Theoretical basis of the concept of "motivation"
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №1 - 2010
Author: Omarkhan Dilara, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
It is known that the transition from a
command to a market economy requires changes in all spheres of economic
activity, mainly the transition to new, more efficient management techniques. Therefore
the problem of production organization presents qualitatively new requirements
for the process of human resources management.
Everyone is working for something. Some
people strive for money, others for fame, some people want power, and others
just love their job. These and many other circumstances that encourage people
to be active are called motives, and their application is called motivation. Reasons
that lead a person to give the work maximum efforts are difficult to define;
they are very diverse and complex. What should we do to make people work better
and more productive? How can we make work more attractive? What makes a person
want to work? These and similar questions are always of interest in any sphere
of business. The company's management can develop excellent plans and
strategies, install the most modern equipment, use the best technology, but it
can be ineffective if its employees do not cope with their responsibilities,
strive to achieve development of the company. Mechanical enforcement for labour
can not produce positive results. Effective management is impossible without
understanding motives and human needs.
Motive («motif» – driving force, a reason
for this or that action) is a set of psychic driving reasons for behavior,
action and human activities. In the basis of motives there are needs,
interests, aptitudes and beliefs. Motive not only encourages people to act, but
also defines in what way that action will be taken. Understanding motives makes
it possible to understand motivations driving the subjective reasons that guide
people in their actions.
Human behavior is determined not by one
motive, but by its totality, in which motives may be in a certain respect for
each other in terms of their impact on human behavior. Status of various
motivations that lead to human behavior makes the motivational structure. Each
person is individual and is characterized by many factors: level of wealth,
social status, qualifications, post, values, etc. Motivational structure of the
individual has a certain stability. However, it can vary, in particular,
deliberately in the process of getting education. Knowing what motives underlie
people's actions, we can develop an effective system of forms and methods of
Motivation is at the heart and foundation
of human control. Motivation is a process of human exposure in order to
encourage them for certain actions by awakening in them of certain motives.
Irritation of the motives arises under
attention of incentives («stimulus» – a pointed stick, which was used for
hurrying animals in Rome). Incentives serve as a leverage or carrier
"irritation, causing the effect of certain motives. As the stimulus
argument is that people would like to receive as a result of certain actions. There
are 4 basic types of incentives: enforcement, material and moral encouragement
and self-esteem. The process of using various incentives to motivate people is
called stimulation. Stimulation is fundamentally different from motivation; the
essence of this difference lies in the fact that stimulation is one of the
methods of motivation. The concept of stimulation is based on the use of
incentives such as external influences on a person to coordinate his activities
(for example, using of punishment, encouragement, promotions, etc.).
Theory of motivation was actively developed
in the twentieth century, though many motives, incentives and requirements had
been known since ancient times. Currently, there are several theories of
motivation: the original, substantive and procedural [1, 2, 3, 4].
Initial theories of motivation are added
based on analysis of historical records of people and the use of simple
incentives of enforcement, material and moral incentives. The most famous and
widely used so far is the policy of "carrot and stick". "The
stick" was most often used and aroused the fear of death or expulsion from
the country for failure to comply with the king or a prince, and
"carrot" acted as wealth ("half the kingdom") or kinship
with the ruler ("princess"). This theory of motivation was widely
used in fairy tales and legends.
With regard to the management of economic
activity for the first time the problem of motivation and incentives was posed
by Adam Smith, who believed that people are run by selfish motives, permanent
and ineradicable tendency of people to improve their financial situation. But
Adam Smith meant primarily motivated entrepreneur, and as to the motivation of
workers, members of the production process, Adam Smith was not interested in
them at all.
This gap was filled by an American theorist
F.W Taylor. He claimed: "Coercive force of administrator is the main drive
of production and the main motivation to work." Everyone tends to work
less and get more, for what an entrepreneur must meet the policy of "pay
less and demand more."
Despite the fact that public opinion has
shown the inadequacy of the method, some of its provisions are reflected in the
motivational model of «X», «Y», «Z». The theory of «X» was originally developed
by F. Taylor, and then developed and supplemented by D. McGregor, who added a
theory of «Y». Theory «Z» was offered much later, in the 80's by W. Ouchy
(model behavior and human motivation).
