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BMGT 420 01 Leadership and Motivation

Published : 07-Sep,2021  |  Views : 10


Explain your understanding of the theories through comparison and contrast.  Using an example from your employment, explain how you would use one of the theories to motivate your peers or staff to accomplish a particle patient outcome, promote an increase in a patient safety outcome or to increase staff satisfaction.



Motivation can be defined as the driving force behind what people do. Motivation is a concept that is applicable in both personal and professional life of an individual. Motivation is considered to help people perform better. Many theories of leadership consider is as the most important characteristic in the personality of a leader. Motivation helps people to constantly thrive to do better than their current performance and ultimately increases the productivity of individuals as well as the business. It is essential to realize that every individual is different and gets motivated by different factors. Hence, the organizations need to understand that every employee will be required to be motivated using different methods and tools. Motivation can be broadly categorized as Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation implies that the factors that motivate a particular individual come from their internal stimuli. Whereas extrinsic motivation states that an individual’s motivational stimuli are coming from the external environment (Cebollero, 2017).

This report discusses two famous theories of motivation, namely Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory and Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory of Motivation. These two theories are most widely accepted, amongst other theories of motivation. An analysis on the similarities and differences between these theories has also been done. This provides more clarity about both theories and their meanings. In the last section, the method to apply Maslow’s theory of motivation in an organization is discussed, with the help of which the organization could attain maximum outcome from the employees and increase staff satisfaction (Joseph, 2017).

Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory

Maslow’s need hierarchy theory is one of the most well-know theory of motivation. The theory is based on the needs of human beings. Based on his clinical experience, Maslow arranged the human needs in a hierarchical order, starting from the lowest human need to the highest human need. He believed that once a human being reaches saturation of fulfilling a need, the need stops motivating the human being. For instance, if a person gets motivated by money, on reaching the saturation point of earning money, he will stop getting motivated by money. In order to motivate the human being further, the next higher level of need has to be identified and activated. The five levels of human need recognized by Maslow ranged from Self Actualisation being the lowest one, then moving to Esteem needs, Social Needs, Safety needs and then Physiological needs that were identified to be the most important human need (Team, 2012).

Physiological needs refer to the basic human needs that include clothing, air, water, shelter and the necessities of life. These needs relate to the maintenance and survival of human life. Human beings get highly affected by these factors. Hence, these factors act as the biggest motivating factors for human beings (Taylor, 2014). But the problem with physiological needs is that they are the first ones to get satisfied and hence stop motivating the human beings to work better. Once the physiological needs get satisfied, the next needs that are felt by human beings are safety needs. These needs relate to economic security and safety from physical dangers. Accomplishing these needs require more money, which encourages human beings to work even more. These needs once satisfied also stop motivating the humans (Chand, 2016) .

Human beings are social creatures. They are born in a society and often tend to develop some social needs while growing up. These social needs include making friends, joining different social clubs and finding companionship. This sense of belongingness enables human beings to work together in a group. The social needs are also a motivating factor. For instance, a person who wants to get married soon would work hard during that time, so that he can support himself and his family in the future. This social need further pushes them to work more for their own benefit and to keep up with the society and its trends. Esteem needs refer to the needs related to the self respect of an individual (Sylvester, 2016). These include needs like independence, competence, knowledge, achievement and self-confidence. The fulfillment of these would make an individual more confident and productive at work while the inability to fulfil these needs can develop inferiority complex in people which could further affect their work quality. Lastly, self actualization needs are the collection of all these above needs. It is the final step under the hierarchy model and represents fulfilment (Silver, 2016).

There are some flaws in this theory of motivation given by Maslow. The order of hierarchy provided by Maslow cannot be held true for all individuals and all situations. These orders are not necessarily being fulfilled in the order given by him. In fact, there are chances that an individual might need to satisfy social needs before fulfilling his/her safety needs and so on and so forth. Also, several researches show that the man’s behavior is mostly influenced by a multiplicity of behavior. Hence, Maslow’s idea of satisfying one need at a time is getting contradicted by the result of these researches. In some people the level of motivation can be lower at all times. These people cannot be motivated by these factors of need fulfilment (Tanner, 2017).

Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory

The psychologist Frederick Herzberg proposed another motivation theory called Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory or Two-Factor theory of motivation. It was an extended work of Maslow’s motivation theory. This study was based on the research conducted by the psychologist that included a motivational study on 200 engineers and accounts that works in Western Pennsylvania. In his study, he asked these employees two main questions that were:

  1. An incident when they felt very good about their job.
  2. An incident when they felt terribly bad about their job.

Herzberg used the method of critical incidents in order to obtain data for his study. The responses recorded were then analyzed. The answers given by the respondents about the first question were noticeably different from the answers that were recorded in the second questions. The ties when people felt good about their jobs was related to job satisfaction while the times individuals felt bad about their work was associated with job dissatisfaction. Herzberg categorized the people who were satisfied with their job as motivators and the ones that were not satisfied were termed as hygiene factors. These when combined together developed the Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation (Dan, 2014).

Herzberg further clarified that removing the factors that form a part of the job dissatisfaction does not necessarily mean that the individual will be satisfied with the work. He stated that the opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction. In fact the opposite of ‘satisfaction’ is ‘no satisfaction’ and in the same way the opposite of ‘dissatisfaction’ is ‘no dissatisfaction’. The theory has also been criticized. Firstly, people tend to take credit themselves when everything is going good and tend to blame the external environment in case of failure. Hence, it becomes difficult to identify the motivators and hygiene factors. Secondly, the theory revolves more around job satisfaction and less around motivation. Also, the theory tends to overlook the situational variable that can be used to motivate people. Lastly, the concept of job satisfaction has also not been clearly measured. There can be a situation where a person might not like his/her job but still feel that the job is acceptable.

Compare and Contrast Theory

The Maslow’s Theory is often considered similar to Herzberg’s motivational theory. Firstly, both the theories are based on the belief that human beings have certain needs and if these are not met, they feel de-motivated. Secondly, both theories suggest that the management can do certain things that can help the employees to remain motivated at work and ultimately to attain self-actualization. Thirdly, the theories state that the way human beings behave at work and otherwise are caused by a number of factors. These factors can be social, economic or financial. All these factors can have an impact on the human behavior. Lastly, both these theories explains that motivating factors vary from person to person (iEduNote, 2017).  For instance, there will be certain people who get motivated by job satisfaction, while there may be others that feel more motivated if the work environment and also there can be people for whom money or salary is the biggest motivation factor. Hence, these factors are not the same for every employee.

There are some points of difference in these two theories as well. The main points are as follows:

  1. Herzberg’s theory is based on the method of using certain factors of motivation like recognition, achievement and promotions to keep the employees motivated whereas Maslow’s theory is based on the identification of certain category of human needs which can help to keep the employees motivated.
  2. Maslow’s theory is the most widely accepted theory of motivation. It is mostly applicable in under-developed and developing countries where money is identified as one of the biggest motivational factor. Whereas, the Herzberg’s theory is often seen as an extension of Maslow’s theory. It is however more applicable in developed or rich countries where a lot of opportunities are available that can motivate the workers.
  3. Maslow’s theory is descriptive and self explanatory. It is based on the human needs. Herzberg’s theory on the other hand is more prescriptive. It is developed from conducting a study on a wide range of employees.
  4. In case of Maslow’s theory of motivation, any human need can act as motivator provided it is not satisfied while in case of Herzberg’s dual factor model, two factors of motivation are recognized. Ones that are called hygiene factors do not motivate the individuals while the ones called motivators motivate individuals (Akrani, 2011).

