To what extent does Maslow provide an effective explanation as to why sixth formers take on paid employment - Assignment Example

This assignment has the purpose of trying to find out the extent to which Maslow provides an effective explanation as to why those who have continued with their education at a sixth form also undertake paid employment. We want to find out why they choose to still study but also work when at sixteen they are able to leave the education system and go into full time employment.

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To find this out we will be undertaking research that will consist of primary research, such as questionnaires and focus groups, to try and discover why students want to work as well as learn, and we will be linking this with Maslow and his theory on motivation and the hierarchy of needs that he feels each individual person follows. The questionnaire will be used to gather sixth formers opinions on paid work and why they choose to do it. In order to do this coursework effectively, other motivational theorists will need to be looked at to see whether their theories compliment or contradict Maslow. We will also be carrying out secondary research, which will consist of research we have found into Maslow’s theory and also the theories of others such as Herzberg and McGregor. We will be helped from previous information gained through class work that will be a very useful tool as part of our secondary research.

Once we have carried out sufficient research we can then discuss what we have found and be able to critically evaluate the extent to which Maslow provides an effective explanation to our question. We will be seeing whether the results we uncover agree or disagree with what Maslow believes and also to see if other theorists such as McGregor agree with Maslow or if their theory provides a better explanation. Overall, we want to be able to say whether we think that Maslow is correct in his theory on motivation when it is tested on the needs and motivation methods that satisfy sixth form students and to do this we will be using a number of students and primary research plus secondary research. I feel that we will discover that the needs Maslow feels people need are correct however, they will be different order due to the methods of motivation that students require.

Research Findings

During these research findings we have discovered that motivation has many different sides, whether it be used by businesses with their employees or whether a theorists explains it in their own way. However, every way in which it is looked at concludes that motivation in something within an individual that makes them act in order to achieve something such as money or satisfaction.

Abraham Maslow – Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who believed in a hierarchy of needs, which he put forward 1940, so although his theory is still used by many today it may not be as useful to us as it is a slightly dated theory and other theorists have since produced their own motivational theories. In Maslow’s hierarchy there are five sets of needs that he felt people would gradually climb from starting at the bottom and requiring basic needs and working their way up until they reached self-actualisation, which is where a person has become everything they are capable of becoming.

Maslow’s Levels of Human Needs within Business

Physical Needs – pay levels, holidays and working conditions.

Safety Needs – job security, health and safety, a clear job role/description and clear lines of accountability (only one boss).

Social Needs – Team working, communications and social facilities.

Esteem Needs – Status, recognition for achievement, power and trust.

Self-Actualisation – Scope to develop new skills and meet new challenges to develop one’s full potential.

Maslow felt that individuals would make their way up the hierarchy of needs from the bottom and as he felt each need was satisfied then they would be able to move up to the next level of needs. His conclusion was that each individual has needs in which they will strive to satisfy, whether they are physiological needs or social needs.

This coursework is based on the question “To what extent does Maslow provide an effective explanation as to why sixth formers take on paid employment?” and it needs to answered to discover whether or not Maslow does actually provide any explanation as to why sixth formers work. It is therefore essential that we looked into other theorists to compare to Maslow as otherwise we would have gained insufficient evidence.

Frederick Herzberg – Two Factor Theory1

These are factors that Herzberg felt gave workers job satisfaction:

* Recognition

* Achievement

* Responsibility

* Advancement

* Challenging work

These factors directly motivate workers and Herzberg named them ‘The Motivators’.

These five factors are what Maslow felt workers needed to be satisfied they were named ‘Hygiene Factors’:

* Working conditions

* Job security

* Salary

* Quality of supervision

* Interpersonal relationships

Overall, Herzberg states that management need to ensure that the hygiene factors and the motivators are present in the workplace as hygiene factors relate to the context of the job whilst the motivators relate to the content of the job.

Douglas McGregor – Theory X and Theory Y1

Theory X states that humans are only motivated by money and will always try and do as little as possible for as much as possible and they are not at all interested in being challenged or stimulated at work and no recognition of higher order needs. Theory Y is based on the human relations school of thought that workers respond not only to money but being part of a team plus this theory also suggests that workers are motivated by interesting work, taking initiatives and having management take interest in them.

