Human Resources Management Theory

It is critical for organisations to manage their human resources effectively as sustainable competitive advantage can be gained from committed and well-motivated employees . This is because employees add value to an organisation when they willingly share their knowledge and skills, work efficiently to reduce operating cost and increase production, motivated and committed to the timely delivery of products and services . Since most HR managers recognised the importance of people and their positive impact on competitiveness, HR management strategies in these organisations are commonly based on the most relevant HR management theories . These in particular are theories supporting the concept of self-determination and human motivation, inequity, motivation-hygiene, needs, expectancy, and personal investment as discussed below.

A theory of human motivation, the Theory of Self-Determination advances the existence of three essential and innate psychological needs critical to individual motivation . These according to include self-determination or the need for a person to be an initiator and regulator of his own actions, competence or the need to generate behaviour-related outcomes, and relatedness or the need of individual to engage in a positive and beneficial relationship with others.

The Theory of Inequity on the other hand offers an explanation on how internalised standard affect a person’s satisfaction over a reward while the Theory of Motivation-Hygiene or Two-Factor Theory developed by Frederick Herzberg in 1923 offers insight on various factors associated with both job satisfaction and dissatisfaction that according to , typically function as both determinants and human motivators.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory emphasized the criticality of satisfying basic human needs in motivating an individual . Similar to Adam’s Theory of Inequity where individual satisfaction is measured by the value placed on the reward, Vroom’s Theory of Expectancy proposes the idea that a person’s motivation is highly dependent on the value of the outcome generated through his efforts .

However, the most influential and widely applied theories relevant to HRM according to are those motivation-related theories dealing with factors that directly affect people work behaviour and performance . For instance, the Theory of Intrinsic Motivation perceived people as individuals born with innate needs and intrinsic motivation . Autonomously, this inborn motivation helps them exercise and develop the required abilities and skills in order to satisfy their inherent needs . For instance, an intrinsically motivated individual according to , need no reward as they often draw satisfaction and motivated by the activity they perform.

In contrast, an extrinsically motivated person usually do things in exchange for rewards such as money, material goods, recognition, praise, and so on . Moreover, these individuals are not interested in the pleasure provided by the activity but gain satisfaction from the benefits that may be gained from a certain activity. For instance, an extrinsically motivated individual will likely perform well in order to avoid punishment and negative emotions or participate in an activity and benefit from learning new skills.


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