Motivation can be defined as a condition that is initiated
by a physiological or psychological deficiency or need
of an individual, which causes the individual to behave
in a certain manner in order to achieve a particular goal
Achieve a particular
Individual behaves in a
Motivation consists of three interacting and
interdependent elements – needs, drives and incentives.
The Motivation Process
A physiological or psychological imbalance leads to
the creation of a need.
Both physiological and psychological drives push
an individual towards achieving a certain goal or
accomplishing a certain task.
Anything that can mitigate a need and decrease the
intensity of a drive is called an incentive.
CLASSIFICATION OF MOTIVES
I) Primary Motives
A motive is termed as a primary motive when it
satisfies both the criteria – it is not learned, and it is
physiologically based. The most common primary
motives are hunger, thirst, sleep, sex, avoidance of
pain and maternal concern.
II) General Motives
A motive is considered to be a general motive if it is
not learned, but is also not based on physiological
General motives stimulate tension within the
The motives of curiosity, manipulation, motive to
remain active and to display affection are examples
of general motives.
1)The curiosity, manipulation and activity
The motives of curiosity, manipulation and activity
are very beneficial for a person, as they often
result in innovations and better ways of doing
2) The affection motive-for e.g. love sometimes
resembles primary motive and sometimes
III) Secondary Motives
A secondary motive is a motive that has been learned
or acquired over time.
Important secondary motives are power, achievement
and affiliation. These are commonly referred as
nPow, nAch and nAff.
1) The power motive
Alfred Adler, a close associate of Sigmund Freud,
placed more importance on the future and a
person’s drive to gain power and prove himself
superior to others.
A person tries to compensate for the feelings of
inferiority and also tries to fulfill his innate need for
power, which is then reflected in his lifestyle.
2) The achievement motive
David C. McClelland, a Harvard psychologist, has
conducted extensive research on different aspects
of achievement. According to him, the achievement
motive is a person’s desire to perform excellently or
to handle complex or competitive situations
3) The affiliation motive
Employees, especially those at the lower levels of the
organizational hierarchy, have a strong desire to
belong to and be accepted by other employees or the
People with a high need for affiliation exhibit a high
degree of concern for social relationships.
Managers with strong needs for affiliation tend to
create congenial work environments where people
enjoy working together.
4) The security motive
People try to avoid insecurity rather than attempt to
The security motive helps individuals safeguard
themselves from various unfavorable developments
and avoid situations that would prevent them form
reaching their goals.
5) The status motive
Status is defined as the rank a person holds relative
to others within a group, organization or society.
When people are grouped together, a status
Status refers to position or ranking of individuals in a
group or organization, which may be high or low.
Status is influenced by the prevailing cultural values
and the importance of different roles in society.
THE CONTENT THEORIES OF WORK
The content theories of motivation attempt to identify
and prioritize the needs and drives that motivate
people at work.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
According to this theory, once the needs at a particular
level in the hierarchy of needs are satisfied, they are no
longer a motivating factor.
Opportunities for innovation
and creativity, training)
projects, recognition, prestigious
Safety or Security Needs
(Job security; benefits like life insurance;
(Good coworkers, peers, superiors, customers
( Basis pay, workspace, heat, water, company cafeteria)
A Hierarchy of Work Motivation
Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation
Good feelings employees had about their job were
related to the job content and job experiences.
Negative feelings they had about their work they
related to job context factors or aspects that were
not directly related to their job but which had an
effect on the work environment.
Job satisfiers were associated with the job content,
and job dissatisfiers were related to the job context.
The satisfiers were termed as motivators, while the
dissatisfiers were termed hygiene factors.
While hygiene factors were responsible for
preventing dissatisfaction, motivators were essential
to keep the employees satisfied.
Contribution of Herzberg’s theory to work
Herzberg considered hygiene factors to be very
important for an organization to maintain its human
resources; but these were not motivators.
Employees are motivated only if they have a
challenging job which not only gives them an
opportunity to achieve something, get recognition,
advance in their careers and grow in the
organization, but also allows them to handle greater
Important motivators are:-
a) work itself
b) clear achievable goals
c) appreciation for good work
d) giving adequate responsibilities to
e) career growth
Some important hygiene factors are:-
a) administrative policies
b) presence of able supervisors
c) fair pay
d) good interpersonal relations
e) conducive working conditions
Alderfer’s ERG Theory
Alderfer recognized the importance of categorizing
needs and saw that there was a definite distinction
between lower-level and higher-level needs.
According to Alderfer, there are three basic groups of
1. Existence needs (E) – These are associated with
the survival and physiological well-being of an
2. Relatedness needs (R) – These needs emphasize
the significance of social and interpersonal
3. Growth needs (G) – These needs are related to a
person’s inner desire for personal growth and
According to the ERG theory, a person’s background
or cultural environment may cause the relatedness
needs to predominate over unfulfilled existence
The intensity of growth needs will increase with an
increase in the degree to which they are satisfied.
