Employee Motivation. From motivation theory to motivation practice

Term Paper, 2011

20 Pages, Grade: 1.0


Table of contents

1 Introduction

2 Essential conceptual clarifications
2.1 Concept of motivation
2.2 intrinsic motivation
2.3 Extrinsic motivation
2.4 Motivation

3 Motivation theories
3.1 Need-Hierarchy Theory by Maslow
3.2 E-R-G theory by Alderfer
3.3 X-Y theory by McGregor
3.4 Two-factor theory of Herzberg

4 Possibilities of increasing motivation
4.1 Management by Delegation
4.2 Management by Motivation
4.3 Management by Objectives
4.4 Organisation of work
4.4.1 Job Enrichment
4.4.2 Job Enlargement
4.4.3 Job Rotation

5 Case study
5.1 Initial situation
5.2 Situation analysis and evaluation
5.3 Solutions and recommendations for increasing motivation

6 Final consideration

7 Bibliography

1 Introduction

"What we need most are people who encourage us to do what is really in us" Epictetus (c. 50 AD - 138), Greek philosopher

In March 2010, the Gallup Institute published their annual study on employee motivation in German companies. The survey came to the conclusion that only 11% of employees in Germany are still committed to working for their company. Two-thirds of the respondents stated that they only perform "service according to regulations" and avoid additional commitment. Almost a quarter (23%) is said to have already resigned internally. These figures were obtained by Gallup from a survey that took place in September and October 2009. What is frightening about this study is that the aforementioned data have been very constant for years. If you compare Figure 1, you can't see any significant changes. The economic damage caused by fluctuation, absenteeism and poor productivity is estimated by the Gallup Institute at a sum of between 92.3 and 121.5 billion euros per year. One of the main reasons for the lack of motivation of employees is seen in the behaviour of managers.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure Gallup Engagement Index 2009

Source: Gallup Institute: Gallup Engagement Index Germany 2009, 2010

The present term paper deals with the topic of motivation and thus also with possible results of the above-mentioned study. In terms of the professional environment, the theoretical and practical sides are examined in more detail.

After a short introduction of the most important terms, selected motivation theories are examined in more detail. The focus here is on the content theories.

In the following chapter, possibilities of increasing motivation are outlined. The focus here is on the leadership concepts of the "Management by..." and forms of work organization.

Following the theoretical explanations, the theories find their application to a practical example. After describing the situation, an analysis of the scenario takes place and a formulation of possible solutions.

Finally, the core statements of this term paper are summarized and a conclusion drawn.

2 Essential conceptual clarifications

2.1 Concept of motivation

The origin of the term "motivation" can be found in the Latin language. (lat. "motivum" = motivation, drive) and means as much as "what actually moves whom, how and why? (cf. Becker 1997: 3)

Motivation, often erroneously referred to as a trait of character, can generally be defined as the willingness to behave in a certain way or to achieve certain goals (cf. Strunz undated: 41).

Furthermore, it can be stated that motivation is the result of a process (cf. Niermeyer 2009: 10f). Each motivation process takes place in five steps:

1. Emergence of needs
2. Building a tension of needs
3. By energy release, activity is generated under the condition of satisfying needs
4. Voltage reduction because satisfaction of the need
5. Emergence of a new need (cf. Stroebe 1999: 30f)

In the area of motivation, a distinction is made between two large groups. Whether a person is driven from the inside or pulled from the outside. (cf. Becker 1997: 5), these two types of motivation, are discussed in more detail below.

2.2 intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation takes place out of one's own inner impulse. The intrinsic motives are those motives that come out of the person himself and which are satisfied by the activity itself. Such motives are e.g. the desire for energy dissipation, the need for contact, the striving for power, the motivation to perform and the desire for meaning and self-realization (cf. Haberleitner 2007: 236ff.).

For an employee, this means that he enjoys the work, as he himself has developed an interest in the activity on his own.

Intrinsic motivation presupposes not only the employee's willingness to motivate in the sense of self-motivation, but also the individualization of working conditions, e.g. through challenging tasks, expansion of competence, transfer of responsibility (cf. Becker 1997: 6)

2.3 Extrinsic motivation

If there is an enticement by incentives coming from outside, then there is an extrinsic motivation (cf. Becker 1997: 5). Motives of this type of motivation are in particular the desire for money. But other motives such as e.g. influence, security needs, recognition, external working conditions, validity are also important extrinsic work motives (cf. Haberleitner 2007: 236).

An employee who internally rejects an activity, but stays with his employer due to the good salary payment and continues to pursue his activity, is motivated by extrinsic motives (cf. Regnet 2009: 19).

