Here is a compilation of term papers on the ‘Theories of Motivation’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short term papers on the ‘Theories of Motivation’ especially written for school and college students.

Theories of Motivation

Term Paper Contents:

  1. Term Paper on the Economic Theory of Motivation
  2. Term Paper on the Theory X and Theory Y of Motivation
  3. Term Paper on Herzbeg’s Two Factor Theory of Motivation
  4. Term Paper on McClelland’s Theory of Motivation
  5. Term Paper on the Expectancy Theory of Motivation
  6. Term Paper on the Equity Theory of Motivation
  7. Term Paper on the Contingency Theory of Motivation

Term Paper # 1. Monstic Theory: (Economic Theory of Motivation):

This theory suggests that there is a single motivator and that is only money.


The postulates of this theory are:

(a) Motivation is more effective and direct when incentives are based on individuals rather than on groups.

(b) Incentive is more effective provided reward follows efforts.

(c) The relationship between efforts and rewards must be direct.


Based on this theory Taylor developed his differential piece rate systems. According to this scheme wages are to be paid on the basis of results. Work standard is established. Performance above standard or equal to standard is paid high piece rates and low rates of wages for those who fail to attain standards.

But this theory was criticized. No doubt that employees are motivated by financial incentives. But their assumption that money is the only motivator is incorrect. There are other non-financial considerations which stimulate employees. Social and ego needs are also considered as good motivators.

Term Paper # 2. Theory X and Theory Y of Motivation:

This theory was propounded by Douglas Mc Gregor who was a known psychologist. This theory is based on the dual nature of human beings. These two theories are best known as theory X and Theory Y. According to this theory all management actions flow from these two theories. Management assumptions about human behaviour influence the personnel practices, decision making, operating practices and organisational design. The dual nature of human beings involving a cruel approach and a human approach from the basis of Theory X and Theory Y.

Theory X:


This is a traditional theory of management.

Its features are:

(a) Authority and control are centralised.

(b) The chain of command flows downwards with same delegation of authority but full and detailed accountability is up the line.


(c) Employees are to obey the orders.

(d) ‘Power is supreme’ is the main theme of the theory.

(e) Employees do not have the freedom to suggest.

Assumptions of Theory X:


(a) The average human being is basically lazy and has an inherent dislike for work. He will avoid work, if he can.

(b) Many people lack ambition. They are not interested in achievement. They like to be directed.

(c) Most people have little creativity for solving organisational problems.

(d) Most people are indifferent to organisational goals.


(e) Most people must be closely controlled and often threatened to achieve organisational goals.

(f) Motivation of average human beings occur at the psychological and safety levels.

On the basis of the above assumptions the advocations made by this theory are:

(a) Management is responsible for organizing the elements of production, namely money, material, machine, men and methods, in the interest of economic gain.


(b) Management is responsible for directing the efforts of people, motivating them and controlling performance. Modification of functions wherever necessary.

(c) Management must persuade, reward punish and control employees to achieve performance.

Suitability of Theory X:

(a) This theory can be successful only in the short run till people respond to pressures and controls as they have fear for consequences of not following the orders.

(b) This will be successful where there is clear supervision and control and high centralisation of authority. Leadership in such organisations will tend to be autocratic and employees will have little say in decisions affecting them.

The criticisms against this theory are:


(a) The assumptions of theory X do not reveal the true nature of human beings.

(b) This theory ignores the human factor in human beings. The present day thinking is employees should be given an honourable partnership in management.

(c) This theory follows the carrot and stick approach. Its focusses on negative motivation.

Theory Y:

The features of theory Y are:

(a) It has complete understanding of the interest and capabilities of employees.


(b) Management is responsible for achieving organisational objectives but on different assumptions about human behaviour and motivation.

(c) This theory advocates a humanistic and supportive approach to manage people by providing are atmosphere and discipline within an organisation.

(d) People are made to work with interest and enjoy the benefits of cordial atmosphere.

Assumptions of Theory Y:

Theory Y expect the management to unleash the potential in the employee. A properly motivated employee can achieve his goals and that of the organisation.

The basic assumptions are:


(a) The average person does not inherently dislike work. He considers work is as natural as play, if the conditions are favourable.

(b) External control and threat of punishment are not only means for bringing about efforts towards organisational objectives. Self-control is often indispensible in achieving organisational goals. Man will exercise self-direction and self-control in the service of objectives to which he is committed.

(c) Commitment to objectives is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement.

