Motivation Theories

6504 Words Mar 21st, 2011 27 Pages
What is Motivation?
Buchanan defines motivation as follows:
"Motivation is a decision-making process, through which the individual chooses the desired outcomes and sets in motion the behaviour appropriate to them".
How does motivation differ from "motives"
Buchanan defines motives as:
"learned influences on human behaviour that lead us to pursue particular goals because they are valued".
Motivation can therefore be thought of as the degree to which an individual wants AND chooses to engage in certain behaviours.
For example: are you motivated to study? The answer lies in whether you
(1) Want to study - what are the reasons, if so?
(2) Choose to study? - Why are you reading these revision notes? What factors mean that you have taken the
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The message is clear - if management can find out which level each employee has reached, then they can decide on suitable rewards.

Criticisms and Strengths
Note however, that the above statements may be considered generalizations. Maslow's theory has often been criticized because we can find exceptions to it, such as the military, police, firefighters, etc. who will risk their safety for the well-being of others or parents who will sacrifice their basic needs for their children. However, there are very few theories that are not flawed in that once we start drilling down to individualistic levels, then the theory or generalization often starts to fall apart. For example, even Newton's theory of physics, which later became laws, fell apart once we were able to drill down to the atomic level.
Maslow's theory remains a classic because rather than looking at psychology as strictly the study of the mentally ill, his theory was based upon healthy persons. And being one of the first humanistic ones, it has its share of flaws.
Characteristics of self-actualizing people:
 Have better perceptions of reality and are comfortable with it.
 Accept themselves and their own natures.
 Lack of artificiality.
 They focus on problems outside themselves and are concerned with basic issues and eternal questions.
 They like privacy and tend to be detached.
 Rely on their own development and continued growth.

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