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Other Theories of Motivation

McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y

were developed by Douglas McGregor and describe two distinct views of human nature.

1. Theory X was the assumption that employees dislike work, are lazy, seek to avoid responsibility, and must be coerced to perform.

2. Theory Y was the assumption that employees are creative, seek responsibility, and can exercise self-direction.

3. Theory X assumed that lower-order needs (Maslow’s) dominated individuals, and Theory Y assumed that higher-order needs dominated.

Motivation-hygiene theory

is the theory developed by Frederick Herzberg that suggests that intrinsic factors are related to job satisfaction and motivation, and extrinsic factors are associated with job dissatisfaction. The basis of Herzberg’s theory is that he believed that the opposite of satisfaction was not dissatisfaction. Removing dissatisfying characteristics from a job would not necessarily make the job satisfying. Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory states that there are only two categories of needs.

Hygiene factors

are factors that eliminate dissatisfaction. They include things such as supervision, company policy, salary, working conditions, security and so forth—extrinsic factors associated with job context, or those things surrounding a job.

Hygiene factors

are necessary to keep workers away from feeling dissatisfied. There are several hygiene factors.

a. Pay

b. Working conditions

c. Supervisors

d. Company policies

e. Benefits


are factors that increase job satisfaction and hence motivation. They include things such as achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement and so forth—intrinsic factors associated with job content, or those things within the job itself.

Motivator factor

can only lead workers to feel satisfied and motivated.

a. Achievement

b. Responsibility

c. Work itself

d. Recognition

e. Growth and achievement

Clayton Alderfer’s ERG theory combines Maslow’s five needs into three need levels: existence, relatedness and growth.

1. Existence needs include the various forms of material and physiological desires, such as food and water, as well as such work-related forms as pay, fringe benefits and physical working conditions.

2. Relatedness needs address our relationships with significant others, such as families, friendship groups, work groups and professional groups.

3. Growth needs impel creativity and innovation, along with the desire to have a productive impact on our surroundings.

4. ERG needs differ in concreteness, i.e. the degree to which their presence or absence can be verified.

5. The satisfaction-progression principle is a principle that states that satisfaction of one level of need encourages concern with the next level.

6. Besides disagreeing as to the number of need levels that might exist, the ERG theory differs from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory in three other significant ways:

a. Although the general notion of a hierarchy is retained, Alderfer’s theory argues that we can be concerned with more than one need category at the same time.

b. ERG theory is more flexible in acknowledging that some individuals’ needs may occur in a somewhat different order than the posited by the ERG framework. c. ERG theory incorporates a frustration regression principle which states that if we are continually frustrated in our attempts to satisfy a higherlevel need, we may cease to be concerned about that need. McClelland’s acquired-needs theory argues that our needs are acquired or learned on the basis of our life experience.

1. The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) measures the needs for achievement, affiliation, and power.

2. The need of achievement (nAch) is the desire to accomplish challenging tasks and achieve a standard of excellence in one’s work.

3. The need for affiliation (nAff) is the desire to maintain warm, friendly relationships with others.

4. The need for power (nPow) is the desire to influence others and control one’s environment.

a. Personal power is the need for power in which individuals want to dominate others for the sake of demonstrating their ability to wield power.

b. Institutional power is the need for power in which individuals focus on what they can do to solve problems and further organizational goals.

5. The need profile of successful managers in competitive environments appears to include:

a. A moderate-to-high need for institutional power.

b. A moderate need for achievement to facilitate individual contributions early in one’s career and a desire for the organization to maintain a competitive edge as one moves to higher levels

c. At least a minimum need for affiliation to provide sufficient sensitivity for influencing others.

d. Need for achievement may actually be more important than need for power in running small or large, decentralized companies.

6. It may be possible to foster the needs for achievement and for institutional power through training.

Significance for Managers

Many aspects of need theories are of value to managers.

1. Need theories are compatible in pointing out the importance of higher-level needs as a source of motivation.

2. Research indicates that it is more likely that individuals differ in the makeup of their need structures than that the need structures of individuals are basically the same.

3. The frustration-regression aspect of ERG theory may have serious implications for organizations.

Cognitive Perspectives

Equity Theory,

developed by J. Stacey Adams, says that an employee perceives what he or she got from a job situation (outcomes) in relation to what he or she put into it (inputs) and then compares the inputsoutcomes ratio with the inputs-outcomes ratios of relevant others and finally corrects any inequity.

1. The referents are the persons, systems, or selves against which individuals compare themselves to assess equity.

2. Equity theory recognizes that individuals are concerned with their absolute rewards as well as the relationship of those rewards to what others receive.

3. What will employees do when they perceive an inequity?

a. Distort either their own or others’ inputs or outcomes.

b. Behave in some way to induce others to change their inputs or outcomes.

c. Behave in some way to change their inputs or outcomes.

d. Choose a different comparison person.

e. Quit their job

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