Workplace Example

This section explains how Maslow’s motivational theory can be applied to an organization in order to keep the staff motivated and increase job satisfaction at the workplace. Firstly talking about the Physiological needs. These are the basic needs like food, shelter and healthy physical environment. Employees need a comfortable work environment. If the employees work in conditions of extreme hot or cold, they probably won’t step to the next level in the pyramid — they simply won’t have the motivation. This indicates that the employees should be provided access to facilities like comfortable physical environment at work, breaks, restrooms, food and drinks. Once the physiological needs get fulfilled, the employees will be motivated to attain the next level in the pyramid which is safety needs. When it comes to the workplace, employees need both personal and professional safety. Personal safety implies that the employees should not feel threatened from another individual at work that could cause any potential damage to the employee physically or otherwise (Kelleher, 2016). Professional security implies job security. Employees should not live in the constant fear of losing their job. This will adversely affect the performance of the employees. Safety at work place also includes incidents like getting hurt or sic at work. In order to allow employees to fulfil the safety needs, the organization should secure the work place with safety measures ad should also ensure that the employees are not being threatened by any individual by conducting persona meeting at regular intervals.

After the fulfillment of the basic physiological and safety needs, the employee will advance to the next level that involves social needs. This need implies that the employees need to feel that they belong in their work and workplace. The level of social needs can vary from one employee to another, depending on how introvert or extrovert an individual is. The key area to consider here is that the employees would like to work in an environment where they are accepted in the organization and are able to have healthy conversations with their co-workers. In order to create a socially healthy environment at work, the managers can introduce practices where staff cooperation is recognized and appreciated. This will encourage the workers to develop strong interpersonal relationships with each other at work. Companies which possess a past record of good social engagement at work and use camaraderie-building activities witness higher job satisfaction among their employees and also have a greater degree of employee retention in the organization. (Franzen, 2015).

The next step in the pyramid is Esteem needs. These relate to appreciation and recognition at work which increase the self esteem of the employees. In order to make the job more rewarding for the employees, the techniques like Cross-training, job enrichment, and special assignments can be used. Additionally, when the organization allows its employees to take part while deciding certain things on operational matters, the employees feel motivated and important. This serves two purposes; fisrt of all it makes the employees feel valued by the organization and secondly it pumps the self esteem of the employees when they are given the rights in decision making. Also, the employees should be provided with facilities like a distinguished job title, a nice work space business cards and job perks to keep them encouraged. The managers should know that they must provide rewards to their employees that include the ones that come from the organization and from doing the work itself. Rewards need to be balanced to have a maximum effect (Team M. , 2011).

Self-actualization indicates the growth of the employees professionally and their personal development. The managers should aim to create such an environment at work that allows the organization’s employees to meet their own self-actualization needs. A key aspect of self-actualization is to make sure that the employees are given only those positions for which they are capable of performing the task according to their skills, knowledge and experience. The employees should definitely feel challenged, but they should not be in over their heads and get de-motivated. If this happens the employees will start to doubt their capabilities.


To conclude, it can be said that motivating employees have always been a matter of concern for the organizations. Demotivated employees tend to under-perform as per their capabilities which ultimately affects the overall performance of the business. This can be minimized by incorporating motivational theories into business practices. Motivation not only helps the employee to grow professionally, but can also be beneficial for employes in their personal life. In today’s time, where the pressure at work is constantly rising, the employees tend to feel lost and discouraged. Hence the organization should resort to motivational theories to keep the employees on the right track of goal attainment of the business. This will help in high employee retention rate at work and better profitability.


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Chand, S. (2016). Motivation Theories: Top 8 Theories of Motivation – Explained! Retrieved from

Dan, C. (2014). A critical review and comparism between maslow, herzberg and mcclelland’s theory of needs. Retrieved from

Franzen, A. (2015, June 06). The six types of motivation. Retrieved from

iEduNote. (2017). Comparison of Maslow and Herzberg Theory of Motivation. Retrieved from

Joseph, C. (2017). Three Main Theories of Motivation. Retrieved from

Kelleher, B. (2016). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for employees. Retrieved from

Silver, F. (2016). Three Major Theories of Motivation. Retrieved from

Sylvester, J. (2016, March 29). Applying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory to HR Responsibilities. Retrieved from

Tanner, R. (2017, January 02). Motivation – Applying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory. Retrieved from

Taylor, B. (2014). How to Motivate Your Team With Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved from

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