Theory of Motivation

Essay by MizWiz2004College, UndergraduateA+, August 2009

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The concept of why humans do the things they do, has been studied and analyzed since the time of early Greek philosophers such as "Socrates, Plato and Aristotle" (Reeve 2001, pg.24). According to Reeve (2001), these academic pioneers proclaimed that motivation was a culmination of a tripartite consisting of the appetitive aspect on the primitive level, the competitive aspect on the second level and the calculating aspect of the human psyche on the highest level. This ideology was followed for hundreds of years without much determent from the original teachings. This paper will describe some of the more recent discoveries and modern beliefs on motivation.

Early concepts of motivation were based in the biological needs of the human body; hunger, need and drive, along with physiology. Motivational thinking was inherently formed from a biological point of view and continues today to be closely related to the study of genetics and biology.

In the early 1970s, the study of psychology turned to the cognitive sense. According to Reeve (2001), the cognitive revolution carried over to motivational study. Researchers began to include or even replace the biological concepts that had been the foundations of the motivational theory since the beginning with ideas that emphasized the internal mental processes of the human psyche. Two additional concepts of motivational thinking; emphasizing expectancies and goals while at the same time de-emphasizing incentives and rewards (Reeve, 2001). "Ideas about motivation from Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers expressed psychology's new understanding of human beings as inherently active, cognitively flexible, and growth motivated" (Reeve, 2001, pg. 32).

Organizational Efforts to Improve PerformanceAccording to Tietjen (1998) Maslow's theory of motivation, positive job attitudes are created by satisfying the employee's desire for self-actualization. Herzberg continued this theory by developing two specific lists of factors which caused good or bad attitudes...