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Strength and weaknesses of various theories of motivation

Please examine various common theories on motivation, explain them and if possible point out strengths and weakness.

Which method would be the best for the Manager of Training and Development?
This person in this role is trying to motivate their team of trainers and the potential and existing managers who will be participating in a new management training track.


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There are many motivational theories out there. I will summarize a few important ones:

1) Maslow's Hierarchy of needs:

This is a famous theory of motivation with explains that people search firstly to fulfill their physiological needs such as food and shelter before they can climb up the ladder. The next steps would be to fulfill safety needs, social needs, and then esteem needs. Only once these are all satisfied, a person can then try to satisfy their need to self-actualize which means for them to have morality, creativity, problem solving skills.

This can be translated to a person finding a challenging career which will help them feel worthwhile and that their job brings them self-worth.

Weakness: Some studies show that people do not rank their needs. Other theories say that not all people search for self-actualization - so the theory would fall apart since the goal of the motivation theory is for a person to keep on bettering themselves so that they could reach this ultimate goal. His theory is also very complex
Strength: It tries to encompass all types of traits in this theory, and it helps show how people can grow and become stronger, more self-assured and confident people.

2) ERG Theory
Clayton Alderfer extended and simplified Maslow's Hierarchy into a shorter set of three needs: Existence, Relatedness and Growth (hence 'ERG'). Unlike Maslow, he did not see these as being a hierarchy, but being more of a continuum.

Existence means that ...

Solution Summary

This posting looks at 4 various theories of motivation, and describes their strengths and weaknesses. It also assesses which theory would be best suited for a manager to motivate their employees.