The concept of motivation is often viewed as complicated and fascinating by different leaders but a closer analysis of the operations of any given organisation shows that this is an indispensable component which can ensure viability of any particular company in the face of competition…
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The concept of motivation is often viewed as complicated and fascinating by different leaders but a closer analysis of the operations of any given organisation shows that this is an indispensable component which can ensure viability of any particular company in the face of competition. Thus, effective leaders ought to understand motivation and there are numerous theories of motivation that exist to try and help the managers as well as the leaders to understand the needs as well as goals of their employees in a bid to sustain certain actions while at the same time attempting to stop some unbecoming behaviour (Werner 2007). Against this background, this essay seeks to critically compare and contrast two theories of motivation. These are Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which is a content theory as well as Locke and Latham’s goal setting theory which is a process theory. The essay starts by explaining the meaning of the key term which is motivation then followed by outlining the similarities as well as the differences that may exist between the two. The last part will specifically focus on suggestions about how a team leader might use these theories to motivate their team. Basically, motivation is loosely defined as “a state arising in processes that are internal and external to the individual, in which the person perceives that it is appropriate to pursue a certain course of action aimed at achieving a specified outcome and in which the person chooses to pursue those outcomes with a degree of commitment and persistence (Robins, Odendaal & Roodt 2001). Thus, motivation is basically concerned with arousing, directing and sustaining our behaviour. Theories of motivation fall into two basic groups: content theories as well as process theories. According to Finchman & Rhodes (2005), content theories of motivation focus on what motivates an individual. They are typically concerned with determining the specific needs that motivate people. On the other hand, process theories attempt to describe and analyse how people are motivated, that is, how behaviour is aroused, directed and sustained. Process theories of motivation in this case posit to the effect that there is no individual who can give the other person satisfaction that is related with accomplishing especially a challenging job, but it is self derived (Carrell et al 1995). Overally, motivation is influenced by needs, goals, expectations, motives as well as drives and these play different roles in motivation as going to be explained briefly below. According to (Brewster et al 2003), a need is something that is basic to life such as food and shelter and once it is satisfied a person is motivated. A goal is a certain target that an individual wants to attain and once achieved, that person is motivated. An expectation is primarily concerned with promises to be fulfilled say after performing a task and if these are fulfilled the person is motivated. A motive is an intention of acting in a certain way or doing something and it also affects motivation. Lastly, a drive is a push factor that pushes someone to act in a particular manner and if there is promise of reward that person would be motivated to pursue that drive. These are some of the major factors that motivate people to act or behave in particular ways. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is perhaps the most appealing theory of motivation. Thus, according to Maslow, when a need occurs, motivational tension develops and is directed towards satisfaction of that need (Carrel 1995). The hierarchy comprises of five levels of needs namely physiological, security, social, self esteem and self actualisation needs. These needs build from grassroots levels up to the point where some skilled workers feel that they should be rewarded on the basis of their importance, coupled with their performance to the company. As far as company growth is concerned, there is need for the workers to feel that their needs are satisfied. According to (Maslow 1970 as cited in Werner 2007), as each of these needs is satisfied, they cease to
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