(d) Average human being under proper conditions not only accepts but also seek responsibility. Avoidance of responsibility, lack of ambition and emphasis on security are generally the consequences of experience not inherent in human characteristics.

(e) The capacity of employees to cooperate with the management in solving organisational problems is widely present.

(f) The modern industrial system have partially utilised the intellectual potentialities of employees.


Based on these assumptions the recommendations of the theory are:

(a) Management is responsible for organising the elements of production in the interest of economic and social ends.

(b) People become passive due to experience.

(c) Motivation, potential for development, capacity for assuming responsibility and readiness to direct people towards organisational objects are inherent in people. So the management is to identify this properly and play the role of an effective catalyst.

(d) The management is to arrange for establishing effective organisational methods and conditions so that people can achieve their goal through self- directions.

Theory Y assumes that the goals of the organisation and that of individuals are not necessarily incongruent. This can be dealt with by concentrating on the needs of employees. It assumes that workers exercise self-direction and self-control. This theory is realistic and frequently used at different levels in most of the organisations.


Evaluation of Theory X and Theory Y:

These theories are important tools in understanding the behaviour of human beings and in designing the incentive schemes to motivate employees. Both the theories are not fully applicable to all situations and all types of human beings. Theory X is more applicable to unskilled and uneducated low level employees and theory Y is applicable to skilled and educated employees.

The management is to make use of an amalgamation of both theories to motivate the different kinds of employees at different levels. This theory is considered to have been the starting point and the main spring that evoked wide and lasting interest in the area of motivation, leadership and techniques of understanding behaviour of the human element of the organisation.

Comparison of Theory X and Theory Y:

The differences are:

(1) Assumptions:

The basic assumption of Theory X is that people are basically lazy and shirk work. The assumption of Theory Y is that employees like work and play alike.

(2) Initiative and Direction:

Theory X states that employees do not take initiative and they like to be diverted. Theory Y state that people like to take initiative and they seek self-direction.

(3) Responsibility Assumption:

Theory X states that people avoid responsibility whenever possible but theory Y states that employees gladly assume responsibility if conditions are favourable.

(4) Supervision:

According to theory X strict supervision is necessary for performance while theory Y advocates that it is not required for performance.

(5) Leadership:

Theory X is of the view that autocratic style of leadership is likely to be more effective but theory Y states that democratic style of leadership is effective.

(6) Level of Employees:

Theory X is applicable to illiterate, unskilled and lower level workers whereas theory Y is applicable to educated employees who occupy higher positions.

(7) Focus:

Theory X focuses on negative motivation as it believes in mental sickness of employees. On the other hand Theory Y had advocated positive motivation as it believes in mental health of employees.

Theories of motivation that focus on the needs that motivate behaviour are called as content theories. This approach is associated with thinkers like Maslow, Mc Gregor, Herzberg and Mc Clelland.

Term Paper # 3. Herzberg Theory of Motivation:

Other names of the theory are- Herzberg Motivation Maintenance Theory, Motivation Hygiene Theory, Two factor Theory.

He developed a theory of work-motivation that has broad implications for management and its efforts towards effective utilisation of human resources. According to this theory work dissatisfaction and satisfaction arise from two different set of factors. This theory is based on the two factor hypothesis i.e. factors leading to job satisfaction and factors leading job-dissatisfaction.

Herzberg has identified two factors known as motivational factors and Hygiene or maintenance factors:

i. Maintenance Factors:

These factors are called as Hygiene factors or dis-satisfiers. These factors are mostly related to environment, outside the job. The presence of these factors did not significantly motivate them but the absence of such factors caused serious dissatisfaction. The presence of such factors prevents dissatisfaction and maintains a certain level of motivation, but any reduction in the availability of these factors is likely to affect motivation and bring down the level of performance.

Some of these factors are:

a. Company policies and administration,

b. Quality of technical supervision,

c. Interpersonal relationships salary,

d. Job security, working conditions,

e. Job status,

f. Personal life.

ii. Motivational Factors:

Other name motivators or satisfiers. These factors are mostly related directly to the Job itself. The presence of these factors creates a highly motivating situation, but their absence does not cause dissatisfaction. He has identified six motivational factors like achievement, recognition, advancement, Job, possibility of growth and responsibility.

These factors are the primary cause of Job satisfaction. If the employer is unable to provide these factors in quality to employees, they will have no Job satisfaction. On the contrary adequate provision of these factors will ensure high performance by providing Job satisfaction.

However, these factors differ from individual to individual. Different kinds of people require different kinds of degrees of motivation factors. To employees who desire them, such factors with the right amount of quality act as stimuli for psychological and personal growth.

