Most theories of motivation and change emphasize one or two variables but not others that might have relevance, which can prevent a complete and accurate OD assessment. To avoid this limitation, Motivational System Mapping (MSM) uses a systems approach to gather information about the five variables which have been most often discussed in the motivational literature—needs, thinking, feelings, deciding, and doing—and explores their dynamic interrelationships. This article outlines the theoretical basis for MSM, and describes how it can be used as an assessment methodology with individuals, teams, and organizations.
Motivational System Mapping™
Independent OD Practitioner
Motivation is concerned with the question, “Why do people do what they do?” Organization development (OD) practitioners have a keen interest in motivation, because much of their work centers around three questions: 1. 2. 3. What are people doing currently and why? What do you want them to be doing instead and why?, and How can you get from the current to the desired?
Various motivational theories have been offered by psychologists and other behavioral scientists over the last 50 years. As a body of literature, these theories have focused principally on five variables: needs, thinking (cognition), feelings, deciding (valuing), and doing (behavior). The five variables can be defined as follows: • Needs: Urges or desires originating within us. Needs can be physical, personal, social, or spiritual.
Thinking: Using one’s mind, taking in information and interpreting it. The key factors in the thinking process are. Facts—Objective realities that can be proven with empirical evidence. Beliefs—Subjective assumption, conclusion, or prediction. Feeling: Our emotions Deciding: Using one’s will, making up one’s mind, choosing. Choices are based on values, which are beliefs about what’s important in life. Values serve as criteria for making decisions and setting priorities. Doing: Actions or behaviors based on needs, facts, beliefs, feelings, and values.
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In the process of meeting our needs, we think, we feel, we decide, and we do. These variables all interact in complex ways, contributing to what we call motivation. Table 1 shows the relationship between the five variables and selected theories/processes of personal and organizational change (Note: this is not intended to be an exhaustive list). It also underscores OD’s interdisciplinary roots; in one way or another, most of these approaches have been adapted for OD purposes. While these theories or processes rarely pay exclusive attention to one variable, they do tend to emphasize one or two over the others. For example, Maslow’s work concentrated on needs and values, but he’s most widely know for his hierarchy of needs. Gestalt In the process of therapy emphasizes thinking meeting our needs, (perception and beliefs) and behavior. Cognitive-behavioral we think, we feel, we therapy look at both thinking decide, and we do. and doing, but the focus is on changing beliefs in order to bring about behavior change. Behavioral therapy focuses on doing, arguing that it’s unnecessary to even postulate the existence of beliefs and values. Management by objectives sets goals based on thinking and deciding, but the primary thrust is toward putting those goals into concrete action (behavior). In addition, most motivational theories contend that one or two variables are causes while others are effects. For instance, proponents of emotional intelligence argue that listening and responding to employee feelings (behaviors) builds trust and a sense of community (beliefs). Participative management is based on the view that greater employee involvement (behavior) increases their sense of ownership and commitment (values).
important information about why people do what they do can be lost or neglected. One way to avoid this