Motivational Theories and Effectiveness in Employees’ Task Performance

Management and Organisational Change

The use of motivational theories in contemporary business and their effectiveness in improving employees’ task performance


Employees are motivated to work to their level best by the workplace conditions and the level of job outcomes and rewards after attaining them. Nevertheless, various conditions determine job satisfaction, which in return impact the productivity of a worker. If the reward is well set and fulfilling to the employee, they will put maximum effort to attain it. The reward size might enable an employee to endure harsh work conditions and maintain focus towards a certain goal. Everyone works to achieve certain rewards, either for personal benefit or for the benefit of the whole working commune. Motivation theories elaborate on what inspires workers to work hard and attain job satisfaction and are useful in improving job output and employee job satisfaction. Motivation concepts are useful in improving worker job performance.

Vroom’s theory

Vroom’s theory states that conduct results from selections that are present for prioritizing. Rollinson (2010) borrows from that concept and concludes that job performance does not depend solely upon inspiration. Vroom’s theory suggests that more satisfied workers are more productive than dissatisfied employees. The concept further suggests that work performance relies upon the effort of the workers. Staffs derive their determination from personal inspirational components like valence, instrumentality, and anticipation rate. Vroom’s theory emphasizes the power of expectation towards an employee’s productivity. Therefore, Vroom indicates that an employee is motivated through expectation, making them feel like the powerful instruments towards attaining that goal.

Vroom’s motivation theory requires business management to settle and offer new collective variables to enhance quality performance in their organizations. Lloyd and Mertens (2018) suggest that if expectancy and instrumentality variables rank at zero and valence has a negative value, there will be no motivation to better performance. The management in various business settings must encourage better performance by recognizing the contribution of every worker. When employees feel that they can impact individual performance, they feel encouraged to deliver the best for their organization to hit that goal. Employers might acknowledge this by offering workers chances in their best areas of performance.

Besides, there should be bonuses once employees enable a business to achieve certain levels of success. For instance, a sales company may introduce an automatic bonus system after selling a certain number of goods to motivate workers. Employee’s valence depends on the quality of the outcomes that they can offer. An enterprise can increase worker’s valence to a positive value by improving their performance skills through sponsored training to hone their credibility. Overall, focusing on vroom’s theory will enhance self-esteem from the value an employee has to offer, increase their levels of dedication due to the targeted rewards, and improve their valence through confidence due to the incorporated competency levels.

Porter-Lawler’s model

Porter-Lawler’s model is an extended motivation concept of the previous vroom’s theory of expectancy. Porter-Lawler concept integrates various aspects of employee motivation like opinions of both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards, capabilities, characteristics, opinions related to duty, and implicitly the concept of fairness. It combines diverse constituents of employee satisfaction to bring out the complete view of inspiration leading to maximum productivity (Bushi, 2021). Besides, Porter Lawler’s concept elucidates the fiber interaction present in work performance and the accurate attitudes expressed by managers. The theory also incorporates assumptions of personal behavior, suggesting that it results from external and internal components, individual rationality, aspirations, admirations, and wants. It suggests that persons make choices based on optional conduct. Overall, Porter and Lawler’s model explains motivation based on effort meant to double productivity and facilitate a reward necessary for job satisfaction.

Porter and Lawler’s model of motivation relates to vroom’s the theory, whereby they both stress the value and likelihood of a reward, which can impact an employee’s effort. Porter-Lawler’s concept of motivation combines personal traits with work performance, whereby it emphasizes the essence of a worker’s capabilities and personal characteristics in determining their job productivity (Golea & Bagh, 2017). An individual’s effort and performance are factored by their perceived competence, attributions, and what they feel about their given role in an organization. According to Porter and Lawler, workers rate their performance. They expect to achieve equivalent rewards to their rated performance, which might differ due to the variation of the actual performance from the perception. Therefore, an establishment needs to rate the productivity of its operatives through distinct rewards to encourage performance. When a worker receives a less equivalent reward than what they had expected, they will put more effort to meet their individual goal. In general, rewarding a person’s performance would enhance more dedication and higher productivity in an enterprise.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Additionally, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that individuals strive to increase the value of their targeted achievements and that they rank the needs according to their usefulness. According to Hopper (2020), human wants range from the most important, like foodstuffs and water, to the less functional needs, including luxury goods. Maslow’s psychological concept of motivation states that mental wants, welfare requirements, affection and belonging essentials, admiration wishes, and self-actualization necessities command a person’s behavior. Psychological needs include eating food and drinking to meet the bodily needs for those things. Maslow suggests that psychological needs are the most critical to a person and can only focus once the basic needs are sorted. For instance, an individual can’t focus when they are hungry, but they will stop everything and look for food.  The following diagram represents a hierarchy drawing of Maslow’s concept.


Once an individual has met the psychological needs, they focus on the safety of their residence. Persons in the developed nations are more focused on the issues to do with social security, like wars and disasters, since they are already stable financially (Hopper, 2020). Safety precautions follow the basic wants and are clear in purchasing insurance covers and creating a savings account. Once a person is employed, they ensure both property and life in case of unforeseen future occurrences. They also save some money from the earnings to cover future bills and investments to ensure they are safe. People then need to feel loved and to belong to a social group. Maslow suggests that greater connectedness to people favors a person’s physical health. After love and belonging, an individual needs esteem based on self-confidence and how others value a person. Having self-confidence and feeling acknowledged by other people stimulates an individual’s confidence, but when esteem needs are ignored, a person feels inferior. Lastly, a person needs to feel that they are living up to their best potential.

