthermore, in a normal human being, all the needs aren't always satisfied totally. There remains an unsatisfied area of each need in spite of that your person looks for fulfillment of the bigger need.

A person may move to the next need regardless of the lower need being unfulfilled or being partly fulfilled.


No single determination theory can suffice in the current work area. Each motivational theory has its pros and cons. A theory gets the highest performance from an employee but may well not from another employee.

The organization's workplace has changed significantly before 10 years. Companies are both downsizing and extending (often at the same time, in various divisions or degrees of the hierarchy). Work is being out-sourced to various locations and countries. The labor force is seen as a increased diversity with highly divergent needs and needs. It has frequently modified both the manner and location of work activities. New organizational forms (such as e-commerce) are now common. Clubs are redefining the idea of hierarchy, as well as traditional vitality distributions. The usage of contingent staff is increasing and globalization and the obstacles of handling across borders are actually the norm. These changes have had a profound influence how companies try to attract, hold on to, and motivate their workers.

Yet we lack new models capable of guiding professionals in this new period of work. As management scholar Peter Cappelli records, "Most observers of the corporate world believe that the traditional marriage between workplace and employee is gone, but there is certainly little understanding of why it ended and even less in what is upgrading that romance" (Cappelli, 1999). I think that the existing work determination and job performance ideas are limited to focus on the present period of such diverse workforce. New ideas of motivation must commensurate with this new era.

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