Classic Motivation Theories Compared and Re-Evaluated

Guest post by Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.

(e-Learning Queen) Research by cognitive psychologists has suggested that motivation is often based on fundamental human needs, and that all are critical in factors in everyday life, such as job satisfaction, effective reward systems, team performance, and goal persistence.

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However, not every theory covers the same territory, and it’s useful to take a look at some of the most influential theories and compare them, as well as relate them. The theories examined are the following:

•    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
•    Herzberg’s Motivation / Hygiene (two-factor) Theory
•    McClelland’s Need for Achievement Theory

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