The Respective Theories Of Motivation Psychology Essay

The term motivation derived from the Latin word movere, meaning to move. Motivation represents those psychological processes that cause the arousal, direction, and persistence of voluntary actions that are goal oriented (Mitchell, 1982). Motivation as defined by Robbins (1993) is the “willingness to exert high levels of effort toward organizational goals, conditioned by the effort’s ability to satisfy some individual need. A need in this context is an internal state that makes certain outcomes appears attractive. An unsatisfied need creates tension that stimulates drives within the individual. These drives then generate a search behavior to find particular goals that, if attained, will satisfy the need and lead to the reduction of tension (Robbins, 1993).

Luthans (1998) sees it as the process that arouses, energizes, directs, and sustains behavior and performance, while Pinder (1998) defines work motivation as the set of internal and external forces that initiate work-related behavior, and determine its form, direction, intensity and duration.

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According to Nelson and Quick (2003), motivation is the process of arousing and sustaining goal-directed behavior. The most practical definition proposed by social scientist that, motivation is a psychological processes thatorigin the stimulation, direction, and persistence of behaviour (Luthans, 2005).

2.3 Employee’s Motivation Theories

There are many theories of motivation. The researcher identified the most relevant theories and explained the respective theories of motivation and how motivation gives an valuable impact on job satisfaction.

2.3.1 Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is one of the motivation theories that used all over the world. Maslow theory is a basic to start examining the different motivation theories. The first idea of Maslow is people always tend to want something and what they want depends on what they already have. According to Mullins (2007) states that Maslow proposed that there are five different levels of needs people have to seek for satisfaction of their basic needs.

The first level of this theory is Physiological Needs. These needs include the most basic of all human needs like water, shelter, food, warmth, rest and clothing. When people don’t feel hunger, thirst or cold, their needs go to a next level. The second lowest level is Safety Needs. Need to feel secure and protected in his/her family as well as in a society of day-to-day life is a part in this level. Next, the third level is Belonging and Love Need. After feeling secure, people need for love, affection, sense of belongingness in one’s relationship with other persons. The fourth level is Esteem Needs. It is the need to be unique with self-respect and to enjoy esteem from other individuals. People want to evaluate themselves highly and based on their achievement receive appreciation from other people. Lack of these needs may cause inferiority, helplessness and weakness. Highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is Self-Actualization. The development of this need is based on the satisfaction at the other four lower levels. It refers to the need of self-fulfillment and to the tendency to become actualized in what a person is potential. The core of this theory lies in the fact that when one need is fulfilled, its strength diminishes and the strength of the next level increases (Latham, 2007).

Figure 2.3.1 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


2.3.2 Equity Theory

Equity theory recognizes that individuals are concerned not only with the absolute amount of rewards they receive for their efforts, but also with the relationship of this amount to what others receive. Based on one’s inputs, such as effort, experience, education, and competence, one can compare outcomes such as salary levels, increases, recognition and other factors. When people perceive an imbalance in their outcome-input ratio relative to others, tension is created. This tension provides the basis for motivation, as people strive for what they perceive as equity and fairness (Robbins, 1993). One of the prominent theories with respect to equity theory was developed through the work of J.S. Adams. Adams’ theory is perhaps the most rigorously developed statement of how individuals evaluate social exchange relationships (Steers, 1983). The major components of exchange relationships in this theory are inputs and outcomes. In a situation where a person exchanges her or his services for pay, inputs may include previous work experience, education, effort on the job, and training. Outcomes are those factors that result from the exchange. The most important outcome is likely to be pay with outcomes such as supervisory treatment, job assignments, fringe benefits, and status symbols taken into consideration also.

Equity theory rests upon three main assumptions (Carrell, 1978). First, the theory holds that people develop beliefs about what constitutes a fair and equitable return for their contributions to their jobs. Second, the theory assumes that people tend to compare what they perceive to be the exchange they have with their employers. The other assumption is that when people believe that their own treatment is not equitable, relative to the exchange they perceive others to be making, they will be motivated to take actions they deem appropriate. This concept of equity is most often interpreted in work organizations as a positive association between an employee’s effort or performance on the job and the pay she or he receives. Adams (1965) suggested that individual expectations about equity or “fair” correlation between inputs and outputs are learned during the process of socialization and through the comparison with inputs and outcomes of others. Pinder (1984) stated that feelings of inequitable treatment tend to occur when “people believe they are not receiving fair returns for their efforts and other contributions.” The challenge therefore for organizations is to develop reward systems that are perceived to be fair and equitable and distributing the reward in accordance with employee beliefs about their own value to the organization.

