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Maslow’s Theory Essay

Maslow and Herzberg both came up with motivation theories which have been widely used in explaining human psychology over the years. These theories however differ and a proper understanding is required in order to determine the ideology in each. While Maslow concentrated on personal motivation factors, Herzberg makes use of job related factors to explain motivation. There are also some concepts in Herzberg’s hygiene/motivation theory that interrelate with Maslow’s motivation theory. This article will address the theories, comparing and contrasting them in order to achieve a better understanding of the two.

Maslow’s Theory According to Maslow, individuals derive motivation from the presence of unsatisfied needs (Maslow, 1954). There is always a certain kind of drive to attain a particular need that one has not obtained in life and which can only be done through working harder. Satisfaction of needs follows a certain hierarchy which Maslow developed. It follows that once a person satisfies the needs in the lower hierarchy, he or she now aims at satisfying the needs in the next higher level (Maslow, 1954). The hierarchy can be presented as follows.

Psychological needs include basic needs such as air, water, clothing, housing, food and sleep among others. Should these needs not

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be satisfied, motivation will arise such that a person will seek to satisfy them for example through getting education so as to get a job. Once the psychological needs are satisfied, a person now seeks safety and security so that he or she can be assured of protection from harm. People start seeking safe backgrounds, job security, insurance services and financial reserves for future use among other things. Higher level needs start becoming more important once the lower needs have been satisfied.

Individuals start to seek social interaction in order to satisfy social needs. This is called the need for belonging and it is at this stage that people start to look for friends and love (Maslow, 1954). They may desire to start a family and attend social gatherings such as churches among others so as to have a social life. The next step in the hierarchy is the satisfaction of esteem needs. People desire to be recognized, feel important or gain social status. Self-respect and esteem fall in this stage. People develop a desire for respect and the need to show their achievement.

Self actualization is the final item in the hierarchy. It is a point at which a person quests to reach his or her full potential. People who are self-actualized desire wisdom, truth, meaning and justice (Maslow, 1954). Maslow notes that not many people reach this stage. Herzberg hygiene/motivation theory Herzberg developed a two-step approach with which employee satisfaction could be understood so as to offer the necessary motivation. According to Herzberg (1959), there is a negative and a positive side of work which can be classified into hygiene factors and motivation factors respectively.

Hygiene factors are those that cause dissatisfaction in the workforce and which the management should try to avoid (Herzberg, 1959). Wages and salaries are described as a major hygiene factor since poor pay can easily discourage employees limiting their productivity due to dissatisfaction. Others include working conditions, inter-personal relationships at the workplace, supervision, company policy and job security among others. If these factors are not favorable, employees become dissatisfied and motivation is likely to be absent such that productivity is low.

Motivator factors create satisfaction and are mostly enhanced by personal growth needs. Managers should aim at enhancing these factors as they may lead to better productivity within the organization (Herzberg, 1959). Factors such as promotion or advancement opportunity; increased responsibility; personal growth and achievement; status and recognition among others are among the motivational factors. When these are provided at the workplace, employees are likely to work harder thus leading to increased productivity. Interrelationship between the two theories

There is an interrelationship between Maslow’s theory and Herzberg’s theory. These two theories have a similarity in that both of them suggest employee satisfaction as a motivation factor. Form the above discussion, it is possible to tell that Herzberg cites esteem needs and self-actualization needs from Maslow’s theory as the motivators. Others needs do not cause motivation and failure to address them in the organization setting only leads to dissatisfaction. Criticisms Maslow’s theory Several criticisms exist about Maslow’s motivation theory.

To begin with, there is limited scientific evidence if any to support the above theory. Furthermore, personal need priorities may not be in the order given by Maslow. For example, there is a possibility of social needs coming before security needs since one must belong to a society in the first place. Another criticism is that people do not necessarily satisfy each level of need at a time. Needs tend to conflict such that a person may be motivated to achieve different needs at the same time or make priorities depending on the urgency of each need.

