Motivation: Motivation and Equity Theory Essay

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Words: 2318
Pages: 10

Motivation

The invisible force that drives the mind to focus on reaching objectives, and allows an individual to work at their maximum capability is achieved through the process of motivation. Motivation is a psychological process through which unsatisfied wants or needs lead to drives that are aimed at goals or incentives (Luthans & Doh, 2012). The aim of this assignment is to compare the similarities and differences between two popular motivational theories and provide a personal opinion on how leaders use theories to motivate people.

People feel the need to be motivated in all areas of life whether its employees working in a business, pushing football players to play their level best in the final 10 minutes of an intense game and even encouraging children to finish all their homework before going outside to play. Although all individuals will not be motivated by the exact same methods, the overall outcome of each method is the same; an improvement in performance. When employees are motivated to put in extra effort to accomplish tasks that are central to the goals of the organization, the results include higher productivity, lower absenteeism, greater employee retention, superior service quality, more satisfied and loyal customers, and improved bottom-line business results (Wiley, 2012).

The Oxford Dictionary defines theory as “a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained”. Years of research have provided managers with many motivational theories constructed by various authors, which can be categorized into two types, content theories and process theories. Content theories focus on the motivating factors that create a change in one’s behavior and goals, while process theories describe the processes required to motivate people and what exactly creates a change in behavior.

“Tell me about a time you felt exceptionally good about your job” and “Tell me about a time you felt exceptionally bad about your job” were two questions asked by Frederick Herzberg (1968) that formed the basis of his globally known two-factor content theory. As the name suggests, Herzberg created two factors, motivators and hygienes, that he believed determined job satisfaction. According to Herzberg, motivators were the factors that increased job satisfaction. They comprise the physiological need for growth and recognition. The absence of these factors does not prove highly dissatisfying but when present, they build strong levels of motivation that result in good job performance (Dartey-Baah, 2011). The factors included underneath this heading are, for example, recognition, achievement, responsibility, advancement and growth.

The hygiene factors, also called maintenance factors, are of such a nature that their presence in the organization will not necessarily motivate an individual to work harder but the absence of which can create an unhealthy organizational environment (Iguisi, 2009). These comprise of working conditions, interpersonal relationships, holiday schedules, organizational policies and performance appraisal methods. Cole (2002) states, to take a motoring analogy, hygiene factors can be considered as filling up the petrol tank, i.e. the car will not go if there is no fuel, but refuelling of itself does not get the vehicle under way. For forward movement, the car electrics must be switched on and the starter operated – this is the effect created by the motivators.

Herzberg’s theory does not describe the connection between job satisfaction and motivation and this is one of the points often criticized by other researchers. Since job satisfaction is an attitude of mind, it is entirely possible for a worker to be satisfied with his job without being motivated and vice versa. Thus, motivation and satisfaction are not synonymous. Moreover, both satisfaction and dissatisfaction can have positive and negative influences on…