As great as the importance of extrinsic motivation with its aforementioned work motives was, is and will be to a certain extent in the foreseeable future – in its influence on work behavior, intrinsic motivation is likely to be much stronger in the long run (cf. Haberleitner 2007: 236). The extrinsic motives usually only result in a short-term increase in motivation.

2.4 Motivation

Work motivation can be defined as a willingness to make a special effort to fulfil the set organizational goals if it is also possible to satisfy one's own goals (cf. Strunz undated: 41). As a manager, you should ask yourself what incentives employees should be given and which factors influence job satisfaction. A positive contribution to this can be made by the working atmosphere, management style and financial resources (e.B salary, bonuses).

In relation to work motivation, the content of the term "motivation" can be represented by the following three statements:

- Leading means getting employees to do what they are supposed to do.
- Leading properly means getting employees to do what they are supposed to do of their own accord.
- The supervisor, who succeeds in reconciling the operational goals with the goals of the employee, motivates his employees.

3 Motivation theories

In motivational psychology, different theories of work motivation have been developed, which are often distinguished between content theories and process theories.

Content theories focus on the motif content, the description and explanation of which variables trigger and effect behavior in individuals (cf. Hentze 2005: 20f).

Process theories, on the other hand, say something about how work behavior is initiated, maintained and terminated. Thus, not only is it asked what motivates an individual, but also the probability of success is considered (cf. Regnet 2009: 21).

It should be noted at this point that of the numerous motivation theories in this work, only a few exemplary theories can be explained in more detail, otherwise the quantitative framework would be exceeded.

The following are probably the most well-known motivation theories:

- Need-Hierarchy Theory by Maslow
- E-R-G theory by Alderfer
- X-Y theory by McGregor
- Two-factor theory of Herzberg

3.1 Need-Hierarchy Theory by Maslow

The need-hierarchy theory is considered the best-known content theory and was developed by Abraham Maslow (1908 - 1970). In the motivation model presented in 1954, Maslow envisages a systematization of needs in a five-stage structure of needs that represents human needs in a hierarchy (see Fig. 2). He distinguishes between so-called deficit and growth motives. The first four motif classes are assigned to the deficit motifs. This means that it only leads to an activation of a need when a deficiency occurs. The need for self-realization describes the growth motive. During his satisfaction, this leads to an increase in motivational strength.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure Pyramid of needs according to Maslow

Source: Niermeyer, Motivation 2007 29

In his pyramid of needs, Maslow distinguishes the following needs:

- Physiological needs (such as food, housing, sleep, sexuality)
- Security needs (for material and existential security)
- Social needs (for social integration, love and affection)
- appreciation needs (for respect, recognition and appreciation by others and themselves) and
- Self-realization needs (understood as autonomy, actualization of one's own potential) (cf. Strunz, undated:43).

The hierarchically higher needs only gain in importance when the preceding ones are basically satisfied (cf. Hentze 2005: 21).

Maslow's theory could not be empirically proven and was therefore viewed critically. Due to its simplicity and logic, it was nevertheless widely recognized.

3.2 E-R-G theory by Alderfer

In 1969 Clayton Alderfer published a new variant of the theory developed by Maslow. He presented the so-called E-R-G theory and differentiated the needs no longer according to five, but only according to three classes (cf. Haberkorn 1999: 124f.).

- Existence needs (E)
- Relatedness needs :R
- Growth needs (G)

The aim of this theory is to uncover the relationships between satisfaction of needs and the activation of needs. In this context, four principles are important (cf. Haberkorn, 1999: 124f.):

- A need dominates the behavior of an individual until it is satisfied (frustration hypothesis)
- In case of non-satisfaction of a need, an individual returns to a "lower" level (frustration regression hypothesis)
- A need of higher order comes to bear as soon as a need is satisfied (satisfaction-progression hypothesis)
- Negative experiences can also contribute to personality development (frustration progression hypothesis)

According to Alderfer, the following seven statements result according to these principles (cf. Hentze 2005: 24):

1. The less the existential needs are satisfied, the stronger they have an effect
2. The less the relationship needs are satisfied, the stronger the existential needs become
3. The more the existential needs are satisfied, the stronger the relationship needs become
4. The less the relationship needs are satisfied, the stronger they become.
5. The less the growth needs are satisfied, the stronger the relationship needs become
6. The more the relationship needs are satisfied, the stronger the growth needs become
7. The more growth needs are satisfied, the stronger they become.


Excerpt out of 20 pages


Employee Motivation. From motivation theory to motivation practice
University of Applied Sciences Hamburg
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ISBN (eBook)
employee, motivation, from
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Thomas Wallwiener (Author), 2011, Employee Motivation. From motivation theory to motivation practice, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1193918


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