A widely referred theory of motivation postulated by Maslow in the ’50s is the theory of the “Hierarchy of needs”
The needs identified by Maslow are as follows:
1. Physiological needs for food, clothing and shelter.
2. Security and safety needs for reassurance that there is no fear of loss of job, property, shelter.
3. Affiliation or acceptance needs to belong, to be accepted by others.
4. Esteem needs for power, prestige, status, self- confidence.
5. Self-actualisation needs to maximise one’s potential.
As people advance in an organisation, their physiological and safety needs tend to decrease in importance, and the needs for affiliation, esteem, and self-actualisation tend to increase.
1. Approaches to Motivation:
Individuals have their own objectives and needs which are important to them, apart from the organisational objectives.
Through the function of leading, managers help people to realise that they can satisfy their own needs and utilise their full potential at the same time, to achieve the aims of the organisation.
This requires an understanding of the roles assumed by people, their individuality and their dignity.
People have different needs, ambitions, attitudes, desire for respect, responsibility, level of knowledge and skills, and potential.
Without understanding the complexity and individuality of people, the generalisations about motivation and leadership may be misplaced.
The three approaches to motivations, and the assumptions on which they have been based, are as follows.
2. Motivations by Formal Control:
A person has knowledge, attitudes and skills, in varying degree. But his performance in organisational situation also gets affected by factors such as family, neighbours, school, religion, unions’ political association and fraternal groups.
Initially, the assumptions that people are motivated only by economic incentives lead to the concept of ‘rational economic man this concept postulated that people are essentially passive and can only be manipulated by satisfying their economic needs.
This school of thought views that the employee is not keen to accept responsibility, cannot be trusted, needs to be controlled through fear of termination of his job and other kinds of punishments, and is motivated only through providing economic incentives and other fringe benefits.
This management style is based on the above sets of assumptions in a majority of organisations. These assumptions and the style of management resulting from it may work for some time, but fail to motivate employees on a long-term basis.
3. Motivations through Informal Organisation and Group Dynamics:
The second concept was based on the observation that people are motivated not only by economic needs, but also by work groups of which they form a part.
This concept found that there is dominant need for informal organisation in which employees feel comfortable, with close communication among group members.
The interpersonal dynamics of the group to a great extent influence motivation and performance of the employee.
The management approach used is to encourage formation of cohesive informal groups and group leaders, maintaining good interpersonal relationship, and good human relations.
Formation and maintenance of informal groups and maintaining desirable group dynamics being unpredictable, this approach is an uncertain, or at best a short-term, approach to employee motivation.
4. Motivation through Encouraging Full Utilisation of Workers Potential and through Internal Sources of Control:
Later on, the concept of hierarchy of needs and of self- actualisation postulated that motives fall into hierarchy of five needs, ranging from simple needs of survival to the highest need for self-actualisation and maximum use of the person’s potential.
Abraham Maslow, among other researchers found that satisfaction and happiness at work come from maximum utilisation of one’s potentialities and abilities in line with one’s training and skills.
The work environments itself give opportunities for advancement of knowledge and skills. If there is proper selection and placement, if there is challenging opportunity for employees for demonstrating his or her performance, this will motivate the employee for maximum performance.
If the work is self-reinforcing the employee is likely to be happy and satisfied on the job and achieve organisational goals effectively.
5. A Balanced View of Motivation:
No single model is sufficient to explain the full range of individual and organisational behaviour.
It would be appropriate to believe that workers differ with respect to their perception of the organisation, their level of aspirations, their experiences, their reference groups and their sociocultural backgrounds.
In reality, people are complex and variable, and have many motives which combine into a complex motive pattern with ability to learn and add new motives. Economic rewards are important, but people often want more than money from a job.
They also want to develop their capabilities, their competence, and their potential as well. Managers will have to take into consideration all the factors described above in deciding to use appropriate techniques while designing approaches to employee motivation.
“Employment is the means for satisfying men physiological and his safety needs, and so are wages, working conditions and benefits. By these means the individual can be controlled so long as he is struggling for subsistence or for security.
The philosophy of ‘management’ by control and direction’ is essentially useless in motivating people whose dominant needs are social and egoistic.
People, deprived of opportunities to satisfy the needs which are now important to them, behave with indolence, passivity, resistance to change, lack of responsibility, unreasonable demands for economic benefits “(McGregor).
6. Motivating Professionals:
In hospitals and health care organisations, the professionals, i.e. doctors, specialists, technologists and researchers differ in the nature of their needs and the level of their need satisfaction than the rest of the employees.
The professionals tend to be more committed to their profession rather than to the organisation. They are dedicated to their work and like to have freedom to provide self-direction. Their technical competence is the key to their status.
Motivating professional workers in hospitals, therefore, requires organisations which can provide opportunities as well as resources for satisfaction of the professional needs.
“The professionals want opportunities where they can show achievement, can identify themselves with work which they are doing, use their knowledge and abilities, can grow in their profession and get feelings of accomplishment in what they do.
This does not necessarily mean that economic aspects or working conditions should not be adequate. It is beyond those which matter in terms of motivating the professionals towards better performance and satisfaction”.