The consequences of employees perceiving they are not being treated fairly create a variety of options for the employees (Champagne, 1989). These options include the employees reducing their input through directly restricting their work output, attempting to increase their output by seeking salary increases or seeking a more enjoyable assignment. Other possibilities are to decrease the outcomes of a comparison other until the ratio of that person’s outcomes to inputs is relatively equal or increasing the other’s inputs. In addition to the above mentioned, the employee could simply withdraw from the situation entirely, that is, quit the job and seek employment elsewhere.

2.3.3 Expectancy theory

The concept of expectancy was originally formulated by Vroom and it stands for the probability that action or effort will lead to an outcome. The concept of expectancy was defined in more detail by Vroom as follows: “Where an individual chooses between alternatives which involve uncertain outcomes, it seems clear that his behavior is affected not only by his preferences among these outcomes but also by the degree to which he believes these outcomes to be possible. Expectancy is defined as momentary belief concerning the likelihood that a particular act will be followed by a particular outcome. Expectancies may be described in terms of their strength.

Maximal strength is indicated by subjective certainty that the act will be followed byoutcome, while minimal strength is indicated by the subjective certainty that the actwill not be followed by the outcome (Vroom, 1964).

Fundamental to all the popular theories of motivation is the notion that employees are motivated to perform better when offered something they want, something they believe will be satisfying. However, offering the employees something they believe will be satisfying is necessary, but not enough. They must believe that it is possible to achieve what they want. Employees are not motivated to perform better when managers focus on the “offering” and ignore the “believing”. Employee’s confidence that they will get what they want involves three separate and distinct beliefs.

The first belief is that they can perform well enough to get what is offered. The second is thatthey will get it if they perform well. The third belief is that what is offered will be satisfying. Each of these three beliefs deals with what employees think will happen if they put effort to perform. The first belief deals with the relationship between effort and performance, the second with the relationship between performance and outcomes, and the third with the relationship between outcomes and satisfaction. All these beliefs are interrelated because an employee effort leads to some level of performance, the performance leads to outcomes, and the outcomes lead to some amount of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. In conclusion, the expectancy theory of motivation requires the fulfillment of the following conditions: employees are motivated to perform only when they believe that effort will lead to performance, performance will lead to outcomes, and the outcomes will lead to satisfaction (Green, 1992).

Effort-to-performance expectancy is the starting point in the implementation of the expectancy theory. It is a person’s perception of the probability that effort will lead to successful performance. If we believe our effort will lead to higher performance, this expectancy is very strong, then we are certain that the outcome will occur. If we believe our performance will be the same no matter how much effort we make, our expectancy is very low, meaning that there is no probability that the outcome will occur. A person who thinks there is a moderate relationship between effort and subsequent performance has an adequate expectancy, and thus put maximum effort in the performance. The next stage in the expectancy theory is performance-to-outcome expectancy, which is a person’s perception of the probability that performance will lead to certain other outcomes. If a person thinks a high performer is certain to get a pay raise, this expectancy is high. On the other hand, a person who believes raises are entirely independent of the performance has a low expectancy. Thus, if a person thinks performance has some bearing on the prospects for a pay raise, his or herexpectancy is adequate. In a work setting, several performance-to-outcome expectancies are relevant because several outcomes might logically result from performance. Each outcome, then, has its own expectancy. The final stage in the expectancy linkage is named outcomes and valences. An outcome is anything that might potentially result from performance. High level performance conceivably might produce such outcomes as a pay raise, a promotion, recognition from the boss, fatigue, stress, or less time to rest, among others. The valence of an outcome is the relative attractiveness or unattractiveness of that outcome to the person. Pay raises, promotion, and recognition might all have positive valences, whereas fatigue, stress, and less time to rest might all have negative valences. The stress of outcome valences varies from person to person. Work-related stress may be a significant negative factor for one person but only a slight annoyance for someone desperately in need of money, a slight positive valence for someone interested mostly in getting promotion or, for someone in an unfavorable tax position, even a negative valence.

The basic expectancy framework suggests that three conditions must be met before motivated behavior occurs (Griffin, 2007). Behavioral scientists generally agree that the expectancy theory of motivation represents the most comprehensive, valid and useful approach to understanding motivation. However, it does not end with only understanding, it is also important to be able to motivate people to perform. In this regard, the Expectancy theory generally has been considered quite difficult to apply. This is no longer true, as there are many application models that have been developed over the years and which are quite simple and straightforward (Green, 1992).

2.3.4 Herzberg Motivation/Hygiene theory

Herzberg’s motivation/hygiene theory is also known as the two-factor theory. Herzberg started the study job satisfaction in the 1950’s in Pittsburg. The basis of Herzberg’s work is in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He started with the idea that what causes the job satisfaction are the opposite of those things that cause job dissatisfaction. However, after studying thousands of books he couldn’t draw any guidelines. He conducted a survey where he asked participants to identify those things that made them feel positive with their job and those that made them feel negative.

