The dynamic triangle of motivation (see Figure above) contains the central elements needed to understand motivation in a dynamic way, i.e. needs and values. Because of their function as indicators of potential motivational needs –here represented in the physical, mental and social dimensions – they have to be included in the triangle. All individuals have these needs in some proportion, but their importance to the individual differs from person to person according to which dimension is the most dominant for that particular individual at that specific time. This difference can also be seen between organizations, cultures and so on and it indicates that a dynamic force must be included to describe accurately the motivational process in a specific organization.
As earlier discussions have shown, the dynamic force can be represented by our values and attitudes, which in the dynamic triangle of motivation are presented in the dimension identity. Identity could be seen as the answer to the question “What is or who is x?” (Waager, 1996) and in this answer is summarized all the values and attitudes which affect the priority of needs. Since identity is not a static or a throbbing structure but continuously changing and developing, it could also be seen as the model’s coefficient of change, According to the identity of the measured object, it will overlap one of the dimensions more than the other and in that way show from which dimension factors that motivate the individual will be taken. Identity is influenced both by external and internal factors. This requires an examination of the concept on at least three different levels – the individual level, the organizational level (organizational culture) and the cultural level (society). When, for example, a survey of the motivational level of an employee is conducted, an examination of such factors as personality is not enough, since organizational culture and society also will determine the prioritization among motivational factors made by employees.
One of the oldest concepts within research on motivation is hedonism, where the individual tries to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. A condition of hedonism being a tenet in motivational research is nevertheless an acceptance of the individual difference between persons (Manners et al., 1997). At the first level of examination – the individual level –identity is therefore internally influenced by personality. Allport (1961) describes personality as the dynamic organization of psychophysiological systems within individuals that determine their thoughts and behaviour. Personality consists of processes, which exist within the consciousness of the individual, and theories about personality try to explain why attitudes, goals and acts are similar during a longer period of time.
We behave differently from other individuals, because of our psychological processes and structures differ somewhat from others (Lester, 1995, p. 11). Although values and attitudes are individual, they are also strongly affected by the social and economic past of individuals and their environment. The sums of values form the collective behaviour in the organization (Andersson, 1993, p. 22), which leads to an examination of the second level, the organizational level. Mead’s (1967) description of individual identity here explains the common sharing of values and attitudes. The identity of the individual employee cannot be seen as something that exists only inside the individual, isolated from the social context.
On the contrary, identity starts and remains within social interplay, which continually forms and is formed mutually by relations with others. It is not possible to get a satisfactory picture of individuals and their needs only by describing their characteristics; they must also be described in their relations with others. Organizational culture could therefore represent identity at the organizational level. The requirement to structure the organization into smaller parts as working teams, departments, units and so on must also be understood at this level. This is caused by the subcultures that typically exist in an organization.
Many motivational theories appear to ignore the very real constraints under which most organizations operate and which may severely limit the motivational factors that they can provide for employees (Mumford, 1991). To overcome this defective examination of identity, a third level, the cultural level, must be considered. Rules, laws and procedures in our society, that affect the organization and its employees, must be a part of the dynamic whole. Family and other individuals that influence the norms and values of the employee also affect identity at this level. Existing motivational theories could become more relevant through an acceptance of a holistic view of the individual in the organization (Carr and Pihlanto, 1996, p. 34).
…Further explanation refers to the source below…
Source: Measuring motivation in a learning organization by Maria C. Osteraker from Emeraldinsight Database