The theories of motivation take into account how motivation affects professional work.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

According to this theory, everyone has needs that must be hierarchically met. The lowest unmet needs are the most motivating to the person.

Alderfer’s ERG Theory

This theory is a reduction to Maslow’s theory. The needs are reduced to three levels. When a need is fulfilled, it becomes motivating for the individual.

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

This theory has two factors: Hygiene Factors (Job Context) and Motivational Factors (Job Content).

Hygiene factors: company policies, quality of supervision, rate of pay, job security, and other work conditions

Motivational factors: personal growth and development, responsibility, job interest, and achievement

A person that lacks both factors is considered dissatisfied and demotivated.

A person with Hygiene Factors, but not Motivational Factors is considered satisfied but demotivated

A person with both factors is considered satisfied and motivated.

Goal-Setting Theory

This theory is focused on goals and how they affect motivation.

  • Specific goals are more effect than general/broad goals
  • Moderate goals are better than easy or hard goals
  • Feedback helps with motivation
  • Personally-created goals are more motivating

Equity Theory

This theory is based on the social comparison theory with the idea that individuals compare themselves with those within their social environment. Judgments about how we are treated are based on these social comparisons. Fair treatment leads to lack of problems.

Expectancy Theory

This theory has three levels of belief systems:

  1. Expectancy: where effort leads to high performance
  2. Instrumentality: where performance leads to rewards
  3. Valence: where rewards are valuable to the individual.