Early Theories of Employee Motivation in Management

Early Theories of Employee Motivation in Management

Employee Motivation, Theories, Management, Leadership, Productivity, Maslow's Theory, Theory X, Theory YSet me anything to do as a task, and it is inconceivable the desire I have to do something else ~ GB Shaw

What is Motivation? …

It is the process that accounts for an individual’s intensity, direction and persistence of efforts towards attaining a goal.

The 1950’s saw development of path breaking  Early Theories of Motivation in order to explain Employee Motivation. Although heavily attacked and questioned in validity, these theories are probably still the best known explanations for employee motivation. These theories represent the foundation from which the contemporary theories have taken shape. The recent times have seen Contemporary Theories of Motivation – all of which have one thing in common – a reasonable degree of valid supporting documentation.

Early Theories of Motivation

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Employee Motivation, Theories, Management, Leadership, Productivity, Maslow's Theory, Theory X, Theory Y

In probably one of the most well known theories – Abraham Maslow hypothesized that within every human being there is a hierarchy of the five needs as shown in the image.

Lower order needs are primarily external. Higher order needs are primarily internal.

As each lower order needs becomes satisfied, the next higher order needs becomes dominant ultimately leading to self actualization.

This theory has received wide recognition, due to it’s intuitive logic and ease of understanding.

Theory X and Theory Y

Doughlas Mcgregor proposed two distinct views of human beings: one basically negative,

labeled Theory X and the other basically positive Theory Y. Theory X carries the assumption that employees dislike work, are lazy, dislike responsibility, and must be coerced to perform. Theory Y carries the assumption that employees like work, are creative, seek responsibility, and can exercise self direction. Either of these assumptions may be appropriate in a particular situation.

Two Factor Theory (Motivation Hygiene Theory)

Employee Motivation, Theories, Hygiene, Management, Leadership, Productivity, Maslow's Theory, Theory X, Theory Y

Psychologist Frederick Herzberg proposed that Intrinsic factors are related to job satisfaction, while extrinsic factors are associated with dissatisfaction.  This theory has been widely followed by managers over the past 30 years.

In the next part we will see the contemporary theories of motivation….

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