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Motivation Theories

F.W. Taylor 'Scientific Management'

  • People work for personal gain.
  • If they are paid more they will work more effectively.
  • Break down workers job into simple processes and calculate how much output they should produce in one day.
  • If they achieve the target they will be given more money.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs

Human beings has five types of needs

  • Physiological needs or basic needs which relates to food, shelter, warmth and sleep
  • Security needs or Safety needs i.e. to protect against danger and poverty
  • Social needs is having friendship, a sense of belonging
  • Esteem needs involves having status and recognition, achievement and independence
  • Self-actualisation involves succeeding to your full potential

hierarchy of needs

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Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory

Frederick Herzberg, contributed to human relations and motivation two theories of motivation as follows:

  • Hygiene Theory
  • Motivation

Herzbergs' first component in his approach to motivation theory involves what are known as the hygiene factors and includes the work and organizational environment. These hygiene factors include:

  • The organization
  • Its policies and its administration
  • The kind of supervision (leadership and management, including perceptions) which people receive while on the job
  • Working conditions
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Salary
  • Status
  • Job security

These factors do not lead to higher levels of motivation but without them there is dissatisfaction.

The second component in Herzbergs' motivation theory involves what people actually do on the job and should be engineered into the jobs employees do in order to develop intrinsic motivation with the workforce. The motivators are

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Growth / advancement
  • Interest in the job

These factors result from internal instincts in employees, yielding motivation rather than movement.

Both these approaches (hygiene and motivation) must be done simultaneously. Treat people as best you can so they have a minimum of dissatisfaction. Use people so they get achievement, recognition for achievement, interest, and responsibility and they can grow and advance in their work.

Therefore, the hygiene and motivation factors can be listed as follows:


  • Company policies and administration
  • Supervision
  • Working conditions and interpersonal relations
  • Salary, status and security


  • Achievement
  • Recognition for achievement
  • Interest in the task
  • Responsibility for enlarged task
  • Growth and advancement to higher level tasks

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McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor found out that there are broadly two types of managers. One who believes in Theory X and the other who believes in Theory Y.

Theory x ('authoritarian management' style)

  • The average person dislikes work and will avoid it he/she can.
  • Therefore most people must be forced with the threat of punishment to work towards organisational objectives.
  • The average person prefers to be directed; to avoid responsibility; is relatively unambitious, and wants security above all else.

Theory y ('participative management' style)

  • Effort in work is as natural as work and play.
  • People will apply self-control and self-direction in the pursuit of organisational objectives, without external control or the threat of punishment.
  • Commitment to objectives is a function of rewards associated with their achievement.
  • People usually accept and often seek responsibility.
  • The capacity to use a high degree of imagination, ingenuity and creativity in solving organisational problems is widely, not narrowly, distributed in the population.
  • In industry the intellectual potential of the average person is only partly utilised.

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