UNIVARSITY.ORG | How People Are Motivated About Work
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17 Mar How People Are Motivated About Work

Throughout the history of work, there have been theories about how and why we are motivated to work. Since we have progressed as a Society, these theories change, and often are subjected to change, just as our working life is.

Douglas McGregor, defined the human behavior system towards organizations in two very differing ways:

1. Theory X:

People are assumed to be generally lazy, uninterested in work or most responsibilities, and need to be both pushed and rewarded in order to achieve something.

2. Theory Y

The opposite of theory X. People generally want to work, they enjoy achievement, gain satisfaction from responsibility and seek more experience, wanting to create a positive experience at work.

Maslow took this theory further and claimed that peoples needs are progressive, and only when the basic needs of food, shelter, warmth and rest are met through earnings from work then you can move on to more aspirations.

If this theory is true then the more developed the society, the more people want and need. Whilst societies that are undeveloped tend to be lower on the aspiration ring for people; this could mean we are progressively seeking more, as we continue to progress from survival level.

Hertzberg, one of our more modern theorists on motivation listed two distinct levels of factors that turn us of work, and those that motivate us. This more detailed approach to motivation in the modern workplace, listed working conditions and salary as potential negative factors, and elements like achievement, recognition, and growth as potential motivators.

Their is one underlining factor in all Motivational theories, people are motivated by circumstances, whether they are negative, neutral or positive. These circumstances create our own attitude towards work, and society.

This could lead to the theory that everyone’s circumstances create attitudes towards society and work. Attitudes that can create the motivation that led Barack Obama, a complete outsider to become President, or Bernie Madoff to create a billion dollar scam, when he had already reached the pinnacle of financial respectability.



Markus Taylor

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