Motivation Theories

For ages, people charged with managing others have sought ways to motivate people. The need to find out the link between motivation and performance became imperative during the industrial revolution. Managers needed to know what would drive their workers to work effectively. Not only did they have to understand the needs of their workers but they also had to find the ways to satisfy those needs.
“What motivates people?”
Despite the complexity of motivation, researchers interested in this topic attempted to give a better understanding of human behaviour and motivation. These attempts were developed and reflected in a wide variety of experiments and theories.  
Motivation theories are grouped into two categories; the content and process theories. Despite being aimed at providing answers to the question above, content and process theorists had different ideas and consequently used different approaches in developing each of their theories. And I am going to bring this forth using Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory, and J. Stacey Adams’ equity theory of motivation.
Frederick Herzberg, a content theorist used what is known as the critical incident technique to interview a sample of 203 engineers and accountants from the Pittsburgh area in order to discover what factors influenced job satisfaction and dissatisfaction (Herzberg et al., 1959). The basic interview question asked them to recall events which made them feel exceptionally good about their work and events which made them feel exceptionally bad about it.
Analysis of the results showed that the factors which led to job satisfaction where different and independent from those that brought dissatisfaction to workers. Since separate factors led to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction, he concluded that these two feelings are not opposite of each other. That is, the opposite of job satisfaction is not job dissatisfaction but, rather, no job satisfaction and vice versa (Nord. 1976, p. 69). He called his...