Motivation is fundamental to the task of management.
(a) What is meant the term ‘process theory’ of motivation?
(b) What is meant the ‘equity theory’ of motivation?
(c) Briefly describe the response an individual might have to feelings of negative inequity.
Motivation is fundamental to the task of management. Many different theories have been presented on how management might motivate employees; Adams’ equity theory is an attempt to bring a more modern approach to the topic, based on the idea of distributive justice.
(a) The process theory of motivation asks the question ‘How can people be motivated?’ The process theory of motivation does not emphasise the need for fulfilment through work (as in the content theory), but concentrates upon the processes through which individuals are motivated. They attempt to explain how individuals start, sustain and direct behaviour and assume that individuals are able to select their own goals and means of achieving those goals through a process of calculation. Process theory emphasises the importance of rewards, often financial.
(b) Equity theory focuses on the feelings of the individual and how fairly they feel they have been treated in comparison with treatment received others. It is sometimes referred to as exchange theory; individuals expect certain outcomes in exchange for certain efforts and contribution to the organisation. When an individual perceives that his or her efforts are equal to others and the rewards are the same, then equity exists. If the perception is that the efforts and rewards of one person are unequal to others, then there is inequity.
(c) When an individual has feelings of negative inequity, he or she can
– change the amount of effort put into the task
– change the nature or amount of reward required
– change the basis of comparison
– distort the comparisons psychologically
– Leave the work situation or employer.