Motivation as a Directing Function- Maslow/Re-enforcement Theories

 Motivation is a need or desire that energizes and directs behaviour. The early view that instincts control behaviour was replaced by drive-reduction theory, which maintains that physiological needs create psychological drives that seek to restore internal stability, or homeostasis. In addition, we are pulled by external incentives, and some motivated behaviour’s increase arousal. According to Maslow, some motives are more compelling than others. The need to belong, an important need in Maslow’s hierarchy is a major influence in motivating human behaviour.

Hunger seems to originate from changes in glucose and insulin levels that are monitored by the hypothalamus to maintain a set-point weight the body also adjust its metabolic rate. Culture affects tastes, and the sight and smell of food can trigger hunger.

Psychological influences on eating behaviour are most evident in those who are motivated to be abnormally thin.

Like hunger, sexual motivation depends on the interplaying of internal and external stimuli. In non-human animals,  hormones help stimulate sexual activity. In humans they influence sexual behavior more loosely. Sexual disorders are being successfully treated by new methods that assume that people learn and can modify their sexual responses. An important gender difference is women’s greater disapproval of causal, uncommitted sex.

One’s sexual orientation seems neither willfully chosen nor willfully changes; new research links sexual orientation to biological factors.

Achievement motivation does not have any obvious biological basis. Those with a high need to achieve tend to prefer moderately challenging tasks and persist in accomplishing them.

The motive to achieve may be intrinsic or extrinsic. Managers can cultivates intrinsic motivation by using rewards to boost workers’ sense of competence  rather than their style in response to workers’ motives, set specific, challenging goals, and combine oriented social leadership.


Defining motivation and identifying several theories of motivated behaviour. A motivation is a need or desire that serves to energize A motivation is a need or desire that serves to energize behaviour and to direct it toward a goal. Under Darwin’s influence early theorists viewed behaviour as being controlled by biological forces, such as instincts. When it became clear that people were naming, not explaining, various behaviour by calling them instincts. Psychologist turned to a drive-reduction theory of motivation. Most physiological needs create Groused Psychological states that drive us to reduce or satisfy those needs. The aim of drive reduction is internal stability, or homeostasis.

Furthermore, we are not only pushed by internal drives but we are also pulled by external incentives. Rather than reducing a physiological need or minimizing tension, some motivated behaviour increases arousal. Curiosity-driven behaviors, for example, suggest that too little or too much stimulation can motivate people to seek an optimum level of arousal.


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs expresses the idea that, until satisfied, some motives are more compelling than other.  At the base of the hierarchy are our physiological needs, such as for food, water and shelter. Only if these are met, are we prompted to meet our   need for safety, and then to meet the uniquely human needs to give and receive love, to belong and be accepted, and to enjoy self-esteem. Beyond this, said Maslow, lies the highest of human needs to actualize one’s full potential.

Social bonds boosted our ancestor’s survived rate. Adults who formed attachments were more likely to come together to reproduce and to stay together to nurture   their offspring to maturity. Cooperation in groups also enhanced survival. When relationships form, we often feel joy. Most separation often elicits feelings of tone lines and anger.


Describing the Nature and Sources of Achievement Motivation: Achievement motivation is the desire for significant accomplishment: for mastering of skills or ideas; for control for rapidly attaining a high standard. Many achievement oriented children have parents and teachers who encourage and affirm independent achievement rather than overly controlling them with regards and threats. First-born children tend to be higher achievers, but later-born tend to have greater social skills and to be more accepting of new ideas.

Distinguishing between extrinsic and intrinsic achievement motivation and identify factors that encourage each:

Intrinsic motivation is the desire to be effective and to perform behaviour for its own sake. Extrinsic motivation is seeking external rewards and avoiding punishments. Rewards that inform people that are doing well can boost their feelings of competence and intrinsic motivation. In contrast, attempts to control people through extrinsic pressures, rewards, and competition tend to undermine intrinsic motivation and to boost extrinsic motivation.

How managers can create and maintain a motivated, productive and satisfied workforce and identify various styles of management.

Studies in the growing field of industrial/organizational psychology suggest that manager can create and maintain a motivated, productive, and satisfied workforce by cultivating intrinsic motivation; by adjusting their managerial style in response to workers’ motives by setting specific, challenging goals, and by combing task leadership with social leadership.

Some managers excel at task leadership setting standards, organizing work, and focusing attention on goals. Task leaders typically have a directive style that can work well if they are bright enough to give good orders. Other managers excel at social leadership-building teamwork, mediating conflicts, and supporting their work face. Social leaders often delegate authority and welcome the participation of team members. One’s leadership style seems closely related to whether one adopts theory X or theory Y as the better view of worker motivation.


