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



Performance anxiety at work is good: It helps you focus and remain motivated

Anxiety in the workplace can help boost employee performance in certain situations, a study has found.

Researchers from University of Toronto in Canada looked at both the triggers of workplace anxiety and also its relationship to employee performance. If you have too much anxiety, and you're completely consumed by it, then it's going to derail your performance," said Julie McCarthy, an expert on organisational behaviour. "On the other hand, moderate levels of anxiety can facilitate and drive performance," she said.

If employees are constantly distracted or thinking about things that are causing them anxiety, it will prevent them from completing tasks at work and that can eventually lead to exhaustion and burnout, said Bonnie Hayden Cheng, an assistant professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

However, in certain situations anxiety can boost performance by helping employees focus and self-regulate their behaviour.

Cheng compares it to athletes who are trained to harness anxiety in order to remain motivated and stay on task.

Likewise, if employees engage in something called self-regulatory processing, that is monitoring their progress on a task and focusing their efforts toward performing that task, it can help boost their performance.

"After all, if we have no anxiety and we just don't care about performance, then we are not going to be motivated to do the job," said Cheng.

Work-anxious employees who are motivated are more likely to harness anxiety in order to help them focus on their tasks. Those who are emotionally intelligent, can recognize their feelings of anxiety and use it to regulate their performance, as well as those who are experienced and skilled at their job, are also less likely to have anxiety affect their performance.

The model of workplace anxiety researchers developed is broken into two categories.
PTI Apr 18, 2018,