Universally, all human behavior is an attempt to fulfil an underlying unmet need. In fact, there are distinctive 4 phases that behavioral psychologists have been able to identify.
Needs give rise in individuals to change their current state of being and doing – i.e. it motivates them to make a change. Which then inspires them to set a goal – i.e. to strive for an end state where the unmet needs are already met. Finally, these goals drive the individual’s behavior – i.e. the individual acts and behaves in certain ways to increase their likelihood of achieving that end state.
However, the individual’s journey from a need to a certain behavior is not that simple. Individual behavior is often influenced by several internal and external factors – such as the individual’s perception of themselves, the nature of the goals and socio-cultural dynamics of the person’s environment.
Especially in a work environment, how an employee will behave in certain situations cannot be predicted in silos. It is not simply driven by the individual’s own personal needs but also influenced by job characteristics, organizational policies (i.e. the organizational norms on punishment and reward), the relational context within the workplace and finally the short and long-term goals set for or set by the employees.
This complexity was first resolved by a comprehensive model of workplace motivation designed by Edwing A. Locke – the pioneer of the goal setting theory on which today’s goal setting paradigms stand, and Gary P. Latham.
Their integrative theory of motivation not only explained the expected employee behaviors in terms of immediate performance, but also shed a light on the more intangible aspects of employee behavior – job satisfaction and commitment.
With this basic understanding, now let’s drive into understanding work motivation in depth.
Well, the drivers of employee motivation are broadly classified into three basic approaches –
content-based approaches, context-based approaches, and process-based approaches. It is our aim at SuperBeings to make all of these work together to optimize employee performance. The image below is how to integrate various theories into one consolidated framework.