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Motivation Theory Articles: Comparing and Contrasting Various Theories

There are numerous theories of motivation that have been developed to explain the processes by means of which individuals become actively engaged in pursing and achieving goals and objectives related to their personal, professional and social lives (Ramlall, 2004). Motivation is further understood as the willingness to exert a high level of effort toward organizational goals, conditioned by the effort's ability to satisfy some internal need (Ramlall, 2004). Thus, motivation is an outcome of a need that must be satisfied and the drive to achieve this satisfaction. In the context of the workplace, motivation is recognized as a key element in fostering enhanced productivity, satisfaction on the part of all stakeholders, employee retention and positive organizational morale (Halepota, 2005). Two articles comparing and contrasting various theories of motivation will be analyzed in this report.

Halepota (2005) examined Maslow's Theory of the Hierarchy of Needs and McGregor's Theories X and Y, among other theories, specifically considering the locus of motivation at the intersection of needs and drives. In discussing Maslow's concepts of needs as the basic source of drives for achievement and success, Halepota (2005) stated that for Maslow, a person's needs were the basic motivator that drives human behavior. Using a system of hierarchal levels ranging from the most basic safety and physiological needs to the need for self-actualization, Maslow offered what Halepota (2005) characterized as a system that helps us to understand human behavior and to select motivational strategies appropriate to the person being motivated. It recognizes that different things motivate different people - a somewhat fundamental concept that should not need clarification via a complex theory - and that the inherent value of rewards associated with motivation is not fixed, but rather is valued by its potential recipient (Halepota, 2005).


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