Motivation refers to the inner drive that encourages a person, such as an employee in a firm, to pursue an activity effectively to accomplish a specific set of goals. Furthermore, managers of various firms need to motivate their employees accordingly to survive the harsh competition in the global market and remain lucrative at the same time (Johnson et al., 2018; Herzberg, 2017). A company that motivates its employees fosters a sound framework for meeting its varied goals and objectives. Therefore, the motivation of employees is a critical aspect of modern management. It helps to enhance employee performance and their level of productivity. A comprehensive assessment of employee motivation reviews three motivation theories: motives and needs theory, expectancy theory, and equity theory. These explain employee motivation role in modern management.

Maslow’s theory of motives and needs

Firstly, an assessment of Maslow’s theory of motives and needs reveals the factors underlying employee motivation to enhance performance. Maslow deduced that employees possess five needs: physiological, safety, social needs, ego, and self-actualization (Johnson et al., 2018). Maslow further suggested that these needs must be addressed sequentially to induce motivation in an employee (Herzberg, 2017). According to this theoretical model of motivation thus, employees get satisfied by accomplishing feats at the workplace and the development of recognition. Therefore, various managers at the workplace must install strategies designed to motivate employees accordingly, such as issuing promotions and increasing pay occasionally (Lee & Raschke, 2016). To that end, an employee who feels motivated through rewards certainly becomes interested in working to achieve the organization’s set objectives.

Vroom’s theory of expectancy

Secondly, Vroom’s theory of expectancy deduced that employees get motivated through rewards. In particular, the premise of this theoretical paradigm ascertains that motivated employees perform effectively. As such, enhancement of the performance of employees by rewarding their performance endows management with the potential to nurture highly motivated and productive employees. This enables the company to achieve set goals and objectives. An organization’s management must adopt and implement relevant measures to properly motivate employees at the workplace. According to Korlén et al. (2017), possible techniques for promoting employee motivation include recognizing the efforts of employees who excel at various activities, issuing promotions to hard working employees, and providing bonus and financial rewards to employees who show dedication in their quest to accomplish the objectives and goals of the organization. To that end, motivation plays a vital role in improving the performance of employees at the workplace.

Adam’s equity and justice theory

Thirdly, Adam’s equity and justice theory further iterates motivating employees by creating an equitable forum at the workplace. In particular, the premise of this theory indicates that workers feel secure and interested in performing in a workplace that subjects everyone to fair treatment and judgment. Employees evidently seek to establish equity at the workplace (Lee & Raschke, 2016). Comparisons of inequality at the workplace normally end up in a tense atmosphere at work. Such deplorable work conditions consequently cause employees who feel inferior to get detracted from performing. For this reason, Lee and Raschke (2016) ascertain that managers must implement sound measures to motivate employees to always feel a sense of equity between themselves. Preferable techniques include motivating the efforts of various employees through appraisals and raises and promotions (Shahzadi et al., 2014). To that end, creating a sense of equity at the workplace is essential to enhance employee morale.


In conclusion, a rigorous recap of the employee motivation role in modern management reviews three theories: motives and needs theory, expectancy theory, and equity theory. Motives and needs theory of motivation asserts that employees must fulfill five types of needs to feel motivated. Expectancy theory further ascertains that motivating employees using rewards enhances their performance at work. Nonetheless, equity theory further asserts that motivating employees by creating a sense of equality at the workplace through the issuance of promotions and recognition to various employees enables employees to get interested in their various roles.


Herzberg, F. (2017). Motivation to work. Routledge.

Johnson, J., Irizarry, M., Nguyen, N., & Maloney, P. (2018). Foundational Theories of Human Motivation. Retrieved 19 March 2021, from

Korlén, S., Essén, A., Lindgren, P., Amer-Wahlin, I., & von Thiele Schwarz, U. (2017). Managerial strategies to make incentives meaningful and motivating. Journal Of Health Organization And Management31(2), 126-141.

Lee, M., &Raschke, R. (2016). Understanding employee motivation and organizational performance: Arguments for a set-theoretic approach. Journal Of Innovation & Knowledge1(3), 162-169.

Shahzadi, I., Javed, A., Pirzada, S. S., Nasreen, S., & Khanam, F. (2014). Impact of employee motivation on employee performance. European Journal of Business and Management6(23), 159-166.

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