In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow published his now-famous hierarchy theory of motivation. The theory was based on clinical observation of few neurotic individuals. Subsequently it has been used to explain spectrum of human behavior.
Accordingly, when one's physiological needs are relatively satisfied, one's safety needs emerge, and so on up the need hierarchy, one step at a time. Once a need is satisfied it activates the next higher need in the hierarchy. This process continues until self-actualization is activated.
It can be presented as five steps. As 1st is achieved, person moves to 2nd one, then third and so on until the fifth self-actualization is achieved:
Most basic need. Entails having enough food, air, and water to survive.
Consists of the need to be safe from physical and psychological harm.
The desire to be loved and to love. Contains the needs for affection and belonging.
Need for reputation, prestige, and recognition from others. Also contains need for self-confidence and strength.
Desire for self fulfillment to become the best one is capable of becoming.
Managers are advised to motivate employees by devising programs or practices aimed at satisfying emerging or unmet needs.
Motivation could be described as the impetus or driving force that compels an individual or a body to performing an action with respect to achieving a goal which in itself may be tangible like money or intangible like for instance an attribute. Motivation is considered to be a highly relative concept as for example though two or more individuals may be performing the same action which may even have the same end result but the motivation that led to the efforts may have been different as also the way the end result is interpreted. Motivation is dependent to a certain degree on the society and culture or in short the environment in which the individual exists that defines the overall route that is to be followed regarding the various stages in life.
The celebrated psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) in his work A Theory of Human Motivation described the concept on the basis of a hierarchical classification of human needs which are created as well as satisfied due to factors that are both extrinsic as well as intrinsic. He stated that man is motivated first by the basic bodily needs like satisfying hunger as well as ensuring one's safety followed by social needs which may be esteem based arising from achievements and the more subtle ones related to the emotions, the entire process culminating in self actualization a stage in which man is in harmony with himself better equipped to exist. In case one's basic needs are not fulfilled generally the motivation level cannot be transferred to the other hierarchical needs while the satisfaction of a basic need leads to motivation to satisfy other more subtle ones.
According to Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory, one of the most widely known theories of motivation, individual needs form a five-level hierarchy.
1. Maslow's hierarchy of needs from the most basic to the highest.
a. Physiological needs are basic and include needs for food, water, and shelter.
b. Safety needs pertain to the desire to be safe, secure, and free from threats to our existence.
c. Belongingness needs involve the desire to affiliate with and be accepted by others.
d. Esteem needs are related to the two-pronged desire to have a positive self-image and to have our contributions valued and appreciated by others.
e. Self-actualization needs pertain to the requirement of developing our capabilities and reaching our full potential.
2. Needs at one level do not have to be completely fulfilled before the next level becomes relevant.
3. As needs on one level are fulfilled, they cease to act as motivators and tension develops to fulfill needs at the next level.
We can use this theory in designing an incentive system of an organization. This theory recommends that:
Don't ignore money. The allocation of performance-based increases, piecework bonuses, and other pay incentives is important in determining employee motivation.
Rewards other than monetary rewards (certificates, trophies, sales person of the year) should be included in the incentive system.
Recognize individual differences in terms of needs, attitudes, personality, and other important individual factors.
Use an example to describe what is meant by motivation
Motivation determines the reasons because of which an individual engages himself in a particular behavior. This term is widely used for human motivation and generally it is referred to show that motivation is rooted in the basic need to maximize the pleasure and to reduce the physical pain. Motivation deals with some tools (which are known as motivating factors) that can encourage the individuals to behave in a specific manner. For example, if an employee in an organization comes on time and at the end of the month he is given the title of Time-caring employee. This title can be proved as one of the motivating factors for him to come on time again for the next month.