_Compare and contrast two theories of motivation. Suggest how a team leader might use these theories to motivate the team_.
In this essay, I will be discussing what motivation means. I will then explain the content and process theory of motivation, and within each respective category, I will provide a detailed explanation of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Vroom's expectancy theory. Thereafter, the essay will examine how a team leader can apply and execute these strategies suggested by the relevant theories effectively within the workplace in efforts of motivating his/her team. Throughout the essay, definitions and arguments will be presented and supported by academic literature prior to reaching a conclusion.
This essay encapsulates the definition of 'motivation' in regards to work which is defined by French et al. (2011: 666) as referring to the 'forces within an individual that account for the level of direction and persistence of effort expended at work.' In other words motivation is the drive that we have to continuously 'perform' and 'achieve' within our work environment. It is therefore clear, that motivation is a highly critical and crucial aspect within the business world. Motivation can be attributed to the field of psychology as it deals with the human and emotional aspect of what makes one individual highly motivated to achieve something as opposed to someone who is not motivated to pursue a goal and achieve the desired outcome. Today, motivation applies to all walks of life such as in sports, education and personal motivation, but for the purpose of this essay, I will be examining motivation from a business management perspective. Motivation in the workplace was an alien concept in the 20s and 30s. Siblinger (1993: 248) tells us how Elton Mayo who is now known as the founder of the Human Relations Movement, who was a professor at Harvard, conducted a series of experiments at a factory called Hawthorne Works. This was during an era of assembly line manufacturing, workers had to one task repeatedly, day in and day out. Sonnenfield (1985: 125) reports, 'instead of treating the workers as an appendage to 'the machine' this studies revealed aspects such as motivational influences, job satisfaction, resistance to change, group norms, worker participation and effective leadership.' From then on, there have been a countless number of motivational definitions and theories.
Motivational theories are notions that help in differentiating between why one employee works harder than another and what needs to be done to get that employee to work in an effective way. Invariably, for such a complex subject, there are bound to be scores of theories and processes competing to shed light on the subject in different ways. It is therefore essential to clarify that no one theory is conclusive and all-encompassing. The best way of understanding the main theories of motivation is to classify it into two key notions - content and process motivational theories. French et al. (2011: pp. 161- 162) describes them as two discrete theories as follows... content theories are primarily concerned with individual needs and motives. It therefore aims to address the 'what' motivates individuals to behave in a given way. On the other hand, process theories are aimed at understanding the process of motivation and address the 'how' motivation transpires. For instance, a content theory may highlight that security is an important need. Process theory would go further in addressing how and why a need for security could be linked to specific rewards and to the specific actions that the employee may need to perform to achieve these rewards. Within each category, I will examine one theory from each category and evaluate its effectiveness. In regards to the Content Theory, I will evaluate Abraham Maslow's theory of motivation which is based on a hierarchy of needs. For the Process Theory, I shall be evaluating Victor Vroom's Theory on Expectancy....
References: French, R., Hunt, J., Jr, J.S., Osborn, R., Rayner, C., Rees, G. and Rumbles, S. (2011) _Organisational Behavior._ 2nd Ed. Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Maslow, A.H. (1943) A Theory of Human Motivation. _Psychological Review,_ Vol 50, No 4, pp.370-396.
Neher, A. (1991) Maslow 's Theory of Motivation: A Critique. _Journal of Humanistic Psychology_, Vol 31, No 3, pp.89-112.
Silbiger, S. (1994) The 10 Day MBA A step by step guide to mastering the skills taught in the business schools. London: Judy Piatkus Ltd.
Singh, K. (2010) _Organisational Behaviour Text and Cases._ London: Pearson Education Ltd.
Sonnenfield, J. A. (1985) "Shedding light on the Hawthorne Studies". _Journal of Occupational Behaviour,_ Vol 60, No 2, pp.111-130.
Vroom, V. H. (1964) Work and Motivation. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
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