Motivating Workers in Educational Institutions: Adams' Equity and Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theoretical Implications

Term Paper, 2010

15 Pages, Grade: none



Motivation is the result of processes, internal or external to the individual that arouses enthusiasm and persistence to pursue a certain course of action. Motivation represents an unsatisfied need which creates a state of tension or disequilibrium, causing the individual to make a goal oriented pattern towards restoring a state of equilibrium by satisfying the need. Motivating workers is a major concern of the manager in work place so as to ensure maximum production in the organization and hence meeting organizational goal. Considering the significant role and contributions of educational institutions to meaningful individual and national development, proper management and motivation skills remain vital for the better performance of the school. There are several theories that explain how to motivate workers in the work place including teachers in schools. This paper intends to examine the applicability of the equity and need hierarchy theories into management and administration of educational institutions. This paper begins with an introduction followed with the analysis of Adams’ Equity Theory and latter the Maslow’s Need hierarchy Theory is analyzed. In the analysis of both theories the main focus is the applicability of the theory in the motivation of teachers in schools so as to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness in teaching.


Management is the art of securing maximum result with a minimum effort so as to secure maximum prosperity and happiness for both, employer and employee and give the public the best possible services (Mee, 1963). It is the creation and maintenance of an internal environment in an enterprise where individuals working in groups can perform efficiently and effectively towards attainment of group goal (Koontz & O’Donnell, 1976). Management is the process of creating, designing, developing and affecting organizational objectives and resources to realize organizational aspirations. Simply, management means getting things done with and through others. The central task of the manager is managing people.

Since management means getting things done with and through others, and the central task of the manager is to manage people, therefore, there is a need for the manager to understand the people in the organization and therefore, he/she will be in a position to motivate them so as to maximize production.

Equity Theory

Equity theory attempts to explain relational satisfaction in terms of perceptions of fair/unfair distributions of resources within interpersonal relationships. It is considered as one of the justice theories. It was first developed in 1963 by John Stacey Adams, a workplace and behavioral psychologist, who asserted that employees seek to maintain equity between the inputs that they bring to a job and the outcomes of others (Adams, 1965). The belief is that people value fair treatment which causes them to be motivated to keep the fairness maintained within the relationships of their co-workers and the organization. The structure of equity in the workplace is based on the ratio of inputs to outcome. The theory is mainly built with three terms which are the equity, inputs and outputs/outcome.


An individual will consider that he/she is treated fairly if he perceives the ratio of his inputs to his outcomes is equivalent to those around him/her. Thus, all else being equal, it would be acceptable for a more senior colleague to receive higher compensation, since the value of his/her experience (an input) is higher. The way people (teachers) base their experience with satisfaction for their job is to make comparisons with themselves to the people (teachers) they work with. If an employee (teacher) notices that another person (teacher) is getting more recognition and rewards for his/her contributions, even when both have done the same amount and quality of work, it would persuade the employee (teacher) to be dissatisfied. The idea of equity theory is to have the (outcomes) rewards be directly related with the (inputs) quality and quantity of the employee’s contributions (Walster, Traupmann & Walster, 1978).


Inputs are defined as each participant’s contributions to the relational exchange and are viewed as entitling him/her to rewards. The inputs that a participant contributes to a relationship can be either assets or liabilities. The entitlement to rewards or costs ascribed to each input varies depending on the relational setting. In social settings, assets such physical beauty and kindness are generally seen as assets entitling the possessor to social rewards. Individual traits such as boorishness and cruelty are seen as liabilities entitling the possessor to cost (Walster, Traupmann & Walster, 1978). Inputs for teachers which need rewards and recognition are generally include time, effort, loyalty, hard work, commitment, ability, adaptability, tolerance, determination, trust in superiors, skill, experience and the like.


These are positive and negative consequences that an individual perceives a participant has incurred as a consequence of his/her relationship with another. When the ratio of inputs to outcomes is close, then the employee (teacher) should have much satisfaction with their job. Outputs can be both tangible and intangible (Walster, Traupmann & Walster, 1978). Typical outcomes include any of the following: job security, esteem, salary, employee benefit, recognition, reputation, sense of achievement, responsibility and praise.


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Motivating Workers in Educational Institutions: Adams' Equity and Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theoretical Implications
University of Dodoma  (College of Education)
Management and Administration of Educational Institutions
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This is the best paper which shows the implications of the two theories in the management arena. It is helpful for undergraduate students, diploma students and Master students who pursue management courses.
motivating, workers, educational, institutions, adams, equity, maslow, need, hierarchy, theoretical, implications
Quote paper
Mohamed Msoroka (Author), 2010, Motivating Workers in Educational Institutions: Adams' Equity and Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theoretical Implications , Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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