Determinants of Motivation

Traditionally it is believed that employees are motivated by the opportunity to make as much money as possible and will act rationally to maximize their earnings. The assumption is that money, because what it can buy is the most important motivator of all people. If this is so, why do some employees oppose the introduction of piece rate plans and others refuse to take overtime. Obviously in place of the above monistic approach (men motivated by money alone) a pluralistic explanation is required. According to the pluralistic approach men work to fulfill variety of needs. Three types of forces generally influence human behavior: (1) Forces operating within the individual (2) forces operating within the organization and (3) forces operating in the environment.

The individual:

Human needs are both numerous and complex. Some of these needs cannot be described and identified because people hide their real needs under the cover of socially accepted behavior. Further, each person is different and variety of items may prove to be motivating depending upon the needs of the individual, the situation the individual is in and what rewards the individual expects for the work done. It is the duty of the manager to match individual needs and expectations to the type of rewards available in the job setting.

The organization:

The climate in the organization must be conducive to human performance. Climate plays an important part in determining worker’s motivation. The climate in an organization is determined by a number of variables such as its leadership styles, autonomy enjoyed by members, growth prospects, emotional support from members, reward structure etc.

The environment:

A worker does not live in two separate worlds, one inside the factory and the other outside it. The troubles and pleasures of off the job life cannot be put aside when reporting for work in the morning nor can factory matters be dropped when returning home after work. On the job experiences and off the job experiences are inextricably interwoven and cannot be separated in to water tight compartments. Culture, norms, customs, images and attributes accorded by society to particular jobs, professionals and occupation and the worker’s home life – all play a strong motivation role. An individual may prefer to do the job of an officer (because it has social status and gives a lot of power) rather than serve as a college teacher (powerless position). In other words factor such as social status and social acceptance play an important role in shaping the motivations of people.

Theories of Motivation:

Approaches understanding motivation differ because many individual theorists have developed their own views and theories of motivation. They approach motivation from different starting points. With different ideas in mind and from different backgrounds. Some important theories are described below:

Maslow’s need Hierarchy theory:

According to Maslow, human needs can be arranged into five levels. He suggested that there is a fairly definite order to human needs and until the more basic needs are adequately fulfilled a person will not strive to meet higher order needs. Maslow’s well known hierarchy (a ladder of five successive categories) is comprised of: physiological needs, safety and security needs, belonging and love needs, self esteem needs and self actualization needs.

Physiological needs:

These needs are required to preserve human life; these needs include needs for air, water, food, clothing, shelter, rest etc. Until such needs are reasonably well satisfied they remain strong driving forces.

Safety needs:

These are the needs to feel free from economic threat and physical harm. These include protection from arbitrary lay off and dismissal disaster and avoidance of the unexpected. These needs obviously require job security, freedom from coercion or feeling of arbitrary treatment and clearly defined regulations.

Social or love:

These needs are concerned with love, affection, belongingness, acceptance and friendship. Man wants to be one of the gang to work. He finds a satisfaction in association with others and feels a real deprivation when it is not possible.
Source: HRM

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