This type of motivation is characterized by an urge to be recognized. Both on the part of the supervisor and colleagues. The greatest incentives in extrinsic motivation are income, property, and status.
The theories X and Y
Based on the four forms of motivation, two management models were then developed in the 1950s. The social psychologist Douglas McGregor was responsible for the development. The theories are called Theory X and Theory Y. Both theories are based on two different images and views of people.
The starting point of this theory is that, as a rule, most employees do not want to be held responsible. In addition, they are rather immature and do not work particularly hard. You prefer to do routine activities. For superiors this means that punishment, control or reward are only possible through extrinsic measures. These superiors usually display a management style based on the carrot and stick motto.
This theory is based on the assumption that work has a high priority in life for every person. These people are characterized by a high level of commitment and a lot of ambition. Every success in the job evokes great satisfaction. Managers according to this theory have a leadership style that is cooperative and participatory. Responsibility is delegated and employees rely on self-control and initiative.
Weaknesses and findings of the theories
Abraham Maslow quickly recognized the weaknesses that theories X and Y have in practice. To prove this, he made observations in a large American company. He found that theory Y was much closer to reality, but that images of people from theory X always wanted clear instructions.
The longing for clear structures with regard to the hierarchy was also to be found in these people. So it doesn’t matter which theory is used for motivation. External incentives cannot play a decisive role either. Rather, Maslow was able to record the following findings:
- If a manager tries to satisfy the deficit needs and creates a good mood in the workforce, you will quickly have employees who are not only saturated, but also in a certain way shut down.
- Those who use means such as influence or money as measures run the risk of constantly having to offer more. With this method, successes can only be achieved for a short time.
Applications for executives
Managers should try to find the right balance between recognition and freedom. Every employee must be given the chance to realize themselves in their own way. Because with this leadership style, the intrinsic motivation is not slowed down.
Applications for employees
It is wrong if the responsibility for the satisfaction of needs is always assigned to others. On the one hand, this is not possible and feasible at all, and on the other hand, other people, such as managers, cannot do this at all. As the saying goes: “Everyone is the blacksmith of his own fortune”. In addition, it has been shown time and again that a little dissatisfaction is not so bad. Because too much satisfaction and complacency makes you lazy in the long run.
Limits of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
A certain level of satisfaction can only be achieved at work if one strives to reach at least the fourth level of the hierarchy of needs. Only when this point is reached is it possible to establish real identification with one’s work. There are too many who only focus on the last two levels, but have not yet really fully reached all the other hours. In addition, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is only a theory and does not apply to everyone.
But as you also know, exceptions prove the rule. It should also be remembered that not everyone can do the job that makes one happy. There are too many influences and factors that repeatedly bring people into the situation of doing something where they are not happy. And it is precisely here that the border of the Maslowian hierarchy of needs can be clearly seen, because in such cases it cannot help either.
The Maslowian hierarchy of needs in the generation change
Gone are the days when Maslow published his hierarchy of needs. Much is no longer applicable to today’s Generation Z. The most basic need, survival, has remained, but after that the levels have changed.
|Generation Z needs||description|
|to survive||Here basically all needs have remained the same.|
|security||The world has become insecure. That is why there is also a great need for security among Generation Z. But this has become wider. Security when surfing, when buying online, etc. is still a factor today.|
|Affiliation||Most of this group of needs happens in Generation Z. Because everyone wants to find acceptance in his or her personally important group.|
|meaning||For Generation Z, individual success is the most important thing in their lives.|
|Self-actualization||Hard to reach in the previous generation. In Generation Z, the chances are very high.|
What insights can you draw for yourself from the hierarchy of needs?
- Basically, it should be understood that the hierarchy of needs only works from the bottom up. Only when you have personally reached the lower levels can you approach the next level.
- In our time with our requirements in the country, you have every opportunity to reach and fulfill the first three levels. But check very carefully whether you have really met all of your needs. Perhaps there is still a need for optimization here and there. Only when you are sure that everything is optimal can you move on to the last two stages.
Criticism of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
The hierarchy of needs is a theoretical model. In the later years after publication in particular, there was a lot of criticism. Above all, there are the following points of criticism:
- The hierarchy of needs is based only on observations; there is no quantitative collection of data.
- To date, no empirical verification has taken place.
- Is the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs really the end in terms of possible human development?
- Human needs and motivations in the hierarchy of needs are too general.
- The Maslowian hierarchy of needs is not applicable to all cultures.
With his hierarchy of needs, Abraham Maslow gives a well-founded impression of a person’s needs . The theory that he shows is not rigid and is presented fluently, because in his view a new need arises when a need has been satisfied.
From level to level, other areas are considered, ranging from the needs for survival to self-actualization. With his theory, it is possible for companies to better assess and understand themselves as well as employees or customers.