Contemporary Staff Motivation Theories

The motivational foment has always attracted considerable interest from both theoretics and practitioners, but their results have been questioned. Motivation depends on so many interdependent elements that we are far from creating a practical situational theory of motivation.

Consideration of theories of motivation, in the form of a historical tour, is necessary to clarify a possible model of motivation.

Theory of Abraham Maslow is a well-known and recognized concept of needs. Maslow presented these hierarchical needs, in accordance with their priorities (see figure 1), where needs are presented consistently as necessary.

Иерархия потребностей по Маслоу

Scheme 1. Maslow Needs hierarchy

Maslow wrote: " A person deprived of food, security, love and respect is likely to seek food more than anything else. " Belley accepts this claim as true, diagram 6 accurately reflects the hierarchy of needs. Figures mean that the boundaries of meeting these needs are arbitrarily defined by Maslow, i.e. 100 per cent of requirements for acquiring the importance of another need are not mandatory. And another point is that the value of money in meeting these needs is diminished as pyramid progresses or falls down the steps on schedule 2.

Scheme 2. Needs hierarchy showing the dominance of physiological needs

Maslow ' s theory is of practical interest to the manager, but several points should be highlighted. This hierarchy is not a rigid structure. Levels are not separated clearly from each other, they can be closed. Secondly, some individuals remain at the lower levels of the hierarchy under review, while remaining concerned about physiological and security needs. This is often the case for people living in underdeveloped regions. Conversely, other people can spend most of their time meeting the needs of the highest levels of Maslow hierarchy. Thirdly, the Maslow ' s proposed specific arrangement for the hierarchy is not necessarily applicable to each individual; there is no empirical evidence of this situation. For example, some people have a need for respect that may outweigh the need for security. Fourthly, two different people do not necessarily have the same type of behaviour.

For example, Hofstid observed that in countries with high levels of uncertainty, such as Japan, workers value security above the need for self-realization, they try to emphasize the importance of social needs vis-à-vis individual, including the need for self-expression. A study conducted in the American multinational corporation operating in 46 countries of the world revealed some important differences. English-speaking countries are above the level of individual success and below the level of security quest; French-speaking countries, while similar to English-speaking countries, place greater emphasis on security and, to some extent, on the complexity of work performed; in Latin countries, individual success is somewhat less important, especially for South-Europeans, who emphasize labour safety. Japan is more conservative, with strong emphasis on appropriate working conditions and a friendly atmosphere.

Maslow ' s human needs may include fundamental aspects of conduct, but their relative importance and behaviour may vary depending on the country.

Thus, the Maslow concept is useful to indicate the needs of individuals. However, in order to motivate the subordinate manager, he should know what needs and when needs to be met.

The types of needs and possible means of meeting needs can be illustrated in table 1. It should be noted that the two and three rows of this table are very moving, changing with the development of society and changing the values of individuals.

Table 1

Groups, manifestations and means of meeting needs


Needs modalities


Physical requirements

Food, clothing, shelter

Accommodation of apartments, raising of wages with the birth of a child

Security needs

Protection against physical hazards, fires, accidents, need for economic guarantees

Safety equipment, insurance

Social requirements

To be necessary for other people, in constant contact, to be " engaged " in a collective

Establishment of informal groups

Need for respect

Self-respect, self-confidence, desire for power

Scientific degrees, posts

Langer distinguishes three types of needs: physiological (food, water, air, heat, sleep), social (consumption in love and attachment) and moral or spiritual (relevance for company).

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