The Content Theories of Motivation vs the Process Theories of Motivation.docx

The Content Theories of Motivation vs the Process Theories of Motivation.docx

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The Content Theories of Motivation In a historical perspective, the content theories tend to be the earliest theories of motivation or later modifications of early theories. Within the work environment they have had the greatest impact on management practice and policy, whilst within academic circles they are the least accepted. Content theories are also called needs theories, because they are generally associated with a view that concentrates on the importance of determining 'what' motivates us. In other words they try to identify what our 'needs' are and relate motivation to the fulfilling of these needs. Maslows Hierarchy of Needs "Management Assumptions" (Theory X and Theory Y) ERG Theory McClellands Need for Achievement, Affiliation and Power Herzbergs' Two Factor Theory Maslows Hierarchy of Needs This is the most widely known theory of motivation and was hypothesised by American psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1940s and 1950s. Maslow put forward the idea that there existed a hierarchy of needs consisting of five levels in the hierarchy. These needs progressed from lower order needs through to higher level needs.
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The basic premise of the theory is that we all have these five levels of needs and that starting at the lowest level we are motivated to satisfy each level in ascending order. As each level is sufficiently satisfied we are then motivated to satisfy the next level in the hierarchy. The five different levels were further sub-categorised into two main groups, these being: Deficiency needs - Maslow considered these the very basic needs required for survival and security. These needs include: physiological needs safety needs social needs Growth needs - These are needs associated with personal growth and fullfilment of personal potential. esteem needs self-actualisation needs In Maslow's theory we can never run out of motivation because the very top level, self-actualisation, which relates to the achievement of our full potential, can never be fully met. Maslows theory has been widely embraced and taught within the business world and few people who have attended a company supervision or basic management training course are unlikely not to be familiar with this theory. "Management Assumptions" (Theory X and Theory Y) Douglas McGregor further developed the needs concept of Maslow and specifically applied it to the workplace. McGregor maintained that every manager made assumptions about their employees and adopted a management approach based upon these assumptions. He maintained there were two main categories and that managers adopted one or the other. The first category, which he termed Theory X , he maintained was the dominant management approach and assumed: the average human being has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if possible, because of this most people needed to be coerced, controlled, directed and threatened with punishment to get them to put adequate effort into the achievement of organisational objectives, and the average person prefers to be directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has very little ambition and wants security above all else.
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