In motivation there are two other factors known as Intrinsic and Extrinsic factors. The intrinsic motivations refer to internal rewards that occur at the time of performance of work. So there is a direct motivation for performance because the act of performance itself is self-rewarding. In this situation employee is self-motivated.

Extrinsic motivators are external rewards. They are not directly related to performance of work. They occur after the work or away from work like retirement plans, Leave, health, insurance etc. Originally experts paid more attention to extrinsic factors and they had poor results. Now the focus is on intrinsic factors. This has improved employee motivation and benefitted organisations.

So Herzberg has arrived at the following conclusions:

Employees feel motivated provided the job is:

(a) Challenging and interesting.

(b) There is possibility for growth.

(c) They were able to obtain a sense of achievement.

(d) They had the responsibility and authority to use their discretion.

(e) The employees were able to advance in the profession and receive recognition for their performance.

Criticisms of Herzberg Theory:

Theory of Herzberg was subject to several criticisms.

Some of the criticisms were:

(a) Herzberg has identified two factors for motivation. He suggested Job satisfiers and dis-satisfiers. This was objected by the authorities on the ground that Job-satisfaction and dissatisfaction are two opposite points.

(b) The second criticism of this theory is that it is to get results favourable to the model by using Herzberg method. Other methods failed to produce, similar results. Thus this theory is ‘method bound’ which limits its applicability for general use.

(c) Thirdly this theory gives emphasis and priority to maintenance capabilities of employees. It neglects important employee-motivators like pay, status and inter-personal relations.

(d) There is no absolute distinction between motivational and maintenance factors. Further the terminology used in the model is confusing and the line of demarcation is thin. Items designated as maintenance factors may serve as motivational factors to others and vice-versa.

(e) The study lacks universal application. The findings were based on a study of 200 accountants and engineers in a particular area. This is not considered as universal and representative sample.

(f) In Herzberg’s study, the interviewees were asked to report exceptionally good or exceptionally bad moments. This methodology is reflective because there is a common bias among human beings to take more credit for good things and to blame others for bad occurrences.

(g) Herzberg gave too much emphasis on Job enrichment. This is not the only answer off-the-Job satisfaction of the employees is also very important.

Though the advocations of Herzberg is criticised on the grounds specified earlier it is of great help to the managers:

(a) This theory relates specifically to the work environment. The manager can take suitable steps to motivate employees.

(b) The management can make use of this theory to focus its efforts in ensuring the presence and quality in hygiene and motivation factors as a foundation on which motivation was developed. In the absence of quality, employees may face a nuclear environment, which can lead to dissatisfaction in the work place.

(c) Finally this theory is not applicable only to professionals but to other employees as well. Research has identified that supervision is one of the major influences on whether higher level need satisfaction can be realised by employees in their work.

Comparison of Herzberg and Maslow Theories: 

There is great similarity between the two theories.

They are:

(a) Monetary factor might still be a motivator for operative employees and for some managerial employees.

(b) Herzberg’s model adds to the Maslow’s need hierarchy model by differentiating between motivational and maintenance factors. Motivational factors are often derived from the Job and the maintenance factors come under comparatively lower order needs. In economically advanced countries, such needs of employees are fulfilled and hence ceases to be motivators.

(c) Thirdly, Keith Davis has shown integrated relationship between the two models. According to him the dissatisfied needs in Maslow’s theory are motivational factors in Herzberg’s theory. It means these are the factors which motivate a man to work harder. The maintenance factors in Herzberg’s theory refer to three lower level needs in Maslow’s theory. They are social, safety and physiological needs.

The differences between these theories are:

a) Maslow’s advocations centered on human needs of employees whereas Herzberg’s recommendation focussed on employees, state of mind.

b) Maslow’s theory deals human needs but Herzberg talks of goals which satisfy those needs.

c) Maslow has described the various needs which propels a person’s behaviour while Herzberg has gone a step further to tell us what makes a man satisfied or dissatisfied with his job which depends very much on factor available on or off the job.

d) Herzberg’s theory focusses on managerial and professional staff and is based on the assumption that their socio-economic needs are satisfied whereas Maslow’s theory is applicable to all classes of employees.

e) Both the theories suggest the same thing but their approach is different. Maslow is helpful in identifying needs and Herzberg provides us with insight into goals and that tend to satisfy these needs.

Term Paper # 4. McClelland’s Three Need Theory of Motivation:

David McClelland of Harvard University and his associates conducted experiments and developed the three need theory which places great emphasis on needs and individual differences. He identified the presence of three needs in all human beings.

