Humans remain one of the most important sources of knowledge and labor even in the technologically advancing world. Even though robots have replaced humans especially in areas which are hazardous and require precision, it is with no doubt that humans still are a dominant source of labor. The financial success of any organization is dependent upon a motivated individuals who constitute the workforce. Successful employers are increasingly focusing on the human resource management so as to maximize work productivity through developing programs and work culture which keep the employees motivated. This paper aims to look at the application of drive theory as a theory of motivation and its relevance to the work place.
Motivation refers to the desire by an individual to exude effort in order to attain a particular goal. In the behavioral sciences, it refers to those aspects of behavior which are driven by felt needs of an individual. As such, the individual recognizes that he lacks a certain satisfaction and hence strives to achieve it. Needs, urges and incentives are some of the aspects of motivation. In this paper, motivation is used to refer to the combination of influences which propels an individual to desire to perform a duty or work effectively and efficiently. Recognizing that different individuals are motivated differently, this paper looks at how Sigmund Freud, Hull and Woodworth handle the aspect of motivation in their theories.
For any given work, people must be motivated in order to undertake their duties within the specified time. However, the workforce cannot work productively without proper supervision and support. As such, the management should work towards finding the best ways of motivating its employees in order to increase productivity. Enhanced motivation has the capacity to improve the performance of the workers and ensure great organizational success.
Motivation comes as a result of an interplay of various factors. This includes organizational culture, the style of leadership, human resource policies, practices and organizational structure. A person’s attitude, skills and traits also determine to a large extent the level of motivation. However, there is no general theory which explains exactly what motivates people in the workplace even though it is commonly held that it has its roots in certain basic needs. The need theories assume that much of people’s behavior are governed by basic wants.
This theory was developed by Robert S. Woodworth. It attempts to explain the factors which come to play and subject individuals to behave in a particular way. As such it attempts to explain what induces behavior. This element of inducement was referred to as a drive by Woodworth. Hull narrowed the meaning of this term in 1943. According to him, the motivational agent of behavior are either secondary or primary drives. Primary drives are biologically based and represent states of homeostatic imbalance. The major primary needs are simultaneously present everywhere within the individual. According to Hull, they include the desire for various types of food, water, air, rest, sleep, the need to defecate and to maintain optimal temperature. (Hull, 1943) In his theory, when outcomes are able to reduce primary drives, they become rewards. As such, they reduce the tension and homeostatic imbalance which occurs when one is in a state of deprivation. In addition to this, the strength of a drive can be furthered by deprivation and reduce with the satisfaction of needs. According to Sigmund Freud, drives are biologically informed. In other words, they emanate from somatic tension, their essence being the pressure which is an internal experiential activity. This experiential activity makes itself known as an urge. This source, however is not the motive. (Frank, 2003)
Every drive is always dependent upon or related to the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of other drives. For instance, there is integration among the four main drives which are the drive to acquire, the drive to bond, the drive to learn and the drive to defend. The drive to acquire denotes the need to maintain objects and experiences which is the basis of hierarchy and status. Drive to bond instills the need to form relationships and social commitments which is the basis of social identity. The drive to learn on the other hand is the need to satisfy curiosity and resolve conflicting information which marks the basis for self actualization and finally, the drive to defend is a reactive drive which makes an individual to consider fighting or fleeing. These drives are innate and hardwired, being independent of each other and complete in set. They determine the kind of emotions automatically tagged to oncoming information. They also generate independent and competing emotions that demand an individual’s attention. Translating these drives into needs and effort is determined by the social skill set.
The foundation of any motivation theory should be the integrated wholeness of the individual. As such, the theory points out the most basic aspects of human life but overlooks other factors. The physiological drives were not accepted as the model for a definitive theory of motivation. Any somatically based drive was proved to be atypical in human motivation rather than typical.
An act may have several motivations. Thus, any motivated behavior, be it consumption related or preparatory, must be comprehended as a path through which various basic needs are simultaneously satisfied or expressed. (Lawler, 1994)
In order for a theory to be viable in explaining a phenomenon, it should be based on basic goals rather than superficial ones. In other words, it should be focused on ends rather than means. In a situation where it becomes difficult to distinguish means from ends, the theory may not be representative. As such, workers motivation may be viewed exclusively under the circumstances they work and the role the job plays in meeting ones needs. (Hezberg, Mausner, and Snyderman, 1959) The same goals may be achieved through the many available cultural paths and therefore, conscious and specific local cultural desires may not be as integral as more basic, unconscious goals in motivation theory.
There is often a hierarchical order in which human needs are arranged. Satisfaction of a given need automatically gives rise to another need. As such, man cannot be ultimately satisfied. No drive can therefore be treated in isolation.
Frank, G., 2003, Triebe and their Vicissitudes: Freud’s Theory of Motivation Reconsidered. Psychoanalytic psychology,
Hezberg, F., Mausner,B., and Snyderman, B.B., 1959, The Motivation to Work, John Wiley & Sons, New York.
Hull, C.L., 1943, Principles of Behavior, Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York.
Lawler, E.D., 1994, Motivation in Work Organizations, Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, Monterey, California