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Home / Management / Organizational Behavior / Different Types of Motivation Theories – Meaning and Definition

Different Types of Motivation Theories – Meaning and Definition

Different Types of Motivation Theories: Some of the most important theories of motivation are as follows: 1. Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory 2. Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory 3. McClelland’s Need Theory and others. From the beginning modern, when human organizations were established, various scholars have tried to find out the ways to what motivates people to work. Different approaches applied by them have resulted in a number of theories concerning motivation. These are discussed in brief in that order.

Different Types of Motivation Theories


Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy Theory

Abraham Maslow first postulated that motivation of employees at the workplace generally depends on the satisfaction of their needs in order of hierarchy i.e. from the lower level to higher level of needs.

The hierarchy is shown below:

Different Types of Motivation Theories

Douglas Mc Gergor’s X  &  Y Theory

Mc Gergor’s espoused his famous X-Theory which conceives of the following:

  1. People are inherently idle, they don’t like work;
  2. They are irresponsible and lack ambition;
  3. So they need to be coerced, controlled & punished so that that they work;
  4. Thus management function is to control, punish and have work done;

Different Types of Motivation Theories

His famous Y-Theory which conceives of the following:

  1. General people consider work as natural as recreation, rest and play;
  2. People become responsible & ambitious in right condition;
  3. An average person has a large potential & ability which are exhibited in right condition;
  4. Management function is to create congenial environment to have employees motivated at work place;

Motivation Hygiene Theory

Fredrich Herzberg claimed that completely different factors satisfy or dissatisfy employees. Some factors satisfy employees while completely different factors dissatisfy them. Generally, the absence of hygiene factors dissatisfies employees. But the removal of dissatisfying factors can only pacify them but doesn’t lead to satisfaction. Only factors of satisfaction can fully satisfy them.


Different Types of Motivation Theories


Factors of satisfaction are:

  1. Achievements
  2. Recognition
  3. Type of work
  4. Responsibility
  5. Advancement
  6. Growth

Factors of dissatisfaction or hygiene factors:

  1. Company policy
  2. Administration
  3. Supervision
  4. Interpersonal relations
  5. Work environment
  6. Salary etc.

These hygiene factors lead to loyalty, commitment, positive attitude to organization & reduce turn-over, migration, etc.


ERG (Existence, Recognition, Growth) Theory

Professor Erderfer refined Maslow’s 5 needs hierarchy theory& grouped them into 3 groups of needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory argues that needs should be satisfied from lower to a higher level & the hierarchy is very rigid. ERG Theory argues that people may have different groups of needs to be satisfied simultaneously & satisfaction of higher level of needs may decrease demand for lower-level needs & vice versa.

Different Types of Motivation Theories

Three Needs Theory

David Mc Cleland found in his investigations that people are motivated at the workplace by 3 important needs. These needs are as follows:

  1. Needs for achievement
  2. Needs for power
  3. Needs for friendship & esteem

Goal-Setting Theory

Edwin Locke in the sixties observed that the motivation level of employees increases if a definite goal is scientifically set for the organization. There should be feedback to check if work is progressing as per goal set.

Reinforcement Theory

This theory argues that employees will be interested for that work which promises for them expected incentive & reward. People will exert higher effort, willingness, and the ability for the tasks that secure for them the better incentive and better reward. They will be willing to learn that work better 7 accomplish them in a better way.

Equity Theory

Employees compare their job inputs & outcomes with those of others and then respond so as to eliminate them. Equity theory recognizes that people are concerned both with the absolute & relative amount of rewards they receive compared to their colleagues in the same factory or in the similar but different organization. They make judgments as to the relationship between their inputs & rewards & that of the inputs & outputs of others. If they perceive any imbalance, tension is generated and demotivation of employees if affected.

  1. Reward/job input of employee A < Reward/job input of employee B= Inequity
  2. Reward/job input of employee A = Reward/job input of employee B= Equity
  3. Reward/job input of employee A > Reward/job input of employee B= Inequity

In the former case inequity happens due to employee B not being equitably rewarded compared to employee A. in example 3, inequity takes place due to employee B being over- rewarded compared to employee A. Inequity at workplace seriously affects motivation & thus productivity and efficiency of employees.

Expectancy Theory

This theory argues that whether one has the desire to work efficiently depends on whether a return or outcome will follow and whether that outcome will satisfy him/her.

Ability & Opportunity vs. Motivation

It has been observed that a person says a manager can exert the best performance under certain conditions but under unfavorable conditions, one fails to deliver the expected outcomes. This happens because in one organization congenial environment and system prevailed so one must succeed. In another organization, the right conditions were absent so one’s effort failed. Thus performance combines the function of ability, motivation, and opportunity.


Influence of motivation on productivity:

Motivation widely influences production-related 4 variables:

  1. Productivity;
  2. Absenteeism;
  3. Turnover or worker migration;
  4. Job satisfaction at the workplace;

Different Types of Motivation Theories


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About Mohammed Ahaduzzaman

Mr. Zaman is a Founder and Freelance Writer @ BBALectures Blog! Blogging is his passion. He loves writing on Entrepreneurship, Finances, Accounting, HR and Business Issues. By profession, He serving as Accounting Professional at Zaman Accounting.


  1. Thanks admin! for sharing all of these valuable resources as a complied page…these all are important motivation theories…

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