Work Motivation18. August 2020
Last week I took some time to revisit Abraham Maslow’s “A Theory of Human Motivation”. By coincidence I had the pleasure to discuss about this topic in a slightly different context, namely the difference of work-motivation between people from large corporations and from startups, with an excellent and experienced business coach. She started her career in large corporations and she is now co-founder of a startup that is focused on organization development and business transformation. During our meeting she brought up some interesting observations about how people from large corporations reacted during difficult project-phases and how she currently experiences people from startups in the same situation.
As I had just read Abraham Maslow’s text, I tried to make the connection to his theory of hierarchical pre-potency, which foo me more or less makes sense for people who work in large corporations, but on the other side could be quite difficult to apply for people who are self-employed, or engaged in small startups.
For sure we could not elaborate the exact reasons for the difference in behavior, nor could we find all the influence factors on the perseverance of employees in difficult work – situations. This is a broad field and for sure there are plenty of reasons and not all of them have to do with motivation theory. Nevertheless I wanted to give you some food for thought, comparing the two different profiles (See also the attached graph):
Corporate employees more or less experience a certain level of fairness and security in their work environment, while they are embedded in a large community of peers who more or less share their overall goals. While they are striving for recognition, respect and growth, the afore-mentioned basic needs are satisfied to a good extent. Finally, if they can achieve personal growth and recognition, people find motivation in contributing to a greater goal.
The entrepreneur on the other hand has somehow sacrificed a lot of his individual safety for the sake of the greater goal from the beginning. Fair compensation, secure work and comradship is not always granted and therefore it seems that we have an aberration from the prepotency rule of Maslow here.
To summarize the thoughts, I provided a small diagram that may help to further think about this topic (You may play with the figures, which are just a rough guess). The intention behind this post is to ask the question: “Do we really understand the motivation of people in different types of organisations, or do we need to reflect on motivational differences a bit more, trying to understand better how our peers behave and react?”
With this, have a good time!
with kind regards