The development of managerial interest
Maybe the first person to look at motivation as a managerial problem was
Frederick Taylor at the beginning of the 20th century. His book The
Principles of Scientific Management (Taylor, 1911) is based on the
assumption that people are inherently lazy and will try to minimize effort,
hence they need to be tightly controlled and directed if they are to perform
to organizational standards. (Scientific management is also known as
‘Taylorism’.) But, according to Taylor, people would work and accept
control if they were paid a reasonable rate for the job. So financial
incentives emerged as the key motivator.
However this assumption was later challenged by what became known as
the Human Relations School, which suggested that people sought to satisfy
other needs at work besides financial ones. In particular it emerged that
people tried to satisfy emotional and social needs at work, and that these
needs may have greater influence on their behavior than financial rewards.
For example, people have needs for security, recognition and belonging that
could influence their work behaviour and performance. These studies
prompted further research into motivation, and the next section reviews
some of the most influential theories that came out in the second half of the
Think about your own motivation to work by considering the following
1 What motivates you to work? Make a list of up to three things.
2 What could an organization do to increase your motivation?
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