Motivation Essay

3266 words - 14 pages

(1) Defining Motivation
Many people incorrectly view motivation as a personal trait—that is, some people have it, and others don't. But motivation is defined as the force that causes an individual to behave in a specific way. Simply put, a highly motivated person works hard at a job; an unmotivated person does not.

Managers often have difficulty motivating employees. But motivation is really an internal process. It's the result of the interaction of a person's needs, his or her ability to make choices about how to meet those needs, and the environment created by management that allows these needs to be met and the choices to be made. Motivation is not something that a manager can “do” ...view middle of the document...

Such needs might be fulfilled by:
* Living in a safe area
* Medical insurance
* Job security
* Financial reserves
According to Maslow's hierarchy, if a person feels that he or she is in harm's way, higher needs will not receive much attention.
Social Needs
Once a person has met the lower level physiological and safety needs, higher level needs become important, the first of which are social needs. Social needs are those related to interaction with other people and may include:
* Need for friends
* Need for belonging
* Need to give and receive love
Esteem
Once a person feels a sense of "belonging", the need to feel important arises. Esteem needs may be classified as internal or external. Internal esteem needs are those related to self-esteem such as self respect and achievement. External esteem needs are those such as social status and recognition. Some esteem needs are:
* Self-respect
* Achievement
* Attention
* Recognition
* Reputation
Maslow later refined his model to include a level between esteem needs and self-actualization: the need for knowledge and aesthetics.
Self-Actualization
Self-actualization is the summit of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It is the quest of reaching one's full potential as a person. Unlike lower level needs, this need is never fully satisfied; as one grows psychologically there are always new opportunities to continue to grow.
Self-actualized people tend to have needs such as:
* Truth
* Justice
* Wisdom
* Meaning
Self-actualized persons have frequent occurrences of peak experiences, which are energized moments of profound happiness and harmony. According to Maslow, only a small percentage of the population reaches the level of self-actualization.

(3) Theory X and Theory Y (Douglas McGregor)

In his 1960 book, The Human Side of Enterprise, Douglas McGregor proposed two theories by which to view employee motivation. He avoided descriptive labels and simply called the theories Theory X and Theory Y. Both of these theories begin with the premise that management's role is to assemble the factors of production, including people, for the economic benefit of the firm. Beyond this point, the two theories of management diverge.
Theory X
Theory X assumes that the average person:
* Dislikes work and attempts to avoid it.
* Has no ambition, wants no responsibility, and would rather follow than lead.
* Is self-centered and therefore does not care about organizational goals.
* Resists change.
* Is gullible and not particularly intelligent.

Essentially, Theory X assumes that people work only for money and security.
Theory X - The Hard Approach and Soft Approach
Under Theory X, management approaches can range from a hard approach to a soft approach.
The hard approach relies on coercion, implicit threats, close supervision, and tight controls, essentially an environment of command and control. The soft appoach is to be...

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