Motivation in the Workplace Essay

Submitted By yoctogram
Words: 3161
Pages: 13

Table of contents
Defining Motivation………………………………………………………………………………3
Role of motivation………………………………………………………………………………...3
Early Thoughts on Motivation…………………………………………………………………….3
Emergence of Psychological Perspectives………………………………………………………...6
A More Sociological and Managerial Approach………………………………………………….8
Content Theories…………………………………………………………………………………..9
Process Theories……………………………………………………………………………...….10
Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………….12
Works Cited…………………………………………………………………………………..…13

Defining Motivation
Motivation has been defined as the psychological process that gives behavior purpose and direction an internal drive to satisfy an unsatisfied need and the will to achieve. In psychology, motivation refers to the initiation, direction, intensity and persistence of behavior. Many other philosophers, psychologists, and social scientists have varying definitions for motivation; however, it can be agreed upon that all of the definitions are principally concerned with factors or actions that energize, channel, and sustain specific behaviors over a period of time. Contemporary theories today still focus on deriving how these factors determine employee behavior in an organization.
The Role of Motivation
Determining what motivates employees and what employers and supervisors can do to motivate workers has become one of the main focuses of research and the topic has gained increased emphasis in recent years. This is due to the fact that motivated employees are much more productive in comparison to unmotivated employees. In order to have an organization or company to operate at its full potential, managers and supervisors must understand what motivates employees within the context of the roles that they perform. However, motivating employees is arguably the most complex task that a manager must perform; this is due to the fact that factors that lead to motivation are constantly changing depending on various factors.
Early Thoughts on Motivation The Greek philosopher Epicurus proposed the idea that all organisms are purely motivated to pursue pleasure and avoid pain; Epicurus defined this as hedonism. Pleasures, as defined by Epicurus, encompassed all pleasant feelings or experience such as happiness, joy, ecstasy, delight, or enjoyment. Alternatively, he also defined pain as all unpleasant feelings or experiences – of which included anxiety, anguish, discomfort, despair, depression, grief, guilt, and remorse. Clearly one would want to maximize their amount of pleasure while minimizing the amount of pain that might be associated with any action (this is also known as motivational hedonism); therefore, our actions and behavior are motivated by this comparison. These concepts would later be adopted and refined in the works of philosophers such as Edwin Locke, John Mill, and Claude Helvetius. Drawing from the old Greek philosophers, John Locke developed a hedonistic approach in describing human motivations. Locke believed that pleasures and pains were the primary motivating factors that dictated all human action and thought; this idea was most notably evident in one of his writings – Essay. In Essay, Locke expresses his theory that pleasure and pain control our chain of thoughts and if these feelings did not accompany our thoughts, we would be unmoved by certain stimuli. He addresses this thought in the following excerpt:
. . . we should have no reason to preferr [sic] one Thought or Action, to another; Negligence, to Attention; or Motion, to Rest. And so we should neither stir our Bodies, nor employ our Minds; but let our thoughts (if I may so call it) run a drift, without any direction or design; and suffer the Ideas of our Minds, like unregarded shadows to make their appearances there, as it happen'd, without attending to them(4).
Take the following example to further illustrate this idea – you are talking a walk outside and all of a sudden it begins to rain; the rain begins to pour down on you,…