Each of the theories describes a certain
group of employees in enterprises. The "X" theory describes
reluctant, poor workers who dislike work. Therefore, it is natural to use
financial incentives as the main stimulus for coercion and support. Model of
the "Y" theory represents an advanced, creative, active part of
society. Incentives of work are reflected in the following order: recognition
of the moral and material incentives, coercion. It is obvious that the
proportion of these workers is low. Theory «Z» describes a good worker who
prefers to work in a group, and has goals for the long term perspective. Incentives
to labour of such employees are effective in the following order: financial
incentives, moral encouragement, recognition, enforcement. Thus, workers,
described by «X», «Y», «Z» theories, form a different group of people who are
guided by different motives. Initial theories of motivation identified areas
for further development of theories of motivation.
Modern theories of motivation can be
divided into 2 types: substantive and procedural. The application of this
concept is situational, then what is the best motivation for some people is
completely unsuitable for others. Content theories of motivation analyze
factors that influence motivation. They describe the structure of needs, their
content and in what way the requirements relate to human motivation. The
best-known theories of motivation of this group are: Maslow's pyramid, the
theory of acquired needs by McClelland, ERG theory by Alderfer, the theory of
In accordance with the theory of Maslow's
hierarchy of needs, people always have different needs, which can be combined
into groups that are in a hierarchical relation to each other. These groups of
Maslow needs are presented in the form of a pyramid. The first level is the
physiological needs in order to satisfy human basic survival - food, housing,
recreation, etc. To do this requires a minimum level of wages and satisfactory
The second level is represented by needs of
security and confidence in the future, satisfied with wages exceeding the
minimum level, which already allows you to purchase an insurance policy to make
contributions to the pension fund, as well as through work in a reliable
organization to receive certain social benefits. Without satisfying the first
and second level, called the primary, there cannot be a normal human life.
At the third level Maslow placed the need
for social support from others: the merits of a man belonging to a particular
community. To satisfy this need a person needs participation in group work,
team work, attention from the leader, respect from colleagues. The fourth level
is formed by needs of self-affirmation, recognition from others. They are
satisfied through the acquisition of competencies, gaining credibility,
leadership, popularity, receiving public recognition. Finally, the fifth stage
of Maslow's hierarchy of needs is the need of people to express themselves,
realize their potential. To meet these needs a person should have maximum
freedom of creativity, choice of means and methods of solving problems.
There are a number of weaknesses in
Maslow's concept. He did not consider the impact of situational factors on the
needs, insisted on a rigid sequence in the transition from one level of needs
to another just from the bottom-up approach [1, 2, 3].
In some cases, the theory of Maslow is
challenged by other supporters of the substantive approach, J. McClelland being
among them. He advanced the theory, which shows the external levels of Maslow's
needs, and without the hierarchy. McClelland theory of acquired needs describes
the requirements that are acquired and developed on the basis of learning and
life experience and have a major impact on human behavior. He identifies three
types of needs: achievement, participation and dominion. Need for achievement
is manifested in the pursuit of human to achieve their goals more effectively. At
that the work will only be effective if the goals are achievable and the result
is guaranteed. It should also be noted that the goals of the employee are
achieved with greater activity.
Need of complicity is manifested in the
form of desire for friendly relations with others. People with a high degree of
this need wish to receive the endorsement and support from others; they are
concerned with what other people think about them. For the successful organization
of team members it is necessary to create conditions that allow them to receive
Need to dominate are seen in the desire to
control resources and processes. Individuals with a high level of this need can
be divided into 2 groups. The first group comprises those who seek power for
power itself. They are attracted by the opportunity to command others, but the
interests of the organization for them are often overshadowed and lose their
meaning. The second group includes those who seek power for the sake of solving
the organizational tasks and the responsible management experience. In this
case, the dominion is a means to achieve organizational goals. McClelland
believes that of the three needs considered in the concept (achievement,
participation and dominion) the need of ruling the second type is of the
greatest importance for the success of the business.
