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Changing Perspectives in Motivational Theories

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Changing Perspectives in Motivational Theories The idea of motivational theory has been contemplated over the past hundred years or so. Taylor, Mayo, Maslow and Herzberg are the four main thinkers in the field. The theories that they proposed have similarities and differences. Taylor and Mayo have conflicting views and Maslow has similar theories and views to Herzberg, however Herzberg expanded on the work of Maslow F.W. Taylor was the first to look at the factors that motivate workers, working at the beginning of the 20th century. He was a manager that was mainly interested in productivity. Taylor came up with a set of views that became the theory of Scientific Management (Slattery 2003).Taylor believed that workers do not naturally enjoy the work that they do. This led to his belief that workers needed to be closely supervised and controlled. He stated that the tasks of workers should be broken down into small, simple tasks and that training and the tools to complete the tasks should be given. ...read more.


Mayo conducted experiments where he divided two groups of workers and changed the working conditions that they experienced. What he expected to see was a drop in production as working conditions got worse. What he actually saw was that productivity stayed the same or increased. Mayo concluded from his experiments that the factors that actually motivated workers were better communication (the workers were consulted over the experiments and had the option of giving feedback), greater management involvement (it was seen that workers responded to the increased attention they were getting from managers) and working in groups (something that had not taken place before with the workers Mayo was studying). Mayo's theory promoted the idea that workers should work as part of a team. The theory also went on to advocate the use of personnel departments that would oversee the needs and interests of the workers. Abraham Maslow introduced the Neo-Human Relations School of thought. Maslow was a psychologist. He concerned himself with the individual needs of people in working environments. ...read more.


He believed that this could be achieved by allowing for job enlargement, meaning workers are given a greater variety of tasks to achieve. He also believed that workers should be empowered to have a greater responsibility over the tasks that they undertake. The motivational theories of Taylor, Mayo, Maslow and Herzberg all have a valid way of viewing management of workers. Taylor's theory allowed for mass production to take place in allowing for each task to be split into simple tasks. This, however, meant that workers became bored and disenfranchised with the work that they were doing. Mayo expanded on Taylor's work to state that money was not the only motivator to workers. Maslow expanded further to describe these needs in a detailed hierarchy. Herzberg went on to simplify the work of Maslow and make it more specific to the manager's world. The work done by all of the theorists has been important to the way that motivating workers is viewed. Each has built on the work of the other. Some have been in contrast, Mayo on Taylor. Some have been in conjunction with the other, Herzberg on Maslow. All allow for the motivation of workers on differing levels and with differing aspects. ...read more.

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