Maslow’s theory is therefore general and does not consider individual differences. Herzberg’s theory Herzberg’s theory does not also consider individual differences when analyzing factors that cause satisfaction and those that cause dissatisfaction. One dissatisfaction factor may be a motivator for someone else and vise versa. For example, increased responsibility could be a dissatisfier for someone who is resistant to change. Again Hertzber’s model is too simplistic and only addresses factors that people would consider normal motivational factors in any workplace setting. 6.

Describe goal setting theory. Explain how this theory can be applied to performance appraisal and compensation This is a motivational theory developed by Edwin Locke. It is actually an improvement of the final causality theory advanced by Aristotle which put forth that purpose can lead to action. According to Locke, an individual’s behavior is to a large extent influenced by their ambitions and goals (Latham and Locke, 2002). For this reason, goals significantly improve performance. Most individuals set goals in anticipation for something; usually a reward to be obtained after achieving the set goal.

Goals can be said to affect performance in three different ways (Latham and Locke, 2002). Firstly, they narrow an individual’s attention so that all efforts are directed towards activities that are relevant to achieving the set goals. Similarly, irrelevant or undesirable activities are avoided. Secondly, goals increase effort as individuals strive to achieve the set goal so as to gain the expected reward. Thirdly, goals help individuals to develop persistence. In other words, they become more willing to work even in the midst of challenges and setbacks.

Goal setting is guided by factors known as moderators (Latham and Locke, 2002). These include goal –commitment, attainability and self-efficacy. In order to attain a certain goal, an individual must be ready to face every challenge that he or she finds on the way. Commitment depicts the need to achieve no matter what the circumstances. Set goals must also be attainable so that individuals must not set goals that cannot be reached. Finally, self-efficacy must be present for goals to be achieved. This refers to the ability to act in a certain way so as to be able to achieve set objectives. Application

Goal setting is a useful tool in maintaining focus on certain set objectives which makes it a perfect strategy for motivation in the workplace (Latham and Locke, 2002). Managers can therefore make use of the goal setting theory in performance appraisal and compensation. This is can be done by setting goals to be achieved by every employee in the company then performing an analysis to determine whether the set goals have been achieved. Performance appraisal is done to determine whether an employee has achieved the set goals while checking any deviations and improvements made in the process.

These can then be used to establish where improvements are needed so as to ensure all goals are met in future. Those who have achieved are rewarded so that future goal attainment is encouraged. Goals should have time frames, be achievable and describe the expected compensation once the specific goal is met. Due to the promise of a reward as proposed by Latham and Locke (2002), the employees are likely to work harder so as to achieve their goals and receive the reward. Consequently, the productivity is likely to go up leading to more income for the company. 7. Compare internal labor markets and external labor markets

Internal labor markets and external labor markets provide two distinct ways of recruiting personnel in an organization. Using internal labor markets, companies only recruit at the junior or entry level and senior positions within the company are filled through promotions and transfer of employees who are already working with the company (Lazear and Oyer, 2003). This is as opposed to external labor markets where employees are recruited from the external job market so that workers move from one employer to another (Walter, 2003). Another major difference between internal labor markets and external labor markets lies in wage determination.

In internal labor markets, the company has complete control over the wages as compared to external labor markets where various administrative and competitive forces influence the wage level (Walter, 2003). This is because there is competition for workers with certain skills and whom different companies are willing to obtain no matter what. While internal labor markets focus on job training for employees so that they can fit into a certain position within the company; external markets make use of personnel who have already acquired the required skills for the particular position (Walter, 2003).

Different companies may make decisions on whether to recruit from within or outside the company based on this consideration. According to Lazear and Oyer (2003), it is expensive to train employees until they get the required skills to perform a certain job so that some managers may prefer to hire employees who are already trained. In another perspective however, new employees may take time to integrate with the company culture so that some managers may prefer to train their own staff since they are already familiar with the company’s activities (Walter, 2003).

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