Maslow’s Hierarchy and the X and Y theory of human motivation are both critical in the administrative element of criminal justice. According to Maslow, people need to first have their basic needs met before they can move up to meeting their higher-level needs. The theory explains, in part, that people will struggle to truly unleash the best elements of their job performance unless they are able to pay for their basic necessities, like food, medical care, rent, and the like. This has forced criminal justice organizations to take more seriously the benefits they have provided people. Criminal justice organizations have discovered that they will get better performance out of their employees if those employees are reaching a place of self-actualization. In order to do that, the people need to feel secure that their positions are going to pay them well enough for them to take care of the basic things they need.
The theory of X and Y has also shifted some of the practices in criminal justice administration. According to this theory, there are two different modes through which people can be motivated. For one, they can be motivated through external rewards and punishments. This is why, within the criminal justice field, there are rewards given for performance and demerits given for some who struggle with performance. In addition, if an organization wants to truly unleash the possibilities within people, that organization needs to focus on job satisfaction. Some can look at improving conditions for employees within criminal justice agencies to understand this. The idea is that if people are happy in their jobs, they will be more motivated. Some organizations have used this to unlock performance in people that goes above and beyond the duties required by the position. It is a means of becoming more efficient by getting more out of employees through superior intrinsic motivation.
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