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 Most well-known theories on the principle of motivation revolve around the idea that an employee’s needs influence his motivation. An employee’s needs could be characterized as physiological or psychological deficiencies that trigger specific behavior from the employee. The needs of employees could vary over time and place and are subject to the influence of external and environmental factors. This implies that people will react to satisfy those needs that are not fully satisfied (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2007: 236).


One way to understand and motivate the employee is to revisit Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow, 1954). Maslow created a visualization of his hypothesis in the shape of a pyramid that is divided into five levels, starting from the bottom upwards, and the needs could be described as:

 1. Physiological. The most basic need, having enough food, air and water to survive. In the business context this could imply the employee’s salary, air conditioning in the office, or the availability of a cafeteria at the work place.

2. Safety. The need to be safe from physical and psychological harm. In the business context this could mean the possibility of a salary increase, a pension plan, hospital and medical plans or disability insurance.

Sample Category #1
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