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Some Theories of Motivation Or Why It is Necessary to Motivate Employees

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Katsura (2012) claimed that the success of every business depends on motivated employees. However, there is no secret formula for motivating employees and there is no sheet to fill out. Motivation is just like an individual employee. Meaning, one motivation strategy does not fit all employees. It would always be different for every individual. One employee maybe motivated by recognizing his job well done. The other maybe motivated in getting a promotion and many are motivated with increase in salary and additional benefits and incentive package. The best technique to motivate employee according to Issa (2014) is to find out what your employee wants and give it to them or find ways to enable them to earn it. For example give incentive to teams for their achievement. Incentives are good motivating factors to reward workers for achieving their goals. The author further suggests that determining how to motivate employees or workers varies by region. For instance, people in the MENA region are usually motivated by a good balance of work-life. From the article, ‘The Power of Motivating Employees’ (2014), it emphasizes a good tactic of motivating employees and that is to reward a good accomplishment. Recognizing a job-well done will improve the person’s self-image, raises his self-esteem and motivates him to even do better in the future.

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation

Simply the theory states that in the workplace there are two opposing factors that can either make the employee satisfied and not satisfied. These two opposing factors are those tangible and intangible things that can either make the employee happy when they experience them, or that can make them dissatisfied when they receive them. Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory is also called Two-Factor Theory because of the presence of two factors, one is the set of motivation and others is the set of hygiene factors. The motivation factors are: recognition for a good deed, challenging work, sense of importance, personal growth, etc. For hygiene factors are: job security, salary, job status, work conditions, good pay, etc. There are four possible combinations of these factors that determine satisfaction and dissatisfaction of employees. High hygiene plus high motivation = employees are no doubt satisfied.Low hygiene plus high motivation = you will hear complaints from those who feel dissatisfied.High hygiene plus low motivation = again, many would be complaining.Low hygiene plus low motivation = there is no doubt that employees are dissatisfied because this is the worst combination of the factors that permeate in the workplace.

Motivated employees are responsible for the success of every business. In reality though there is no formula for the best motivating technique. Also, there is no sheet of paper to fill-up to enlist employee and the motivation that fits him. Just like and individual employee, motivation and its technique does not fit one employee. Meaning, each employee has its own dose of motivation. While one employee may see that recognition of his work well done is enough to motivate him, others may be are still dissatisfied unless they get promotion. Others may be are happy receiving an increased salary. According to Issa (2014), the best motivation for employee is something that they earn it because it would be sweeter to receive when you give your best forward for it. On the question on how the management can use this theory to improve the performance of the employees, what has been mentioned earlier is true. Individual employee has his own set of needs, so what the manager has to do first is discover these needs and factors to motivate him.

However, since the Herzberg Theory is also called the Two Factor Theory, meaning the manager has to give the employee the motivation and the hygiene factor just what the combinations shows. The theory could be most effective if the management while providing the employee challenging work (motivation) the manager at the same time provides the employee good working condition or good salary (hygiene factor). Employee A for instance has been recognized for having led the sales team achieved their quota for the month. Along this line, he and his team members were given trip to Bali Island for 3 days. This for sure will motivate Employee A and his team to strive to achieve their quota the next time they are given the similar task. Since the two factors of motivation must go hand in hand, this type of theory is ineffective or less effective if only one factor is provided to the employee. For example, the employee has a good working condition but his salary is very low, hence we could not tell that the employee is satisfied. In short, to satisfy the employee, the combination of high motivation and high hygiene must go hand in hand to fully satisfy the employee. Furthermore, if Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory fails to improve employee’s performance, probably there are other needs the employee wants or needs other than the motivation and hygiene factors. The best way is for the manager to approach the particular employee and ask him what can satisfy him. If the things that he wanted can be afforded to be given by the company that would also appropriately commensurate to his services, then the manager will give it if it could satisfy him. There is no best way to know the needs of the employees than to communicate with them face-to-face as much as possible. An organization must be generous to give employees what they want that could make them happy as long as the ‘giving’ is done appropriately.

