What is Employee Motivation?

Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game. Donald Trump

The greater the loyalty of a group toward the group, the greater is the motivation among the members to achieve the goals of the group and the greater the probability that the group will achieve its goals. Rensis Likert

Most management literature on motivation is psychologically oriented and is based on psychological models developed and tested almost exclusively in the United States. (Fatehi, 1996, p. 231)

The classical definition of work motivation is that 'it is a set of energetic forces that originate both within as well as beyond an individual’s being, to initiate work- related behaviour and to determine its form, direction, intensity and duration’ (Pinder, 1998, p. 11). Traditionally work motivation theories have been categorized as content and process theories. The content theories included in this chapter (i.e., Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory, McClelland’s typology of needs) explain work behaviour as the individual’s attempt to satisfy a need. The content theories postulate that when an individual’s need is not met or satisfied then that individual experiences tension which motivates the individual towards a behaviour to satisfy that need. The content theories can be said to answer the 'what’ of motivation processes, i.e., what needs and in what order do these needs vary in their strength to initiate, energize and sustain the individual’s work behaviour? The process theories, on the other hand, explain work behaviour in terms of the cognitive process which the individual goes through before and during the behaviour. It thus seeeks to identify the process, i.e., ‘how’ does an individual start, direct and stop a behaviour? In so doing the process theories examine the individual’s needs, as well as their perceptions of ability to perform the requisite behaviour and also the individual expectations relative to the outcomes of behaviour. The process theories included in this chapter are equity theory, expectancy theory, goal-setting theory and job characteristics theory.

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