Tag Archives: maslow

Theory X and Theory Y


Douglas McGregor, Theory X and Theory Y  [1960]

Building on Maslow‘s work, Theory X and Theory Y refers to two approaches to management:

  • Theory X Managers manage in accordance with the general belief that employees are uncommitted, uninterested, hesitant to assume any additional responsibility, and essentially lazy.
  • Theory Y Managers manage in accordance with the general belief that employees will take on – and even look for – additional work if the employee perceives that the work is satisfying and rewarding.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs [1954]

Maslow‘s theory presents five levels of needs experienced by humans.  People move into higher levels of need as lower levels of need are sufficiently satisfied.  Those levels, from most fundamental to most evolved, are:

  • Basic physical needs: Includes food, water, shelter, acceptable working conditions, and other fundamental, foundational needs.
  • Safety and security: Speaks to the need to live and work in an environment that feels – and is – safe.
  • Belonging and love: In the workplace, this need can manifest itself through membership in a department, a profession, a division, clubs, affinity groups, or simply through friendships and relationships.
  • Esteem: Manifests in two dimensions – self and others.  Self-esteem refers to valuing one’s own self, personally and/or professionally.  Esteem from others relates to receiving recognition and approval from others.
  • Self-actualization: Individuals want to, and strive to, reach their full potential.  Self-actualization is, very often, its own reward.

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Motivation is literally the desire to do things.  It’s the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day.  It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining goals – and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control.  So, figure out what you want. Power through the pain.  Start being who you want to be.  Start creating the environment you want to lead.

Understanding Motivation Concepts and Applications is one of the core areas of knowledge for any Human Resource Professional.

Motivation cuts across all six functional areas.  Motivation, for instance, is often associated with why – and how – employees or people learn.  It’s also highly relevant, however, to how employees perceive and value salaries, wages, and benefits, and to establishing and sustaining positive relationships in the workplace.

motivation mind

Motivation theory directly impacts employee performance in the workplace.  As such, HR Professionals need a keen understanding of the various motivation theories to incorporate them – in a practical sense – into their initiatives and into their consulting relationships with managers and leaders across the organization. Some of the key theories in which HR Professionals must be well versed are the following:

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