Motivation comes from the Latin word movere, to move (Kreitner, 1998) and is defined in organizational context as the willingness to exert high levels of efforts towards organizational goals, conditioned by the efforts' ability to satisfy some individual needs (Robbins, 1993). For Robbins, unsatisfied needs create tension that in turn makes the individual act to reach satisfaction. More clearly, people are always looking for satisfying their needs; making them feel that by acting in a certain way, they will receive a fair compensation that will help them to fulfill their needs is a strong motivator.
The perceived importance of motivation in firms' success is illustrated by the huge amount of research and papers concerning the subject, bringing sometimes confusion instead of understanding, due to their important divergences (Tai K. Oh, 1972). However, in spite of this apparent diversity, Ramlall (2004) highlights that the differences between theories come only from different views of the needs that people try to satisfy. Motivation is a quite complex field, as it has to do with human beings; as Adair (2007) illustrates, 50% of motivation come from the environment but the remaining 50% come from inside the individual. This is why there is no universally established rules to be followed by leaders willing to motivate their staff, different motivation theories and the advice they bring are based on different views of human beings.
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[...] Consequently, motivation is conditioned by two variables: whether the individual thinks that the effort will bring performance and the extent to which the individual thinks that the outcomes of this performance are desirable (Steers, 1983). Vroom (1964) expanded this theory by adding the dimension of choice (“choices made by a person among alternative courses of actions are lawfully related to psychological events occurring contemporaneously with the behavior”, Vroom, 1964), explained by factors classified into three groups: valence (affective orientation towards the outcomes), instrumentality (the degree to which a first outcome will lead to a second) and expectancy (the degree to which a certain outcome is evaluated as possible by the individual) (Pinder, 1984). [...]
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[...] To those characteristics they add autonomy and feedback to create the following model: From A review of employee motivation theories and their implications for employee retention within organizations Sunil Ramlall, The journal of American Academy of business, Cambridge, Septembre 2004 Conclusion We saw that, for need theories, motivation comes from the extent to which people feel they will get “something” from acting in a positive way for the organization (Robbins, 1993). This “something” has to be fair (Adams, 1965), to help them to fulfill their individual needs that are seen in different ways according to different theories (Maslow, 1943; McClelland, 1989) or at least to lead to outcomes that are valuable for them (expectancy theories). [...]
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