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Content and process theories of motivation

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Content and process theories of motivation Introduction into motivation In this essay the writer is going to explore the concept of motivation, this is hopefully going to be achieved through exploration of the complex and variable nature of needs and expectations. Formal and informal theories of motivation will be discussed, focussing on the former. Mainly but this will involve mainly the formal theories because these are the ones that content and process theories fall under. Content and process theories of motivation will be evaluated with particular emphasis on the links between motivation and leadership. The writer will compare the various content theories and process theories. Finally writer also aims to compare the various content theories and process theories this will be done by brief illustration of the main ones and analysis of the most influential ones since some of the theories are similar in nature. Motivation is one of the most crucial skill that a manager needs to have it is the reason why it has to be studied it could be described as a leadership skill because a good leader has to be able to motivate their staff; firstly we need to know what motivation is. Motivation is " a set of processes that moves a person towards a goal, thus motivated behaviours are voluntary choices controlled by the individual employee." The reason an employer motivates their employees is to get the most out of them as in better work quality because there is a link between motivation and performance better motivated staff will put in more effort. ...read more.


As influential as Maslow's theory is it has been argued that his work was not intended for a work situation this will reduce the validity of his work when applied to work situations but in the writers opinion it cannot fully be relied upon on its own for effective motivation in an organisation. This is because Another content theory was done by Alderfer (1972) who used the same ideology that needs where arranged in order of levels and where arranged in the form of a hierarchy but his theory had one main exception it condensed Maslow's hierarchy into 3 levels from the 5 that Maslow had stated where. These where existence needs just like Maslow's lower level needs are the basic human functions these are physiological desires e.g. food. Relatedness needs these are the needs to form relationships in a work situation this would be a need to form friendships or bond with your work colleagues. Like Alderfer, also Fredrick Herzberg realised the importance of work relationships as he stated "The research on existence of social groupings among lower level workers and the discovery that these groupings are highly functional on those levels has helped the trend to an insistence on group activity in many areas in which it is far from appropriate"(Herzberg, 1959,pg129). Here it is seem the similarities between the two theories as the two theorists both have stated differently but the general idea is that people have a need to bond at work Herzberg in his theory described it in the sense of social groups and their effect on individuals and Alderfer also suggested, "These needs are more a continuum than a hierarchal levels." ...read more.


The amount of motivation the individual has will depend on how badly they want to achieve their goals. This although is a process theory and is about expectations it is also very tightly linked with the content theory of motivation as they work together hand in hand. The individual has a expectation of an out come of putting in effort but the extent to which they are motivated also depends on what needs have to be satisfied, which is a content theory. Conclusion These are all theories on motivation but at the end of the day they are all theories so it would be fair to say they are guidelines on motivating staff. Application of motivational theories might be easier than the actual identification of what motivates a particular individual, what is their driving force and which is the most effective way of helping them in the search for satisfaction of their needs. When you apply they them a lot of variables must be considered there was one thing common as a weakness in all theories and that is how individual differences play a part in motivation. This is because no matter what theory you apply individuals have too many needs to all be satisfied it might work in small organisations but in big ones a manager cannot identify the dominant need in each and every individual. Referencing Human resource Management, 5th Ed Management and organisational behaviour Management and introduction People Management and Development A motivation to work http://www.canberra.edu.au/uc/lectures/mantech/manpol/sem972/unit4207/Motivation.html - 1 - ...read more.

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