Motivation is one of the main areas in organizational behavior. Employees need some sort of motivation in order to be productive. Several motivation theories have been brought forth over the years. The origin of motivation theory emanates from the early 20th century and can be credited to content theories of Motivation particularly Maslow’s hierarch of needs motivational theory. According to Maslow, motivation of an individual is influenced by internal need to achieve a given status. In the hierarchy, one must satisfy the most basic needs which he terms as physiological needs before moving to security needs, social needs, esteem and self actualization needs. The use of this theory is evident in today’s organizations including Google Inc and Kellogg’s. It is expected to grow tremendously in the future, as companies seek to increase their employee satisfaction amid competition.

Your 20% discount here!

Use your promo and get a custom paper on
Motivational Theory

Order Now
Promocode: SAMPLES20

Motivation can be generally understood as the force acting on or within an individual that cause the provocation, direction, and persistence of goal –oriented, voluntary effort. Consequently, motivation theory entail the processes that explain why humans behave the way they do. Motivation is one of the major components of organizational behavior and has been studied widely to help improve organizational performance. Motivation theory dates back to the late 19th century when psychologists tried to explain human behavior. Theories of motivation came to be grouped into two major groups; the content motivation theories and the process motivation theories (Weiner, 2010). Content theories were the first form of theories to be established. Content theories of motivation also known as need theories focus on aspects internal to the individual that trigger and influence behavior. These theories therefore regard motivation the result of internal drives that influence a person to act or move (hence motivate) towards fulfillment of individual needs (Weiner, 2010). The father of motivation in this regard is Abraham Maslow, who first came with his famous Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory.

Abraham Maslow created the hierarchy of needs which stipulates that the needs of an individual exist in a hierarchy including physiological, security, belongingness, esteem and self-actualization needs. Maslow was influenced to discover what causes people to be at different levels of social status, yet they are in the same society. According to him, a person needs to have certain needs fulfilled or satisfied before he or she can go to another level of needs (Maslow, 2013). Physiological needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are the most fundamental needs for water, food, clothes, shelter. Security needs entail needs for safety in an individual’s physical environment, stability and free from emotional stress. Needs of belongingness relate to needs for love, friendship and acceptance within a certain group or community of people. Esteemed needs include needs relating to getting respect for oneself and from others. The highest level of needs in Maslow’s hierarchy is self-actualization which is needs that correspond to the attainment of individual’s potential, the practice and accessing one’s creative potentials and in essence becoming the best one can be in life (Weiner, 2010). Needs that remain unsatisfied motivate or influence behavior, hence lower level needs such as physiological needs need to be fulfilled first before consequent needs can be achieved.

Application of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in organizational management and at work is evident. According to the proposition of the hierarchy, people must have their basic needs fulfilled for instance safe working environment, sufficient pay to adequately care for oneself and family, job stability prior they will be motivated by enhanced job responsibilities, status and compelling work responsibilities.

Several organizations adopt Maslow’s theory of motivation in realization that, employees get motivated at different level within an organization. Some of the companies that have adopted this theory include Kellogg’s and Google Inc. Kellogg’s one of the leading food manufacturing multinational companies in the United States. At Kellogg’s the management deems it necessary to understand where within Maslow’s hierarchy every employee is so that these factors can be considered (Latham, 2011). At Kellogg’s every employee is motivated to work through Maslow’s levels. By so doing, it provides positive outcome for both the organization and individual employees. This is how motivation is achieved in the company:

Physiological needs: Kellogg’s gives competitive salaries to its employees. This provides the employees with the means to acquire basic needs including food, shelter, clothing and education for their children. The company has a benefit program known as Kellogg’s Cornflex flexible benefit which permits employees to choose benefits that suit their needs. They include cash alternatives to company cars, childcare vouchers, and discounted life assurance program.

Safety needs: Like other companies embracing this theory, Kellogg’s values the safety of its employees.

Social needs/belongingness: the company runs weekly group huddles which gives employees an informal opportunity to interact and discuss different issues of the company. People learn to embrace diversity and other important values.

Self actualization: Kellogg’s provides its employees with the chance to engage in challenging and thrilling opportunities including taking ownership of a certain project.

Maslow’s hierarchy of need motivation theory is probably one of the theories that are widely used in business. This is done consciously or unconsciously by many companies. The basis of motivation in any organization emanates from the fulfillment of individual employees needs. If an employee’s needs are not met, starting from the basic needs which are the lowest in the hierarchy, he is bound to leave and seek them elsewhere (Weiner, 2010). Consequently, after achieving the lowest needs, employees usually need something extra to motivate them to remain in their work, work hard and have a sense of security and belongingness. Thus this theory has been greatly adopted in today’s organizations and will continue being an important element in employee motivation regardless.

Despite this understanding, Maslow’s theory has received little attention from organizational behavior scholars. Whereas scholars have concentrated other theories of motivation, they have not vested much interest in Maslow’s theory. What is interesting is that, most of the theories of motivation also emphasize on the role of internal factors in motivation of an employee.