Motivation in theory

Below is information on four people (FW Taylor, Elton Mayo, Maslow and Herzberg) who all had theories to do with motivation.

FW Taylor

  • Taylor believed that the only thing which motivated people was money.
  • He observed different workers carrying out tasks which became known as his time and motion studies.
  • He aimed to make the production process more efficient by using specialist equipment and breaking jobs down into very simple tasks.
  • He devised a set procedure for workers which they had to stick to, to maximise efficiency.
  • He designed piece rate (paid people per item made) to encourage people to produce more.


Elton Mayo

  • Mayo studied an electrical company and looked at how changing physical factors improved people's performance.
  • He found out that it wasn't the physical conditions being changed that made people work harder but instead the following:
  • Working in a team with a leader,
  • Better communication,
  • When interest was shown in workers.



  • Maslow created a Hierarchy of needs which is normally drawn as a triangle. He believed it showed what people wanted from their job. He thought everyone starts at the bottom and works their way up to the top.


Self actualisation
=== Esteem needs ===
===== Social needs =====
====== Safety needs ======
======= Physical needs =======

  • Self actualisation - Fulfilment - learning new skills, challenges etc.
  • Esteem needs - recognition of achievements.
  • Social needs - Friendship, contact - communication.
  • Safety needs - Job security and safety.
  • Physical needs - Ability to pay for food and shelter with pay.

The main problem with Maslow's theory is that different people have different needs and not everyone will fit in the same pattern.


  • Herzberg used a survey to investigate what people liked and disliked about their jobs.
  • He put the results into two categories: "Motivators" and "Hygiene factors".
  • This became known as the two factor theorem and is shown below:


Motivators Hygiene factors
Achievement Company policy
Recognition of achievement Supervision
Meaningful and interesting work Pay
Responsibility Interpersonal relations
Advancement Working conditions