What is motivation?

Essay by emilyofzoUniversity, Bachelor's November 2003

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What is motivation?

'The processes that account for an individuals intensity, direction, and persistence of effort towards attaining a goal.' Motivation is usually labelled as a personal trait but that is not true since every individual has motivation. However, people have different needs and different interests, which motivate them, (a sports celebrity could find difficulty in reading a journal about medicine in hour but find it less difficult to read a whole stack of sports magazines in the same amount of time).

There are a number of different theories of motivation ranging from the early theories to the contemporary, examples of the earlier theories are Herzberg's and Maslow's theories, and the contemporary examples are ERG and McClelland's.

Abraham Maslow's theory was better known as the Hierarchy of needs. He hypothesized that within every human being there exists a hierarchy of five needs and as each of these needs are met the next need becomes paramount.

They are:

1Physiological: Includes hunger, thirst, shelter, sex, and other bodily needs.

2Safety: Includes security and protection from physical and emotional harm.

3Social: Includes affection, belongingness, acceptance, and friendship.

4Esteem: Includes internal esteem factors such as self-respect, autonomy, and achievement; and external esteem factors as status, recognition, and attention.

5Self-Actualisation: The drive to become what one is capable of becoming; self-fulfilment.

Over recent years Maslow's theory was modified to align more closely with that there are three core groups instead of five that Maslow had originally came up with. The three groups are existence, relatedness, and growth.

1Existence: Is our basic material existence requirements

2Relatedness: The desire for interpersonal relationships, for this desire to be satisfied inter-action with others is required

3Growth: A fundamental desire for self improvement

In ways does Maslow's theory differ from Alderfer apart from changing from five to three needs...