The Application of Content and Process Motivation Theories

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The Application of Content and Process Motivation Theories:

A Case Study for Acme, Inc.

Jolene Denn

Southern New Hampshire University

PSY 612


The purpose of this paper is to identify content and process theories of motivation. Identified theories will be discussed and applied to the Internal Support Group at Acme, Inc. Theories will be analyzed for their efficacy, strengths and limitations in resolving key issues facing morale, motivation, and productivity.


After the replacement of Carol on account of personal reasons with Ron, the employees of the Internal Support Group find themselves in a precarious situation and face a dwindling of morale, motivation and productivity.

Content Theories of Motivation

Two content theories suitable to the situation at hand include Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, and the McClelland’s Need for achievement (nAch) Theory.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s theory advocates that each individual has five basic needs, including: physiological, safety, social, self-esteem, and self-actualization (Gunkel, 2007, p. 8). These needs guide employee behavior until they feel fulfilled. Moreover, it is only after the achievement of the lower level need to a considerable extent, that an individual’s next level of needs is activated (Gunkel, 2007, p. 8). Thus, an employee need that stands satisfied fails to motivate employees any further.

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