(Understanding Team Member Motivation) What motivates employees to go to work each morning?  Many people get great satisfaction from their work and take great pride in it; others may view it as a burden, and simply work to survive.

Social psychologist Douglas McGregor of MIT expounded two Contrasting theories on human motivation and management in the 1960’s. The X theory and they Y theory. McGregor Promoted Theory Y as the basic of good management practice, pioneering the argument that workers are not merely logs in the Company machinery, as Theory X-Type organization seemed to believe. The theories look at how a manager’s perceptions of what motivates his or her team members affect the way he or she behaves. By understanding how your assumptions about employee’s motivation can influence your management style, you can adopt your approach appropriately, and so manager people more effectively.


Your management style is strongly influenced by your beliefs and assumption about what motivates members of your team: If your believe that team members dislike work, you will tend towards an authoritarian style of management; on the other hand if your assume that employees take pride in doing a good job, you will tend to adopt a more participative styles.


This assumes that employees are naturally unmotivated and dislike working, and this encourages and authoritarian style of management. According to this view, management must actively intervene to get things done. This style of management assumes that workers:


  • Avoid responsibility and need to be
  • Have to be controlled, forced, and threatened to deliver what? Needed.
  • Need to be supervised at every step, with controls put in place.
  • Need to be enticed to produce result; otherwise they have no ambition or incentive to work.
  • X-Type organizations tend to be top heavy, with managers and supervisors required at every step to control workers. There is little delegation of authority and control remains firmly centralized.

McGregor recognized that X- type workers are in fact usually the minority, and yet in mass organizations, such as large scale production environment, X theory management may be required and can be unavoidable.


This expounds a participative style of management that is decentralized. It assumes that employees are happy to work, are self-motivated and creative, and enjoy working with greater responsibility. It assume that workers;

  • Take responsibility and are motivated fulfill the goals they are given.
  • Seek and accept responsibility and o not need much direction
  • Considering work as a natural part of life and solve work problems imaginatively.

This more participative management style tends to be more widely applicable. In Y-Type organizations,   people at lower levels of the organization are involved in decision making and have more responsibility.


Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory (Two Factor Theory).

To better understand employee attitude and motivation, Frederick Herzberg performed Studies to determine which factor in an employee’s work environment caused satisfied or dissatisfaction. He published his findings in the 1959 book the motivation to work.

The studies include interviews in which employees where asked what pleased and displeased them about their work. Herzberg found that the factors causing job satisfaction (and presumably motivation) were different from those that causing job dissatisfaction. He developed the MOTIVATION-HYGIENE theory to explain these results. He called the satisfiers motivators and the dissatisifier’s hygiene factors, using the term “hygiene” in the sense that they are considered maintenance factors that are necessary to avoid dissatisfaction but that by themselves do not provide satisfaction.


Company policy, Supervision, Relationship w/Boss, Work Conditions, Salary, Relationship w/peers


Achievement, Recognition, Work itself, Responsibility, Advancement and Advancement.


Because of the criticisms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, Alderfer (1972) proposed an alternative known as ERG theory. He condenses the Maslow hierarchy into three-need categories:

E         Existence

R         Relatedness

G         Growth.


Goals tell an employee what needs to be done and how much effort will need to be expended. In order to increase performance: set specific goals. Difficult goals, when accepted, result in higher performance, than those easy goals, provides feedback.


Employees make comparison of their job inputs and outcomes relative to those of others. When employees perceive inequity, they can: changes their inputs, change their outcomes, distort perceptions of self, distort perception of other, etc. Given payment by time: Unrewarded employees will produce less or poorer quality of output.


Given maximum effort not always means being recognized-Good performance appraisal not always leads to organizational rewards. Reward are not always founds attractive by employees managements limited in the rewards they can distribute managers incorrectly assume that all employees want the same. The key is the understanding of an individual’s goal and the linkage between the three relationships.


A counterpoint to the goal-setting theory is the re-enforcement theory. Enforcement theorist sees behaviour as being envious as being environmentally caused. The theory encourages appropriate behaviour by focusing on the consequences of the behaviours. Simply, put, behaviour that is to be repeated should be rewarded. Behaviour not to be repeated should be punished. As we noted learning, reinforcement for behaviours could be positive and negative. Positive behaviour and is undoubtedly by an important influence on behaviour but not following it wholeheartedly will in my view created a consequence that cannot be managed easily.


