Which Theory of Motivation is the Best and Why?

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Everyone is unique and has their own personality trait. Even though we are different, however, as human beings, we all share certain behaviors, even though we come from different places. It is stated that our individual needs are from the same places, including feeling safe or being recognized for something that we have done.

The same thing applies in the work environment as well. According to a study done by Gallup, only 36% of workers in the United States were engaged in their jobs. It means there are a lot of people who are not satisfied with their job. If you are wondering why it has something to do with the employers, it is where the basic understanding of psychological needs can help.

Actually, there is no need for you to go back to school to learn psychology. All that you have to do is to do some research into human motivation. After doing that, you can improve something by making some changes to the policies in the company. It is really good to increase the morale of the employee and their productivity.

For those who are not familiar with the theory of motivation, it is described as a thing that goes into human decision making and how it impacts the actions and the behaviors. To make it simple, it is basically the thing that makes people act the way they do. One of the most important parts of working toward a positive well-being is knowing deeply about the thing that pushes us, knowing the way why behavior can influence others, and knowing about the things that are trying to fulfill with the actions that are going to be taken.

There are several theories of motivation that are known by many. All of them are different, just like most things in developmental science. For those who are looking for the best theory of motivation, the answer may vary because the word “best” is relative.

According to some people, the Hierarchy of Needs theory by Abraham Maslow is the best. Not only considered as the best, this one is also named as the most popular theory of motivation. As for why this theory is best, it is because a lot of people are motivated by their needs as human beings. Apart from that, if a few of the most important needs are unmet, there is a possibility of people being unable to progress and meet the other needs. It is the reason why people might feel stuck or do not have motivation. There is also a possibility that the most critical needs are not being met, preventing people from being the best version of themselves. If they want to change it, they will need to look at the things that they need. After that, the next thing that they can do is to find a way to get it.

The theory of Hierarchy of Needs developed by an American psychologist named Abraham Maslow is known as a theory of motivation that states that there are a total of five categories of human needs that dictate the behavior of someone. All the needs include:

Which Theory of Motivation is the Best and Why

  1. Psychological needs

The first need is psychological needs. For those who have no idea about the psychological needs, they are the most basic human survival needs, which include food and water, sufficient rest, clothing and shelter, overall health, and reproduction. According to him, it is needed for these needs to be addressed before people move on to the next level of fulfillment.

  1. Safety needs

The second one is safety needs. While the psychological needs include the most basic human needs, the safety needs include protection from violence and theft, emotional stability and well being, health security, and financial security.

  1. Love and belonging needs

The third one is love and belonging needs. These ones relate to human interaction. There are friendships and family bonds (including biological family and chosen family) in love and belonging needs. As for the physical and emotional intimacy, it ranges from sexual relationships to intimate emotional bonds.

  1. Esteem needs

The esteem needs include self esteem and self respect. These needs include the ones that indicate self confidence, achievement, competence, knowledge, and independence. If the esteem needs are fulfilled, people can get self confidence, in addition to strength and capability of being useful in the organization. On the other hand, if these needs are not fulfilled, they can lead to inferiority, weakness and helplessness.

  1. Self-actualization needs

Self-actualization needs are the kinds of needs that describe the fulfillment of the potential as an individual. That’s why it is also known as self fulfillment needs. These needs top the pyramid of this theory by Abraham Maslow. All the needs included in this level include education, skill development (such as music, athletics, design, cooking, and gardening), caring for others, and broader goals such as learning a new language, traveling to new places, and winning awards.

While the theory by Abraham Maslow called Hierarchy of Needs is considered as the best theory of motivation by many, it does not escape criticism. Here are some main criticisms of the theory:

  • It is possible for the needs to follow or not to follow a definite hierarchical order. It means it is possible for the need hierarchy to be overlapped.
  • It is possible for the need priority model to not apply at all times in all places.
  • In some cases, the level of motivation may be permanently lower. For instance, if someone is suffering from chronic unemployment, they may remain satisfied for the rest of their life if they can have enough food.

If the theory of Hierarchy of Needs by Abraham Maslow is not enough for you, there are some other good theories of motivation to check out, such as Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory, McClelland’s Need Theory, McGregor’s Participation Theory, Urwick’s Theory Z, Argyris’s Theory, Vroom’s Expectancy Theory, Porter and Lawler’s Expectancy Theory, and so on.

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