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Essay on Theories of Motivation

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Option 3: Traditional Paper

Research and discuss the basic theories of motivation as well as a description of what
they are.

The requirements below must be met for your paper to be accepted and graded:

  • Write between 500 – 750 words (approximately 2 – 3 pages) using Microsoft
  • Use APA style.
  • Use font size 12 and 1” margins.
  • Include cover page and reference page.
  • At least 60% of your paper must be original content/writing.
  • No more than 40% of your content/information may come from references.
  • Use at least two references from outside the course material, preferably from
    EBSCOhost. Text book, lectures, and other materials in the course may be used,
    but are not counted toward the two reference requirement.

Reference material (data, dates, graphs, quotes, paraphrased words, values, etc.) must
be identified in the paper and listed on a reference page. Reference material (data,
dates, graphs, quotes, paraphrased words, values, etc.) must come from sources such
as, scholarly journals found in EBSCOhost, online newspapers such as The Wall Street
Journal, government websites, etc. Sources such as Wikis, Yahoo Answers, eHow, etc.
are not acceptable.

This weeks Lecture:

Motivational Theories

During this lecture, we will be describing the various motivational theories and
advantages and disadvantages of them.

Smart managers understand that a key factor for a successful business is the
manager’s ability to motivate his/her employees. They also understand that what
motivates one person might not motivate another, so it can be challenging for them to
identify what motivates each person so they can use the best motivational technique.

There are numerous theories as to what motivates employees, so below we will identify and briefly
describe five of them.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow created a Hierarchy of Needs model in the mid-1940s to gain a better
understanding of human motivation, management training, and personal development.
He believed that it was the responsibility of the organization to provide employees an
environment that encourages employees to reach their potential. Maslow’s Hierarchy of
Needs is a five stage model which assumes that we must satisfy each need in turn,
starting with the first, which deals with the most obvious needs for survival itself. He
believed that it was only when the lower level needs of physical and emotional well-
being are satisfied will we be concerned with the higher order needs of influence and
personal development. We will briefly identify and discuss each of the five needs below
from lowest to highest.

  • Biological and Physiological needs – these are necessities to our survival such as air, food,
    water, and shelter
  • Safety needs – these needs include security, stability, and freedom from fear
  • Belongingness and Love needs – these needs include relationships with family, friends, and
  • Esteem needs – these needs include a sense of achievement, respect and recognition
  • Self-Actualization needs – these needs include self-fulfillment, realizing personal potential
    and seeking personal growth
    Path-Goal Theory of Leadership
    Robert House created the Path-Goal Theory of Leadership in the early 1970s and
    asserted that leaders should encourage and support their employees in reaching the


organization’s goals. They do this by clearing the path the
employees need to take by removing any roadblocks that
might hinder them as well as increasing the rewards along the way. House developed
four styles of leadership which we will briefly identify and discuss below.

  • Supportive leadership – manager care about the needs of their employees by showing
    concern for their well-being and encourage a friendly working environment.
  • Directive leadership – manager tell employees what needs to be accomplished by giving
    them specific tasks to be completed by specific times.
  • Participative leadership – manager consults with their employees and takes their opinions
    into consideration when making decisions.
  • Achievement-oriented leadership – manager sets challenging goals for their employees, has
    high standards and expectations but shows faith in the abilities of their employees to be
    McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory
  • David McClelland identified 3 motivating factors that everyone has which
    are achievement, affiliation, and power. According to McClelland, once a manager
    understands which motivators are important to each team member, they can adapt
    their leadership style assign projects based on each member’s motivators. With this
    information, a smart manager can use it to help their advantage to help their
    employees stay motivated, feel valued, and appreciated for the work they are doing.
    Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory
  • Dr. Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard came up with the theory that successful leaders
    should be flexible and adapt their leadership styles based on their employee’s maturity
    level of employees and the specific tasks that need to be accomplished as opposed to
    using just one style. By remaining flexible and mastering this theory, managers are
    able to place the appropriate amount of emphasis on the task, as well as the
    appropriate amount of emphasis on the relationships with their employees based on
    what is needed at that time.
    Carrot and Stick Motivation Theory
  • Jeremy Bentham came up with this traditional motivational theory where he categorizes
    motivation into two basic parts, incentives and fear. He theorized that some employees
    are motivated by incentives such as salary raises, promotions or the need for
    recognition. He also theorized that other employees are motivated by fear such as the
    fear of being fired, being criticized by a manager or failing to complete a task properly.

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