‚Äč Principles and Theories
Supporting Chapter Concepts

Understanding individual motivation is rooted in these theories:

  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:
    • Maslow's theory illustrates motivation through his five-level pyramid diagram (Weinbach, 2008, p. 132). Based upon which level the worker has achieved, one can determine the unmet needs that are motivating the worker.
      • For example: In the movie Office Space, Peter struggles with self-actualization when bosses stifle his ability to use his talents and be challenged at work. When his company undergoes downsizing, Peter hatches a scheme to cope with safety-level needs to protect from losing what he has (Rappaport & Judge, 1999).
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    • Critique on Maslow (Weinbach, 2008, p. 132-3):
      • Maslow asserted that only unmet needs motivate workers.
      • How much is adequate to fulfill a level? This is different for each individual.
      • Each worker must be assessed to provide tasks appropriate to their needs and level, in order to raise morale.
      • Maslow's theory oversimplifies motivation. Wouldn't needs change in any given moment or situation? (Think of poor Peter!)
    • Article: Motivating Employees - by Dave F.>>

  • Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory - by Kellie S.>


  • Other Theories :
    • Maslow, Herzberg, and McClelland assume an individual's motivation is a function of needs. Others see it differently (Weinbach, 2008, p. 140):
      • Victor Vroom thought a worker chose behaviors based on minimizing pain and maximizing pleasure of the consequences.
      • B.F. Skinner similarly believed behavior is reinforced through positive consequences and discouraged by the bad.
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