As a result Herzberg found out that what makes people happy is what they do or the way they’re utilized and what makes people unhappy is the way they’re treated. Things that make people satisfied at work are different from those that cause dissatisfaction so those two feelings can’t be opposite. Based on these findings, Herzberg created his theory of motivators and hygiene factors. Both factors can motivate workers but they work for different reasons. Hygiene factors tend to cause only short-term satisfaction to the workers while motivators most probably cause longer-term job satisfaction.

Motivatorsor satisfiers are those factors that cause feelings of satisfaction at work. These factors motivate by changing the nature of the work. They challenge a person to develop their talents and fulfill their potential. For example adding responsibility to work and providing learning opportunities to a person to work at a higher level can lead to a positive performance growth in every task a person is expected to do if the possible poor results are related to boredom of the task they are supposed to accomplish. Motivators are those that come from intrinsic feelings.

In addition to responsibility and learning opportunities also recognition, achievement, advancement and growth are motivation factors.These factors don’t dissatisfy if they are not present but by giving value to these, satisfaction level of the employees is most probably going to grow (Bogardus, 2007). When hygiene factors are maintained, dissatisfaction can be avoided. When opposite, dissatisfaction is most probably to occur and motivation can’t take place.

2.4 Employee’s Job Satisfaction

Many definitions of the concept of job satisfaction have been formulated over time. According to Locke (1969), job satisfaction is a state of emotional gladness, results from the achievement of the goals that one get through performing his part of contribution inside an organization.

Employee job satisfaction is influenced by the internal organization environment, which includes organizational climate, leadership types and personnel relationships (Taber and Seashore, 1975).

Locke and Lathan (1990) give a comprehensive definition of job satisfaction as pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experience. Job satisfaction is a result of employee’s perception of how well their job provides those things that are viewed as important.

Work satisfaction results from the perception that one’s job fulfills, or allows the fulfillment of one’s important job values. Phrased differently, work is gratifying if it complements one’s personal desires and needs.

Definition by McCormick and Ilgen (1980) looks similar. They also regarded job satisfaction as a person’s attitude towards his or her job, and added that an attitude is an emotional response to the job, which may vary along a continuum from positive to negative.

In addition, Megginson, Mosley and Pietri (1982) stated that people experience job satisfaction when they feel good about their jobs, and that this feeling often relates to their doing their jobs well, or their becoming more proficient in their professions, or their being recognized for good performance.

According to Wiener (1982) states that job satisfaction is an attitude towards work-related conditions, facets, or aspects of the job.

Arnold and Feldman (1986) described job satisfaction as “the amount of overall affect that individuals have toward their job”. High job satisfaction therefore means that an individual likes his or her work in general, appreciates it and feels positive about in.

According to Mitchell and Lasan (1987), it is generally recognized in the organizational behaviour field that job satisfaction is the most important and frequently studied attitude.

Job satisfaction is so important in that its absence often leads to lethargy and reduced organizational commitment (Moser, 1997). Lack of job satisfaction is a predictor of quitting a job (Alexander, Litchtenstein and Hellmann, 1997; Jamal, 1997). Sometimes workers may quit from public to the private sector and vice versa. At the othertimes the movement is from one profession to another that is considered a greener pasture.

Job satisfaction has been defined as “aˆ¦ an attitude that individual has about their job, it results from their perception of their job and the degree to which there is good fit between the individual and the organization (Ivancevich et al., 1997). Job satisfaction is an important motivator to employee’s performance.

While Luthan (1998) posited that there are three important dimensions to job satisfaction:

Job satisfaction is an emotional response to a job situation. It can only be inferred.

Job satisfaction is often determined by how well outcome meet or exceed expectations. For instance, if organization participants feel that they are working much harder than others in the department but are receiving fewer rewards they will probably have a negative attitudes towards the work, the boss and or coworkers. On the other hand, if they feel they are being treated very well and are being paid equitably, they are likely to have positive attitudes towards the job.

Job satisfaction represents several related attitudes which are most important characteristics of a job about which people have effective response. These to Luthans are: the work itself, pay, promotion opportunities, supervision and coworkers.

Schneider and Snyder (1975) regard job satisfaction as a personal evaluation of conditions present in the job, or outcomes that arise as a result of having a job. It appears then that job satisfaction encapsulates a person’s perception and evaluation of his job, and that this perception is influenced by the person’s unique disposition. People will therefore evaluate their jobs against those aspects that are important to them (Sempane et al., 2002).

Since job satisfaction involves employees’ emotions and feelings, it has a major impact on their personal, social and work lives (Sempane et al., 2002) and for this reason may also influence their behaviour as employees, e.g. absenteeism (Locke, 1976; Visser, Breed and Van Breda, 1997).

