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B863 - Human Resource Management > Motivation > Flashcards

Flashcards in Motivation Deck (12)
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Content (needs) theory
WHAT motivates us?

Behaviour is motivated by unsatisfied need - survival

Satisfy need = pleasure
Unsatisfied need = displeasure/tension

Critique - the starving artist and different priorities at different life stages


Maslow (1943) Hierarchy of Needs

Emphasises innate needs. 5 stages; 3 lower and 2 higher:
Self actualisation

Need to meet 3 lower before moving to higher.

Critics- are there only 4, are they fixed, same for everyone?


Alderfer’s ERG Theory (1969)

Reduces Maslow to 3

E - basic survival
R - interpersonal and social affiliation
G - optimal use of own capacities

An already satisfied lower level need can be reactivated if higher level not achieved- regression principle. Opportunity for personal growth and development should be promoted. Eg. CEO extreme pay


McClelland’s (1963) Achievement Motivation Theory

Emphasis on 3 acquired (not innate) needs:
Power (ultimate motivator)

Critics - western culture bias. When you’re already at the top what is the motivation?


Herzberg’s Two-factor theory (1964)

Identifies specific job characteristics that cause dis/satisfaction- hygiene factors.
1. Hygiene factors do not motivate but just forestall dissatisfaction - pay, job content, status, security, interpersonal work relationships
2. Motivators (psychological needs) - achievement, recognition, intrinsic satisfaction, responsibility, advancement.

Critics - assumption that people take personal credit for intrinsic factors and attribute negative feelings to extrinsic


Job Characteristics Model, Hackman and Oldham (1976)

Emphasise intrinsic motivation obtained from 5 core job dimensions:

Task identity
Task significance
Skill variety

Jobs high in each = meaningfulness, responsibility and identification with achieved results.

Critics- it assumes work is main source of intrinsic satisfaction


Process (cognitive) Theories
HOW motivation arises!

Seek to explain cognitive processes by which people decide on a chosen pathway. Process theories are useful as they recognise thought processes and perception in decision making. Not grounded in assumptions (content theories).


Reinforcement Theories (1957) Pavlov, Skinner, Thorndyke

Behaviour resulting in pleasurable outcome is likely to be repeated. Unpleasant unlikely to be repeated. Reinforced learning with link between behaviour and consequences.

Critics - why is CEO pay high even when they don’t need to achieve targets, She’ll CEO?!

Relies mostly on extrinsic reward. Likens rats to humans. Herzberg describes it as KITA view on motivation. Applicable to simple tasks?


Expectancy Theory - Vroom (1967)

Behaviour determined by expected consequences. Workers motivation based on anticipated actions and rewards:

Valence - is it worth it?
Instrumentality - will they deliver?
Expectancy - can I do it?

Unless employees have skills, ability and knowledge to perform they will not deliver, resulting in low motivation.

Critics - assumes people make rational decisions and that behaviour is premeditated. Assumes value placed on reward. No distinction between intrinsic/extrinsic.


Goal-setting Theory
Locke and Latham (

Employees are more highly motivated when:
1. Set specific tasks
2. Are committed to the task
3. Are confident they will achieve the goal

Employees need precise instruction and regular feedback. They should be included at the earliest stages. More challenging goals are more motivating but they have to be achievable. Relevant for employees keen to progress.


Social Cognition Theory, Bandura (1986)

Goal setting alone will not increase motivation. Rather than emphasising the controls by superiors SCT asserts the importance of self belief at achieving a task. Motivation is first and foremost about personal development and employees need autonomy.


Cognitive evaluation theory, Deci and Ryan (1985)

Extrinsic rewards can destroy intrinsic motivation eg. pay. Employees who have been deriving intrinsic reward might revise how they feel if they receive a financial incentive. It recognises that people are more likely to act first and evaluate later - is that the case for everyone?

Only theory to recognise impulsive/unpremeditated behaviour. High bonuses are never viewed negatively by the receiver, unless not repeated in future.