Reflection On Motivational Theory

motivational theory

What drives humans to achieve their goals and objectives in life? What drives and motivates them in or outside of the workplace? It is a question posed by many different psychologists over the years is still in development. Motivational Theory is the process of understanding what specific elements comprise of one’s drive and motivations in life. 

Why Motivational Theory Is Important For Society

Understanding “what makes us move” is essential for the betterment of humankind. By identifying the primary characteristics of a ‘motivated person’ allows us to train the individual to mimic those symptoms. 

Is being a highly motivated person a genetic disposition or can it be trained? It is the primary premise of motivational theory. We understand the psychological make-up of the motivated individual, and through this understanding, we begin to learn how to implement these characteristics at will. That is what motivational theory is all about.

The Father Of Motivational Theory 

Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation” introduced us to the idea of the “Hierarchy of Needs.” The fundamental essence of the theory states that an individual’s primary needs must first meet before they become motivated to achieve higher levels of activity. 

Since then, several other psychologists and sociologists also began deciphering the equation of motivation. Whether it’s the Theory X and Theory Y by McGregor or the Two-Factor Theory by Herzberg, a motivational theory has become a critical part of a high functioning society. 

The Need For Motivational Theory In Modern Society 

‘Productivity’ has become one of the highest values within a capitalist society. Most modern organizations operate under some capitalist framework, meaning that internationally the need for higher productivity has become a critical component for achieving monetary gains

Seeing that the vast majority of occupations are human-driven, understanding what “makes them motivated” is key to achieving optimal productivity. 

While Maslow set the foundation for motivational theory, more modern takes on ‘motivation’ show us that ‘self-knowledge’ is one of the key components. When somebody ‘knows who they are’ and ‘where they want to go to,' they naturally become self-motivated and work towards achieving their goal

Conversely, those who lack enough self-awareness and direction, require external forces to motivate them towards a goal. In the case of the corporate environment, this means bosses, salaries and so forth. Nonetheless, the ‘self-motivated’ employee will always outperform the “externally-motivated” employee solely because the motivational factor within the first example remains constant despite being inside the place of work or not. 

The externally motivated employee will only render proactive action towards a goal when confined within the context of the work environment. 

It is examples of these that drive Motivational Theorists to refine their methodologies and bridge the “self-motivated experience” within an externally motivated individual. 

The Future Of Motivational Theory 

While Maslow gave us the base framework, with newer technologies, our understanding of the individual becomes more complicated. We are beginning to link physiological states with psychological ones and understanding the interaction between the two. 

This broader sense of “knowing what it means to be human” is allowing motivational theorists to become more precise with their techniques. For instance, in 1970, John Grinder and Richard Bandler discovered Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) which is an advanced field of behavioral psychology. With this new tool in the arsenal of motivational theorists, they began constructing paradigm. 

Paradigms are governing ideas which form neural networks within the brain through repetition. It bases on positive or negative reinforcement. Thus, people like Grinder and Bandler started experimenting with specific positive reinforcement to assist in motivating the individual to overcome fears and achieve their goals. Affirmations, Power Anchors and guided meditative practices assist in establishing governing paradigms that allow the individual to be in a more constant state of motivation towards their objectives and goals. 

Similarly, these practices made its way within the corporate environment, and surprising results have achieved over the past 70-80 years of motivational theory. 

We are getting better and more precise every passing day, and with super-computers being able to process millions of bits of data, we are reaching a point where these general practices might become law in 2023. 

When Motivational Theory Fails 

There is one factor in the motivational theory that seems to be a stumbling block for most theorists. “How to maintain a constant state of motivation?” It seems that no matter how powerful a motivational workshop may be participants’ motivation appears to degrade over time. 

Thus, the only way to stay motivated is to implement motivational tactics continually. There is no long solution (yet). The other factor of human laziness, which is a dominant driving force within our current state of being, makes it difficult to continually motivated the individual over an extended period. 

More On Motivational Theory

In the meanwhile, motivational theorists are working on refining their methods to extend the period of motivation to maximize productivity in the pursuit of goals and objectives; whether for the individual or the corporate entity. Motivational theory is constantly being tested and utilized in business and will continue to be.

Lauren Bradshaw started getting motivated to write over two decades ago. Since then she tried her hand in SEO and website copywriting, writing for blogs, and working as an academic expert at, academic writing company. Her major motivational interests lie in content marketing, developing communication skills, and blogging. She's also passionate about philosophy, psychology theories, literature, and painting.

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I hope you enjoyed this article about motivational theory and what motivates employees and leaders in business.

Interested in more articles about values and motivation?

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