BASIC MOTIVATION CONCEPTS
After studying this chapter, students should be able to:
Outline the motivation process.
Describe Maslow’s need hierarchy.
Contrast Theory X and Theory Y.
Differentiate motivators from hygiene factors.
List the characteristics that high achievers prefer in a job.
Summarize the types of goals that increase performance.
State the impact of under-rewarding employees.
Clarify the key relationships in expectancy theory.
Explain how the contemporary theories of motivation complement each other.
The theories we have discussed in this chapter address different outcome variables. Some, for instance, are
directed at explaining turnover, while others emphasize productivity. The theories also differ in their predictive
strength. In this section, we 1) review the key motivation theories to determine their relevance in explaining our
dependent variables, and 2) assess the predictive power of each.
. We introduced four theories that focused on needs. These were Maslow’s hierarchy, two-factor,
ERG, and McClelland’s needs theories. The strongest of these is probably the last, particularly regarding the
relationship between achievement and productivity. If the other three have any value at all, that value relates to
explaining and predicting job satisfaction.
. There is little dispute that clear and difficult goals lead to higher levels of employee
productivity. This evidence leads us to conclude that goal-setting theory provides one of the more powerful
explanations of this dependent variable. The theory, however, does not address absenteeism, turnover, or
. This theory has an impressive record for predicting factors like quality and quantity of work,
persistence of effort, absenteeism, tardiness, and accident rates. It does not offer much insight into employee
satisfaction or the decision to quit.
. Equity theory deals with all four dependent variables. However, it is strongest when predicting
absence and turnover behaviors and weakest when predicting differences in employee productivity.
. Our final theory focused on performance variables. It has proved to offer a relatively powerful
explanation of employee productivity, absenteeism, and turnover, but expectancy theory assumes that employees
have few constraints on their decision discretion. It makes many of the same assumptions that the rational model
makes about individual decision-making (see Chapter 5). This acts to restrict its applicability.
For major decisions, such as accepting or resigning from a job, expectancy theory works well because people do
not rush into decisions of this nature. They are more prone to take the time to carefully consider the costs and
benefits of all the alternatives. However, expectancy theory is not a very good explanation for more typical types