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"How Useful Are Content And Process Theories Of Motivation In Explaining What Really

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"How useful are content and process theories of motivation in explaining what really

motivates people to work?"

Motivation is a complex concept to define, psychologically everyone has experienced the emotion and feeling motivation gives individually for different reasons. It is aspired within everyone to fulfill the inspiration or enthusiasm that comes from each individual of us. From resources I have researched it is referred, as "essentially an area of psychology, which attempts to explain why people, of animals, behave in a certain manner."(Hume1995, p9) From Britannica Encyclopedia motivation is defined as the "factors within a human being or animal that arouse and direct goal-oriented behavior." (© 2003 Encyclopжdia Britannica, Inc.)

Motivation can be categorised and assessed to increase the understanding of the approaches to motivation and the reasons why. The two main categorised theories that will help me with this essay are content theories and process theories. The other two additional theories are behavioural and cognitive. Behavioural theory is mainly on the focus on individual kind and cognitive theory is manly based on the consciousness action taken by an individual.

Content theories focuses on what motivates humans/ employees and process theories focus on how human/ employees needs influence their behaviour. Combining these two theories gives a better insight in the understanding of motivation in the work placement of employees.

*Static * Dynamic

*Emphasis on what motivates *Emphasis on the process of motivation

* Concern with individual needs * Concern with how motivation occurs

and goals

Brooks, 2003 (Figure 3.1 Distinction between process and content p50)

The diagram above shows the difference and dynamic stage it takes in the process of explaining how and what motivates humans.

To assess how useful content and process theories of motivation is in explaining what really motivates people to work, as a group we decided to pick two theorist of each theories to analyse and understand the concept of motivation. Once we collected data needed by using the Internet, books and encyclopedia as a group we shared our information to one another. By doing this as a group, any unclear information was cleared so we can understand which theories we would pick individually depending which one is more relevant for us to write and compare about. This would help me to analyse and compare with the result we will receive from the questionnaire later on.

The two content theories I have picked are the:

Ш Needs hierarchy by Maslow

Ш Two-factor theory by Herzberg

From all the research we collected as a group I picked these two theories because I believe that by using these theories,*** as a part time employee I felt I related to what they said and understood the aspects of what life can lead you in and what you want to achieve through motivation.

Needs hierarchy

Maslow's theory argues that individuals are motivated to satisfy a number of different kinds of needs, some of which are more important than the other one. Mainly choosing the most important or essential to accomplish at the moment. He argues unless the essential needs are not satisfied then the less essential needs are less likely to be accomplished. In other words once fully satisfied your first essential need, can you only then move to the next less pressing need. This is called the needs hierarchy, as seen below, it is a stage where individuals strive to seed a higher need when lower need is fulfilled. Brooks, 2003 (Figure 3.5 Needs hierarchies p56)




Esteem of others


Physiological needs

The first need that anyone must satisfy from hierarchy stage of needs is physiological. As Maslow said, "Undoubtedly these physiological needs are the most prepotent of all needs. What this means specifically is that in the human being who is missing everything in life in an extreme fashion, it is most likely that the major motivation would be the physiological needs rather than any others. A person who is lacking food, safety, love and esteem would probably hunger for food more strongly than anything else."(The Working Manager Ltd. 2004) Maslow's hierarchy of needs overall maintains a trend or a routine that everyone takes. Once the first level needs are satisfied, the next level of needs emerges in this stage it would be security as individuals get concerned with their need of safety. Once satisfied it will go to the next stage and so on, each individual desire or aim to achieve to motivation varies as they got different jobs, position, qualification and so on. From Maslow's theory it shows individuals will always need something, no one can be sated in what they have achieved. There is always one more thing needed to motivate and achieve in everyone's life stag.

Two-factory Theory

The two-factor model of motivation developed by Herzberg gives a better understanding of what motivates employees at their work place. Through the explanation of Herzberg, motivation there is a better understanding aspect for the relation to the affect to employees working. Herzberg called the factors, which results in job satisfaction motivators and the results in job dissatisfaction hygiene.

The factors that lead to job satisfaction (the motivator) are:

Ш Achievement

Ш Recognition

Ш Work itself

Ш Responsibility

Ш Advancement

The factors that may prevent dissatisfaction (the hygiene)



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