What is empowerment? Empowerment is a process that challenges one’s assumptions about the way things are and ultimately can be. At the very core of empowerment is this idea of power. Power is often related to one’s ability to make others do what they want, regardless of their own wishes or interests. Traditional social science emphasizes power as influence and control, often treating power as a commodity or structure divorced from human action. So when power is viewed in this way, it can be viewed as unchanging or unchangeable. Therefore, power doesn’t actually exist solely in individual, but it is realized as a result of synergy.
Motivation on the other hand is a process that elicits, controls, and sustains certain behaviors. Motivation is literally the desire to do something. For some people motivation is that thing that wakes them up at the crack of dawn to beat the pavement in effort to make a living for themselves and their family versus lying around the house all day doing absolutely nothing. Motivation is an ambiguous word, referring to both an inner drive and push from without. If the goal is to make things happen the ability to motivate oneself and/or others is crucial. Motivation requires a delicate balance of communication, structure, and incentives. In a sense motivation has a dual perspective; on one hand motivation is something that can be applied from ones inner drive but on the other hand that same drive can be influenced by someone else. In other words, one can motivate themselves and also be motivated by others.
Motivation unlike empowerment can be used to help an individual interpersonally, and at the same time be used by that same individual to empower a team they potentially lead. This paper will examine three theories of motivation (the humanistic theory of motivation, the drive theory of motivation, and the elaboration likelihood theory of motivation); by listing their strengths, weaknesses and then by using one of them to illustrate how it would look in a team and/ or organizational setting.
Drive Reduction Theory
Drive reduction theory of motivation was created by behaviorist Clark Hull and became increasingly popular during the 1940s and 1950s as a way to explain the behavioral habits, learning styles and ways to motivate people. According to this theory, the reduction of drive is the primary force behind motivation. Hull based his theory around the concept of homeostasis; the idea that the body actively works to maintain a certain state of balance or equilibrium. Hull asserts that motivation arises out of one’s biological needs in effort to maintain a certain level of normality to life. In his explanation of this theory Hull uses the word drive to describe this sense of tension or arousal that is caused by a biological or physiological need. These drives (primary and secondary) are necessary otherwise ones needs will never be satisfied. Primary drives are those related to basic survival and procreation. Secondary drives are related to social and identity factors which are less important for survival. Sprite in their slogan “Obey Your Thirst” affirms this position, because when someone is thirsty, that need creates a drive to get something to drink. Drive creates this unpleasant state for the individual; a tension that needs to be reduced. So in order to reduce this tension, people try to find ways to fulfill these biological needs.
This theory is not without its share of critiques. The first problem is that it does not explain how secondary reinforcers reduce drive. For example, money by itself doesn’t satisfy any biological or psychological need, but receiving a paycheck at the end of the work week does reduce the drive to work over the weekend. Secondly, it doesn’t give a clear answer to why people just randomly do things on impulse absent of drive. Like when people eat when they’re not hungry or drink when they’re not thirsty. Drive reduction theory fails to answer