motivation definition business

Motivation definition in business

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Motivation Definition:

Motivation is a driving force that influences the choice of alternatives in a person’s behavior. Improve, stimulate and induce employees to lead to goal-oriented behavior.

For example, promotion is a motivating factor as employees work towards set goals for promotion. The motivation can be monetary, for example, prizes awarded in the form of a car or a pay raise, or it can be non-monetary in the form of public recognition.

Theories of motivation

There are two types of motivation theories: content and process theories.
motivation theories

Theories of the content of motivation

  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Maslow has classified human needs into five basic categories.
  • Physiological need: this is the basic form of need that includes food, shelter, and clothing. For example, getting a job to survive in the context of an organization.
  • Need for safety: with the satisfaction of physiological needs, the need for stability and safety comes into play. For example, job security.
  • Social need: it is a sense of belonging to society. In the context of an organization, this simply means having good working relationships with colleagues and superiors.
  • Needs of esteem: This includes admiration, status, and self-respect. For example, employees of an organization need recognition for their efforts to achieve predetermined goals.
  • Self-realization: This is a need for personal development and self-actualization. For example, growing up in a profession or moving to an organization. Maslow’s theory serves as a good basis for managers to motivate employees.

Related: What is motivation in education?

Assumptions of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

  • Needs to follow a hierarchy.
  • People’s behavior is based on their needs.
  • A satisfied need ceases to be a motivator.
  • People move from a lower level to a higher level of their needs. This means that the lowest category of need must be satisfied before moving forward. Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy is universally accepted as simple and logical.

Alderfer Theory:

Alderfer Theory conceptualizes human needs that are relevant to organizational settings. This theory is also known as ERG theory. The category of need can be classified into three classes:


This human need is related to survival which is similar to Maslow’s physiological and part of the need for security.


This is comparable to Maslow’s social needs and a certain part of the needs for esteem and security.


Includes personal growth and development. It may be related to Maslow’s self-esteem and self-fulfillment needs.

Herzberg’s Hygiene Motivator Theory:

In this work motivation theory, employees are given a questionnaire to understand:

  • The factors that make employees extremely dissatisfied with their environment and workplace.
  • The factors that make employees extremely satisfied with their environment and workplace. The reasons that cause satisfaction, Herzberg called them motivators, and those that cause dissatisfaction are called hygiene factors.

McClelland’s Theory of Learned Needs:

McClelland identified three motivators that drive people in society to work accordingly:

Achievement need: This type of need focuses on excellence and achieving goals.

Need for Power: This is an individual’s need that drives him to be competitive and influence others.

Affiliate Necessity: This is a personal need for an individual to develop and maintain good relationships in society.

Related: Motivation in Business

Motivational process theory: involves the following three theories:

Equity Theory:

Individuals are motivated by fairness, so if they perceive a fair environment, they will be motivated and if they feel the work environment is unfair, they will be demotivated. Put simply, discrimination acts as a demotivating factor for an organization’s employees.

Vroom’s theory of expectations:

Vroom studied people’s motivation and concluded that it depends on three factors: expectation, instrumentality, and motivation.

  • The expectation is the belief that the more effort you put in, the better the result or performance. There are two types of expectation: the performance-effort expectation and the performance-result expectation.
  • Instrumentality is the idea that if you perform well, you will achieve a desirable result.
  • Valence is the priority given to the expected result or result. Vroom distinguished between people’s efforts, their performance, and the result. This principle acts on perception.
  • Porter-Lawler Model – This is an expanded and refined version of Vroom’s model of expectations. It states that an individual’s motivation to complete a task is driven by the reward they hope to get after completing the task. The Porter-Lawler model is presented in the figure.
    Porter-Lawler model

Under this model, efforts may not produce job performance for the following reasons: first, an employee may not be able to perform the assigned task, and second, they may lack clarity about your job function.
Motivation is therefore an internal state of mind that directs one’s behavior.

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