Theories of Labor Motivation

The theories of work motivation, well applied in an organization, significantly improve their productivity. In this article we present the most important.


One of the fundamental parts of life is work, since the working day occupies a good part of our day. That is to say, if we add hours of sleep and free time, it will end up being a good fraction of our life. That is why it is so extremely important to be happy and motivated in our job. For this, nothing better than knowing these 3 theories of work motivation.

Work is not only the means to have an economic situation that allows us to subsist, but it is directly related to the dissatisfaction or satisfaction that we feel at a personal level. That is why it is essential to feel good about the work that is performed, which will make the degree of motivation is high.

Work motivation is not only a guarantee of well-being for the person who has it, but it is also a guarantee of results for the company. If you want to increase the motivation to carry out your work, we talk about various theories of work motivation developed by researchers that can help you achieve this goal.

What is work motivation?

In the first place, we will make clear exactly what is the job motivation, before getting fully into the strategies to take care of it. It is about the impulse or the internal force that leads us to perform work tasks voluntarily and voluntarily using our mental and physical resources in order to achieve a desired goal.

The greater this is, it is probable -also mediate other variables- that the tasks for which the person is responsible in their work performance are better developed. In many cases, this increases productivity, competitiveness and improves personal feeling, as it increases self-esteem, security and the feeling of personal self-realization.

1. Adams’ equity theory

This theory has a great relevance in the field we are dealing with. Its main hypothesis is the following: work motivation is based on the employee’s way of valuing the task he performs, the compensation he obtains in exchange and the comparison of this with those received by the rest of the workers.

Depending on the results obtained in that comparison, the person will be more or less motivated, which will influence their actions. The greater the compensation, the greater the involvement of the worker. With less compensation, you will feel less valued and your involvement will be reduced significantly, even to abandon the job.

In summary, the motivation arises from the fact of being treated fairly and feeling satisfied with what was obtained in exchange for the work done, so it is of vital importance to correctly value employees.

“Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a single day of your life.”


2. Theory of motivation and hygiene of Herzberg

In this case, the author emphasizes the need of evaluating what people consider to be satisfactory in their work and what they want. In this way, we can identify the elements that cause dissatisfaction or that turn work into an unsatisfactory task.

To differentiate them, he named all factors that make the work satisfactory, but they are not motivating. This is salary, personal relationships, stability, supervision, etc.

He also distinguished the motivation factors themselves, which include job promotions, recognition, responsibility, realization, position, development, etc. That is to say, those that truly cause satisfaction to occur and, therefore, motivation.

3. Theory of the needs learned from McClelland

It is one of the best known. For its development, the author based on the comparison of the actions of various executives who worked in different types of companies, obtaining the conclusion that there are several needs that must be solved for a worker to be motivated.

These basically are: the need to obtain achievements-seeking satisfaction in improving the efficiency and performance of the worker-the balance between power and recognition and between challenge and success and the need to belong to the group and have contact with others. These are 3 of the fundamental theories of work motivation. Knowing and applyingAs a result, it is easy to improve the efficiency and productivity of organizations.