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2.5
The historical classification and various theories of motivation
 
  Since the advent of the first human civilizations, there has been countless writings associated with the classification and ordering of human needs and wants.  
  From several thousand years ago to today, there have been literally thousands of systems that have sought to provide some order and framework to the potential endless list of human needs and wants.  
  Unfortunately we have neither the space, nor the time to investigate and discuss each and every system individually on its merits. However, we are still able to view a historic path by looking at those systems that have most influenced our ideas about human motivation, needs and wants.  
2.5.1 Theories of motivation  
  In general, motivation can be considered as either  
 
extrinsic (behavioral) or
intrinsic (cognitive, biological, affective, or spiritual).
 
  Behavioral  
  Each of the major theoretical approaches in behavioral learning theory posits a primary factor in motivation.  
  Classical conditioning states that biological responses to associated stimuli energize and direct behavior. Operant learning states the primary factor is consequences: reinforces are incentives to increase behavior and punishments are disincentives that result in a decrease in behavior.  
  Social learning theory suggests that modeling (imitating others) and vicarious learning (watching others have consequences applied to their behavior) are important motivators of behavior.  
  Cognitive  
  There are several motivational theories that trace their roots to the information processing approach to learning. These approaches focus on the categories and labels people use help to identify thoughts, emotions, dispositions, and behaviors.  
  The first is cognitive dissonance theory which is in some respects similar to disequilibrium in Piaget's theory. This theory states that when there is a discrepancy between two beliefs, actions or belief and action, we will act to resolve conflict and discrepancies.  
  The implication is that if can create the appropriate amount of disequilibrium this will in turn lead to the individual changing his or her behavior which in turn will lead to a change in thought patterns which in turn leads to more change in behavior. A second cognitive approach is attribution theory which proposes that every individual tries to explain success or failure of self and others by offering certain "attributions". These attributions are either internal or external and are either under our control or not in our control. The following chart shows the four attributions that result from a combination of internal or external locus of control and whether or not control is possible.  
  A third cognitive approach is expectancy theory which proposes the following equation:  
 

