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Introduction In this paper I will be aiming to cover the following areas Firstly an overview of the fundamentals behind the cognitive theories of motivation focusing on three main theories - Equity theory Expectancy theory and Goal setting theory Within these theory bases I will outline some of the developmental research that has been occurring particularly those studies which have added empirical evidence to consolidate or expand on the basic theories Secondly I will show some practical applications of these theories and evidence of how successful they have been or could be within an organisational environment Finally a short comment on the adaptability of these models to an international context which has become a dominant feature of current literature in this increasing time of globalisation The Cognitive Theories - An Overview Motivation can be visualised as the energising force that provides the impetus to make people act More specifically it is the individual internal process that energises directs and sustains behavior the personal force that causes one to behave in a particular way Olsen 1996 p1 It is a fundamental concept for management to understand in learning to comprehend the way individuals will behave within a work place context The cognitive theories of motivation aim to develop this understanding by focusing on the action and choices made in the motivation process The focus is on the processes that occur within a persons mind which influence their decision to act Wood Wallace Zeffane Schermerhorn Hunt Osborn 1998 They rely on the assumption that behavior is purposeful and being undertaken to achieve a desired outcome or goal This means that analysing the way choices are made between a variety of perceived outcomes can provide valuable insight into understanding why and how individuals choose to act Equity Theory Equity theory relies on the way people make comparisons of both effortreturn and with those around them arguing that when people gauge
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