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Author: Jayna al'Taryn

The Motivation Process and Its Relation to Our Team

Motivation is the effort of management to make all their employees happy, to do their best and to assist in the achievement of the goals of the company, manager and employee. We are all human and as such we need the personal approval of our parents, siblings, peers, subordinates, managers and those further up the corporate ladder. Years of studies have developed several theories on the best ways to motivate people. Four of these theories discussed in our text book, Organizational Behavior (2002) by John Schermerhorn, James Hunt, and Richard Olsen, are: David I. McClelland's Acquired Needs Theory, Frederick Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory, Clayton Alderfer's ERG Theory, and Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory (p. 155). These theories deal with individual's feelings towards their jobs. These techniques are used to promote the best part of ourselves, the organization and how we do business. By examining each of these theories to gain understanding, we can easily relate them to our organizations, our learning team, and to our life. We even realized that their may be an evolutionary process that occurs with both maturity and motivation.

The Acquired Needs Theory

The Acquired Needs Theory of Motivation outlined by David McClelland as discussed by Schermerhorn, et al., (2002) stipulates that individuals are motivated to contribute to an organization to satisfy intrinsic needs that fall into three main categories: the need for achievement, the need for affirmation, and the need for power (p. 157). Schermerhorn, et al. (2002) explains these needs as follows: "The need for achievement is the desire to do better, solve problems, or master complex tasks" (p. 157); "The need for affirmation is the desire for friendly and warm relations with others" (p. 157); and "The need for power is the desire to control others and influence their behavior" (p. 157). While these individuals' areas are not all inclusive and people often have a mix of needs to be fulfilled that are constantly changing.

The Two-Factory Theory

In Organizational Behavior, Frederick Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory of motivation is explained as a theory which divides motivation into two sections. One section concerning "job dissatisfaction" (Schermerhorn, et al., 2002, p. 158) lists the following factors, as reported by Schermerhorn, et al. (2002): "organizational policies, quality of supervision, working conditions, base wage or salary, relationships with peers, relationships with subordinates, status and security" (p. 158). The second section listed by Schermerhorn, et al. (2002) concerns "job satisfaction" (p. 158) listing the following factors: "achievements, recognition, work itself, advancement and growth" (p. 158).

The ERG Theory

Schermerhorn (2002) explains that Clayton Alderfer's ERG theory divides motivation into three parts or needs. These individual parts are further explained as: "existence needs-desire for physiological and material well being; relatedness needs-desire for satisfying interpersonal relationships and [lastly] growth needs - desire for continue personal growth and development" ((Schermerhorn, et al., 2002, p. 156)

The Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Abraham Maslow's theory of motivation is divided into two sections: one section is the "Higher Order Need" (Schermerhorn, et al., 2002, p. 155) consisting of "self-actualization...the need to fulfill oneself; to grow and use abilities to fullest and most creative extent" (p. 156) and "esteem...respect, prestige, recognition, need for self-esteem, personal sense of competence, mastery" (p. 156) Then comes the "Lower Order Needs" (Schermerhorn, et al., 2002, p. 155) consisting of "social...need for love, affection, sense of belongingness in one's relationships with other persons, safety...need for security, protection, and stability in the physical and interpersonal event of day-to-day life, [and] physiological - need for biological maintenance, need for food, water and sustenance" (p. 156).

Standard Organizational Motivational Process

Organizations are often firm believers in the Maslow processes of motivation. The organization places importance on the employees' personal concepts of the various needs and incorporates them into the daily function of business. The employees of the organization are individuals who need to be challenged. "Self-actualization" (Schermerhorn, et al., 2002, p. 156) encourages the employee to analyze how they can be productive and learn simultaneously. This helps the business because they are making the most of their human resource.

High "esteem" (Schermerhorn, et al., 2002, p. 156) from employees ensures that the best products are coming to fruition. The organization makes the employees feel good about them so that they, in turn, feel good about working for the business.

The social dynamics between the employer and employees are encouraged; without it the success of the team would be minimal. Everyone is appreciated for his or her contributions. Acknowledgements within the organization are important to creating the sense of belonging and respect the business wants to maintain optimal performance.

Furthermore, the organization creates a nurturing environment for all employees. Goals and objectives could not be completed if the employees are worrying about other things besides their daily tasks. The business provides resources for all safety aspects. If a person is troubled, they provide counseling. When there are organizational changes they hold reassurance meeting. The organization is very tuned in with the need for stability within the work place.

Finally, the business understands that employees do not work because they have nothing better to do; but because a source of income is crucial to the livelihood of most employees. The development of physiological profiles for the employees can ensure they are getting everything they need from their employment to sustain their quality of life adding to the organization's success. Before an employee is hired the physiological demands are examined and the organization determines whether or not they can meet those demands.

Our Learning Team Motivational Process

Our Learning Team's motivational process is based on acquired needs. The team has a desire for success and an overall polished appearance. The achievement aspect of this processes represent the qualities of the team dynamic to accomplishments. Our accomplishments represent the structure, discipline and steadfast skills the team uses to be successful.

The "need for affiliation" (Schermerhorn, et al., 2002, p. 157) is reflected by our own personal need to believe we are useful. The team enjoys others looking up to us and asking our opinion. These group aspects are important for affiliation because it determines the level of respect we receive from other teams and individuals. The team's resourcefulness in connection with the team's persona is smiled upon with appreciation.