They are:

(a) Need for Achievement

(b) Need for Power and

(c) Need for Affiliation.

The first one is individualistic in nature while the other two are interpersonal oriented.

(a) Need for Achievement:

This refers to the desire to excel or achieve in relation to a set of standards. This is due to some people having a lust for achievement.

They have the following characteristics:

(i) The individuals set moderate achievement goals and take calculated risks.

(ii) They need rapid feedback on their performance.

(iii) They are not motivated by money but they value money as a means for measuring his performance.

(iv) They possess skill in long-range planning and organisations abilities.

(v) They are fully dedicated to the goals and are preoccupied in achieving that goal until it is successfully achieved.

So the managers with more of this need are impatient, restless and self- motivated to achieve the goal. They enjoy competition, hard work and leave nothing to chance.

McClelland has made the following two important points in this context. They are:

(a) A strong achievement need was related to how well individuals were motivated to perform their work tasks.

(b) The achievement need could be strengthened by training.

This study proved that an organisation with high achievement seekers can do better and face challenges and competition more successfully.

(b) Need for Power:

This means the desire to control others or have influence over others. Power is closely related to leadership and results in influencing people, events and decisions within an organisational framework. It is the ability of a person to manipulate or control the activities of others to suit one’s own objectives.

People with high need for power seek the position of leadership. The managers with this need in greater proportion will become constructive authoritarians. A power oriented manager is successful only if he employs a mature, democratic coaching style. If this need is coupled with the need for achievement in proper proportions can lead to produce satisfactory results.

(c) Need for Affiliation:

Affiliation refers to desire for friendship, co­operation and close interpersonal relationships. They derive pleasure from being loved and tend to avoid the pain of being rejected by the social group. They are motivated by Jobs which demand frequent interaction with fellow employees and not likely to succeed on a Job that force them to work in isolation. This type of need is present in most managers but not dominant in successful individuals.


Every employee possess these motives in varying degrees. The Job of a manager is to gauge the proportion of these needs in the employees and then to formulate motivational schemes to be much more effective than if they are formulated at random. The management can impart training in the right direction to motivate people. There can be tuning of selection and placement procedures.

The managers should make a concerted effort to identify and work with high achievement motivation. It is possible, through proper delegation, to capitalize the ability to set goals and the desire for responsibility in the work environment. Finally, the achievers should be provided with immediate, concrete feedback if their talents are to be properly utilised. According to this theory the dominant need for a successful manager is the one for achievement.

But this theory is subject to the following limitations:

(1) High achievement seeking managers expect similar performance and result from others. They are impatient in achieving the goals and they cannot be effective managers.

(2) They make use of protective techniques for developing achievements is objectionable.

(3) Achievement motivation training is time consuming and expensive.

(4) The needs identified by this theory are not in present to motivate employees especially workers.

Term Paper # 5. Expectancy Theory of Motivation:

This theory was introduced by Victor Vroom in 1964. He has outlined a model for motivation that includes many of the earlier concepts. It may be noted at outset that this theory emphasises perceptions of behaviour rather than actual behaviour.

According to this theory motivation is a product of the anticipated worth to a person of an action and the perceived probability that a person’s goals would be achieved.

The assumptions of this theory are:

(a) An individual is motivated to produce a level if he perceives that his effort will result in successful performance. This perceived Link between effort is called effort-performance Linkage.

(b) The individual must perceive that there wills a suitable reward for appropriate performance.

(c) The third assumption is that the individual desires these rewards.

Vroom’s theory is based on three concepts known as valence, expectancy and instrumentality. According to him motivation is a force and it is equivalent to the product of valence, expectancy and instrumentality.

i. Valence:

This means preference that people have for a particular outcome or incentive or reward. It refers to the importance or value an individual places on the potential outcome that can be achieved on the Job. If an individual is indifferent to the outcome valence is zero.

The first level outcome of high degree of performance thus acquires a positive valence by virtue of its expected relationship to the preferred second level outcome of promotion. Thus a person would be motivated towards high degree of performance because of the valence for promotion.

ii. Expectancy:

The extent which he feels that the employees’ efforts will lead to first level outcome in achieving the objectives of the organisation. Otherwise it entails an evaluation of how much effort the performance will take and the probability of achieving performance. If the employees are not confident about results they will not even try. Managers can influence people’s expectancy positively by matching people to Jobs.

iii. Instrumentality:

This refers to the degree to which a first level outcome will lead to a desired second level outcome. This is a relationship between the first level outcome and second level outcome.