According to Feinstein (2000) states thatjob satisfaction is more of a response to a specific job or various aspects of the job. Job satisfaction is an important element from organizational perspective, as it leads to higher organizational commitment of employees and high commitment leads to overall organizational success and development (Feinstein, 2000) additionally growth, effectiveness and efficiency of the organization and low employees’ intentions to leave the organization (Mosadeghard, 2008). Obstinately, dissatisfied individuals leave the organization and inflate the motivation of those staying there (Feinstein, 2000) and as a result workers loose performance and efficiency and might sabotage the work and leave the job (Sonmezer andEryaman, 2008).

According to Ramayah, Jantan and Tadisina (2001), job satisfaction explains how employees are buoyant to come to work and how they get enforced to perform their jobs. Other researchers narrate job satisfaction as being the outcome of the worker’s appraisal of extent to which the work environment fulfillment the individual’s needs (Dawis and Lofquist 1984).

Various researchers have contributed their research findings from organizational set ups, in order to increase employee job satisfaction and have given various suggestions to boost up the satisfaction. Feinstein (2000) says in order to increase individual’s satisfaction level employees should be given advancement opportunities. Similarly changes in organizational variables, such as pay scales, employee input in policy development, and work environment could then be made in an effort to increase organizational commitment and overall outcome. Elton Mayo found that interaction within the group is the biggest satisfier. Safety, relation to work and success are followed by intergroup relations (Bektas, 2003). Mosadeghard (2000) gave job satisfaction dimensions like nature of the job, management and supervision, task requirement, co-workers, job security, and recognition and promotion had more effect on employees’ organizational commitment in organizational set up.

According to Oshagbemi (2003), job satisfaction is an important attribute which organizations desire of their employees. The job satisfaction by employees can contribute to the success of an organization because employees can give full commitment and motivation to perform their job.

Pensions and profit-sharing plans are positively associated with job satisfaction (Bender and Heywood, 2006). According to Stephen (2005), one would be wrong to consider one single measure of job satisfaction and there may be number of reasons that need to be considered. He further found that actual work was the biggest satisfier and working conditions were the least satisfier; job security was also big determinant of job satisfaction. (Penn et al., 1988) found that opportunity for professional development is the biggest determinant to differentiate satisfied and non-satisfied employees. An employee will be satisfied if he has reached the ideals in his profession; he will develop positive feelings towards his profession (Sirin, 2009).

Absence of work life balance, lack advancement opportunities, work environment, lack of encouragement, and lack of recognition may lead to stress, which ultimately causes dissatisfaction, burnout and finally increased turnover rate within organization (Ahmadi andAlireza, 2007). Job satisfaction is inversely related to burnout, intentions to leave the organization (Penn et al., 1988).

According to O’Leary, Wharton and Quinlan (2009), job satisfaction is also generally conceived as an attitudinal variable that reflects the degree to which people like their jobs, and positively related to employee health and performance.

Toper (2008) stated that, “If a person believes that the values are realized within the job, this person possesses a positive attitude towards the job and acquire job satisfaction”. In the other words, employees will be motivates to perform their job with good attitudes, so that employees will be automatically satisfied with the job. Topper (2008) proposed that Maslow’s need theory has connection with job satisfaction. An employee will be satisfied with his/her job when he or she achieves the levels of needs, e.g. physiological, security, social, self-esteem and self-actualization.

Mosadeghard (2008) gave job satisfaction dimensions like nature of the job, management and supervision, task requirement, co-workers, job security, and recognition and promotion as having more effect on employees’ organizational commitment in organizational set up. O’Leary, Wharthon and Quinlan (2008), job satisfaction is also generally conceived as an attitudinal variable that reflects the degree to which people like their jobs, and positively related to employee health and job performance.

With referring to the concept of Herzberg’s motivation theories and supported by other researchers, it shows that motivational factors (achievement, advancement, work itself, recognition and growth) are key foundation that influences and has significant impact on employees’ job satisfaction.Thus, it is proposed that;

There is a significant relationship between achievement and job satisfaction.

There is a significant relationship between advancement and job satisfaction.

There is a significant relationship between work itself and job satisfaction.

There is a significant relationship between recognition and job satisfaction.

There is a significant relationship between growth and job satisfaction.

2.5 Research Model

This study has integrated different views and thought from past research to study the concept of motivation and factors affecting on employee job satisfaction.

Thus, this study focuses on Herzberg’s motivation theories. The motivational factors in this theory are achievement, advancement, work itself, recognition and growththat give an impact on employee job satisfaction.

Based on that, the research model developed for this study can be seen in Figure 2.5.1.

Figure 2.5.1: Research Model of the study



Job Satisfaction

Work Itself



Independent Variable Dependent Variable
2.6 Summary

This chapter reviewed literatures on the independent variables of the present study, which are motivational factors (achievement, advancement, work itself, recognition and growth). Meanwhile, our dependent variable that is job satisfaction was discussed. Research methodology of the present study will be discussed in the following chapter.

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