Motivation Theories at the Workplace

Labor motivation is understood as the organization of the company’s work in a way that encourages everyone to fulfill professional duties. In other words, each employee receives an internal incentive that increases productivity and is aimed at achieving a common goal. To produce a competent staff incentive, a manager has to know the basic methods of motivation. A subordinate whose contribution to the overall achievement has not been noticed or appreciated will not want to improve their performance in the future. By integrating two theoretical frameworks, namely, Maslow’s theory and Hertzberg’s Two-Factor theory, into the HRM process, a manager will be able to boost the performance levels of staff members by increasing their motivation and engagement.

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a fundamental theory recognized by management experts around the world. The framework suggests arranging human needs into five basic levels based on their urgency and significance. Maslow defines five sets of requirements, which he calls basic needs (D’Souza & Gurin, 2016). They include physiological needs, the need for security, the need for love, the need to satisfy self-esteem, and, finally, the need for self-actualization. Leaders of various ranks have begun to understand that a wide range of their needs determines people’s motivation. To motivate a particular person, the leader should allow them to satisfy their most essential needs, at the same time aligning them with the process of achieving the goals of the whole organization.

Frederic Herzberg and his colleagues developed Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation in 1959. The objective was to discover the factors that motivate people and reduce their cause, as well as to identify the reasons for the increase and decrease in labor productivity. The two-factor theory of Herzberg is based on two broad categories of needs, specifically, hygiene factors and motivating factors (Alshmemri, Shahwan-Akl, & Maude, 2017). Hygiene factors are associated with the environment in which the work is carried out, and motivating ones are related to the nature of the work. According to Herzberg, the employers who seek to increase the motivation of their employees by raising salaries will be disappointed in the end. After employees are accustomed to a new level of wages, it will most likely be considered by them as a hygienic factor (Alshmemri et al., 2017). Moreover, from the moment when increased payments become a standard component of the salary, they will immediately cease to motivate people.

Herzberg draws specific parallels between the two-factor theory of motivation and Maslow’s pyramid of needs. Herzberg’s hygienic requirements are correlated with the lowest conditions of the Maslow pyramid, and motivating factors are associated with the highest demands, respectively. Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation is a new explanation of the mechanism inspiring people (Alshmemri et al., 2017). Previously, to increase staff motivation, attempts were made to improve working conditions, increase wages, and provide exclusive benefits. However, these attempts and decisions did not give the expected results because they did not affect the motivation of employees (D’Souza & Gurin, 2016). Subsequently, many organizations have attempted to implement the basic principles of Herzberg’s theory, and in fact, they have shown their effectiveness.

Calibrating the focus of a motivational theory also implies several facing challenges. For instance, the choice between the people- and task-oriented scope of a motivational framework deserves to be listed among the fundamental difficulties that a manager has to face (Engelbert & Wallgren, 2016). While the necessity to address both concerns is evident and self-explanatory, it is preferable to adopt a people-oriented approach due to the condition to appeal to their needs and set the platform for constant improvement as a part of the corporate philosophy.

In the same vein, the choice between the relationship-motived and task-motivated leadership approach may seem as selecting one of the polarized approaches instead of utilizing a balanced one. As a leader, one will need to introduce a continuum of practice that involves a situational leadership framework and implies using a combination of the two strategies. The people-focused aspect allows a manager to keep the staff’s motivation rates high, and the task-oriented one helps to focus on the criteria for quality and the best methods of implementing the task at hand (Engelbert & Wallgren, 2016). Therefore, as a manager, one has to navigate between the two, using a situational leadership approach and selecting the one that meets a particular circumstance best.

Transactional leadership is the interaction between a leader and a follower based on the exchange of labor-reward. Transformational leadership serves to transform people and organizations; that is, a leader becomes a transforming agent. Transformational and transactional leadership positively influence performance indicators, including individual, group-related, and organizational ones. Influential leaders have both transactional and transformational characteristics (D’Souza & Gurin, 2016). Therefore, the efficacy of an HRM strategy depends on the specifics of individuals and their needs. It is better to combine the features of a transformational and transactional leader since each situation is different and requires flexibility of thinking from the employer. Since the motivation strategies based on people- and task-oriented approaches have to represent a continuum, managers have to focus on creating a comfortable work environment and offering incentives.

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

In conclusion, motivation should be seen as central to effective workplace performance that is highly flexible and changeable. What will motivate one person in a particular situation may not have any effect on them in another location or on another person in a similar situation. Therefore, the choice of a motivational approach depends on employees and their unique needs. Leaders need to carefully monitor subordinates to decide what performance drivers define the quality of their work. Since these needs change over time, it cannot be expected that the motivation approaches that worked once will have the same effect on staff members in the future.


Alshmemri, M., Shahwan-Akl, L., & Maude, P. (2017). Herzberg’s two-factor theory. Life Science Journal, 14(5), 12-16.

D’Souza, J., & Gurin, M. (2016). The universal significance of Maslow’s concept of self-actualization. The Humanistic Psychologist, 44(2), 210-214. Web.

Engelbert, B., & Wallgren, L. G. (2016). The origins of task-and people-oriented leadership styles: Remains from early attachment security and influences during childhood and adolescence. SAGE Open, 6(2), 1-19. Web.

Print Сite this

Cite this paper

Select style


StudyCorgi. (2021, June 8). Motivation Theories at the Workplace. Retrieved from

Work Cited

"Motivation Theories at the Workplace." StudyCorgi, 8 June 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Motivation Theories at the Workplace." June 8, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Motivation Theories at the Workplace." June 8, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Motivation Theories at the Workplace." June 8, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Motivation Theories at the Workplace'. 8 June.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.