A relatively new concept in a meaningful
approach to motivation is the theory of ERG Alderfer. In contrast to Maslow's
hierarchy of needs he identifies three groups of needs. Firstly, these are
existence needs corresponding approximately to the two bottom levels in
Maslow’s pyramid. Secondly, there are needs of communication, aimed at
maintaining contacts, recognition, affirmation, finding support, group
security, covering the third, and partially the second and fourth of Maslow’s
stages. Thirdly, there are needs of growth, manifested in man's desire for
recognition and affirmation, mostly equivalent to the two upper steps of the pyramid
of Maslow. Like Maslow, Alderfer considers needs as a certain hierarchy, but
unlike Maslow he considers it possible to move from one level to another in
different directions. In the case of unsatistied needs top-level increases the
degree of demand at a lower level, which tends to focus people on this level. Thus,
there is movement both from top to bottom and from bottom to top.
Another concept in the framework of a
meaningful approach is the theory of Herzberg's two factors. On the basis of
his model Herzberg suggested two "schools" that show the change in
the state needs: a school 1 - from satisfaction to no satisfaction, and school
2- from the lack of frustration to frustration.
Herzberg needs themselves can be divided
into 2 groups: motivational factors or factors of satisfaction (these are
achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement, opportunity for growth)
and "hygiene" factors or factors of working conditions (these are
wages, workplace safety, status, rules, regulations and mode of operation,
quality control by management, relationships with colleagues and subordinates).
According to the theory of Herzberg, better working conditions will not
motivate employees, in his opinion for the stimulation people need rewards of
recognition, personal and professional growth.
As can be seen, there is no single approach
to explain human motivation. Although the theory of Mac-Cleland, Alderfer and
Herzberg motivation consider different points of view, they are usually based
on Maslow's theory, which gives an idea about the content of motivation [3, 4,
The main drawback of all theories of the
content of the concept is that they pay attention to the analysis of the
factors explaining the motivation, but do not consider the mechanism of its
activity. This shortcoming is overcome by the authors of the process approach. Procedural
theories of motivation, consider the dynamics of interaction of different
motives. These theories can teach how to construct a process of motivation and
how to motivate people to achieve the desired results. There are three basic
procedural theory of motivation: V. Vroom, Adams and E. Locke, as well as
bringing together all the concept model of the Porter-Lawler.
Vroom Expectancy theory is based on the
fact that a person expects to meet its needs, and in accordance with the
expected result, plans level of effort. In his concept Vroom attempts to
explain why a person makes this or that choice, when faced with multiple
possibilities, and how much effort he is prepared to make to get results. People's
perceptions about the extent to which their actions lead to certain results are
called out. It is determined based on the analysis of the situation, knowledge,
experience, intuition, the ability to assess the situation and their possibilities
and has a significant effect on the activity of man, and his desire to achieve
this goal. Since the expectation is probably a category of its numerical
characteristic varies from 0 to 1.
V. Vroom distinguishes the expectations of
- expectations of the person that the
projected level of effort will lead to achieving the desired result. These
expectations are called waiting for the results. In this case, Vroom emphasizes
the relationship: labor costs - the results.
- expactations of a fair reward for the
achieved level of results. It emphasizes the relationship: results – reward.
In addition, to explain the motivation to
work out the theory introduces the concept of valence. Valence is satisfaction
or dissatisfaction with compensation, valuation fees. If the ratio of reward to
the negative, the valence of the negative; if the remuneration has value -
positive and if it is indifferent - is zero.
Another concept within the process approach
is a theory of justice. J. Adams argues that human motivation is largely
affected by the validity of its current activities and its results as compared
with previous periods and, most importantly, the achievements of others. People
subjectively determine the ratio of the result, or compensation for expended
effort, and then correlate it with the remuneration of other people doing
similar work. If as a results of the comparisons he concludes that there is no
violation, the motivating factors are normal, but if violations are found, then
the person is demotivated, which results in reduced efficiency of labor and the
person begins to "restore justice" - to reduce business activity,
demand higher wages and better working conditions, promotions, etc. Equity
theory suggests important implications for the practice of managing people. The
manager must not only strive to be fair, to create an atmosphere of equality,
but also know whether workers believe that the reward is fair and equitable.
