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Different Types of Motivation Theories – Meaning and Definition

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Different Types of Motivation Theories

Different Types of Motivation Theories. 

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy Theory

Abraham Maslow first postulated that motivation of employees at workplace generally depends on satisfaction of their needs in order of hierarchy i.e. from 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 absence of hygiene factors dissatisfies employees. But 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 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 work place 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 motivation level of employees increase 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 ability for the tasks that secure for them 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 work place seriously affects motivation & thus productivity and efficiency of employees.

Different Types of Motivation Theories.

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 say 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 work place;

Different Types of Motivation Theories


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