Comparison Of Three Categories Of Motivation Theory Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Organizational Psychology - Motivation

Landy and Conte (2013) define industrial-organizational psychology as "the application of psychological principles, theory, and research to the work setting" (p. 7). A prominent line of research in industrial-organizational psychology is the study of worker motivation. Over many decades, as management theory has developed, several philosophical and psychological strands have emerged, and are often referred to as: 1) Person as machine; 2) person as scientist, and 3) person as intentional.

Person as Machine

Theory X managers are known to take "the carrot and the stick" approach to supervision since they believe that people work only for the monetary compensation, which means that coercion, threat, and punitive measures must be used to extract efficient workplace effort from employees. Manifestations of Theory X management include high levels of mistrust between employees and employers, and a tendency of management to blame workers for inefficiencies or mistakes rather than looking at other sources of a problem, such as policies, operations, or inadequate systems -- such as employee training.
...That is, the self-serving orientation of workers results in the creation of inefficient workplaces and systems that serve the employees more than they do the company bottom line.

Person as Scientist

A recognized theory in this category is Theory "Y" which was developed by Douglas McGregor at the MIT Sloan School of Management in the 1960s. He was a proponent of the idea that people have a natural inclination to learn and work. Just as a scientist engages in inquiry as a result of their edification, and self-discipline, McGregor argued that people are intrinsically rewarded when they are free to engage in challenging work. Given this context, the role of the manager is to construct the work environment and job roles to dovetail with individual self -- development. Accomplishing this approach to work -- which flies in the face of conventional wisdom -- is a highly generative endeavor (Buckingham and Clifton, 2001). Which brings the discussion to a contemporary theory tested and promoted by Gallup: management theory based on the utilization of employee strengths to maximize production efficiency and the contributions of individual workers (Buckingham and Clifton, 2001).

Person as Intentional

Theories that fall into this category have humanistic underpinnings. Abraham Maslow's work on motivation and a hierarchy of needs -- the satisfaction of which leads to self-actualization -- is perhaps the most popularized of the intentional theories. Maslow's work is based on a belief in the intrinsic value of work when the match…

Sources Used in Documents:


Buckingham, M. And Clifton, D.O. (2001). Now, Discover Your Strengths Hardcover. New York, NY: Free Press (a Simon & Schuster imprint)

Kanfer, R. (2009). Work motivation: Identifying use-inspired research directions. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2(1), 118-127. doi: 10.1111/j.1754


Landy, F.J., & Conte, J.M. (2013). Work in the 21st century: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Cite This Essay:

"Comparison Of Three Categories Of Motivation Theory" (2014, March 12) Retrieved March 4, 2021, from

"Comparison Of Three Categories Of Motivation Theory" 12 March 2014. Web.4 March. 2021. <>

"Comparison Of Three Categories Of Motivation Theory", 12 March 2014, Accessed.4 March. 2021,