Man is a complex animal. He is far more complex than he seems to be.
Thus, when one wants to define motivation, he enters a field which is somewhat difficult because the precise conceptual definition of the term is rarely found. Consequently the expressed and implied meanings commonly differ.
The word “motivation” comes from the Latin word “movere”, which means move. Human motives are based on needs, whether consciously felt. Sonic are primary needs, such as the physiological needs for water, air, food, sleep, and shelter.
Other needs may be regarded as secondary stitch as self-esteem, status, affiliation with others, affection, giving, accomplishment and self-assertion. Naturally, these needs vary in intensity and over time among individuals.
“Motivation” is a general term applying to the entire class of drives, desires, needs, wishes and similar forces.
To say that managers motivate their subordinates is to say that they do things which they hope will ‘satisfy these drives and desires and induce the subordinates to act in a desired manner.
Motivation may be defined as the act of stimulating someone to take a desired course of action.
It is the art of inducing employees to work diligently and sincerely for the success of the enterprise. It is the intensification of desire of the workers or employees to work more cordially, carefully and consciously.
In the words of L.A. Allen,
Motivation is the work of manager who performs to inspire, encourage and impel people to take required action.
Motivation is often referred to as the “dynamic of behavior”. The term ‘dynamic’ means energies or forces which produce motion in physical bodies. In psychology and administration, it means the mental enraging force or motive that activates the organism.
Many people incorrectly view motivation as a personal trait—that is, some have it and others do not. Motivation is the result of the interaction of the individual and the situation.
Motivation is “the processes that account for an individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal.”
The Three key elements of our definition are intensity, direction, and persistence:
Intensity is concerned with how hard a person tries. This is the element most of us focus on when we talk about motivation.
Direction is the orientation that benefits the organization.
Persistence is a measure of how long a person can maintain his or her effort. Motivated individuals stay with a task long enough to achieve their goal.
Objectives and Characteristics of Motivation
The objective of motivation is to create conditions in which people are willing to work with zeal, initiative, interest and enthusiasm.
It also creates conditions in which people work with a sense of responsibility, loyalty, discipline and with pride and confidence so that the goals of an organization are achieved effectively.
Motivation is a captivating concept. It is a fascinating but a complex phenomenon. The main features of motivation are as follows:
- Motivation is goal-oriented;
- Motivation is a continuous process;
- Motivation may be positive or negative;
- Motivation may be monetary or non-monetary;
- Motivation may be considered in totality, not in piece-meal;
- Motivation is a psychological phenomenon which converts abilities into performance.
Motivators are things that induce an individual to perform. While motivation reflects wants, motivators are the identified rewards or incentives that sharpen the drive to satisfy these wants.
A manager can do much to sharpen motives by establishing an environment favorable to certain drives. For example, employees in a business that has developed a reputation for excellence tend to be motivated to contribute to this reputation.
A motivator, then, is something that influences an individual’s behavior. It makes a difference in what a person will do.
Obviously, in any enterprise, the manager must be concerned about motivators and also inventive in their use. Also he has to use such motivators as will lead the employees to perform effectively for their employees.
Motivating is the management process of influencing people’s behavior based on the knowledge of what cause and channel sustain human behavior in a particular committed direction.
Simply, the term motivation indicates a noun whereas motivating a verb. Motivation refers to a state of mind to work willingly, whereas motivating is the process of influencing behavior.
The Motivation Process
The motivation process progresses through a series of discrete steps. Needs/motives are the starting point of motivation. An unsatisfied need creates tension that stimulates drives within the individual.
These drives generate a search behavior to achieve particular goals that will satisfy the need and lead to reduction of tension. The action taken by the individual will lead to reward/goal which satisfies the need and reduces tension.
The motivation process may be presented in the following diagram;
Employee motivation is of crucial concern to management; mainly because of the role that employee motivation plays in performance.
Usually performance is determined by;
(ii) environment and
If any of these three factors is missing or deficient, effective performance is impossible.
A manager may have the most highly qualified employees under him and provide them with the best possible environment, but effective performance will not result unless the subordinates are motivated to perform well.
Therefore, management can do its job effectively only through motivating employees to work for the accomplishment of organizational objectives.
Early Theories of Motivation
In the 1950’s three specific theories were formulated and are the best known:
These early theories are important to understand because they represent a foundation from which contemporary theories have grown. Practicing managers still regularly use these theories and their terminology in explaining employee motivation.
Contemporary Theories of Motivation
The following theories are considered contemporary not because they necessarily were developed recently, but because they represent the current state of the art in explaining employee motivation.
- ERG Theory; developed by Clayton Alderfer,
- McClelland’s Theory of Needs,
- Edwin Lockc’s Goal-Setting Theory,
- Albert Bandura’s Theory of Self-Efficacy,
- Reinforcement Theory of Motivation developed by B.F. Skinner and his associates,
- Cognitive Evaluation Theory,
- Expectancy Theory by Victor H. Vroom,
- Equity Theory of J. Stacy Adams.
In a nutshell we can say that motivation is a means of inspiring people to intensify their desire and willingness to discharge their duties efficiently and to co-operate for the achievement of common objectives.