Application of Motivation Theories

Several motivational theories give importance to the basic psychological needs to explain person’s behavior including his/her involvement in goal directed behavior. Different theories have different application in the practical life. Some of the applications of motivation theories are as follows: 

Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory and Its Applications 

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
When one applies Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to organizations, the lowest order need will be that of the salary. Most people join organizations at lower levels as trainees. These people have to satisfy their physiological needs first, that is to earn money to survive. As soon as they have learnt their work, they look at fulfilling their safety needs. Safety needs will include seniority and security in the job. They aspire to complete their probationary period successfully and to be confirmed in the organization to ensure job security. Once they are confirmed, they progress to the next need in hierarchy, which is love need. Love needs will include the need to belong to a friendly work group and to widen their circle of friends at work. 

Having acquired all this, they like to be recognized for their work to fulfill their ego (or esteem) needs or the need for status and promotion. The highest is the need for self-image. Most employees do not reach the self actualization stage, as they get busy fulfilling their ego (or esteem) needs by performing well and getting promotions, status and climbing up the ladder of seniority. 


Douglas’s X and Y Theory and Its Application 


Of the two theories X and Y, Theory Y is more important for organizational growth. In order to retain employees in the Y category, organizations have to constantly motivate them, for which some of the following strategies maybe used. 

Organizations can decentralize power and control, and reduce the number of levels or layers of hierarchy, as managers will have more subordinates, they will be forced to delegate some responsibility and decision-making to them. Theory Y can be used for job enlargement by broadening the scope of employee’s job by adding variety and opportunities to satisfy ego need. Theory Y is very important for participative management by consulting employees in the decision-making process to make them feel important, tap their creative capacity, and provide them with some control over their work environment. Last but not the least, it can be used very effectively for performance appraisal by asking the employee to set their own objectives and participate in the process of evaluating their own performance by looking at how well they met their objectives. If properly implemented, such an environment would result in a high level of workforce motivation as employees work to satisfy their higher level personal needs through their jobs. 


Alderfer’s ERG Theory and Its Application 

Alderfer's ERG Theory
The implications of the ERG theory for managers are similar to the implications of the needs hierarchy. Managers should focus on meeting their employee’s needs for existence, relatedness and growth without necessarily applying the condition that they can achieve job safety only after they fulfill their job responsibilities. This means that if employees have job security along with their basic needs, their motivation levels will be higher. 


Herzberg’s Two Factors Theory and Its Application 

Herzberg's Two Factors Theory
Herzberg collected data about people’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their job using the critical incident technique. The analysis of this data led to propose two sets of needs: one set of needs caused dissatisfaction to people if they were met. Using his prior experience in the field of health, Herzberg proposed his two-factor theory. 



Herzberg’s theory of work motivation has led to job enrichment programs, entailing redesigning of jobs. Job enrichment attempts to build many motivators into the job as possible. The theory has also made clear that incentives and high salaries along are not enough to motivate employees. Organizations need to recognize their employee’s work and create better opportunities of growth and advancement from them.


J. S. Adams's Equity Theory and Its Application

Equity Theory of Motivation
According to John Stacey Adams, the satisfaction depends on an individual's perception and reasonableness. Applying this theory when conducting a company's performance appraisals involves balancing the assessment of an employee's contribution to his job with the compensation and other rewards associated with his success. In general, highly paid and rewarded employees tend to be the most motivated to continue performing well on the job.


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