Theories Of Motivation

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Literature Review Whilst reading to consider the research of others in this field, it became clear there was a plethora of research into theories of motivation. Motivation is the force that creates and maintains goal orientated behaviours until the goal is achieved . One of the primary goals in this reading was to understand what motivates people to satisfy goals. Researchers have developed a number of differing theories as to what motivates human beings to strive for these goals. Historically, James (1890) was an advocate of the instinct theory of motivation in which we states that people are motivated to behave in certain ways because they are programmed to do so; they have innate biological tendencies to help them survive. An example of this in the animal world would be the instinctive migration of birds to warmer climates. This theory appears to be predominantly based on genetics and heredity factors. Melucci (2010, p232) ,states, “organisms engage in certain behaviours because they lead to success in terms of natural selection” and that it “casts motivation as intrinsically and biologically based.” Although instinct theories could be used to explain some behaviours, critics of the research believed that it had limitations - predominantly how this links to motivations outside of survival; motivations to achieve a goal within the workplace for example - and moved on to develop other theories. The incentive theory of motivation suggests that external rewards will motivate people to do things. This fits well with the motivation to work – for example, the monetary reward being paid – more so, than the instinct theory. “According to this view, people are pulled towards incentives that offer positive incentives and pushed a... ... middle of paper ... by behaviourists have predominantly been based on laboratory research using animals. Given the superiority of the human brain and the greater needs that human beings demonstrate, he states that external reward is really promoting ‘temporary obedience’. In a later interview with Brandt, (1995), he does suggest that parents, teachers and leaders who want to develop enquiring minds should do all that they can to ensure individuals do not work for such rewards. “One of the most thoroughly researched findings in social psychology is that the more you reward someone for doing something, the less interest that person will tend to have in whatever he or she was rewarded to do.” (p2) This awareness and understanding would be beneficial to employers seeking to motivate employees sufficiently to satisfy goals, which in turn contribute to the success of the organisation.

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