Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory (1963) comes to mind when discussing employee work motivation and attitude. Abraham Maslow states that people are driven by different motivations to work. He has displayed the various motivations by using a pyramid. The base of the pyramid is the need for the basics such as safety, food, and shelter. Most people are motivated to go to work based on these basic human needs.
The top of the Maslow’s pyramid is self-actuation. Many people are motivated for recognition or high achievement. Maslow describes self-actualization as a person’s need to be and do that which the person was “born to do.” “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write.” (Simons & Drinnien, 1987).
Between the base of the pyramid and the top of the pyramid are other work motivators. These other motivators are safety, love/belonging, and esteem. Figuring out which work motivator drives the employee’s reason to work may also help with employee attitude. For instance, if an employee’s work motivation is self-actualization, then that employee may be a “workaholic,” or have ambitions to always be in leadership roles.
The same can be said about an employee whose work motivation is at the vary base (food and shelter). These employees may do the bare minimum, but will always look for other job opportunities. By and large, turnover theorists assume that employees’ preference for leaving is based primarily on their job satisfaction, which directly influences their intent to leave. Although liking or not liking one’s job is clearly important, Hom and associates (2012) theorize that an assessment of control as well as an affective assessment of one’s current employment situation must be jointly considered (Li, et al, 2016).
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Li, J. (., Lee, T. W., Mitchell, T. R., Hom, P. W., & Griffeth, R. W. (2016). The effects of
proximal withdrawal states on job attitudes, job searching, intent to leave, and employee
turnover. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(10), 1436-1456. doi:10.1037/apl0000147.
Retrieved from Walden Library on 2 March 2017.
Simons, J. A., Irwin, D. B., & Drinnien, B. A. (1987). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Retrieved
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