Application of Different Motivational Theories Within the Workplace Essay Sample

By comparing the theories of motivation and how they are used and incorporated at the workplace of small businesses and multinational organizations, we will discuss individual theories with their application in this essay sample. The theories of motivation help in inspiring the employees to develop the drive to achieve organizational goals and visions.

Thus, there is much importance of motivation for job satisfaction of the employees through rewards and recognition. To compare and analyze the motivational theories, models, and their application in the workplace, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the best way to start with.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a theory that explains the motivation of people in their work lives. Maslow identified five basic needs that he believed humans have. These five needs are:

  • Physiological: The need to eat, sleep, and breathe
  • Safety: The need to feel safe and secure in one’s environment
  • Belongingness: The need to be part of a group or society
  • Esteem: The need for self-esteem and respect from others
  • Self-actualization: The need to fulfill the self-actualization needs.

Maslow believed that when employees are not being motivated by these basic needs, they will become disengaged from their work. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a useful theory for understanding how to motivate employees in their work lives.

Maslow’s theory of motivation is very commonly seen in small businesses where the management team focuses to fulfil the intrinsic needs before introducing the things like recognition, rewards, or coaching.

By offering the living wage, companies ensure that every employee must have what they need to care for their health and to feel they belong. Extrinsic needs can be introduced by providing company holidays, tours, health benefits, bonuses, and referrals for financial planners and more.

Thus, once organizations met basic intrinsic needs, they can also consider addressing extrinsic needs for motivation and job satisfaction through sales competitions raise in the salary, coaching or mentoring, and recognition events.

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory was developed to explain how people determine their work motivation. According to Herzberg, there are two main factors that motivate employees: a person’s job-related needs and the rewards or recognition they receive for meeting these needs. When these factors are in balance, employees will be satisfied in their jobs and will be happy with their work. However, when one of the two factors is out of balance, employees will not be satisfied and they may become unhappy at work.

The theory focuses on two factors that affect motivation:

  • Job characteristics: The job characteristics are the tasks and responsibilities that the employee performs at the workplace.
  • Working conditions: The working conditions include environmental and other factors such as salary, hours, and supervision that the employees deal with when they work at their place of work.

Herzberg believed that if employees are engaged in their work, then they will be more productive in their work lives. He also believed that if employees want to be engaged in their work, then they need to know what motivates them to be motivated by these factors.

Macgregor’s X and Y Theories

Macgregor’s X and Y theories are the different models to categorize employees based on the two types of assumptions. Theory X assumptions relate to the negative perspective of people as people can have “a dislike for work inherently and it is possible for them to avoid their work. Thus, they have to be controlled, directed, and threatened with punishment to make them work. These individuals prefer to be directed, avoid responsibility, have little ambitions and security.

However, Theory Y assumptions create the opposite viewpoint and stated as “these people are self-motivated to give their best and external factors or any threat is not the influence for these people. So, these workers can have the discipline to achieve the organizational objectives and goals but their positive commitment must be appraised by rewards and recognition.

This theory is usually applied in small-scale businesses as they keep tracks the employee behavior and work patterns. Thus, the theory implies to those whose consequences at work are less for the customers and those who go extra mile for customer satisfaction. Organizations must ensure they have proper support to better performers and must receive recognition.

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McClelland’s human motivation theory

McClelland’s human motivation theory is actually a combination of two theories. The first theory is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a pyramid-shaped diagram that illustrates the order in which people want to achieve the things they need to live a happy life. At the bottom of the pyramid are basic needs, such as those for food and shelter. As people move up the pyramid, they are able to gain more things such as security, belongingness, and self-esteem.

The second theory is McClelland’s own work on motivation (1964). He realized that Maslow’s theory was incomplete because it did not explain how employees get motivated. McClelland believed that there were three key factors that contribute to employee motivation: (1) expectations, (2) motivation, and (3) rewards. McClelland’s theory of motivation is based on the three factors combined with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory.

  1. Expectations are the things that employees expect to happen at work. These expectations are then used by employees to determine how motivated they are to accomplish their work tasks.
  2. Motivation is what makes people want to do their work tasks. Motivation is the engine that drives the process of becoming an employee and performing at their best.
  3. Rewards are what employees receive from their employers for doing a good job or completing a task on time and within budget. Rewards can be monetary or non-monetary, such as praise from management or promotion opportunities.

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory

Vroom developed the expectancy theory, which has a lot to do with the motivation behind work. The theory also explains that people want to perform well and will work hard to achieve it. In order to achieve the desired results, employees must be motivated by a desire for success and by their belief that they can improve.

 Vroom’s theory can be described as a triangle and has three components: expectancy, behavior, and outcome. These three components are interrelated and depend on each other. As an example, if a manager expects employees to be productive at work but the employee does not feel that they are productive at work, then this results in low levels of productivity from the employee. This is because employees will not feel good about their performance at work if they do not feel that they are being productive.

The Equity Theory

This theory postulated that employees will weigh their input into a job against the output they receive from it i.e. the more the rewards, the greater the job satisfaction. This theory tells that those who receive more output from their work are most likely to experience job satisfaction.

Therefore, the application of this theory in businesses and workplaces is huge.  The tasks and roles that are clarified create better performance and job satisfaction as the clear role brings a happy, committed, and inclusive workforce in the organizations.

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