Restructuring the theory of Motivation
- June 20, 2016
- Posted by: Reena Saxena
- Category: Behavior Management
Avalanche buries 10 Army Personnel in Siachen.
Pathankot attack: Martyrs held their ground, showed unparalleled bravery.
These are the news headlines that have gripped the nation for more than a month now. There are several inspiring stories of brave parents and wives, who expressed pride in the valour of their sons, and their readiness to sacrifice another family member at the altar of national honour and security. A retired army official broke down on national TV, since he could not bear the thought of anyone questioning the right to hoist the national flag, at any spot in the country.
What motivates them ? And why are we unable to replicate the models in academic and corporate sectors ?
We have grown up memorizing the Maslow’s theory of motivation, which gives a certain order in which needs should be met, to keep people at peak performance levels.
Herzberg’s model also echoes more or less the same view, though in a different structure.
See this statement by a defence chief, that overturns the theory
The safety, honour & welfare of your country comes first, always & every time. The honour, welfare & comfort of the men you command, come next. Your own ease, comfort & safety come last, always & every time. This had been the motto of the armed forces of India and they followed it through life and death.
by Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne.
It appears that the armed forces are ruled by a reverse set of motivational factors :
How do they see it ?
The sense of self-worth is derived from sacrificing your life or limb or familial bonds, at the altar of service to the nation.
Abiding by the set of principles and values that have been inculcated during their training, and was the driving force to join the Army.
Love and belonging
The devotion to other team members, and the confidence that their leaders will stand by them, to the end.
If these three needs are met, it relegates fundamental needs like physiological and needs to the narrow end of the pyramid.
- Victory is hailed, but Defeat is not considered a crime. Putting in your best efforts is valued.
- Discipline and TeamWork are the prime movers, not Competition.
- There is no fear of being let down by leaders or colleagues.
- One does not switch regiments or companies, in case of interpersonal problems, or a posting in inhospitable terrains. This strengthens the internal bonds, and fosters team spirit.
- The physiological and safety needs of their families are taken care of, by the service rules and regulations, and that does not allow their drive or enthusiasm to flag at any moment.
- Absence of work-life balance is not a de-motivator, since work has always superseded other aspects of life, and accepted as a fundamental fact of existence.
These are the very factors, which are missing in a corporate environment, and create distrust and dissatisfaction.
Modified theory of Motivation
Let us play around with the triangle a little more, and create a model, where every other factor leads to the central driving force – Self Esteem and Self Actualization.
Physiological and Safety & Security needs are not so much of a motivator. But an absence of these factors can demotivate. This is because having the basic minimum, aids the self-esteem of people, and how they are perceived in society. It is a reassurance of not leading a sub-normal existence.
Love and belonging, too, strengthen the self-esteem. If an employee is quitting for greener pastures, but the organization lets him go with a feeling of being valued, of his career interest being held above organizational needs, and in a spirit of cheer and bonhomie, they have built a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship. This can always be leveraged in future, to serve both.
Refinement of the theory at higher levels
At higher levels in the hierarchy, organizational relationships become a matter of co-ordinated movement of clock gears, and finding the exact interlocking point where the bond clicks.
It is the higher self that matters, and will always do, in case of educated and enlightened individuals.