Motivation = Perceived Probability of Success * Value of Obtaining Goal

 
  Since this formula states that the two factors of Perceived Probability and Value are to be multiplied by each other, a low value in one will result in a low value of motivation. Therefore, both must be present in order for motivation to occur.  
2.5.2 Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs  
  By the time of the 1950's, the confidence of practitioners in the various fields of psychology had grown to such a point that the dominant scientific thinking being produced at the time was pre-occupied with behaviourism and psychoanalysis to explain human motivation.  
  Scientists at the time debated vigorously the causes of human motivation via focusing separately on such factors as biology, achievement, or power to explain what stimulates, directs, and sustains human behavior. Many psychology texts to this day still rely on these "clinical" areas of research and data to explain why people need what they need.  
  Then during the mid 1950's a humanistic psychologist called Abraham Maslow published a theory stating that people are not merely controlled by mechanical forces ( the stimuli and reinforcement forces of behaviourism) or unconscious instinctual impulses of psychoanalysis. maslow focused on human potential, believing humans strive to reach the highest levels of consciousness and wisdom  
  People at this level were labeled by other psychologists as "fully functioning" or possessing a "healthy personality". Maslow called these people "self-actualizing" persons.  
  Maslow set up a hierarchical theory of needs in which all the basic needs are at the bottom, and the needs concerned with man's highest potential are at the top. The hierarchic theory is often represented as a pyramid, with the larger, lower levels representing the lower needs, and the upper point representing the need for self-actualization. Each level of the pyramid is dependent on the previous level. For example, a person does not feel the second need until the demands of the first have been satisfied.  
  Physiological Needs.  
  These needs are biological and consists of the needs for oxygen, food, water, and a relatively constant body temperature. These needs are the strongest because if deprived, the person would die.  
  Safety Needs.  
  Except in times of emergency or periods of disorganization in the social structure (such as widespread rioting) adults do not experience their security needs. Children, however often display signs of insecurity and their need to be safe.  
  Love, Affection and Belongingness Needs.  
  People have needs to escape feelings of loneliness and alienation and give (and receive) love, affection and the sense of belonging.  
  Esteem Needs.  
  People need a stable, firmly based, high level of self-respect, and respect from others in order to feel satisfied, self confident and valuable. If these needs are not met, the person feels inferior, weak, helpless and worthless.  
  Self-actualization Needs.  
  Maslow describes self-actualization as a person's need to be and do that which the person was born to do. It is his "calling". "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write." If these needs are not met, the person feels restlessness, on edge, tense, and lacking something. Lower needs may also produce a restless feeling, but here is it much easier to find the cause. If a person is hungry, unsafe, not loved or accepted, or lacking self-esteem the cause is apparent. It is not always clear what a person wants when there is a need for self-actualization.  
  Maslow's basic position is that as one becomes more self-actualized and transcendent, one becomes more wise (develops wisdom) and automatically knows what to do in a wide variety of situations.  
  Maslow published his first conceptualization of his theory over 50 years ago (Maslow, 1943) and it has since become one of the most popular and often cited theories of human motivation. An interesting phenomenon related to Maslow's work is that in spite of a lack of evidence to support his hierarchy, it enjoys wide acceptance (Wahba & Bridgewell, 1976; Soper, Milford & Rosenthal, 1995).  
  The few major studies that have been completed on the hierarchy seem to support the proposals of William James (1892/1962) and Mathes (1981) that there are only three levels of human needs. James hypothesized the levels of material (physiological, safety), social (belongingness, esteem), and spiritual. Mathes' three levels were physiological, belonging, and self-actualization; he considered security and self-esteem as unwarranted.  
2.5.3 Alderfer (1972) 3 needs model  
  Alderfer (1972) developed a comparable hierarchy with his ERG (existence, relatedness, and growth) theory. His approach modified Maslow's theory based on the work of Gordon Allport (1960, 1961) who incorporated concepts from systems theory into his work on personality. Alderfer's Hierarchy of Motivational Needs  
  Level of Need Definition Properties  
  Existence  
  Includes all of the various forms of material and psychological desires. When divided among people one person's gain is another's loss if resources are limited  
  Relatedness  
  Involve relationships with significant others. Satisfied by mutually sharing thoughts and feelings; acceptance, confirmation, under- standing, and influence are elements  
  Growth  
  Impel a person to make creative or productive effects on himself and his environment. Satisfied through using capabilities in engaging problems; creates a greater sense of wholeness and fullness as a human being  
  Maslow recognized that not all personalities followed his proposed hierarchy. While a variety of personality dimensions might be considered as related to motivational needs, one of the most often cited is that of introversion and extroversion. Reorganizing Maslow's hierarchy based on the work of Alderfer and considering the introversion/extraversion dimension of personality results in three levels, each with an introverted and extroverted component. This organization suggests there may be two aspects of each level that differentiate how people relate to each set of needs. Different personalities might relate more to one dimension than the other. For example, an introvert at the level of Other/Relatedness might be more concerned with his or her own perceptions of being included in a group, whereas an extrovert at that same level would pay more attention to how others value that membership.  
2.5.4 No universally accepted model yet exists on human motivations  
  In spite of the detailed work done in the past forty years on human behavioral research, there still does not yet exist a universally accepted model for describing and categorizing human motivations.  
  While there is great merit in the work of Maslow, Alderfer and others, the models that currently exist are unable to adequately account for the depression of self-esteem, of people seemingly well advanced up the hierarchy of needs, nor the general antipathy of individuals towards self actualization.  
  Decades of detailed research by the US FBI shows that serial killers frequently have an above average level of IQ. It does not follow that we all wish to rise up the hierarchy, nor that greater wealth acquisition and safety leads to happiness and eventually to self-actualization.  
  If anything, the human minds grasp and priority of needs and wants seems to be stubbornly unique and constantly changing, sometimes as quickly as moods.  
  Before we consider then what makes us happy?, let us consider another important understanding of human motivation- the process of goal setting.  
     
 
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