Three Main Theories on Motivation are 1. Optimal-level Theory, 2. Psychoanalytic Theory 3. Humanistic Theory!
There are different views on motivation. These views are explained as theories of motivation.
The theories of motivation, try to provide general sets of principles to guide our understanding of the urges, wants, needs, desires, strivings and goals that come under the heading motivation.
1. Optimal-level Theory:
This is also called as theory of homeostasis. Claud Bernard coined the word homeostasis to explain the state of equilibrium in the body. This is a ‘hedonistic’ (hedonism- doctrine that happiness is the highest good) theory which says that, there is a certain optimal level for normal functioning of the body.
Maintenance of optimal level leads to equilibrium which gives pleasure. Disequilibrium leads to displeasure. Hence, every individual strives to avoid disequilibrium by maintaining optimal level of the needs like food, water, body temperature, etc.
2. Psychoanalytic Theory:
This theory which has been explained by Sigmund Freud, deals with unconscious motivation. According to Freud, the inborn tendencies called instincts influence our behaviour.
There are two groups of instincts with opposite nature:
(a) Life instincts (Eros): these instincts have the life energy called Libido-which motivates the individual towards constructive activities like love, sympathy/helping others, etc.
(b) Death instincts (Thanatos)-motivate the individual for destructive activities like murder, suicides, aggression, attack, etc.
Freud has emphasised that the unconscious motives play more dominant role in determining our behaviour, than conscious or preconscious. He pointed that, our actions are determined by our unconscious motives.
According to him, our unconscious mannerisms, slips of tongue and pen, phobias are the result of these hidden motives. These hidden motives may also drive the people towards various psychosomatic disorders like chronic headaches, insomnia, gastric troubles, etc. Our motives also appear in the form of dreams according to Freud.
3. Humanistic Theory:
This theory believes in striving tendency of the individual for realizing his potentialities, especially creative ones, strengthening self-confidence and attaining the ideal self. There are two important persons related to this theory— Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers.
a. Biological motives like hunger, thirst, etc.
b. Safety and security needs (protection from external threats)
c. Love and belongingness needs (Affection, warmth, etc.)
d. Esteem needs (self-esteem, respect, approval, etc.)
e. Self-actualisation motive (achieving maximum development of one’s potentialities).
Maslow has explained that every individual struggles to fulfil basic needs first, and then followed by safety, love, esteem and finally actualisation needs.
According to him the needs at one level should be satisfied at least partially, before the next level needs become active. Most of the people end their struggle to reach third or fourth level needs. Only a few will aspire for self-actualisation which is the ultimate goal of life.
Self-actualisation means becoming everything one is capable of, or becoming what he can, that is, fulfillment of his basic potentialities. Maslow explains that the self- actualised people experience, what he calls the ‘peak experiences’, when they fulfill the need for self-actualisation (The triangular Figure 4.1 signifies the decreasing size of population in their effort to fulfil the higher order needs).
Carl Rogers, as a humanist believes in the strength and potentialities of human beings. According to him all human beings have a natural inclination for learning and a desire to grow and progress known as self-actualizing tendency.
Every individual will strive to realise his potentialities and to grow to become a fully functioning person. Hence in the view of Rogers, the motivation for self-growth and becoming a fully functioning person are important concepts.