McClelland’s Acquired Needs Theory

This motivation theory is proposed by David McClelland in 1961 explaining that the needs of an individual in the workplace are shaped by his daily experiences. Man motivation to improve his work performance depends on how his experiences are able to give him recognition for his achievement, to improve his affiliation with others and how his experiences can make his influence felt in the work environment. Man would like to achieve recognition, belongingness with others and become influential. When one of these classes is achieved, only then we can say according to McClelland that a person will be motivated. Meaning, at least an individual must acquire one of these classes for him to be effective in this workplace (McClelland and Acquired Needs Motivation Theory, 2014). Also, this theory is based on the concept that each individual is ‘achievement motivated’. Man wants to achieve something so that he can demonstrate also his worth. When he successfully achieves something and people around him recognize that achievement, he is more motivated to improve more and take the more difficult challenge and again proving that he can do it again. Additionally, the theory explains that an individual wants to achieve power. An individual wants to be authority so that he can demonstrates his influence and better if he can show his leadership through that power. He wants to direct others individually and also he wants to lead the bigger group. If he can do it successfully, man is more motivated to improve his performance especially in the workplace. Finally, McClelland Acquired Needs Motivation Theory explains as well that an individual is a social being that wants affiliation or improved relationship. In short, man is ‘affiliation motivated’ because he wants to improve his relationships as part of his belongingness needs similar to that of Maslow Hierarchy of Needs.

The acquired needs theory of McClelland is applicable in the workplace or in the business organizational setting because this is true of man that man in the strictest sense of the phrase is a man who seeks achievement, power/authority and he seeks affiliation or relationships because they are all motivating factors of him to improve his work performance. Based from the theory of McClelland that man becomes motivated in the workplace if his needs to acquire achievement, power/authority and affiliation are met through his daily experiences then management can capitalize in this theory by making employees improve their performance on the job. As regards achievement, man desires more achievements if he acquires something he desires. His cravings for more achievements are endless and therefore along this line, as an example, manager should give high achiever more challenging projects yet with reachable goals. For instance, employee A is able to finish his special project on time and on budget. He deserves recognition from management and probably a bonus and he should be given the next time a more challenging project since he is able to accomplish the first one effectively and efficiently. In this example, bonus in terms of monetary reward is nothing but what is more important is the positive feedback that can motivate more the individual to do even the more difficult task. As regard the individual need for affiliation, management must place this individual to teams or to cooperative undertakings. This kind of individual best works with teams since being affiliated with others and acquiring good relationships, the individual will likely to improve more his work performance. Finally, management should help the individual acquire the power or authority. For example, the supervisor gives the individual the chance to lead a group or a team to accomplish a special project. Being able to accomplish a task through his leadership, the individual will be more motivated to improve his job performance next time.

There are however limitations to the theory of McClelland. In some cases, the theory may become less effective or ineffective. For example, when people who are motivated with achievements are placed with high achievers, their achievements may be overshadowed by others and it would result to de-motivation. With other people achieve more than you are, you tend to be inferior and again you go back to be an ordinary achiever and worst you would even become underachiever this time. As regards individuals who acquire power or authority as their motivation, they can be less effective when they direct others especially these others also desire to become an authority or influential in his rights. Meaning, there would be possibility of the conflict of ‘power needs’. As regards affiliation, this can be less effective with work settings that have already significant personal interaction. Meaning, the individual could no longer demonstrate his ability in improving his relationships since there is already a good and established relationships among the groups. When this happens, the individual could not acquire this ‘affiliation need’ and this would result to de-motivating him that would cause his poor work performance again.

Definitely, the theory of McClelland does not always work successfully in the business organization since there are many factors that can hinder its applications. There are ways that a manager can do if this theory fails to improve employee performance. First, the manager will have to think that intrinsic motivation is always better than extrinsic motivation. If the manager or management could not provide experiences for the individuals to have ‘achievement motivation’, ‘power motivation’ and ‘affiliation motivation’ there are other ways that he can motivate the individual and that is by motivating him intrinsically. For example, when achievement motivation does not work or will not work, the manager can assign an individual task to the individual to start from simple task and to a more complex task. The manager for every simple task accomplished by the individual should have always feedback from him and the positive or negative feedback is sort of intrinsic motivation already. Giving attention to a task simple or complex will be a way of the manager to let the employee feels that his work is significant after all for the overall productivity of the organization. Also, if the individual will not be the given the chance to lead to demonstrate his power or authority in major projects, he can also lead some small tasks or minor projects even those that are less significant.

Finally, a manager can help the individual improves his relationships with others in the organization even with the already established personal relationships among employees by letting his presence felt and recognized by the manager itself. By the manager personally recognizing your individual presence does not anymore entail acquiring an established relationships because it is the already the ‘boss’ that let you feel you are important.

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