All my childhood, I studied hard and got good grades because I was motivated to escape my mother’s disappointment and wrath on failure. Others in my class were motivated by their desire to excel and get into a good college. Still, others were doing it to maintain their social status and to be recognized as excellent students. The word “motivation” holds a different meaning for different people, as what motivates you may not be sufficient for me and vice versa.
Let’s dig deeper into what the term means.
What is Motivation?
The word motivation has been derived from the word “motive,” which means the human need that needs to be fulfilled to achieve satisfaction. This need can be acquired over time through the elements that surround people, such as the kind of culture, lifestyle, or the kind of environment that is around them.
Motivation is a diverse and varied concept because human beings are diverse and varied themselves. Generally, motivation is a repetitive behavior, something that helps keep us going. It is the driving force that builds within us to take on challenges.
Unsurprisingly, the concept of motivation has been of interest to sociologists and psychologists alike. Research in multiple fields, including business, psychology, and sociology, has tried to explain the concept of motivation in terms of human behavior.
“People Who Are Crazy Enough To Think They Can Change The World, Are The Ones Who Do.” – Rob Siltanen
What is Social Motivation?
Social motivation refers to the human need to connect with each other and their desire to be able to be accepted by each other. Humans are not meant to live on their own, because they are supposed to coexist with others, and the need to interact with each other is what sets the basis of social motivation.
In this article, we will explain the concept of motivation in sociology. We will explain it with the help of different theories presented by psychologists and sociologists to understand human motivation and its sources.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
According to Abraham Maslow, a person’s motivation depends on his need level. His hierarchy of needs took a pyramidic shape where the lowest rung makes up the most basic level needs, and they keep moving upwards. Given below is the hierarchy of needs presented by Maslow.
- Physiological needs: These are the basic survival needs of humans, such as food, water, and a place to live. Once these needs are fulfilled, humans move on to the second phase, which brings us to the second stage of the hierarchy.
- Safety: The second most important human need is that of safety. It is human nature to protect themselves from any danger or anything that is a threat to them. Therefore, when humans are at this need level, they can be motivated by providing safety for themselves and their families.
- Social needs: When the first two needs are fulfilled, humans look for relationships in which they feel as if they belong somewhere, and they are loved.
- Self-esteem: All humans have self-esteem and dignity — they need to be respected and recognized as an important element that plays a role in human motivation.
- Self-Actualization: The last level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is self-actualization. This is an opportunity for humans to develop and learn. It is the greatest level that humans can achieve. Once humans reach this level, they can only be motivated by their yearning for learning.
“Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow
McClelland’s Theory of Needs
The second theory we will be discussing is McClelland’s theory of needs. This theory is based on three motivating drivers.
According to McClelland, a sense of achievement helps motivate people to achieve greater things in life. Achievement is basically the feeling that humans feel when they accomplish tasks. People who aim for achievement are looking for tasks that would help them grow personally, and they receive their due recognition as soon as possible.
As humans, we all seek the need to feel like we belong somewhere and be socially accepted. Those people who seek affiliation are motivated when they are accepted in society. It drives them to work harder and achieve more. Such people are also happier when they are in social gatherings, and they want to avoid any conflicts with others.
The third driving factor is authority; some of us are motivated by the desire to be in a position of power. Those people who desire power are constantly looking for situations in which they would be able to exercise their authority. They seek situations or jobs in which they would be in a position of authority, which motivates them.
Let’s take the simple example of house cleanliness; some people are motivated to keep their houses clean because they feel a sense of achievement in maintaining a clean house. On the other hand, some may maintain cleanliness because it allows them to connect with their friends and peers. While others maintain a spick and span home so they can maintain control and power among their peers.
Herzberg’s Motivation Theory
This theory of motivation is based on two factors: motivators and hygiene factors. These two factors are motivators that motivate people to work harder.
These factors ensure people don’t get dissatisfied. They are not a part of the job, but they make the job preferrable. Examples include the working conditions and cleanliness of an office. Does the company follow safety protocols? Is there enough lighting on the premise? Is there enough space in the office for the worker to be productive?
These are factors that keep employees motivated. These can be different for different people, such as achievement, recognition, responsibility, or growth.
Implications of Social Motivation in our Daily Life
Applying the science of motivation in our daily lives can help improve performance at workplaces and even at our homes. Yes, many factors help people achieve happiness, but motivation is one of the biggest factors. Motivated human beings are more result-oriented and have clearer goals in life. A happy and balanced lifestyle may be maintained through the right amount of extrinsic and intrinsic motivating factors, as discussed in the theories above.
There are indeed different motivation factors for different people. No matter how many explanations there are, there will always be certain areas that are not yet covered since every human is different. There is still a vast amount of research being carried out on the subject to figure out human psychology in an in-depth manner.
As a leader, it is important to ensure that all the people working in the team are motivated. The motivation theories above give an insight into human psychology; managers and leaders can use these theories and motivating factors to motivate their employees according to their personality.