An essay on Discuss theories of motivation & how to apply then in the modern workplace Sample

Exploring Maslow, Herzberg, and Expectancy Theory to Enhance Employee Engagement and Productivity.

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An essay on “Discuss theories of motivation and how to apply then in the modern workplace” Assignment


This essay aims to discuss various theories of motivation and explore their application in the modern workplace. Motivation plays a crucial role in driving employee performance, job satisfaction, and overall organizational success. By understanding and applying motivational theories, employers can create a work environment that fosters high levels of engagement, productivity, and employee well-being. The key components of this study will include a description of relevant motivational theories, an analysis of their applicability in the modern workplace, and a conclusion with recommendations for implementing effective motivational strategies.

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Main Body

Description of Relevant Theories

In this segment of the study three main theories of motivation will be discussed in detail.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Figure : Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Source: (Mcleod, 2018)

A well-known theory called Maslow's Hierarchy of wants contends that people have a hierarchy of wants that must be met in a particular sequence. Five levels make up the hierarchy: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization. Before focusing on their higher-level requirements, people try to satiate their lower-level demands, in accordance with Maslow.

Physiological needs Safety needs Belongingness and love need Esteem needs Self-actualization needs
The most fundamental requirements for survival include things like food, drink, shelter, and sleep (Taormina, 2013). After their physiological requirements are satisfied, people look for stability, security, and safety from harm—both physical and mental(Taormina, 2013). These requirements include the need for companionship, affection, and a feeling of community within partnerships(Taormina, 2013). After their basic wants are met, people look for approval, respect, and a sense of value. Both external elements like status and internal aspects like self-esteem are included in this(Taormina, 2013). At the summit of the hierarchy, people seek for self-fulfilment, personal development, and potential realisation(Taormina, 2013).

Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory

Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory

Figure : Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory Source: (Tan, 2013)

Frederick Herzberg created the Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory in the 1950s, which contends that two distinct sets of elements—hygiene factors and motivators—influence work satisfaction and discontent (Tan, 2013).

Although they may not directly affect job happiness, hygiene aspects are crucial for preventing job discontent. These considerations cover things like pay, working conditions, corporate rules, and interpersonal relations. Employees are not unhappy when these conditions are met, but their mere existence does not increase motivation or contentment. On the other hand, motivators directly support intrinsic motivation and work happiness. These elements include a sense of accomplishment, opportunity for growth and promotion, demanding work, and acknowledgment. Employees have better levels of work satisfaction, engagement, and motivation when motivators are present (Alrawahi, et al., 2020).

The notion states that in order to establish a pleasant work environment, organisations should concentrate on both motivators and hygienic elements. While the existence of motivators promotes job satisfaction and intrinsic motivation, adequate hygiene elements assist minimises unhappiness. Organisations should thus work to fulfil hygiene requirements to prevent employee unhappiness while also offering motivators to raise workplace satisfaction and engagement levels (Abdulkhamidova, 2021).

Expectancy Theory

Expectancy Theory

Figure : Expectancy Theory

Source: (Lunenburg, 2011)

Victor Vroom first presented the Expectancy Theory of motivation in 1964, and it contends that people are driven to behave because they believe their actions will result in successful performance and that good performance will bring about desired outcomes or rewards. The three main parts of the theory are valence, instrumentality, and expectation (Lunenburg, 2011).

  • An individual's expectation is their conviction that their efforts will produce a successful performance.

  • The idea that effective performance will result in desired results or incentives is known as instrumentality.

  • Value is the worth or desirableness that people assign to the results or rewards(Lunenburg, 2011).

The Expectancy Theory holds that people are driven when they feel that their effort will lead to effective performance, which will be acknowledged and rewarded with desirable consequences. Organisations should develop fair incentive systems, clear performance goals, adequate resources and support, and rewards that are in line with employees' preferences and ambitions in order to put this theory into practise at work. Organisations may encourage employee motivation, engagement, and goal-directed behaviour by raising expectation, instrumentality, and valence (Wani, 2022).


Firstly, considering the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Organisations may use Maslow's theory in the modern workplace by emphasising the significance of meeting employees' fundamental physiological and safety demands. This involves assuring job security, a secure and healthy work environment, and fair wages. By attending to this basic need, organisations foster a sense of security and stability that frees up workers to concentrate on higher-order requirements like belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. But it's important to recognise that everyone's demands are unique and that not everyone moves through the hierarchy at the same rate or in the same way. Some workers could give higher-level requirements precedence over lower-level ones (Herrity,Jennifer , 2022). Organisations should thus take into account individual differences and provide employees the chance to pursue their own needs and objectives. For example, Google offers its employees a comprehensive benefits package that includes health insurance, on-site healthcare services, and healthy food options, prioritizing their physiological well-being. Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, focuses on building a strong company culture that fosters employee friendships and connections through regular team-building events and a supportive work environment (Sodexo, 2022). Considering the esteem needs, Adobe Systems implemented a "Check-In" program where managers and employees have ongoing feedback discussions, focusing on recognition and growth to enhance employees' esteem and self-worth. Atlassian, a software development company, offers employees dedicated "FedEx Days" where they have 24 hours to work on any project of their choice, promoting creativity and self-actualization (Mcleod, 2018).