  1. Employees work with better interest and responsibility
  2. Motivated employees are an asset to the organization.
  3. The organization works smoothly and efficiently as there is co-operation to management


  1. Unmotivated employees do not take an interest in their organization
  2. They include in spreading ‘rumors’
  3. There is no co-operation from unmotivated employees.
  4. The threats of strikes, demonstrations, etc. Creates problems for the management.


Maslow Motivation Theory

The Hierarchy of Needs

The Maslow motivation theory is one of the best known and most influential theories on workplace motivation.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow first developed his famous theory of individual development and motivation in the 1940?s. He suggested that human beings have a hierarchy of needs. That is, that all humans act in a way which will address basic needs, before moving on to satisfy other, so-called higher level needs.

Maslow represented this theory as a hierarchical triangle. This shows how basic needs must be met before one can “climb” the hierarchy, to address more complex needs.

For example, first one must meet the basic, physiological need for food, water and warmth. After that the focus would be on the need to be safe, then the need to belong to social groups, and so on up the hierarchy.

The important thing to recognize is Maslow’s contention that one’s sense of well-being. i.e. the ‘feelgood factor’ increases as the higher level needs are met.

Maslow Motivation Theory:

the Hierarchy of Needs

The Maslow motivation theory is typically represented by 5 steps:

  • Physiological needs – such as hunger, thirst and sleep
  • Safety needs – such as security, protection from danger and freedom from pain.
  • Social needs – sometimes also referred to as love needs such as friendship, giving and receiving love, engaging in social activities and group membership.
  • Esteem needs – these include both self-respect and the esteem of others. For example, the desire for self-confidence and achievement, and recognition and appreciation.
  • Self-actualization – This is about the desire to develop and realize your full potential. To become everything you can be.
Maslow Motivation Theory

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


Maslow believed that human beings have a strong desire to reach their full potential. In his own words:

“a man’s desire for self-fulfilment, namely the tendency for him to become actually in what he is potentially: to become everything that one is capable of being….”

Understanding Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy

To understand Maslow’s thinking it’s worth noting some of his main assertions:

  •  Broadly, as one set of needs is met, the next level of needs become more of a motivator to an individual.
  •  A satisfied need is not a motivator.
  •  Only unsatisfied needs motivate an individual. We have an innate desire to work our way up the hierarchy, pursuing satisfaction in higher order needs.

Reinforcement Theory of Motivation

Reinforcement theory of motivation was proposed by BF Skinner and his associates. It states that individual’s behaviour is a function of its consequences. It is based on “law of effect”, i.e, individual’s behaviour with positive consequences tends to be repeated, but individual’s behaviour with negative consequences tends not to be repeated.

Reinforcement theory of motivation overlooks the internal state of individual, i.e., the inner feelings and drives of individuals are ignored by Skinner. This theory focuses totally on what happens to an individual when he takes some action. Thus, according to Skinner, the external environment of the organization must be designed effectively and positively so as to motivate the employee. This theory is a strong tool for analyzing controlling mechanism for individual’s behaviour. However, it does not focus on the causes of individual’s behaviour.

The managers use the following methods for controlling the behaviour of the employees:

Positive Reinforcement- This implies giving a positive response when an individual shows positive and required behaviour. For example – Immediately praising an employee for coming early for job. This will increase probability of outstanding behaviour occurring again. Reward is a positive reinforce, but not necessarily. If and only if the employees’ behaviour improves, reward can said to be a positive reinforcer. Positive reinforcement stimulates occurrence of a behaviour. It must be noted that more spontaneous is the giving of reward, the greater reinforcement value it has.
Negative Reinforcement- This implies rewarding an employee by removing negative / undesirable consequences. Both positive and negative reinforcement can be used for increasing desirable / required behaviour.
Punishment- It implies removing positive consequences so as to lower the probability of repeating undesirable behaviour in future. In other words, punishment means applying undesirable consequence for showing undesirable behaviour. For instance – Suspending an employee for breaking the organizational rules. Punishment can be equalized by positive reinforcement from alternative source.
Extinction- It implies absence of reinforcements. In other words, extinction implies lowering the probability of undesired behaviour by removing reward for that kind of behaviour. For instance – if an employee no longer receives praise and admiration for his good work, he may feel that his behaviour is generating no fruitful consequence. Extinction may unintentionally lower desirable behaviour.

Implications of Reinforcement Theory

Reinforcement theory explains in detail how an individual learns behaviour. Managers who are making attempt to motivate the employees must ensure that they do not reward all employees simultaneously. They must tell the employees what they are not doing correct. They must tell the employees how they can achieve positive reinforcement.

Post Your Comment Here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

vaxityinfo on Twitter
people follow vaxityinfo
Twitter Pic Y