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Sep 19, 2013

Commentary on Motivation (The Motivational Process and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs)

Motivation is an integral part of human behavior in organization. Without motivation workers in organization would not be able to function properly. So what motivates them to work hard and to achieve their goals? Early motivational studies points to money as their prime motivational instrument, then their need to belong and their need for responsibility.

The motivational process contains three interacting and interdependent elements namely: Need, Drive and Incentive. A need is a psychological imbalance that needs to be satisfied; a drive pushes an individual towards achievement of a goal or task. An incentive is something that can lighten a need and decrease the intensity of a drive. For example, a worker needs to earn so that he can pay for the basic necessities of living, so the need to earn is the imbalance that must be satisfied. 

The psychological drive will push this  worker to achieve the goal of earning money for his basic necessities. Due to his hard work he will now receive money, this in now the incentive that will alleviate his needs and somewhat decrease the intensity of his drive to earn. This motivational process is a cycle that stops for a while and is reignited again the moment an individual or group of individuals finds a vacuum that needs to be satisfied.

Another Motivational tool is Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, this is a five step ladder hierarchy which says that a lower level need must be satisfied first before it proceeds to the next higher level. This is illustrated by a triangle, the lowest or the first level need that occupies the triangle is the Physiological needs or Basic needs. These are needs to sustain life such as: air, water, food, sleep etc… according to Maslow if such needs are not satisfied then one’s motivation will arise with the aim to satisfy them. Higher needs are not felt yet until he is fully satisfied with his basic needs.

Assuming that physiological needs has been satisfied we will now come to the second higher order need that occupies the triangle it is called Safety and Security needs, this is the need to be free from the threat of physical and emotional harm. These needs would be met by working or living in a safe place and by having job security.

The third need in the hierarchy is Social needs, this is the need of individuals to interact , as they say no “man is an island” we cannot exist by ourselves we need to interact because we are social beings. We need friends to whom we can trust our emotions, we need to be in a group wherein we will feel comfortable.

The fourth need is Esteem needs, this is the need to be respected by your peers, subordinates and Managers it is human nature for us to want respect and recognition. Esteem needs fulfills this wants.

The last and the highest need in the triangle is Self-Actualization needs, this addresses our need for purpose in life. The need to be honest and truthful in all of our dealings with our co workers. The need to have a job that fully satisfies an employee’s purpose in his organization.

Closely looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs we will find out that these stepladder needs somewhat goes hand in hand with the progression of an employees life in an organization. A young and newly employed individual will first try to satisfy his Physiological needs or Basic needs then as he matures in the organization his needs goes up one at a time until such time that he reaches the Self-Actualization level.

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs tells us that if we want a well Motivated Human Resource we need to provide them with their basic needs such as reasonable salary scheme to help them defray for their physiological needs. There’s a need also to create a safe and secure working environment. Need to create an environment of community amongst workers to address their need to socialize. Need to respect the individual rights of workers regardless of their standing in the organization so that their Esteem needs are addressed. The last need is to ensure that workers will eventually reach their full potential in the organization so as to have the feeling of fulfilment. (Self-Actualization) - Marino J. Dasmarinas