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Organisation Behaviour

Table of Contents


Content Theory of Motivation.

Advantage and disadvantage of Maslow’s theory.

The Process Theory of Motivation.

Advantage and disadvantage of goal setting theory.



Introduction to Maslow’s Concept of Self-Actualization

Motivation is a human psychological characteristic that adds up to an individual's level of commitment. It can also be described as the management process of influencing follower's behavior. This study will subject the usefulness of one content and process theories of motivation in context to managers in a real-life organization. This study will further go on to subject the advantage and disadvantages of each theory. This study will further go on to offer an informed point of view about how content and process theories of motivation are used by managers to influence the behavior of employees.

Content Theory of Motivation

According to D'Souza & Gurin (2016), content theories focus on internal individual factors that sustain, cause, or stop a particular behavior. Managers use this theory to mainly focus on the needs that lead to employee’s motivation. Abraham Maslow a theorist who came up with the hierarchy of needs theory drew inspiration from the principles of behavioral and human psychoanalytic psychology.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory is an excellent illustration of human motivation that may be used by managers to influence employee behavior. This theory is based on the idea and process according to the five personal needs classifications. Although the urgency of the requirements varies these five hierarchical needs include Physiological needs. These refer to the basic needs associated with the use of air, water, food, clothing as well as shelter addressing the basic individual life necessities (Hopper, 2019). Next comes the Safety needs which are instrumental in including the physical, environmental as well as emotional safety associated with protection. As an example, the aspect of security is associated with the job, finance, health, and family protection, etc. This is followed by the social needs that include the aspect of love, care, affection, and friendship and all of these are instrumental in motivating managers to influence employee behavior. Succeeded by the Esteem needs which are of the main two types refer to the needs. In terms of internal esteem, it is associated with the aspect of self-respect, feeling of competency and being confidence, achievement as well as independence. On the other hand, external esteem includes the needs of being recognized, strength, attention, position, as well as appreciation. Lastly, Self-actualization needs to come up and includes the advocacy of knowing the capability of an individual. This is instrumental in including the growth as well as self-satisfaction need. It is in the desire of acquiring more knowledge, creativity, social services, as well as aesthetics (Najjar & Fares, 2017).

Maslow was in a view that individuals get motivated due to their unsatisfied needs this paves the way for the mangers to influence employee behavior. As these needs get significantly satisfied, it is instrumental in driving the forces to create an urge for the next need. Managers in Google motivate their employees based on this theory (Abulof, 2017). For example, Google offers universal extrinsic benefits to its employees such as zero-cost health benefits, insurance, tuition reimbursements among other perks and benefits. One of the most distinct and notable strategies of employee motivation is through Google's 20/80 percent policy, whereby Google Company encourages employees to pursue their ideas to allow them to come up with ideas and feasible projects. The policy allows employees to spend 20% of their work time working on personal projects and the other 80% of work time working on company projects. The results of the 20/80 program are incredible having led to the developments of notable projects by Google such as the AdSense platforms, Gmail, Google News, among other fascinating innovations. So the hierarchies of needs are fulfilled by the organization Google to their employees (, 2019).

Advantage and Disadvantage of Maslow’s Theory

Maslow’s theory has an insightful appeal; it can be effortlessly grasped and applied by the managers to motivate the employees. The five needs in the theory are very imperative to everyone be it an employee or a manager. The real-life example of the organization Google subjects that it takes into account all the five needs of their employees. The managers of the organization always motivate the employees to ensure productivity and employee satisfaction (Hopper, 2019).

One disadvantage of the theory is that it does not take into consideration the possibility of cultural differences, but assumes that the same needs equally apply to all human societies. It can be a problem for any organization. An organization like Google can face problems if cultural barriers are adhered in between employees or managers (Abulof, 2017).