Secondly acknowledging Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory, the companies should make sure that hygienic requirements are satisfied, including fair pay, comfortable working environment, and encouraging corporate policies. For instance, the outdoor apparel firm Patagonia offers its staff members appealing amenities like flexible work hours and a corporate-sponsored day-care facility to meet their hygienic requirements. In order to increase intrinsic motivation and work satisfaction, organisations should concentrate on offering motivators (Herzberg ,Frederick Irving , 2000). Offering difficult job tasks, chances for skill growth and progress, and significant recognition might accomplish this. For instance, the cloud computing business Salesforce offers a programme for employee appreciation and peer recognition called "Thank You Salesforce" that encourages a culture of inspiration and appreciation (Schermerhorn, 2002).

Last but not least, considering the application of expectancy theory within modern workplace Employers should give staff members the tools, instruction, and assistance they need to complete duties successfully. This increases workers' self-assurance in their skills and their conviction that their efforts will result in good performance. For instance, Amazon makes significant investments in staff development and training programmes to provide its workers the skills need to be successful in their jobs. Performance and incentives should be clearly linked by organisations. Employees should believe that their efforts will be adequately acknowledged and rewarded. This can be accomplished by putting in place performance-based reward programmes or by offering merit-based career progression possibilities (Indeed, 2023). A software firm called HubSpot provides its staff with a performance-based bonus system that is linked to both individual and team accomplishments. This aligns compensation with performance results. In addition to this, companies should be aware of the preferences and goals of their workforce and provide a variety of incentives that fit each employee's unique driving forces. This can involve monetary rewards, chances for both professional and personal growth, adaptable work schedules, or substantive rewards. For example, Microsoft promotes its employees to pursue their passions and personal growth by providing them with various development programs, such as mentorship opportunities, tuition reimbursement, and access to internal resources and learning platforms (Mathibe, 2008).

Conclusion and Recommendation

The study explored three prominent theories of motivation: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory, and Expectancy Theory. These theories offer valuable insights into understanding employee motivation in the modern workplace. By applying these theories, organizations can create a work environment that addresses employees' diverse needs, enhances job satisfaction, and fosters motivation and engagement.

Maslow's theory emphasizes the importance of fulfilling employees' basic needs, while Herzberg's theory highlights the significance of hygiene factors and motivators. Expectancy theory focuses on the belief that effort leads to performance and performance leads to desired outcomes. By incorporating elements from these theories, organizations can design effective motivational strategies that encompass fair compensation, safe working conditions, opportunities for growth, recognition of achievements, and a transparent reward system.


  • Understand individual differences: Recognize that employees have unique motivations and needs. Tailor motivational strategies to accommodate these differences, allowing for individualized growth opportunities and rewards.
  • Foster a positive work environment: Create a supportive and inclusive culture where employees feel valued, heard, and empowered. Encourage open communication, collaboration, and participation in decision-making processes.
  • Provide opportunities for personal and professional development: Offer training programs, mentorship, and resources to help employees develop their skills and pursue their career aspirations. This enhances self-actualization and provides a sense of purpose.
  • Establish clear performance expectations: Set clear goals and provide regular feedback to help employees understand the link between effort, performance, and rewards. This enhances expectancy and reinforces a performance-driven culture.


Abdulkhamidova, F., 2021. Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory, s.l.: American University in the Emirates (AUE).

Alrawahi, S., Sellgren, S. F., Altouby, S. & Alwahaibi, N. a. B., 2020. The application of Herzberg's two-factor theory of motivation to job satisfaction in clinical laboratories in Omani hospitals, s.l.: Ncbi.

Herrity,Jennifer , 2022. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Applying It in the Workplace. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 30 May 2023].

Herzberg ,Frederick Irving , 2000. Herzberg two factor theory. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 30 may 2023].

Indeed, 2023. Expectancy Theory of Motivation: Guide for Managers. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 30 May 2023].

Lunenburg, F. C., 2011. Expectancy Theory of Motivation: Motivating by Altering Expectations. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT, BUSINESS, AND ADMINISTRATION, 15(1).

Mathibe, I., 2008. Expectancy Theory and its implications for employee motivation. Leadership: The Online Journal, 6(3).

Mcleod, S., 2018. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, New York: Penguin.

Schermerhorn, J. R., 2002. Organizational Behavior, s.l.: Wiley.

Available at:
[Accessed 30 May 2023].

Tan, S. K., 2013. Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory on Work Motivation: Does it Works for Todays Environment?, s.l.: Southern University College.

Taormina, R. J., 2013. Maslow and the Motivation Hierarchy: Measuring Satisfaction of the Needs. The American Journal of Psychology, 126(2), pp. 155-177.

Wani, M. I., 2022. VROOM'S EXPECTANCY THEORY OF MOTIVATION, s.l.: University of Kashmir.

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