Evaluation of the theory:
Maslow’s model provides a rich and comprehensive view of human needs. It helps to explain why people behave differently, why some needs are motivating, what factors need to be looked into by managers when they want to inspire their subordinates etc. It is a small wonder that the theory has received wide recognition particularly among practicing managers. This can be attributed to the theory’s intuitive logic and ease of understanding. Proposition such as: a satisfied need is not a motivator of behavior, lower order have to be met first before trying to fulfill higher order needs’ that have found universal acceptance. Research in under developed countries indicated the fact that workers give top priority to lower order needs ad expect managers to take care of these.
Despite the societal popularity, Maslow’s model has been criticized on several grounds:
It is an unstable theory: Empirical support to Maslow’s propositions (unsatisfied needs motivate, a satisfied need activates movement to a new need level, need structures are organized along five dimensions people seek growth etc.) is poor and inadequate. It is difficult to interpret and operate its concepts. For example, what does dominance of a given need mean? What is the time span for the unfolding of the hierarchy ? etc.
The classification scheme is somewhat superfluous: It is not correct to fit needs into neat water tight compartments. The models are based more on wishes of what man should be rather than what actually is.
The chain of causation in the hierarchy is also put to attack: There is no definite evidence that one need has been gratified, its strength diminishes. It is also doubtful whether gratification of one need automatically activates the next need in the hierarchy. Also, the need hierarchy may not follow the sequence postulated by Maslow. Creative people like painters, singers, and musicians often discount physiological and love needs in favor of self fulfillment needs. Sometimes all needs simultaneously operate within an individual. A person for example, may be hungry and at the same time need friendship and association. Maslow’s proposition that one need is satisfied at one time is not correct. An individual’s behavior at any time is guided by multiplicity of motives though one of them may be most powerful. Thus, Maslow’s theory fails to explain this phenomenon of multiple motivations in a clear way.
Herzberg’s Two factor theory:
For several years managers had been wondering why their fancy personnel policies and fringe benefits were not increasing employee motivation on the job. To answer this, Frederick Herzberg of Case Western Reserve University provided an interesting extension of Maslow’s Need Hiercarchy theory that can develop a specific content theory of work motivation. It is called the Dual Factor theory and the Motivation Hygiene Theory of motivation. The theory originally was derived by analyzing critical incidents written by 200 engineers and accountants in nine different companies in the Pittsburgh area, USA. Herzberg and his associates conducted extensive interviews with the professional subjects in the study and asked them what they liked or disliked about their work. The research approach was simplistic and built around questions such as- think of a time when you felt exceptionally bad about your job either your present job or any other you have had. This approach has been repeated many times with a variety of job holders in various countries. The results indicated that when people talked about feelings good or satisfied they mentioned features intrinsic to the job and when people talked about feeling dissatisfied with the job they talked about factors extrinsic to the job. Herzberg called these motivation and maintenance factors respectively.