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Motivating in Management

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One of the key aspects of management is motivating. Finding the right form of motivation is a problem that’s been around ever since motivation in the work place was conceived as an idea. As of now, there are several theories to what kind of motivation works the best to get an employee motivated to produce their best work. Unfortunately, many try motivating employees by using extrinsic rewards, such as cash or the like. What they don’t realize is that in the long run, this is making their employees less productive than they were to start with.

III. Define Motivation

To be able to understand what motivates someone, we first must look at what motivation is. According to Webster’s dictionary, motivation is something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act (Dictionary). Motivation is also said to be an inner desire to satisfy an unsatisfied need. What this is telling us is that we are motivated if we need or desire something. Motivation is based upon a satisfaction of something deep inside us.

IV. Hierarchy of Needs

There was a famous Psychological theorist by the name of Abraham Maslow. Maslow is well known for his theory known as the Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s hierarchy is set up in a pyramid starting with the most basic needs at the bottom and working up to the most advanced needs. He claimed that we as humans are motivated by unsatisfied needs. Also, certain lower needs have to be satisfied before higher needs can be obtained. At the lowest level, we need certain physical needs, such as food, air, and water. Next up, we need safety. We need order and security to satisfy this stage. Above this we find love. We need to feel like we belong, and that we can communicate with others. After this we have esteem as the need. We need to feel achievement, status, prestige, and mastery. The highest level of the hierarchy is self actualization. This involves true personal fulfillment. The problem most encountered by managers is that they focus on motivating by satisfying the lower level needs. They never are able to motivate someone beyond their base needs.


Needs are broken up into 2 different categories, intrinsic and extrinsic; first we’ll take a look at intrinsic needs. It is very important for managers to understand that intrinsic rewards are imperative to unlocking personal motivation in employees. Some say that as you cannot motivate your employees. You can force, coerce, bribe, and even attempt to energize, but you cannot motivate them (Bowen). Motivation is something that has to come from within the employee. As a manager you can influence and encourage others, but you have to be very careful not to treat rewards as anything other than an outcome from doing good work. The key to understanding intrinsic rewards is accomplished when you can understand self-actualization. You have to consider an employees perspective as well as value when using intrinsic rewards. The reward must be of value to the employee. It’s very hard not to attach some kind of extrinsic reward to an intrinsic. However, a good manager should be able to unlink the incentives of both.


Extrinsic rewards are usually material things that you are offered in return for a service you will provide. Many time extrinsic rewards are gifts, money, or something of the sort. Several times managers make mistakes by offering extrinsic rewards for tasks that would normally be accomplished from pure interest (Tan). Extrinsic rewards have long been used to motivate employees. Most managers that use these frequently do so because it’s the fast and easy way. Many times, the manager may have not been trained correctly to use intrinsic motivation. It has been said that extrinsic rewards can actually reduce intrinsic motivators (Tan).

A good example of utilizing intrinsic rewards is in the case of knowledge. Knowledge is something that is very important to us, not just in business, but in life. The intrinsic reward with knowledge is mastering some area of learning. An extrinsic reward based on this would be things like pay-to-learn programs. If a manager plays this trump card right away and doesn’t try to include the intrinsic reward, they may the key to unlocking motivation in that employee. You don’t want your employees to learn for you, you want them to learn for them. In order for employees to take advantage of this, it has to be something the want to learn to start out with. Once employees experience the intrinsic reward of learning new skills and knowledge, they are motivated to learn more.

There are two types of employees you will find in the workplace. The first type put everything they have

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