Free «Motivational Theories» Essay Sample

Motivation is the positive influence that the management of an institution can give its worker, which can help in producing the best performances from the workers. In other words, it is a program or an act that can trigger an individual to work extra hard in their roles at their work place. Different individuals have fronted differing motivation theories, which explain the different things that motivate workers. This paper examines three of the motivational theories, their applicability, strengths and weaknesses (Riley, 2012).

Theory of Scientific Management

Fredrick Winslow Taylor believed that the main motivation to workers in the workplace is pay. According to this theory, workers do not naturally enjoy working. Thus, the workers need close supervision and control. Managers, therefore, need to break down production into a series of small roles and responsibilities. The workers also need appropriate tools and training in order to execute their roles in an effective manner. Under this approach, the workers’ payment is proportionate to the number of items that they produce in a given time specification. Workers tend to work hard in order to maximize their productivity. Most organizations have since adopted this approach because of the benefits of high productivity levels among workers at low unit costs.  In fact, Henry Ford adopted the approach in designing the production line for his Motor firm, Ford (Riley, 2012).

Application of the Theory

This theory is mostly effective in a production firm that can quantify production units. Like the case of Ford Corporation, the approach is effective in increasing employee productivity, because of the incentive attached to production of many units by workers.


The approach is effective in increasing output of the firm due to high levels of employee productivity.


The approach will not produce the best performances from employees who are not motivated by pay.

Maslow’s Theory

Maslow’s motivational theory bases its arguments on the psychological needs of employees. According to Maslow, there are five levels of human needs that employees require to be fulfilled at the workplace. These needs are in a form of a hierarchy. Workers will only get the need or the feeling of motivation of a certain need when the previous need has been fully satisfied.  For instance, he uses the example of an individual who is dying of hunger. Such an individual will aspire to attain a basic salary that can meet his food demands before he can start worrying about the security of his job. Thus, organizations should provide varying incentives to its workers to meet all the demands on the hierarchy. The needs, in ascending order, include physiological needs, safety needs, social needs such as a sense of belonging and love, self-esteem and recognition and self-actualization (Hoffmann, 2007).


This motivation approach is applicable in an organization with a different scope of workers. In such a case, it is hard to identify the motivating factors for each individual. Thus, the only option to the organization is to meet the psychological needs of workers in terms of the hierarchy.


This approach satisfies a large percentage of the individuals because it covers all the needs of workers.  There are certain workers who can perform better when their self actualization needs are met rather than physiological needs. This approach is effective in such a scenario.


The approach is not suitable in organizations that value output maximization. For instance, production firms cannot perform well under this form of motivation.

Herzberg Motivation Approach

Herzberg believed in the two-factor motivation theory.  According to the theory, there are factors that could effectively and directly motivate employees to work harder. He referred to these factors as motivators. Hygiene factors, on the other hand, could effectively de-motivate an employee. Examples of motivators are recognition and promotion. Hygiene factors include working conditions and pay rates. According to this approach, organizations should motivate employees through the adoption of a democratic approach to management. This is through improvement of the content and nature of the actual job (Grasser, 2008).


This method, like Maslow’s approach, is applicable in an organization that has a wide scope of employees who are motivated by varying elements.


This approach is effective in getting the best performances from individuals who are motivated by other intrinsic factors such as recognition and promotional opportunities.


The method is not suitable in organizations whose main objective is output maximization.

Selected Theory for Implementation

The most appropriate theory will depend on the nature of the organization. However, the Herzberg approach could be effective in any organization. This is because the approach will categorize motivation programs into intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The management can then conduct a survey to identify the employees who get motivated by motivators and hygiene factors. In this case, it becomes easy to find the appropriate motivation programs for each employee or group of employees.


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