The Early Theories of Motivation (part 1) essay
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Within the scope of this report, we will analyze the early theories of motivation and how it could be applied by managers in a business organization. The theorists to be assessed for the purposes of this paper are Maslow, McGregor, Herzberg and McClelland. There are few activities in an organization which have greater importance to its performance than those which are included in the goal setting, measurement, and reward cycle. The decisions about how individual, departmental, and division performance objectives are to be established, the methods by which actual performance is measured against these objectives, and the means by which individuals are rewarded for their part in that performance are central to the viability of the firm. However, few things have been more baffling to managers than the results of some of their attempts to develop workable performance measures and controls, thus channeling the energies of their employees toward the firm’s objectives. Therefore, motivation in business organization is one of the most important things facilitating its overall success.
Maslow’s theory hypothesizes five broad classes of needs arranged in hierarchical levels of prepotency so that when one need level is satisfied, the next level is activated. The levels are: (1) physiological needs; (2) security or safety needs; (3) social, belonging, or membership needs; (4) esteem needs further subdivided into esteem of others and self-esteem including autonomy; and (5) self-actualization or self-fulfillment needs. (Atkinson 1994) Maslow argues that the theory is primarily a framework for future research. He also discusses at length some of the limitations of the model and readily admits that these needs may be unconscious rather than conscious. While Maslow discusses his model and its limitations in detail, a widely publicized paper by McGregor gives the impression that the model can be accepted without question and also that it is fairly easy to apply. (Atkinson 1994) In truth, the model is difficult to test, which is probably why there are so few empirical studies to either prove or refute the theory.