«The Nature of Motivation and Its Sources» - Free Essay Paper

The Nature of Motivation and Its Sources

Motivation is the urge for actions directed to the achievement of the set goals. The sources of motivation are different as well as its status at a particular moment. For example, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory suggests that all people tend to seek satisfaction of their physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization needs; this urge serves as the major motivating factor throughout their lives. Nevertheless, the needs are supposed to be satisfied according to a strict hierarchy starting with the inferior ones. Therefore, a person cannot be willing to satisfy aesthetic needs in terms of actual or potential danger. Maslow’s concept is very useful because it provides knowledge about human’s motivation and, as a result, helps to understand and foresee how a person may behave in a particular situation.

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Another example of the changeability of one’s motives is Herzberg’s Hygiene Theory that divided people into two ongoing groups: satisfiers and dissatisfies. Every person strives to change his/her status from a dissatisfier to satisfier. What is even more interesting, the same individual can be satisfied with one of his/ her statuses and dissatisfied with the other(s). The urge to transform from undesirable condition to the desired one is known as motivation and assumes that a person is supposed to find relevant ways of such transition.

Taking into account the peculiarity of this process, one should consider the importance of remaining dissatisfied with certain statuses, circumstances, or conditions. In other words, an individual is motivated only when he\she is dissatisfied. Whereas Maslow’s theory presumes the hierarchical satisfaction of needs and Herzberg’s concept suggests transition between dissatisfying and satisfying statuses, they both refer to a prior insight that humans are similar in their responses to the internal and external stimuli.

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Nevertheless, McClelland’s Achievement, Affiliation and Power Theory implies that all people can be grouped according to their primary life motives. For example, the behavior of individuals is dictated by the need to achieve set goals, be loved, recognized and accepted, as well as be influential, but these purposes are not equally relevant for every person. While one person constructs his/her actions to achieve recognition, another one may be oriented to leadership and have a desire to rule people. The peculiarity of different motivations distinguish McClelland concept from the other motivation theories. This approach is especially important for detecting the differences in individuals’ behavior since it points to the reasons why it may happen. Besides, it implies that every person should strive to find his/her niche according to their particular needs.

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The above-mentioned motivation theories answer the question why motivation appears, but it is necessary to consider the question how it forms, develops, and strengthens or weakens. According to Vroom’s Expectancy Theory, a person evaluates and compares the desired outcomes with the amount of required efforts and, according to this comparison, determines the validity of potential performance. Simply put, an individual strives to decide if the expected outcome is worth the efforts, or whether it is better to set another goal or find less costly means to achieve the initial one.

Another example of the process of strengthening one’s motivation is Adam’s Equity Theory. It suggests that humans are inclined to evaluate and compare the level of their recognition and/or punishment with the relevant positive or negative reinforcement of others. In case of detecting inequity, such individuals become motivated to change the situation.

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Similarly, Locke and Latham's Goal-Setting Theory emphasizes that different goals trigger different behavior. That is why strictly determined goals lead to better results in work performance, because only a persistent and goal-oriented person is capable to define specific targets and proper ways of their achievement. What is more, according to Skinner's Operant Conditioning Theory, since typically people prefer positive reinforcement to a negative one, they tend to seek the ways to be rewarded and recognized rather than being reproached and punished. Thus, positive reinforcement motivates a person to take the same action in the future, whereas negative reinforcement prevents an individual from repeating the same undesirable deeds.

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