(redirected from Motivation theory)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.


the force or process which impels people to behave in the way that they do. In a work setting, motivation can be viewed as that which determines whether workers expend the degree of effort necessary to achieve required task objectives. In OCCUPATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY two basic conceptions of motivation can be discerned: ‘needs’ theory and ‘expectancy’ theory Possibly the best known of the former is the ‘hierarchy of needs’ identified by Abraham Maslow (1908-70). He argued that individuals have intrinsic needs which they are impelled to seek to satisfy. These needs, which are ordered in a hierarchy are physical needs (food, warmth, shelter), security needs (safety, home), ego needs (esteem, status) and self-actualization needs (the realization of individual potential). Initially, the lower order needs such as safety determine behaviour but once these are satisfied higher order needs come to dominate. Maslow's theory has been widely criticized, however, for assuming that such needs are universal and that they are always ordered in this particular hierarchy.

Other needs theories include Herzberg's ‘Two Factor Theory of Motivation’. He argued that people are motivated by two kinds of need: hygiene factors (those basic needs such as shelter which, if not satisfied, lead to unhappiness but whose satisfaction does not in itself lead to happiness); and motivators (those higher order needs which when satisfied lead to contentment). The importance of this theory in a work setting is its insistence that managers have to ensure that both hygiene factors (i.e. pay, working conditions) and motivation (i.e. the need for personal fulfilment) are satisfied for a workforce to be content and highly motivated.

A further ‘needs’ theory is the ERG (Existence, Relatedness and Growth) theory of Clayton Alderfer (1940 -). Like Maslow he suggests that there is a hierarchy of needs but that the less a high level need is satisfied the more important a lower level need becomes. Hence demands for more pay in fact really reflect a desire for work to be made more satisfying.

The main alternative approach to ‘needs’ theories is the ‘expectancy’ approach associated with Victor Vroom (1932 -). This suggests that individuals are motivated to act in certain ways not by some basic inner need but by the strength of the expectation that the action will achieve a result seen by them as desirable. The desire for a particular outcome is known as the ‘valence’. This theory is essentially a ‘process’ theory: it emphasizes the process of motivation rather than the nature or content of particular motivators. The strength of people's motivation will be determined by weighing up how much they want something and how far they believe a certain action will contribute to achieving it.

References in periodicals archive ?
Traditionally, motivation theory is based on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Each teacher's naive theory of motivation informed a more personalized path toward this goal, and each followed Stipek's (2002) idea that every teacher has a motivation theory.
Brewer BW, Cornelius AE, Van Raalte JL, Petitpas AJ, Sklar JH, Pohlman MH, Krushell RJ, Ditmar TD (2003) Protection motivation theory and adherence to sport injury rehabilitation revisited.
Altogether, the four standard books addressed the theories of cognitive information processing theory, cognitive load theory, minimalism, motivation theory, multimedia theory, and perception theory.
As it applies to accountants specifically, moral motivation theory has its basis in the assumption that an individual accountant's moral motivation is the direct product of self-evaluation of one's own past and future actions.
Application of protection motivation theory to adoption of protective technologies," Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 1-10.
For the perspective of emotion theory, research on learning related effects of positive and negative emotion is used, and for the perspective of motivation theory constructs and approaches such as self-efficacy, locus of control, interest and self-determination theory are drawn upon.
X motivation theory states that humans inherently dislike to work.
Drawing from incentive theory and motivation theory, Christensen points out the powerful anomalies that incentive theory cannot explain--like why some of the hardest-working people on the planet work in nonprofits, charitable organizations and entities that don't pay top dollar.
Protection motivation theory (PMT) provides one model for increasing healthy behavior through persuasive communication.
It can be difficult for overworked teachers to make the leap from understanding motivation theory in a sterile, non-musical context to practical application in the music studio with real, live 21 st-century students.