Application of Motivational Theory in Healthcare Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Employee Motivation

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is perhaps the most commonly known theory of motivation, which is likely due to the broad applicability of the theory. Maslow developed his hierarchy of needs as part of his research on human potential and a component of positive psychology he termed self-actualization (Maslow, 1943; 1954). Maslow believed that human motivation is heightened when people seek fulfillment through personal growth and discovery. Self-actualized people are fully engaged with their potential, in an ongoing, lifelong effort to create meaning in their lives through highly personalized, positive endeavor (Maslow, 1962).

Doubtless, employers would enjoy not having to be concerned with motivating their employees if, in fact, their employees would "self-actualize" through their work. Indeed, some people do experience self-actualization when they are engaged in their paid employment. But, perhaps more often than not, people who become self-actualized are able to spend time either playing or laboring in a field for which they have a special talent or an intense and all-consuming interest. Maslow (1962) believed that self-actualization was manifested -- and could be measured -- by peak experiences in which a person experiences euphoria, joy, or wonder. Maslow described self-actualization as a "person's desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially." (Maslow, 1943, p. 382). Sadly, experts estimate that less than two percent of the population are self-actualized (Maslow, 1962). Modern social scientists Tay and Diener (2011) argue that human needs are not hierarchical since all of them are important, but their extensive analysis seems to split hairs. While it is true that many now famous artists lived in poverty, they still were able to meet their basic needs on some level and had relationships with other people to varying degrees of success.

Herzberg's (1959) Two Factor Theory took a reductionist approach to motivational theory and asserted that there are two types of factors that affect motivation through different paths. In an odd choice of terminology, Herzberg claimed that hygiene factors can be a source of dissatisfaction -- hence, motivational -- if people consider them to be inequitable or inadequate. If hygiene factors -- such as salary, working conditions, or job security -- are perceived as good or adequate, they do not have motivating power. Herzberg was apparently less inspired when he labeled the second set of factors, calling them simply motivators. These factors were considered by Herzberg to be intrinsic and include achievement, personal growth, recognition, and responsibility.

Motivational theories are broadly categorized…

Sources Used in Document:


Maslow, A.H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-96.

Maslow, A.H. (1954). Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper and Row.

Maslow, A.H. (1962). Towards a Psychology of Being. Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand Company.

Tay, L., & Diener, E. (2011). Needs and subjective well-being around the world. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(2), 354.

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