Motivation Management Theories

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Motivation is the psychological process of providing purpose and intention to behavior – it explains why people behave the way they do. By using motivation theories, management can inspire customers to choose the brand and encourage employees to take action and become self-directed. Various theories of motivation in psychology exist that have been studied and implemented in management regarding motivation.

Acquired Needs Theory

This theory states that every person has the same needs, but each individual prioritizes them differently. The theory identifies three needs: achievement, power and affiliation. The need for achievement is the desire to do well at a task, the need for power demonstrates itself through influence over other people, and the need for affiliation is the yearning for meaningful relationships. Management needs to identify each person's first priority need and adjust the working situation accordingly to optimize each person's performance. For example, if an employee is motivated to do well, you could inspire him by providing stretch goals.

Owen and Motivation in Management

Robert Owen, a Welsh social reformer, developed a theory based on his experience with machines during the Industrial Age of the 1800s. The better a machine is taken care of, maintained and looked after, the better it performs. This theory was revolutionary during his time and has continued to be true.

Owen's theory relates to small businesses in terms of personnel management. Businesses that place workers' needs and desires as first priority will produce efficient and motivated people. By taking care of their workers and focusing on their development, businesses benefit from better skilled employees with higher morale.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Another one of the motivational theories in business is Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which identifies a person's most basic needs on a progressive pyramid, ending with a person's least basic needs. Maslow's theory states that only unsatisfied needs can be used to motivate a person. For example, if a person makes a lot of money, he no longer views money as a motivating factor in his work. The needs that Maslow identified include physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization.

According to this theory, management can motivate workers by meeting their most basic human needs and building on them. For example, management should ensure that employees are allotted a fair amount of time for food, social interaction and breaks.

In addition, companies can use the theory's pyramid of needs to make their products better appeal to customers' needs from the lower to higher levels. For example, customers whose physiological needs are not satisfied are not yet ready to focus on luxury goods near the top of the pyramid. On the other hand, customers near the top of the pyramid would be interested in products or services related to hobbies and travel.

Two Factor Theory

The two factor theory identifies two main sources of motivation for people in the workforce. The first is hygiene factors, such as the working environment, a person's salary, job security and management styles. The second motivator in this theory is satisfaction, which include achievement, status, recognition, responsibility and potential growth. The more these factors are present in a worker's environment, the more an employee will be motivated.

The ERG Theory

The ERG theory represents existence needs, relatedness needs and growth needs. This theory is built on Maslow's hierarchy of needs with a condensed understanding of human needs and behaviors. Existence needs are desires for well-being, such as feeling appreciated and valued. Relatedness needs are interpersonal desires, such as having a strong social network and good relations with management. Growth needs include the desire for personal and professional training and development, such as coaching and continual training.

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About the Author

Nicole Papa has been a freelance writer since 2004 with a focus on SEO and Internet marketing. She has written for instinctmarketing.com and JOLT! Marketing. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in mass media communications, and from the University of Texas with an associate degree in theater performance.

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