Maslow's and McClelland's Need Theories

The job performance model of motivation is a tool used to broadly explain "how motivation influences job behaviors and performance." According to the model, two categories influence motivation: Individual inputs and Job context.

Individual inputs are what individuals bring to the table themselves such as their own work ethic, their own individual reward system, their own goals, their own job knowledge, etc. Job context, on the other hand is what the job itself offers to the individual in relation to motivations. These inputs are organizational culture, reward systems, supervisory support, physical environment, etc. Both of these sets of inputs allow individual skills to be utilized within the job context's limitations to be fulfilled in an employee's motivated behaviors and ultimately job performance. The employer really doesn't have much of an effect on the individual's inputs but by offering different job contextual inputs the performance model consequences result in an individual's motivation being altered while their performance is enhanced.

Maslow and McClelland & Job Performance

Maslow and McClelland have taken this model on with their questioning of the "needs" individuals have that effect their motivation. Maslow's "Need Hierachy Theory" states that individuals have needs that begin with more primitive needs such as physiological needs and once satisfied these primitive needs escalate through a predetermined hierarchy to more advanced needs (safety, love, esteem) until self-actualization is achieved. It can be argued that managers must satisfy these needs to maximize the individual's motivation and ultimately job performance.

McClelland, on the other hand, has identified three different needs that all individuals have to some extent. They are: The need for achievement, the need for affiliation, and the need for power.

The need for achievement concludes that people have some level of a need to achieve great things with their work. Those who have high needs for achievement have the desire to accomplish difficult tasks, work rapidly, independently, and attain a high standard by excelling one's self and surpassing others. Implications regarding McCllendan's theory state that individuals can go through training courses to increase their achievement motivation while the other motivations effect specialization within a company. This can easily be achieved with something as simple as enrolling staff in an online learning program for their own betterment or by simply giving them better tools like a nice 2 drawer filing cabinet or a better computer system.

To illustrate, the need for affiliation is characterized by a preference to spend more time developing relationships. Individuals of this sort can be encouraged to increase their achievement motivation while using the natural affiliation motivations to become better relationship mangers. The need for power can be summed up in the same way. A power oriented person can be trained to respond more directly to achievement motivations while they specialize in positions that utilize their natural motivations for power and power positions such as top level management.

Much of the discussion of employee motivation boils back to the company cultivating motivation through job context as stated earlier. One of the ways in which a job does this is through rewards systems such as the cultivation of intrinsic motivation. Remember the white file cabinet illustration? There are four key intrinsic rewards Thomas' model. They are: Sense of Choice, Sense of Competence, Sense of Meaningfulness, and Sense of Progress.

Sense of Choice is derived from tasks or activities. It is the "opportunity you feel to select the task activities that make sense to you." The Sense of Competence is also a task oriented motivator. It is the "accomplishment you feel in skillfully performing task activities you have chosen." Sense of Meaningfulness is a task purpose motivator which means the purpose of the task is what drives the motivation. Meaningfulness in particular is the "opportunity you feel to pursue a worthy task purpose… you are on a path that is worth your time and energy." Finally, Sense of Progress is also derived from task purpose. It is "the accomplishment you feel in achieving the task purpose" or moving forward with the task.

Employee Motivation and Job Performance

It is through these intrinsic motivators that managers can develop strategies to cultivate motivation in others. Managers must develop corporate culture that fosters employee empowerment and allows the employee to make choices about their work and allows them to work on projects which they care about. Assuming managers make this a priority employee's job satisfaction should rise dramatically.

"An individual's work motivation is related to his or her job satisfaction and work-family relationships" and of course work motivation can be effected by management as argues above. Direct causes of Job Satisfaction, however, are Need Fulfillment, such as the allowance of needs to be fulfilled by the job itself; Met Expectations, such as the feeling of getting what one deserves from one's job; Value Attainment, "the satisfaction from the perception that a job allows for fulfillment of an individual's important work"; and Equity, "a function of how fairly an individual is treated at work".

Assuming all of the causes of job satisfaction are present direct consequences involve heightened employee motivation, job involvement, organizational citizenship, or "the performance of duties that are beyond the call of duty", organizational commitment, diminished absenteeism, diminished turnover, diminished stress, and increased job performance. Of course the lack of the job satisfaction causes can affect the all of the same consequences negatively.