E. Locke’s theory of setting goals also
belongs to the process approach theories. The theory assumes that people are
subjective to some degree of perceived goal of the organization as their own
and strive to achieve it, getting satisfaction from the performance required
for this work. Moreover, its effectiveness is largely determined by
characteristics such as commitment to the purposes, their acceptability,
complexity, etc. If the goals are real, then the higher they are the greater
results the person achieves in the process of achieving them, otherwise the
target is no longer the means of motivation. Striving for high results leads to
clarity and certainty objectives, clarity and specificity in their formulation.
At the same time, their vague, amorphous causes fragmentation of efforts.
L. Porter and E. Lawler developed a
comprehensive procedural theory of motivation, incorporating elements of
theories of expectations and fairness. Theory of the Porter-Lawler is based on
the assumption that the work itself is a source of satisfaction of needs, but
stresses the importance of remuneration for work as a motivating element.
Thus, the foregoing suggests that there is
no single doctrine, explaining what lies at the heart of human motivation and
how it is defined. The theory of expectations, equity, goal setting and the
Porter-Lawler model help to explain how to influence people to encourage them
to productive work, give the head of the key to building an effective system to
motivate people. Despite the fundamental difference, all four theories have a
lot in common, which allows to draw certain conclusions for the creation of an
effective incentive system.
In the practice of American companies such
as Ford, General Motors the use different methods of work motivation, many of
which are related to monetary rewards. They often use the so-called analytical
system of wages, i.e. differential evaluation of a scale degree of complexity
of work with regard to the qualifications of performers, physical effort,
working conditions, and others. In this case, the variable component of wages,
which serves as a reward for improving product quality, increased productivity,
cost of raw materials up to 1 / 3 of salary. It was widespread in the British
company to receive financial incentives in the form of gifts. So, in the
company «British Telecom» they award valuable gifts and travel vouchers .
One form of motivation, which has found
wide application in the practice of foreign enterprises, is the introduction of
flexible work schedules. In the institutions of Oxfordshire (UK) at the
beginning of 90's as an experiment there was introduced a new form of labor
organization, giving employees a substantial degree of freedom: the ability to
work both at the workplace and at home. Thus, contract chief accountant of one
of the agencies assumes the following distribution of working time: 75% (30
hours per week) - in the institution, 25% (10 hours per week) - at home. Head
of Accounting at home basically works on the computer, verifyin the digital
data of financial instruments, and in the institution participates in meetings
and is engaged in other jobs that require contact with staff. Work performed at
home at a computer is called telecommuting. For some categories of workers who
are burdened with family responsibilities, such a form of labor organization is
preferable. The experiment met expectations and was picked up by other
Analyzing theories of motivation can derive
a set of rules that are necessary for an effective incentive system:
- setting clear and achievable objectives
for the members of the teams, deciding which of them each worker would be
individually concerned with. According to the theory of goal setting, E. Locke,
a man committed to the objectives of the organization will recognize them as
their own and strive to achieve them. Individual employee's interest is the
ideal tool to motivate.
– Creation of conditions under which all
employees are aware of the importance of their work in the overall process of
production ("self-actualization" by Maslow).
- Appointment of remuneration which is
commensurate with the effort expended. According to the theory of expectations
by Vroom level of the effort will depend on the expected reward.
- Ensuring equitable distribution of income
among members of the team (the theory of equality by J. Adams).
- Providing some degree of self-employment,
in which each of the workers can most fully express him/herself
("self-expression by Maslow ").
- Ensuring conditions for growth: the
opportunity to learn and improve, career planning, career development
(Alderfer’s demand growth).
- Ensuring the necessary conditions.
According to the theory of Herzberg there must be "hygiene factors"
in the organization. These include the following factors: a) protecting public
health and safety and working conditions (physiological needs and security
needs on Maslow), b) social contact - an opportunity to interact with others
(communication Alderfer needs, McClelland need for participation).
- Timely information to employees about the
economic and strategic objectives.
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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №1 - 2010