According to him, people are motivated to work if they:

(a) Expect enhanced effort to lead to reward and

(b) Value the rewards resulting from their efforts.

So to state this theory in the form of an equation it will as follows:

Motivation = Expectancy that increased effort will lead to increased rewards x [Value to the individual of the resulting rewards from his or her efforts]

This theory predicts that if individuals perceive that superior performance will receive proper rewards they will be motivated to put forth the necessary effort. This conclusion is based on the assumption that the individuals have the abilities to do the work and their expectation is that the organisation will reward superior performance.

This theory helps to clarify the relationship between motivation and Job satisfaction. If an individual receives adequate rewards that he desires, he should be satisfied. In reality Job satisfaction is measured by the difference between what one desires out of a Job and what one receives.

Thus in expectancy theory Job satisfaction is viewed as the outcome of the entire motivational process. In general, a high level job satis­faction is related to such outcomes as low level or absenteeism and turnover.

Motivation if the individual perceives that:

(1) His effort will result in successful performance and

(2) Successful performance leads to desired rewards. Still job satisfaction feeds back into motivation and thereby influences it.

It is a comprehensive approach to understand motivation. It explains not only how people feel and behave but also why they react as they do. This theory is based on self-interest and choice. This theory points out that a manager’s job is to design an environment for performance taking into account the different variables present in the situation.

But this theory is subject to following criticisms:

(i) The theory is not empirically tested. In fact this theory is based on the researches conducted prior to this theory.

(ii) This is limited value for application as it does help managers in solving motivational problems. It is a step in the right direction only from the theoretical point of view.

(iii) Employees are not prepared to spend time to calculate the probability of expected outcome. They don’t estimate valence and expectancies.

(iv) The predictive accuracy of the theory is doubtful. The efforts which an individual is willing put on the Job is influenced by many factors other than those specified by this theory.

Term Paper # 6. Equity Theory of Motivation:

This theory is propounded by J.S. Adams. This theory is based on the assumption that employees expect equity or Justice, balance and fairness in treatment by their employers. According to this theory there are two variables.

They are inputs and outcomes. Inputs refer to contribution by employees in the form of performance which is perceived by an employee and put in by him into the Job based on experience, educational qualification, training, special knowledge, personal characteristics etc., outcomes refer to the rewards which he receives for contribution and consist of pay, promotion, recognition, status and fringe benefits.

The employee will compare their outcomes with that of others in the organisation in terms of contribution and rewards. Where the individual feels the outcomes he receives with that of others is said to be fair in terms of his outputs he is satisfied and motivated. If he feels the outcomes are comparatively low then negative motivation results. Where the input-outcome ratio is higher as compared to others the employee is motivated to perform better.

The advocation can be expressed in the following formula:

This theory is supported by empirical findings.

This theory is helpful to managers in the following ways:

(i) It tells the managers that equity motive is one of the motives of employees.

(ii) The feelings of employees are important for motivation.

(iii) The management should consider this factor as well in formulating its wage and salary structure.

The criticisms of this theory are:

(i) This theory is simple but its application is difficult as there is method to measure the inequity tension in an individual.

(ii) This theory is narrow in its emphasis on visible rewards and overstresses conscious processes.

(iii) The method of comparison preferred by an individual with his counterparts is not specified in the theory and it is also not clear with whom the individual chooses to compare himself.

(iv) This theory is unable to explain which action is most probable in case an individual is underpaid in comparison to others and how he compensates if he is overpaid.

(v) Its scope is limited as it deals with only one aspect of motivation namely equity.

So this theory strongly advocates that to motivate individuals rewards perceived must be fair. This theory holds that people’s motivation, performance and satisfaction depend on their subjective evaluation of the relationships between their effort/reward ratio and the effort/reward ratio of others in similar situations.

This theory is useful in formulating wage and salary policies.

Term Paper # 7. Contingency Theory of Motivation:

According to this theory motivation is a contingent on a number of factors whether present in the individual or in the environment. With reference to individual it is called the internal factor and external factor refers to the environment. Both these factors influence motivation.

This theory has specified the following five factors to be more significant in determining personal efforts and motivation. They are:

(i) The opportunities available in and the constraints imposed on the individual by the environment.

(ii) The need structure and the strength of each need.

(iii) The rewards perceived to be associated with any goal or outcome.

(iv) The personal experience of being successful in achieving the goal.

(v) The expectations of being rewarded if the goal is attained.

So motivation is the result of combination of forces and persons in the environment.

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