From his observations, Taylor made three key assumptions about human behaviour at work:
(1) Man is a rational economic animal concerned with maximising his economic gain;
(2) People respond as individuals, not as groups
(3) People can be treated in a standardised fashion, like machines
Taylor had a simple view about what motivated people at work - money. He felt that workers should get a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, and that pay should be linked to the amount produced (e.g. piece-rates). Workers who did not deliver a fair day's work would be paid less (or nothing). Workers who did more than a fair day's work (e.g. exceeded the target) would be paid more.
The implications of Taylor's theory for managing behaviour at work were:
- The main form of motivation is high wages, linked to output
- A manager's job is to tell employees what to do
- A worker's job is to do what they are told and get paid accordingly
Maslow's view on Motivation is based on the 'Hierarchy of Needs'.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a "content theory" of motivation
Maslow's theory consisted of two parts:
(1) The classification of human needs, and
(2) Consideration of how the classes are related to each other
How does the Hierarchy Work?
- A person starts at the bottom of the hierarchy (pyramid) and will initially seek to satisfy basic needs (e.g. food, shelter)
- Once these physiological needs have been satisfied, they are no longer a motivator. the individual moves up to the next level
- Safety needs at work could include physical safety (e.g. protective clothing) as well as protection against unemployment, loss of income through sickness etc)
- Social needs recognise that most people want to belong to a group. These would include the need for love and belonging (e.g. working with colleague who support you at work, teamwork, communication)
- Esteem needs are about being given recognition for a job well done. They reflect the fact that many people seek the esteem and respect of others. A promotion at work might achieve this
- Self-actualisation is about how people think about themselves - this is often measured by the extent of success and/or challenge at work
Maslow's model has great potential appeal in the business world. The message is clear - if management can find out which level each employee has reached, then they can decide on suitable rewards.
Problems with the Maslow Model
There are several problems with the Maslow model when real-life working practice is considered:
- Individual behaviour seems to respond to several needs - not just one
- The same need (e.g. the need to interact socially at work) may cause quite different behaviour in different individuals
- There is a problem in deciding when a level has actually been "satisfied"
- The model ignores the often-observed behaviour of individuals who tolerate low-pay for the promise of future benefits
- There is little empirical evidence to support the model.
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