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Equity Theory of Motivation

Equity Theory of Motivation

Written by Dave Gannaway

The equity theory of motivation was initiated by psychologist John Stacey Adams in 1963. In practical reality there is little difference from the theories of Maslow, Herzberg, Handy, Vroom and a whole bunch of other theorist.

One of the perceptions of this theory is the fair or unfair distributions of resources. That is the input of the employees to the benefits enjoyed by the employer. The first thing that implies is that employees, who receive a fair days pay for a fair days labor, should be motivated. And that they receive fair treatment for their part in the profits generated.

The whole topic I find bewildering. So obvious are these theories that I begin to question their writers. They seem so removed from the reality of the workplace and employer/employee relationships as to be laughable. It seems their research could have come from the dark days of the industrial revolution era. Do we need to be reminded that when an employee is treated well he is more likely to be motivated?

I think it may be a good idea if someone studied what motivated behavioral psychologists and questioned their real-time experience working with people in actual work places! Would the ratio of their work and true input justify their financial rewards and meet their reference of fairness or originality?

Of the many theories of motivation that abound, it would be interesting if some attention were paid to the importance of the employers need to turn a profit. Psychologist recoil in horror yet however motivated an employee is unless it is conducive to the employer making a profit it serves no value. A motivated staff has little value unless the vitality is focused on the aims of the company.

So the equity theory of motivation would do well, while considering the fairness of the distribution of resources, to consider the effectiveness of employees motivation toward generating a healthy bottom line for the company. Without that they just ‘aint gotta job!’

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Equity Theory of Motivation Part 2

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