Motivation is a key driver for human behavior and has been the subject of much research and inquiry over the years. Three prominent theories in the field of motivation are David Mcclelland’s Human Motivation Theory, Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory. These theories attempt to explain the underlying factors that influence an individual’s motivation and provide insights into what drives individuals to act in certain ways. These motivation frameworks are taught in leadership training courses in Singapore, including the Effective Manager Program by Raffles Leadership Centre.

David McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory posits that individuals have three basic needs – achievement, affiliation and power. According to this theory, the strength of each of these needs determines an individual’s motivation. For instance, individuals who have a strong need for achievement are motivated by challenges and a desire to be recognized for their accomplishments. On the other hand, individuals who have a strong need for affiliation are motivated by relationships and the desire to belong to a group. Finally, individuals who have a strong need for power are motivated by the desire to have control over their environment and other people.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is another well-known theory of motivation. This theory suggests that individuals have a series of basic needs that must be met in a specific order for them to be motivated. The hierarchy includes physiological needs (such as food, water, and shelter), safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs and finally, self-actualization needs (the realization of one’s full potential). According to this theory, as each need is fulfilled, individuals move up the hierarchy and are motivated by the higher-level needs.

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of motivation focuses on what motivates and de-motivates individuals at work. This theory suggests that there are two types of factors that influence motivation – Hygiene Factors (such as salary, working conditions and job security) and Motivators (such as recognition, achievement and growth opportunities). According to Herzberg, meeting hygiene needs is necessary to prevent dissatisfaction but it is not sufficient to motivate individuals. It is the motivators that truly drive individuals to perform at their best. Leaders must focus on the motivators to drive performance.

These theories provide valuable insights into what motivates individuals and why they act in certain ways. By understanding these theories, leaders can make informed decisions by creating motivating environments that help individuals reach their full potential. To learn the full details of these frameworks, attend our 2-day Effective Manager Program (EMP) which is conducted at a 5-star hotel in Singapore.

Read this Straits Times article written by our Founder/Director Jaren Chan to get some practical tips on employee motivation: 

Straits Times – The Trinity of Employee Motivation by Jaren Chan


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