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HRM & Motivational Theories

Motivational Theories
• Definition: Motivation is the force that drives
a person to achieve an objective. It is the
desire to work well.
• Q. What can a HRM do to motivate
employees? p192 (4 dot pts)
Motivational Theories are used by HRM as a
tool for analysing employee motivation. i.e.
HRM try to find ways to achieve higher
productivity & workplace harmony
Psychologist Abraham Maslow believed that our
needs are the forces that motivate individuals.

A need is a personal requirement therefore; Maslow

assumed that these needs could be arranged
according to their importance in a series of steps
known as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
• Maslow believed that needs are arranged in a
hierarchy of importance
• An employees level of need on the hierarchy must be
satisfied before moving to the next level
• When basic needs are satisfied, they no longer
provide motivation & higher order needs become
more significant
• Once a level of need is satisfied, it is no longer
effective in motivating an employee’s behaviour
• Lower-order needs are likely to be satisfied externally.
• Higher-order needs are likely to be satisfied internally.
- Realisation of potential, personal growth

Maslow’s hierarchy of
needs theory -Self-esteem, respect from others

- Friendship, affection, acceptance by others

- security, stability, freedom from fear or threat

- food, water, air, shelter
- Interesting & challenging work
- Participation in decision-making
- Freedom to decide how to do the job

Maslow’s hierarchy of 4. ESTEEM

-Impressive job title
needs theory & HRM: - High status job
- Performance bonus

-Friendly co-workers
-Friendly supervisors
- Social & sporting activities
- Safe & healthy workplace
-Job security
-Secure wage & guaranteed benefits

- Basic wage
- Employment / job
In the late 1950s, Frederick Herzberg interviewed
approximately 200 engineers and accountants, and
asked them what made them feel good about their
He then asked them what factors had made them
feel that way.
This research led Herzberg to expand on Maslow's
theory by identifying two levels of needs: hygiene
factors and motivation factors. This idea he
referred to as the motivation–hygiene theory
5. SELF-ACTUALISATION Motivators are higher order needs for
4. ESTEEM achievement. These are intrinsic and
3. SOCIAL include recognition, intrinsic interest in
the work, responsibility and
achievement. These determine job

Hygiene factors are lower order needs are

2. SAFETY extrinsic, and are met by pay, safe working
1. PHYSIOLOGICAL conditions, and company policy. Herzberg
argued that these factors do not motivate
but can prevent motivation from occurring.
Dr Edwin Locke did research on goal setting and
motivation during the 1960s

He concluded that employees were motivated by

clear goals and appropriate feedback regarding
their achievement

He found that specific and difficult goals led to

better performance than vague goals or goals that
were too easy to achieve.
1. Set Goal
- clear, specific, challenging but not overwhelming & must be
accepted by employee

2. Motivation
- Increased by feedback on: goal achievement & recognition for

3. Performance
- Improved as a result
MacGregor’s Theory X
and Theory Y

• Classifies human nature into two categories

• Motivational strategy is contingent upon
which category the person is classified in
• Theory is flawed because most people fall
somewhere in between
Theory X Personality Theory Y Personality

• Negative view • Positive

• Pessimist • Primarily optimistic
• Little ambition • Enjoys working
• Generally dislikes work • Seeks out responsibility
• Avoids responsibility • Needs little supervision
• Needs constant • High level of ambition
Expectancy Theory
• People will put out effort equivalent to the
perceived rewards
• Steps:
– Personal effort leads to personal
– Organizational rewards
– Individual goals
Equity Theory
• Exchange of individual contributions for rewards
• 3 variables:
– The inputs an individual perceives she/he is contributing
– The outcome (rewards) an individual perceives she/he is
– The way in which an individual’s inputs and outcomes
compare to the inputs and outputs of another
Ethical and socially responsible human
resource management
• HRM develops the code of conduct

• The code of conduct is a document which outlines principles

which guide employee expected behaviours

• For example, refer to Woolworth’s Code of Conduct &

Virgin Blue’s Code of Conduct
HRM will also be required to…..
Solve day-to-day problems where questions of
ethics arise. For example, there may be a
dispute over an employee being promoted, or
situations where company funds have been
The CEO of the company, Ray Williams, actually went to jail after pleading guilty to
making misleading statements about the financial position of the company. The
organisation fostered a culture of cover-ups and corruption.

Ray Williams's behaviour has also been questioned. He gave favoured employees
gold watches worth $10 000 as gifts, and gave some employees interest-free loans
Some ethical and legal issues arising in the
workplace, and the benefits of dealing with them
Specific human resource dilemmas



Electronic privacy

Performance evaluation

Employee promotion or dismissal

HRM & Motivation Theories

• HRM & Maslow’s Theory- HRMs would need to be aware that

employees will be at different stages of development,
therefore a range of strategies might need to be applied. E.g
team building weekend for employees on the ‘social needs’
• HRM & Herzberg’s Theory- In order to increase motivation
levels long term, HRM would need to focus on the aspects
that are important to employees, such as achievement and
• HRM & Locke’s Theory- employees are set goals; some are
determined by employers, some are set together, others are
set by the employee themselves. By ensuring the goals set are
specific & challenging, HRMs may be able to motivate them.
Providing feedback is essential.