5 Psychological Theories For Motivation In The Work Place (Part 1)

People have long been considered motivation as a state-of-mind, which is full of energy and enthusiasm that help drives a person to work with a high level of commitment and focus to achieve certain goals. Part of a project manager’s job is to ensure that every team member in an organization is motivated. The article will discuss 5 psychological theories for motivation in the workplace which provide a great understanding of how people behave and what motivates them.

1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow claimed that a person will be motivated when his needs are fulfilled. The pyramid of need is filled with layers of needs from basic needs at the bottom, going upper is different layers representing ‘evolved’ needs that motivate individuals starts from the lowest level basic needs and keeps moving up as a lower-level need is fulfilled. The hierarchy has five levels to it:

- Physiological: breathing, water, food, shelter, clothing, sleep.
- Safety: health, employment, property, family and social stability
- Love and belonging: friendship, family, sense of connection.
- Self-esteem: confidence, achievement, respects from others, the need to be a unique individual. 
- Self-actualization: morality, creativity, acceptance,….

Before moving on to the upper level of needs, one must fully achieved the very first level. 

2. McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y

In the 1960s, Douglas McGregor - a management professor at MIT Sloan School of Management formulated two distinct views of the human being based on the participation of workers. he first is basically negative, labeled as Theory X, and the other is basically positive, labeled as Theory Y. Both kinds of people exist and need to be managed carefully based heavily on their nature.

According to McGregor, Theory X represent the traditional view of the workforce holds that workers are inherently lazy, self-centered, and lacking ambition, therefore, an appropriate management style is strong, top-down control. While Theory Y postulates that workers are inherently motivated and eager to accept responsibility, therefore, the appropriate management style is to focus on creating a productive work environment coupled with positive rewards and reinforcement.

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