The Process Theory of Motivation

Process theories, on the other hand, emphasize establishing ways in which motivational factors cause, sustain, or stop behaviors. There exist four dominant theories in the category of process theories, and these include theories based on goal-setting, equity, expectancy, as well as reinforcement. The process theories imply that the choices that people make are mainly by preferences, sense of accomplishment, and reward factors. For this reason, leaders and managers have to recognize as well as accurately follow the motivation process in the direction of creating the desired effect on employee motivation (Latham & Locke, 2018).

In the case of the goal-setting theory, the primary focus is on the goals being very specific to drive performance. Vague goals are not practical when it comes to motivating employees while the more specific goals have a more motivating effect on the employees. Edwin Locke's theory of goal-setting subjects to the setting of imperative goals. It is being directly linked with the employee’s performance. The setting of definite yet highly challenging goals is instrumental in the creation of valid feedback that will let to better performance. Locke states that clear goals will draw out better performance (Shoaib & Kohli, 2017). Goals need to be realistic and challenging, which can make the employee feel victorious when the job is completed successfully. In this context, Google being a flat hierarchy organization allows its engineers the flexibility to choose the project they get to work on while also encouraging staff to pursue interests in line with the company's affairs (, 2018). Also, employees are allowed to approach tasks in their way other than being directed on how to approach tasks. Google Company also provides its employees with a very relaxed, creative, and fun environment which ensures that the employees are psychologically motivated and dedicated thus ensuring Google's productive workforce (Wheatley, 2017).

Advantage and Disadvantage of Goal Setting Theory

The goal-setting theory is based on the establishment of the goals or finding a purpose in context to a person or a group. This purpose is instrumental in driving the employees as well as the mangers in the direction, of getting motivated and increase the intensity associated with the achievement effort. In this context, if a manager has set his or her goals in terms of being specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic as well as time-bound the goal will be accomplished (Shoaib & Kohli, 2017).

One disadvantage in this context is that highly specific goals at certain times tend to create a tunnel vision as well as refer to the sense of cause in the direction of focusing on one area associated with the business. It tends to neglect other interrelated aspects while casting influence on employee’s behavioral aspects. Neglecting other important aspects can be a problem in achieving the already focused goal (Latham & Locke, 2018).

Conclusion on Maslow’s Concept of Self-Actualization

In conclusion, it can be stated that managers subject these theories to motivate their employees in every organization to ensure increased productivity. Every manager at every level of the organization needs to study and understand motivation factors as well as various theories of motivation to motivate their followers effectively. It is also critical to note that motivation does not entirely depend on offering rewards and incentives, non-financial reward methods could also prove useful towards motivating employees and boosting their productivity. An organization's leadership has to develop and align themselves with the appropriate theories capable of bringing about job satisfaction to the employees while at the same time ensuring that the organizational goals are met. It is also critical that the employees understand the company's vision and goals so that they can align themselves with them and perform their duties diligently. 

References for Maslow’s Concept of Self-Actualization

Abulof, U. (2017). Introduction: Why we need maslow in the twenty-first Century. Society54(6), 508-509. (2019), Google Way of Motivating Employees, from: [Retrieved On: 8th October 2020]

D'Souza, J., & Gurin, M. (2016). The universal significance of Maslow’s concept of self-actualization. The Humanistic Psychologist44(2), 210. (2018), How Google's Strategy For Happy Employees Boosts Its Bottom Line, from: [Retrieved On: 8th October 2020]

Hopper, E. (2019). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Explained. Viitattu12, 2019.

Latham, G. P., & Locke, E. A. (2018). Goal setting theory: Controversies and resolutions.

Latham, G. P., & Locke, E. A. (2018). Goal setting theory: Controversies and resolutions.

Najjar, D., & Fares, P. (2017). Managerial motivational practices and motivational differences between blue-and white-collar employees: Application of maslow's theory. International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology8(2), 81.

Shoaib, F., & Kohli, N. (2017). Employee engagement and goal setting theory. Indian Journal of Health & Wellbeing8(8).

Wheatley, D. (2017). Employee satisfaction and use of flexible working arrangements. Work, employment and society31(4), 567-585.

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