Theories of Motivation



Motivation theories seek to explain why employees are motivated by and satisfied with one type of work than another. It is essential that mangers have a basic understanding of work motivation because highly motivated employees are more likely to produce a superior quality product or service than employee who lack motivation.

At one time, employees were considered just another input into the production of goods and services. What perhaps changed this way of thinking about employees was research, referred to as the Hawthorne Studies, conducted by Elton Mayo from 1924 to 1932 (Dickson, 1973). This study found employees are not motivated solely by money and employee behavior is linked to their attitudes (Dickson, 1973). The Hawthorne Studies began the human relations approach to management, whereby the needs and motivation of employees become the primary focus of managers (Bedeian, 1993).

Theories of Motivation by various researchers

  1. Maslow’s Need Hierarchy
  2. Existence Relatedness Growth (ERG) Theory
  3. McGregor’s Theory-X and Theory-Y
  4. Expectancy Theory
  5. Reinforcement Theory
  6. Herzberg two factor theory
  7. McClelland (Needs for Affiliation, Power, and Achievement) Theory of Motivation
  8. Adam’s Equity Theory