THE PROCESS THEORIES OF WORK
The process theories of motivation deal with the
cognitive antecedents that go into motivation or
effort, and more specifically, with the way the
cognitive antecedents of an individual relate to one
Vroom’s Expectancy Theory of
The theory is based on three variables - valence,
instrumentality and expectancy – and is therefore
commonly termed VIE theory.
Meaning of the variables
Valence (V) denotes the strength of an individual’s
preference for a particular outcome.
Instrumentality (I) refers to the degree to which a
first-level outcome would help in attaining the
desired second-level outcome. Instrumentality
serves as an input for valence.
Expectancy (E) is the probability (ranging from 0 to
1) that performing a specific action would produce a
particular first-level outcome or effort.
Superior performance of an employee is the
first-level outcome, which is considered
instrumental for getting a promotion, the
Expectancy is the effort to achieve first-level
Instrumentality relates first-level outcome to
Three types of relationships are identified in Vroom’s
i. Effort-performance relationship: This shows an
individual’s perception of the probability that a
specific level of performance would result if he
exerts a certain amount of effort.
ii. Performance-reward relationship: It denotes the
extent of an individual’s belief that a particular level
of performance would result in achieving the
iii.Rewards-personal goals relationship: This refers
to the degree to which an individual’s personal
goals or needs are satisfied by the rewards given
by the organization and his perception of the
attractiveness of these rewards.
The Porter-Lawler Model
The model holds that performance in an organization is
dependent on three factors:
1. An employee should have the desire to perform,
i. e. he must feel motivated to accomplish the task.
2. Motivation alone cannot ensure successful
performance of a task. The employee should also
have the abilities and skills required to successfully
perform the task.
3. The employee should have a clear perception of his
role in the organization and an accurate knowledge
of the job requirements. This will enable him to
focus his efforts on accomplishing the assigned
THE CONTEMPORARY THEORIES OF
The degree of equity or inequity perceived by an
employee with reference to his work situation plays a
major role in work performance and satisfaction.
An employee compares the outcome: what he gets from
his job in relation to what he gives to the job, i.e. job
Equity is represented schematically as:
Inequity is represented as followed:
Other’s inputsPerson’s inputs
i) Self-inside: The employee compares his
experiences in the present position with the
experiences of those holding a similar position in the
ii) Self-outside: The employee compares his
experiences in the present position with the
experiences of those holding a similar position in
The various referent comparisons used by an
iii) Other-inside : The employee compares his
experience in the present position with the
experience of another individual or group of
individuals holding a different position but belonging
to the same organization.
iv) Other-outside: The employee compares his
experiences in the present position with that of
another individual or group of individuals holding a
different position and belonging to a different
v) There are four variables that influence an
employee’s choice of referent. These are the
gender of the employee, length of tenure of the
employee in the organization, level at which the
employee is working in the organization, and level of
education or professional qualifications of the
If an employee perceives an inequity, he will make
i) Change in inputs
ii) Change in outcomes
iii) Distort perceptions of self
iv) Distort perception of others
v) Choose a different referent
vi) Leave the field
It identifies attributions made by people as the basis
for their motivation.
Explains the relationship between personal perception
and interpersonal behavior.
Common assumptions of attribution theories:
i) They try to provide a logical explanation to all that is
ii) They attribute actions of individuals to internal or
iii) Those theories propose that individuals follow a fairly
logical approach in making attributions.
The theory states that since the causes and reasons
for an individual’s behavior cannot be directly
observed, one has to depend to a great extent on
the perception of the individual in order to
understand his behavior.
Attribution theory also assumes that humans are
rational and motivated beings.
Locus of control attributions
‘Locus of control’ refers to the chief source of factors
that creates a result or gives rise to an outcome in
the employee’s perception.
Those employees who believe that there is an
internal control for all outcomes feel they have the
power to change or influence the outcomes by
means of their ability, skills and efforts.
Those employees who believe that there is an
external control for all outcomes feel that they are in
no position to control them. In their opinion, external
factors like luck, chance, etc. are responsible for
Bernard Weiner, a social psychologist, found that the
stability of attribution was also important in
Employees with longer work experience tend to have
stable internal attributions about their abilities and
unstable internal attribution regarding effort.
Kelley suggested other dimensions such as
consensus, consistency and distinctiveness having
an impact on the type of attributions made by
Consensus denotes the extent to which others
behave in a similar manner in the same situation.
Consistency refers to a pattern of behavior, which
may be relatively stable or unstable. This shows
whether a person behaves similarly in a similar
situation or if a particular behavior is just an
Distinctiveness indicates whether a person’s
behavior is similar for all tasks or whether his
behavior differs from one task to another.
An individual having high consensus, consistency,
as well as distinctiveness can be expected to make
attributions to external or environmental factors.
Individuals showing low consensus, high
consistency and low distinctiveness, can be
expected to attribute outcome or results to internal
or personal causes.
