About Me

The Full Story

Hi! I’m Will and I created a passive 5 figure passive income, within 5 years, through SEO and an effective blogging strategy. I share my incites exclusively on Ask Will Online.
Learn more about Me

Motivation Theories – Business Studies

Motivation for businesses is crucial in increasing productivity, success, and the employees state of mind at work.

A survey from the Hay Group found 8% of all employees say they are ‘completely demotivated’. Now that is a big number considering how inefficient them 8% of all employees are. Here are the motivation theories businesses use to increase the success of the business.

F.W. Taylor and Scientific Management Theory
Summary: This is basically piece rate in the sense employees get paid more if they work more, giving them the incentive to work.
Taylor (who was American) believed that people only worked for one reason: money. He saw it as a manager’s task to maximise efficiency (how well a business can do something with as little money and time wasted). By increasing efficiency will generate the profit to pay the workers the higher wage. 
Taylor’s view on human nature was that of an ‘economic man’. He thought workers were only ever motivated by the economic motive of self-interest. Therefore, a manager could best motivate a worker through offering an incentive (a ‘carrot’) or a threat (the ‘stick’).
Some people say Taylor can be seen as manipulative or even as a bully. However, his methods were in the best interests of the employees themselves and the business.
Taylor’s methods were as follows:
– Watch the workers at work, record and time what they do and how long they took to do it (known as Time and Motion Study).
– Identify the most efficient workers and see how they achieve a greater efficiently.
– Break the task down into small component pasts that can be done quickly and easily.
– Devise equipment specifically to speed up the task.
– Set out EXACTLY how work should be done in future through having clear-cut, defined instruction the worker must do whether they are right or wrong.
And finally, make a pay scheme to those workers who match or beat the output targets and penalise those who cannot or will not achieve the productivity Taylor believe was possible.

This was called piece rate – no work, no pay.

Taylor’s method of motivation is more in practical outcomes rather than psychological. Sometimes, workers may not be happy with the amount of work expected from them while others will follow along and will be motivated by the incentive of money.

Elton Mayo’s Human Relations Approach
Elton Mayo (Australian who lived in America) had many experiments done when he found out that unlike Taylor’s method, there was more to motivation and efficiency that pure economic motives.
Between 1927 and 1932, Mayo conducted a series of experiments involving six female workers that were separated from their workers. He conducted the experiments and recorded results. Every 12 weeks he would introduce a new working method which were:
– Different bonus methods
– Different rest periods
– Different refreshments
– Different work layout

Productivity increased with every change. But, after the experiment, the women went back to their original method to find output went up by its highest yet as well as the women claiming to feel less tired than they did at the start.

Mayo’s Conclusions
– The women were happier with their freedom and control over the working environment.
– What happened was that the women turned into a team working together in the experiment.
– Group Norms (or expectations of one another) are crucial and may be influenced more by informal than official group leaders.
– Workers are affected by the degree of interest shown by their managers. This is known as ‘the Hawthorne effect’
Herzberg’s two factor (motivator/hygiene) theory
Herzberg asked employees to describe recent events that had given them exceptionally good feelings about their jobs. There were five factors that stood out:
– Achievement
– Recognition for achievement
– The work itself
– Responsibility
– Advancement
Herzberg also pointed out how these factors concerned the job itself rather than pay or status. He went on to also call these five factors ‘the motivators’.
Herzberg then went on and asked the same question but events that caused exceptionally bad feelings which revealed a different set of five factors:
– Company policy and administration
– Supervision
– Salary
– Interpersonal relations
– Working conditions
He gave the name of these factors ‘hygiene factors’. Preventing them would not cause motivation, but prevent dissatisfaction.
Just remember how ‘the motivators’ have the power to create positive job satisfaction while ‘the hygiene factors will cause job dissatisfaction unless they are stopped and treated.
Most importantly was the fact Herzberg saw pay as a hygiene factor (job dissatisfaction) , not a motivator. This makes people underpaid become negative towards there job but a higher pay would simply be taken for granted.


  1. Josephine Kusi-Manu May 12, 2012
  2. Josephine Kusi-Manu May 12, 2012
  3. Anonymous October 21, 2015
  4. Anonymous December 14, 2015
  5. Anonymous February 8, 2017
  6. hailie July 5, 2018

Leave a Reply

Related Posts