Power is an incentive for the team. To be able to control different phases of the group effort creates, for individual, a sense of control over the group outcome. When power is given to the group or an individual of the group, it demonstrates that we are trusted individuals and others rely on our contributions. We attain power by proving ourselves worthy. Power and responsibilities are used wisely to assure that more power will be given to us. Because our group member's have control over different aspects of the tasks, we are able to produce without restraints; which, encourages more effort from everyone, creating better results.

Acquired Needs Theory in Practice at TarValon.Net

TarValon.Net is pretty much self-motivated by its members. The Amyrlin Seat, Eleyan Al'Landerin Sedai*, started a small web page with a few friends because she did not like how most other Wheel of Time fan sites were run. She certainly did not expect her site to grow as much as it has. TarValon.Net would never have grown into one of the top Wheel of Time fan sites if it were not for the self-motivated, dedicated members who are committed to keeping the site running.

Eleyan Sedai and several key individuals easily spend forty hours a week managing the site. Beyond the general communication efforts to keep all 300+ members appraised of all changes, this core group of people are responsible for maintaining the host server and database that runs the message boards, email, navigation links, site links, as well as finding funding, organizing real-life get togethers, maintaining a membership index, reviewing applications, designing the site, monitoring the chat rooms, reviewing Tower Law, policing the site for broken links and inappropriate behavior, updating member status changes, announcing status changes, and determining how to keep the structure of the Tower functional and efficient. Beyond this core group are all the members of the Tower that seek to contribute to the overall site by adding their own ideas, theories, artwork and general personalities into the organization.

None of this is accomplished by the traditional means of business. Members often spend hours contributing to the site for nothing more than intrinsic reasons. For this reason, I believe that the site most closely resembles the Acquired Needs Theory of Motivation which provides the most reasonable explanation for the level of commitment exhibited by TarValon.Net's members.

For myself, I believe my commitment to the site is a blending of the "need for achievement" (Schermerhorn, et al., 2002, p. 157) and "the need for affirmation" (Schermerhorn, et al., 2002, p. 157). If I had the time to spend, I would get to know all the incredible people of TarValon.Net. However, I also desire to have more challenging responsibilities to the site, to contribute more of myself to the overall atmosphere of the Tower that has provided me with so much.

I believe that TarValon.Net's success is directly related to the manner in which it motivates members to contribute themselves directly to the site. While site names are used to protect identities, all actions and postings are taken to be the real-life person behind the name. TarValon.Net distinguishes itself by not pretending to be characters from the story, but real-life people in a community designed for entertainment but also committed to service as well. Members have helped other members in times of need; financially, emotionally, through personal knowledge and skills, and by meeting (even traveling) to help others when needed. In this regard, and in the level of high-quality contributions to the overall design of TarValon.Net, I believe the site has achieved its aims and will continue to do so.

The Journey through Motivational Processes and Maturity

We are going to analyze four of these motivational theories and compare them to my evolution in maturity. These theories deal with individual feelings we may experience towards our jobs. It is my belief that these motivational theories change as employees mature and gain experience.

The Fredrick Herzberg's Two-Factor of Motivation Theory best describes the motivation I had when I first started my career. I was dissatisfied with my job at the entry level. New to the work force there was a learning curve that had to be endured until I learned how the office really worked. I did have visions of grander, visions that my skills and knowledge would take me places within the company, but was often frustrated because I really did not know as much as I thought I did. Looking back, I realize this was because of my immaturity and lack of experience.

As time went by and I became more experienced, became more knowledgeable concerning the procedures and policies dealing with my job, my motivation swayed more towards David I. McClelland's Acquired Needs Theory of motivation. This motivational theory shows the ambition a person has towards their career, but it is only another stage in a person's life and maturity.

As a person grows older and starts to think about not only their career, but also the responsibilities of a family, motivation will often change towards Clayton Alderfer's ERG theory of motivation. Motivation in the ERG Theory shows maturity. We are no longer thinking only of our careers, but what our career can do for us. We still have ambition, but it's because more responsibility on the job gets us more money so we can have the material luxuries in life. The motivation on the job reflects the motivation of our personal lives.

More time goes by, we started a family, we have more responsibilities home, a car, school and family activities, but still we work. Our motivation today is almost the complete opposite of what it was over twenty years ago. We have more responsibilities, reliabilities and we have started thinking about retirement. Now our motivation is more complex and resembles the motivational theory of Abraham Maslow.

We have matured, our thinking has matured and our ambitions have matured. We realize there is more to a job than just the job. The job now supports all our needs, our families' need and our needs for the future. Our motivation is no longer just for ourselves, but for all those involved in our lives.

Today my motivation is modeled for my own job satisfaction, support for my home and my family and for my future. I am not as ambitious as I was twenty-five years ago, but I am still concerned with the future of my job. I am at the position where I do enjoy my job, but I am not concerned with promotions or accolades. I do not seek praise from my superiors or co-workers. I am only concerned with my own happiness and job satisfaction. My future is retirement so my current ambition is preparing my finances and myself to achieve that goal.


Different motivational theories have been developed to fit within the spectrum of our personal and professional needs. Job motivation really depends on our needs at that time. When we are young our motivation is strictly personal, then as we grow older our motivation changes to incorporate outside influences we may have added to our life. As we grow older, we become confident with our position at our job. As a result, our motivation grows away from the job and more towards our outside influences. No longer are we aggressively climbing the corporate ladder, but are preparing ourselves for when the corporate ladder is no longer a priority. Motivation is the source that drives us to excel in achieving our goals. Without it very little would ever be accomplished. For each individual the motivation may be different for a time, but the anticipated outcome will always be the same which is to meet our every need.