Control Theory And Agency Theory
Control is a cognitive phenomenon. It reflects an
individual’s ability to control his life and aspects
associated with his job.
Perceived control enhances job satisfaction and
An agency relationship is said to exist when one or
more individuals i.e. the principal, engages another
person i.e. the agent, to perform some activity on
his or their behalf.
The interests of principals and agents sometimes
conflict with each other.
MOTIVATION OF PERFORMANCE
THROUGH JOB DESIGN AND GOAL
Motivating Performance through Job
This theory advocated the structuring of work tasks
into highly standardized and specialized jobs to
simplify the process of hiring, training and
The primary objective of this exercise was to
minimize the operational costs involved at each stage
of the production of good and service.
This kind of organizational structure led to a high
degree of control over workers.
The design of a person’s job has a considerable
impact on his/her behavior.
“Job Design” can be defined as the process of
structuring tasks and responsibilities into a job in an
attempt to make the job more meaningful, significant
Approaches to job design
Job engineering approach to job design
The job engineering approach is concerned with
issues like plant layout, design of processes and
tools, and the measurement and
standardization of work processes and human-
Job enlargement approach
Horizontal expansion of jobs means increasing the
number of jobs performed by the worker, thereby
making the job less specialized and monotonous.
The rotation of workers between various departments
reduces the boredom of performing the same job
Vertical expansion results in an increase in the
content of work and requires employee to have a
high level of skill and knowledge.
It also facilitates an increase in the level of
autonomy by allowing workers to plan, direct,
control and evaluate their own performance on the
Quality of work life and sociotechnical approach to
QWL is concerned with the overall climate at the
workplace. This approach deals with the impact of
work on the employees and on organizational
Job characteristics approach to job design
Identifies certain features of jobs that result in
certain psychological states.
The core dimensions or characteristics of a job that
affect its nature are skill variety, task identity, task
significance, autonomy and feedback.
Skill variety refers to the degree to which a worker is
given the opportunity to use his knowledge and his
wide range of skills and abilities, to perform his job.
Task identity refers to the extent to which an
employee is responsible for the completion of a
distinct, identifiable module of the job assigned.
Task significance refers to the importance attached
to a specific job in the organization.
Autonomy refers to the amount of freedom a worker
has in performing his job.
Feedback refers to any appraisal received by the
employee about his performance on the job after its
Realization of critical psychological states
The psychological states discussed below, play an
important role in shaping individuals job motivation
Awareness of results
Personal of work outcomes
Job enrichment results in increasing the
responsibility and accountability of the job rather
then simply increasing the number of tasks to be
Provides employees with the opportunity to plan and
execute their of job and evaluate their own
Measuring task scope
Task scope refers to a dimension for describing jobs
at various levels of the organization. This task scope
encompasses the variety of activities a person has
to perform to complete as particular job.
Combination of tasks
Employees are not only given adequate
opportunities to develop their skills, but are also
empowered to plan, schedule and execute activities
themselves. The employees are thus made
completely accountable for their performance.
Introduction of an open feed back system
The employees should be given feedback on the
positive aspects of their performance to
encourage them to raise their level of productivity.
This feedback should be free from the biases held
by the managers.
Formation of natural teams
The management must encourage the formation of
informal, self motivated teams within the existing
structures of the organization. This facilitates
interaction among the various groups of employees,
irrespective of the type of work they are involved in.
The formation of such teams enhances skill variety,
builds emotional relationships among employees
and facilitates free interaction among them.
Motivating Performance through Goal
The theory of goal setting originated at the turn of the
century with the emergence of the theory of Scientific
Management by F W Taylor.
The theory of goal setting as propounded by Locke,
Wood and Mento is based on the principle that difficult
goals stimulate performance and commitment.
Locke’s theory assumes that human behavior is
purposeful and that goals direct and sustain their
behavior in a particular manner.
Two primary attributes of goals, content and
intensity, drive behavior towards the
accomplishment of tasks.
The content attribute of goals refers to the level of
difficulty involved in attaining the goal.
Intensity refers to the process by which a goal is set
It relates to employee participation in goal setting
and then commitment towards achieving the goal set
Goals should be specific
Goals should be difficult and challenging
Goals must be owned and accepted
Goals must have a specific time frame
Goals should be measurable
Performance enhancement through goal
Barriers to effective goal setting
Lack of top management support
Lack of communication
Content of the goal
APPLICATION OF GOAL SETTING TO
The theory of goal setting is usually implemented
through a system called Management by Objectives,
popularly knows as MBO. The term MBO was
coined by Peter Drucker.
MBO refers to the process of setting goals and
objectives through the participation of the
management and the workers.
MBO therefore, is a program consisting of a specific
set of goals to be achieved within a pre-determined
The common features of all MBO programs are goal
specification, participative decision making, an
explicit time period for the achievement of targets,
and performance feedback.
Consensus on key goals and objectives
Sketch a plan of action
Control of behavior
Periodic appraisal and reviews
An MBO program generally consists of four