Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theory

It is probably safe to say that the most well-known theory of motivation is Maslow's need hierarchy theory. Maslow's theory is based on the human need

What Is Motivation?

Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. It is what causes you to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge. Motivation involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behavior. In everyday usage, the term "motivation" is frequently used to describe why a person does something. It is the driving force behind human actions.

Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theory

Motivation is an important factor which encourages persons to give their best performance and help in reaching enterprise goals. A strong positive motivation will enable the increased output of employees but a negative motivation will reduce their performance. A key element in personnel management is motivation.

These needs refer to self-esteem and self-respect. They include such needs which indicate self-confidence, achievement, competence, knowledge and independence. The fulfillment of esteem needs leads to self-confidence, strength and capability of being useful in the organisation. However, inability to fulfill these needs results in feeling like inferiority, weakness and helplessness.

Definitions of Motivation

1. According to Benard, "Motivation is the stimulation of actions towards a particular objective where previously there was little or no attraction to that goal."

2. According to J.P. Guilford, "A motive is may particular internal factor or condition that tends to imitate and sustain activity."

3. According to B.F. Skinner, "Motivation in school learning involves, arousing, persisting, sustaining and directing desirable behaviour."

Nature Of Motivation

  1. It orients and directs the responses of the learner towards the desired objectives.
  2. It is psycho-physiological phenomenon.
  3. It provides the energy and accelerates the behaviour of the learner.
  4. It is an internal condition or process or factor of the learner.
  5. It initiates or sustains the learner's activity.

Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theory

It is probably safe to say that the most well-known theory of motivation is Maslow's need hierarchy theory. Maslow's theory is based on the human needs. Drawing chiefly on his clinical experience, he classified all human needs into a hierarchical manner from the lower to the higher order. In essence, he believed that once a given level of need is satisfied, it no longer serves to motivate man. Then, the next higher level of need has to be activated in order to motivate the man. These are now discussed one by one:

1. Physiological Needs

These needs are basic to human life and, hence, include food, clothing, shelter, air, water and necessities of life. These needs relate to the survival and maintenance of human life. They exert tremendous influence on human behaviour. These needs are to be met first at least partly before higher level needs emerge. Once physiological needs are satisfied, they no longer motivate the man.

2. Safety Needs

After satisfying the physiological needs, the next needs felt are called safety and security needs. These needs find expression in such desires as economic security and protection from physical dangers. Meeting these needs requires more money and, hence, the individual is prompted to work more. Like physiological needs, these become inactive once they are satisfied.

3. Social Needs

Man is a social being. He is, therefore, interested in social interaction. companionship, belongingness, etc. It is this socialising and belongingness why individuals prefer to work in groups and especially older people go to work.

4. Esteem Needs

These needs refer to self-esteem and self-respect. They include such needs which indicate self-confidence, achievement, competence, knowledge and independence. The fulfillment of esteem needs leads to self-confidence, strength and capability of being useful in the organisation. However, inability to fulfill these needs results in feeling like inferiority, weakness and helplessness.

History of Motivation

What are the things that actually motivate us to act? Throughout history, psychologists have proposed different theories to explain what motivates human behavior. The following are some of the major theories of motivation.

Instincts

The instinct theory of motivation suggests that behaviors are motivated by instincts, which are fixed and inborn patterns of behavior. Psychologists including William James, Sigmund Freud, and William McDougal have proposed a number of basic human drives that motivate behavior. Such instincts might include biological instincts that are important for an organism's survival such as fear, cleanliness, and love.

Drives and Needs

Many of your behaviors such as eating, drinking, and sleeping are motivated by biology. You have a biological need for food, water, and sleep. Therefore, you are motivated to eat, drink, and sleep. Drive theory suggests that people have basic biological drives and that behaviors are motivated by the need to fulfill these drives.

Arousal Levels

The arousal theory of motivation suggests that people are motivated to engage in behaviors that help them maintain their optimal level of arousal. A person with low arousal needs might pursue relaxing activities such as reading a book, while those with high arousal needs might be motivated to engage in exciting, thrill-seeking behaviors, such as motorcycle racing.

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