F.W Taylor – Scientific School of Management2

Frederick Taylor’s theory is more concerned with scientific principles relating to work and finding the most scientifically efficient way of doing a job. Taylor believed people were motivated by money and therefore workers pay should be linked to their output i.e. piece rate pay, and this approach was used widely in the 20th century. Taylor’s view of human nature was that of ‘economic man’ meaning that people were motivated only by the economic motives of self-interest so in order to motivate workers, managers offered incentives or a threat.

Vroom – Expectancy Theory

In Vroom’s expectancy theory the extent to which a particular outcome is desired is known as the ‘valence’ and the extent to which the individual believes an outcome will occur is called ‘expectancy’. The level of motivation is the result of the valence multiplied by the expectancy i.e. a worker believes they are able to do a job successfully but does not value the rewards greatly, therefore the worker has high expectancy but low valence which equals low motivation. It is the same if a worker has desire for an outcome but does not think they have the training or resources to achieve the level of performance necessary to earn it so they also have low motivation. The implication of this theory is that organisations must offer desirable incentives, set realistic targets and make sure that individuals believe they can achieve these.

When sixth formers were asked to fill in the questionnaire and were asked the question ‘Why do you have a part time job?’ they were allowed to circle as many reasons as they wanted and our results show how many participants in total circled each answer. Out of the fifty people asked to fill in the questionnaire, 43 of them had a job and then circled reasons why they had a part time job. The result of the questionnaire shows how many people circled each answer with 35 of them circling that they liked to earn their own money. Participants were able to circle as many as they wanted to and these are clearly displayed on the pie chart so you can see how many choose each reason as to why they have a part time job. Those answers that weren’t circled although they featured in our questionnaire are not shown in our results however they can be seen on the questionnaire. The reason with the least circled was ‘I enjoy being recognised for the work I do’, which shows what students felt mattered to them the least. However, this will be discussed later on in this assignment to see whether our students match Maslow’s theory.

Discussion

During this discussion we will be analysing everything we found during our research findings to eventually answer our investigation title. We will be looking at what the other theorists in our research believe about motivation and whether they compliment or contradict Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As we know, Maslow thinks that we need to start at the bottom of his hierarchy and climb the ladder to receive satisfaction and motivation within our job. We can see from our research that there are five sets of needs each providing motivation as each need is satisfied and Maslow believes that every individual has needs in which they will strive to satisfy and move up the hierarchy. We are therefore going to look at other theorists we researched and see how their theories compare with Maslow’s.

Frederick Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory discredits what Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs says as Maslow says that in order to move up the hierarchy then each stage needs to be satisfied. However, what Herzberg says is that there are factors that give workers job satisfaction and then there are factors that workers felt they needed in order to be satisfied. The factors that workers needed to be satisfied yet didn’t need to be motivated included salary, however Maslow feels that pay levels are a motivator and a need that all workers have to strive to achieve in order to move up the hierarchy. All of Herzberg’s ‘Hygiene Factors’ aren’t there for motivation they are there to satisfy workers yet because they don’t motivate them like Maslow feels they do we come to the conclusion that Herzberg discredits Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Theory X and Theory Y are Douglas McGregor’s two theories on motivation and from looking at our research we are able to see that Theory X contradicts Maslow’s theory but Theory Y agrees to a certain extent. Theory X contradicts Maslow because he says that workers want, for example, to be given responsibility so that is what moves them up the hierarchy until they reach their desired level. He thinks every worker has needs in which they strive to satisfy whereas McGregor thinks workers don’t care to be stimulated or challenged by work. Maslow has challenging work and recognition for achievement in his hierarchy but McGregor believes money is the only thing that motivates workers and they will do as little as possible for as much as possible. However, Maslow believes that pay levels are within the first step of job satisfaction within the hierarchy and that it moves up from there to more motivating factors. If we look at our primary research though we are able to see that money is the reason why most sixth formers take on part time work so in effect Herzberg and Maslow are correct in saying money is a motivator but it’s not the only thing motivating them which is what Herzberg feels and there are other factors within Maslow’s hierarchy that make them want o work.

