Motivation is the process that begins with a psychological or physiological need that helps in activating behaviors that are directed towards the achievement of specific goals. Various theories are useful in explaining how employees are motivated and offer suggestions for how motivation in the workplace can be enhanced. This essay discusses theories of motivation under two classifications: need-based and process-based theories.
The theories focus on factors within individuals that help in stimulating, guiding, supporting, and ending behaviors. They identify specific needs that motivate people. The major theories in this category are:
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory
The theory describes five kinds of individual basic needs that include security needs, physiological needs, and communal needs as well as need to be held in high regard and needs to realize the full individual potential (Khoshnevis and Tahmasebi, 214).
Alderfer’s ERG Theory
According to Khoshnevis and Tahmasebi, “this theory provides three stages of satisfying needs: existence, relatedness, and growth” (214). Unsatisfied needs to motivate people. They meet needs considered inferior before, moving to those at superior levels (Khoshnevis and Tahmasebi 214).
McClelland’s Theory of Needs
The theory describes three learned needs that motivate humans, including achievement, affiliation, and power needs. Achievement need entails accomplishing and demonstrating competency. Affiliation involves needs for belonging, love, and relatedness while the need for power is concerned with the control of a person’s work or work of others (Khoshnevis and Tahmasebi 214).
Herzberg’s Two Factors Theory
The theory provides some motivating factors such as the need for personal development, responsibility, and recognition that result in job satisfaction. It also provides separate hygiene factors such as working conditions, salary, and interpersonal relationships that lead to dissatisfaction (Khoshnevis and Tahmasebi 214).
Process-based theories analyze how behavior is guided, improved, maintained, and ended. The four main categories of process-based theories are as follows:
Adam’s Equity Theory
The theory provides employees a lack of motivation when they have the perception that the distribution of rewards is unfair. Workers are motivated if they are treated equitably after obtaining what they perceive to be fair for their incurred costs and efforts (Khoshnevis and Tahmasebi 215).
Vroom’s Expectancy Theory
According to this theory, employees’ motivation is enhanced when they believe that their efforts will result in improved productivity. It is also enhanced when their productivity results in outcomes, and when they get desirable outcomes (Khoshnevis and Tahmasebi 215).
Skinner’s Reinforcement Theory
Skinner uses the term operant conditioning to explain how behavior is developed from its consequences. The different types of operant conditioning are reinforcing positively and negatively, reprimanding, and destruction. Both reinforcements leads to strong actions while reprimanding, and destruction cause weak behavior (Khoshnevis and Tahmasebi 215).
Locke’s Goal Setting Theory
The theory provides that motivation is dependent on the development of specific, challenging performance goals and commitment to these aims. Set goals drive behavior while the achievement of the goals further motivates people to perform (Khoshnevis and Tahmasebi 214).
Etihad Airways Employees’ Motivation
Etihad Airways has more than 22,000 employees across the globe who it motivates by providing opportunities for development, internal promotions and employing a culture of performance, reward, and recognition. The company has different employee development programs that boost staff morale. For instance, it has a corporate academy in Adu Dhabi that promotes interactive and creative learning with the help of innovative audiovisual facilities and wireless technology (Etihad Airways par.3). Additionally, an internal management program is used to provide both classroom and on jobs training for managers. The airline also motivates employees through various staff benefits. These consist of ambulance services, workplace nursery, full-service medical center, accommodation help, flight benefits, education assistance and discounted offers for leisure facilities both in UAE and across the globe (Etihad Airways par.5).
Etihad Airways. “Etihad Airways named ‘Employer of the year’ at Middle East HR Excellence Awards 2014”. 2014, Web.
Khoshnevis, Hooman, and Abbas Tahmasebi. “The Motivation System in a Governmental Organization.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences vol. 230.3rd International Conference on New Challenges in Management and Business: Organization and Leadership, 2016, Dubai, UAE, 2016, pp. 212-218, ScienceDirect. Web.