What Motivates Employees According to over 40 Years of Motivation Surveys

7793 WordsApr 21, 201232 Pages
What motivates employees according to over 40 years of motivation surveys Carolyn Wiley University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA Theoretical background The relationship between people and their work has long attracted psychologists and other behavioural scientists. Psychologists’ interests, dating back to the early years of the twentieth century, reflect the development of the industrial psychology and vocational guidance disciplines. Their work dealt with measurement of aptitudes and abilities to improve the job-person fit. The study of motivation now forms an integral part of both industrial and vocational psychology. However, in both fields, concepts like need, motive, goal, incentive and attitude are appearing with…show more content…
Other motive theories did not stress individual differences, but rather emphasized the conditions that arouse the motive and its influence on behaviour. For instance, in the Equity Theory – What motivates primarily from J. Stacey Adams’ work – the arousal of the justice motive occurs employees when an employee perceives an imbalance in his/her inputs and outcomes relative to others’ (Bowditch and Buono, 1997, p. 89 and 103; Nicholson, 1995: p. 333). Subsequently, the employee may engage in behaviours to reduce the perceived inequity. 265 While these personality-based theories do not necessarily predict motivation or behaviour, they can provide a basic understanding of what energizes (motivates) individuals. The main strength of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory is the identification of individual needs for the purpose of motivating behaviour. By appealing to an employee’s unfulfilled needs, managers may influence performance. Alderfer’s ERG Theory is one attempt to modify Maslow’s hierarchy by reducing the number of need categories. Alderfer found only three levels of need: (1) existence or survival (E); (2) relatedness (R), dealing with social interaction and the external facets of esteem (recognition and status from others); and (3) growth (G), focusing on the desire to achieve and develop a person’s potential and the internal facets of ego fulfilment (success and autonomy). David McClelland’s Socially Acquired
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