As we can see above Theory X disagrees with what Maslow believes whereas to a certain extent McGregor’s Theory Y, which is based on the human relation school of thought, agrees with some of Maslow’s motivation factors. This theory states that workers need more than money in order to motivate them which is what Maslow also thinks but whereas Maslow feels motivation is gained in stages through the needs a worker desires, Herzberg’s Theory Y thinks that workers are motivated by many needs at the same time. These needs are interesting work, taking initiatives, having management take an interest in them plus they respond to money. Therefore, this theory agrees with Maslow more than Theory X but unlike Maslow who gains the needs separately, Herzberg thinks the needs are met together.

Frederick Taylor’s theory is based on scientific principles that he has related to work and the most efficient ways of completing a task. When Taylor came up with this theory he knew that workers needed to be motivated and offered incentives which is unlike Maslow who felt it was a workers own needs that motivated them to work. Taylor felt that pay was the main motivator and Maslow says that money is the first step within his hierarchy so like with most other theorists money is a priority motivator which shows that the theorists compliment each other on this. However, Taylor feels that economic motives of self interest are the only motivator with workers which is why he felt the amount of pay a worker should earn, should be related to their output. This is why we can therefore say that Maslow and Taylor believe different areas motivator workers but at the same time they both believe money is the starting point for motivation.

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory is different to Maslow’s theory as it’s not about the needs of a worker but about the belief they have in themselves. Vroom’s theory believes that motivation is to do with valence and expectancy and in order to be fully motivated then workers have to have both of the above. Valence is to do with the extent to which an individual desires a particular outcome and the expectancy is the extent to which an individual believes an outcome with occur. Therefore in order to motivate workers, employees have to make workers feel as though they are able to reach targets they are set in order to boost their motivation which is why this theory is different to Maslow as rather than needing something, workers need to believe in themselves and what they have to do.

In doing research on Maslow, he feels that within his hierarchy of needs each individual need, starting from the bottom, has to be met before going on to the next level. Maslow is therefore saying that students within sixth form have to start with physiological needs, in the form of a wage, then as that is achieved they are able to strive for the next level. To a certain extent Maslow does provide an effective explanation as to why sixth formers take on paid employment, and this is because all sixth formers work for the money but they are also there for other reasons such as meeting new people. This shows that sixth formers are at different stages on his hierarchy, however, many of the stages they have passed haven’t been recognised meaning that to answer our question about Maslow and sixth formers we would have to say that our primary research discredits Maslow’s theory. The main reason sixth formers take on paid employment is for money and they are not bothered by security during sixth form and strive to meet social needs. Results from our questionnaire show that sixth formers are mainly interested in money and would rather be in an insecure yet high paid job.

Conclusion

Overall, Maslow provides an effective explanation as to why sixth formers take on paid employment however, it is only to a certain extent that he does this. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, included needs that a sixth former required from their job with their main reason for working being money but they also have other factors within the hierarchy that motivate them such as meeting new people. However, because of the theory that Maslow has, sixth formers have to meet each need in the hierarchy before moving onto the next level. This therefore, shows that Maslow doesn’t provide an effective explanation as to why sixth formers work as although sixth formers take different factors from the hierarchy they do not travel up it as Maslow states workers should.

Theory X from Douglas McGregor is far more effective when asking why sixth formers work as he states that the main motivational factor is money and that workers try to do as little as possible for as much as possible. This we can see therefore relates to sixth formers as in our questionnaire their main reason for working was for money. McGregor’s Theory Y is also effective as he says that people work for money but they also enjoy being part of a team, being motivated by interesting work, taking initiatives, and having the management be interested in them.

The title question that needed to be answered has been throughout this assignment as we can see that Maslow’s theory is not flexible enough when relating to why sixth formers work as although some of their needs are met throughout the hierarchy, Maslow says that each stage needs to be met before moving up to the next level. Therefore this is not an effective explanation as to why sixth formers work and Maslow’s theory has to be discredited.