Make your own free website on


by Dr Cedric Nazareth


Motivation is the spark that ignites action and feeling, steering us towards success and happiness.

Internal and external motivation

Motivation depends upon internal and external factors. Internal motivation stems from one’s drive and attitude, varying from individual to individual, and being related to the person’s wants and needs. External motivation comes from outside, and could include monetary incentives or the fear of being fired.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs. Human needs start with physiological needs (hunger, thirst, sex, etc.) and safety needs (shelter, economic security, resistance to change), progressing to social acceptance, esteem and ultimately to self-actualization (achievement of personal potential). Once a need is satisfied, it no longer motivates behaviour, but another need emerges, perhaps from the next higher level, to replace it.

Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene theory

Frederick Herzberg developed a two-factor theory of motivation involving motivating factors and hygiene (or maintenance) factors. Motivation factors meet deeper aspirations, and hygiene (or maintenance) factors reflect basic economic needs. Good hygiene is necessary but not enough in itself to provide adequate motivation. Motivating factors include achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, and advancement and growth. Hygiene (or maintenance) factors include company policy and administration, supervision, interpersonal relations, salary, security and working conditions.

Macgregor’s Theory X & Y

Douglas Macgregor attempted to provide a rational framework to motivational factors with his Theory X and Theory Y. Theory X suggests that people dislike work, avoid responsibility and need supervision and motivation. Theory Y argues that people want and need work, and what should be sought is the individual’s commitment to the firm’s objectives as a way to liberate his abilities.

High and low level needs

The higher level needs in the Maslow hierarchy, such as the need for esteem and self actualisation, can be correlated with Herzberg’s motivating factors (achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, and advancement and growth) and also with Macgregor’s Theory Y. The lower level needs in Maslow’s hierarchy such as safety and security will correlate with Herzberg’s hygiene factors (company policy and administration, supervision, interpersonal relations, salary, security and working conditions) and with Macgregor’s Theory X.

Stages of motivational status

Employees are highly motivated when they have just joined an organisation. However, being new to the job, they are low in competence. On a scale of 1 to 9 for competence and motivation, a new employee could be 1,9 (low in competence, high in motivation). With good training and orientation, as is the practice in professional organisations, the employee can become 9,9 (highly competent, highly motivated). As time goes by, the employee learns the tricks of the trade and the motivation level decreases, moving towards 9,1 (high competence, low motivation). Many employees fall in this category, and training can improve their motivational status. Finally, a demotivated employee loses out on competence as well, becoming 1,1 (low in competence, low in motivation). At this stage, the most appropriate action would be to sack the employee.

Positive and negative motivation

Positive motivation involves identification of the individual’s needs and providing suitable opportunities to fulfil them. The manager can assist in evaluating the probability of success, and helping the subordinate to reach the goal. In negative motivation, the underlying assumption is that people are primarily concerned with preserving and protecting what they already have. Hence rewards are not promised, but rather there may be a threatened reduction of existing benefits.

Demotivating factors

Often, demotivating factors hinder performance. These include unclear goals, lack of direction, unfairness, poor standards, negative criticism, public humiliation, office politics and frequent changes. Removal of these demotivating factors can trigger motivation.

Tips for managers

Get to know your subordinates needs and aspirations as they really are, rather than what you perceive them to be. A starting point would be to establish two-way communication, overcoming the traditional managerial resistance to listening. Make sure that subordinates know what is expected of them, the reward system and how to achieve their goals. Encourage them to take on tasks that are within their capabilities, and provide them with training and support as necessary - but don’t do for your subordinates what they should be doing for themselves. Make work interesting. Create a stimulating and harmonious working environment. Reward a good performance promptly, and if a performance is unsuccessful, find out why, and encourage the person to try again. Give recognition and respect. Remember that money motivates, but only up to a point. Use negative motivation only if really necessary.

Finally, remember that the biggest motivator is belief. Get your people to believe in what they are doing and they will go for it.

29th December 2000.
Pharma Marketing Page.
This article appeared in Pharma Business, January 19, 2001.
All rights reserved

Home - Articles - Trainer's Corner - New Drugs - Food for Thought - Quizzer's Haunt - Other Useful Sites - Opportunities - Search Engines - Contact Us

Your views, experiences & tips can appear on

Click here