A level Business Studies and AVCE Business exam revision resource


Motivational theories attempt to answer the age old question :"What motivates people?"

More precisely they attempt to establish :

"Why do people choose a particular course of action / behaviour in preference to others?"


"Why do they then continue with a chosen action / behaviour, sometimes over long periods, in the face of difficulties?"

The history of motivational research has seen the emergence of differing, but not mutually exclusive approaches to motivation. There are many competing theories which attempt to explain the nature of motivation. These theories are all at least partially true, and help explain the behaviour of certain people at certain times. But, the search for a generalised theory of motivation at work appears a vain quest. All the theories presented here have their critics, however any theory or study which aids understanding of how best to motivate people at work must be useful.

Although there is no one single answer, collectively the different theories provide a framework within which we can attempt to answer the question of how best to motivate people at work. We are therefore left to judge the relevance of these different theories, to a particular work situation. What follows is a summary of the work of key theorists in this area.

click to access channel 4 coverage of David Blaine...

David Blaine claims he is motivated by the possibility of pushing our perceived boundaries, saying:

"We are all capable of infinitely more than we believe. We are stronger and more resourceful than we know, and we can endure much more than we think we can. In truth, the only restrictions on our capacity to astonish ourselves and each other are imposed by our own minds."

Is David Blaine seeking to satisfy the higher level need of Self-Actualisation, whilst sacrificing lower level Physiological, Safety and Social needs, according to Maslow.

Or is this an example of F.W.Taylor's Rational Economic Man, seeking to generate a large amount of money through a 'publicity stunt'.

Visit this site devoted to David and his latest feats.

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