Motivation Theories: Early and Contemporary (Modern)Theories of Motivation

Theories of MotivationMotivation theories are used to understand, explain, and influence human behavior. Early and modern theories of motivation allow a manager to find the reasons for people’s actions, desires, and needs. Motivation theories also explain how to influence one’s direction to behavior that allows controlling and guiding employees’ actions.

Many theories of motivation are developed by phycologists and human resources specialists.

11 Types of Theories of Motivation

4 Early Theories of Motivation

Early theories are important as they represent a foundation from which contemporary theories have grown.

Practicing managers still regularly use these theories and their terminology in explaining employee motivation.

Early theories of motivation are;

  1. Hierarchy of Needs Theory by Maslow,
  2. ERG Theory, developed by Clayton Alderfer.
  3. Theory X and Theory Y by Mcgregor, and
  4. The Two-Factor Theory of Motivation – Hygiene and Motivational Factor of Herzberg.

In the 1950s, three specific theories were formulated and are the best known. They are; Hierarchy of Needs Theory by Maslow, Theory X and Theory Y by Mcgregor and Two-factor theory of Herzberg.

7 Modern or Contemporary Theories of Motivation

The following theories are considered contemporary or modern not only because they necessarily were developed recently, but because they represent the current state of the art in explaining employee motivation.

Modern or contemporary motivation theories are;

  1. Acquired Needs Theory by McClelland’s.
  2. Goal Setting Theory by Edwin Locke.
  3. Theory of Self Efficacy by Albert Bandura.
  4. Reinforcement Theory by B.F. Skinner and his associates,
  5. Cognitive Evaluation Theory,
  6. Expectancy Theory by Victor H. Vroom,
  7. Equity Theory of J. Stacy Adams.

In a nutshell, we can say that motivation is a means of inspiring people to intensify their desire and willingness to discharge their duties efficiently and to co-operate for the achievement of common objectives.

Understanding these motivation theories shows the motivation process in management and organizational behavior.

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