Individuals strive to meet the hierarchy of needs through various fundamentals. Hopper (2020) states that being able to speak out the mind and access fair treatment facilitates attaining the hierarchy of wants. People must also be ready to learn new information to expand their knowledge and better understand the world. Employers should engage their workers in various accomplishments to provoke achievement of these needs. There should be fair treatment at the workplace to allow workers to earn from their efforts and encourage their self-esteem. Maslow indicates that it is unnecessary to fulfill the needs fully, but partial fulfillment makes a person feel better while struggling to meet the other needs.

Herzberg’s two factor theory/ motivator hygiene

Herzberg’s two-factor model, also referred to as motivator-hygiene, resulted from research by engineers and accounts to understand the cause of a bad or a good feeling about an individual’s work. According to Herzberg, job satisfaction emanates from five characteristics explicitly: accomplishment, gratitude, the occupation itself, accountability, and development (Alshamemri et al., 2017).  Herzberg further states that workers may be discouraged by policies at the workstation, the administration’s attitude, regulation, payment, contacts at the workstation, and working situations. Organizations are progressively applying Herzberg’s theory to generate a space for individual development, enrichment, and recognition amongst their staff members.

There should be the promotion of operators when they make specific accomplishments in their stages. The personnel should also get special recognition for attaining specific attainments.  For instance, when an employee facilitates the attainment of unique outcomes in their particular field under normal circumstances, they should get the privilege to regulate the methods of controlling errands relevant to their occupations. However, Herzberg fails to discern between bodily and mental features and specifically elucidate what motivators are and how they differ from hygiene elements. The model does not also show the amounts of gratification and displeasure as a degree instead of using figures. Herzberg’s theory also assumes that everyone will behave in the same manner in a common scenario. Overall, despite the criticism against Herzberg’s theory, it can stimulate better performance where workers get the reward of promotion upon completion of levels in their career to inspire maximum productivity.

McGregor’s X and Y theories

McGregor’s theory assumes that workers belong to two main categories of employees founded on a selection of assumptions. Theory X constitutes workers who do not prefer to work unless forced by various situations, while concept Y involves workers of the opposite aspect (Madero-Gómez & Rodríguez-Delgado, 2018). Therefore, workers belonging to the X concept contain a characteristic aversion for labor and escape it if probable. Thus they must be forced, organized, engaged, and threatened with retribution to make them toil. For Y theory, the psychological and physical components at work are compared and balanced with recreation or performance. Factors away from the work environment may not be the only influence for stimulating willingness at work.

Workers have the capability of exercising attention and self-restraint towards accomplishing certain tasks. However, the size of the return ahead of a task regulates the magnitude of the workers’ craving to pledge to purposes. Under normal conditions, persons may accept and also seek responsibility. Applying this model to an organization may bring out the practical meaning, whereby a worker might be forced to deal with problematic clients and strict management. For instance, if the manager is coercive and fails to recognize the employees’ efforts and does not also allow them to make independent decisions, there might be higher chances of job dissatisfaction. However, if the management is supportive and approving, workers are very likely to produce the best due to the high level of job satisfaction.

McClelland’s need achievement theory

McClelland’s need achievement theory states that some individuals are motivated by self-set targets rather than rewards. McClelland’s need achievement theory explains why some employees are highly productive despite the harsh conditions at their workplaces. This concept relates to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs but has three sections of need instead of five in the latter theory (Badubi, 2017). It categorizes needs into; relatedness, growth, and existence. Existence refers to psychological needs, growth infers to self-actualization, and relatedness means the social needs. McClelland’s need achievement theory is applicable for the personal development of workers in an organization, whereby each worker is shown the need for a personal target. The personal goals enable workers to endure harsh conditions while producing the best, thus an easy job satisfaction.

The equity theory

Equity theory explains the procedure through which workers are satisfied rather than the cause of motivation. Equity theory suggests that employees vary their produce from the effort; thus, the rewards determine the level of satisfaction (Ross & Kapilan, 2018). Therefore, the more the rewards, the more satisfied a worker gets. Hence, equity theory tries to interpret job satisfaction as the change between a worker’s contribution and the job’s yield. Consequently, workers are demoralized by inequality in their input-output proportion equated to other staff. Management should ensure that all workers report to the job wherever required to avoid this inequality leading to demotivation. Overall, a job’s return determines the level of job satisfaction.

Value-percept theory

Value percept theory suggests that the variance between anticipations and the results can result in satisfaction or dissatisfaction depending on the value of the job to an employee. Therefore, value-percept and equity theories are somehow related because they both refer to the outcomes of an effort. However, value percept theory recognizes the value of a job to an individual, suggesting that it can bring satisfaction or dissatisfaction. However, due to the probability of a connexion between a person’s admirations and what they contemplate crucially, the value-percept theory seems inaccurate. The two ideas can be distinguished in theory but cannot be renowned practically.


Job satisfaction is met through a combination of principles comprised in the various theories of motivation. Certain issues influence the productivity and commitment of an employee to job operations. A worker might be motivated by rewards, job outcomes, or personal targets. If a reward like a promotion is given after completing a certain stage in the career, a worker is willing to dedicate their full potential towards achieving it. If results exceed the inputs, a worker feels motivated to continue. Employees might also set personal objectives and strive to hit them within a certain period. The job satisfaction and targets enable workers to work in harsh conditions. Motivation theories enhance understanding of various conditions that may inspire workers to work hard and improve their productivity. Organizations should embrace motivation theories to improve working conditions and facilitate job satisfaction for higher yield.