Top 6 Theories of Motivation in project management

by StarAgile

November 19, 2020
Category Project Management

Top 6 Theories of Motivation in project management

To be successful involves a lot of motivation and inspiration derived from the surrounding environment. You need to constantly get motivated due to the stress and difficulty in the work. Once you get motivated as a project manager you need to motivate others your peers, colleagues, and sub-ordinates for getting work done and to be successful. Successful project completion involves a lot of motivation for the team and self. As a human being, we need this motivation constantly to achieve great things, that’s the way we do things and achieve success. Without proper motivation, it becomes extremely difficult to achieve success. Sometimes if you are an individual contributor you need self-motivation as a success factor. Know the 5 critical success factors that make achieving target ultra fast. If you want to explore more, then attend the PMP Certification training with StarAgile institute.

There are various theories of motivation that we must know. There are various success and motivation factors responsible for each stage of our development. Most of the theories are related to Abraham Maslow's theory. This theory states that there are various priorities of needs or motivations at different stages of development. Once one level is attained then we need the next level. Motivation theories are discussed below.

Theories of Motivation

1. Maslow's Theory - The first level of motivation is physiological needs. That is a person's basic needs of survival are assured that is food, water, oxygen, and sleep, etc. The next level is safety and security. Example: health, employment, property, and family. The third in the hierarchy is the need for friendship colleagues and sexual and emotional relationships. The fourth level is that you are members of society and group and you need self-esteem and respect from others. The respect comes from the achievements that are recognized by the group. 

The last level is the need to grow and develop which is called self-actualization. You want to learn the new thing you need to grow and solve problems and are free to express yourself. When we get a raise we are motivated at the level of physical needs, and then come promotion where we get the self-esteem and respect of others. The last level is not motivated by giving them anything; you can be motivated only until the fourth level. Then you need to be on your own and achieve something of importance. To know more enroll for the PMP Certification Online with StarAgile institute.  The below-given diagram shows the different levels of motivation,

2. Douglas McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y - McGregor at MIT's Sloan School of Management said there is 2 theory of motivation. Theory x of management assumes that people need to be supervised and need to be pushed into doing something. The theory y assumes that people are self-motivated and you just need to motivate them to achieve the work that they are doing. Here the theory Y is the self-actualization needs whereas the theory x is fulfilling the basic needs physical and social etc.

3. Herzberg's Dual Factors (External/Internal) - Here in this Theory of Motivation the psychologist Frederick Herzberg postulated that the people are motivated by the external environment that is the workplace. The negative environment creates negative performance. That is the external environment must be a good one. However, he noted that being in a good external environment will ensure you do not perform negatively but does not guarantee a good performance. The only thing that guarantees good performance is the internal one. Again if you compare to Maslow's theory the external environment is the lower down the order and the internal one is the highest one.

4. McClelland's Acquired Needs - David McClelland a psychologist proposed a theory in that he states that people depend on acquired needs. That is something like an achievement, affiliation, and power. Achievement-oriented people perform when they have challenging goals. Affiliation-oriented people work best when they work together in a team. Power-oriented people work best when they are organizing or influencing others. Based on Maslow’s theory the affiliation oriented people are those who have social needs, power-oriented people are the people who want the self-esteem and respect from others. And achievement-oriented people who are self-actualizing. StarAgile offers the Best PMP Online Training in the market.

5. Myers-Briggs Extrovert Vs Introvert Theory - Here it depends on how you perceive each motivation agent provided by the people. There 2 types of people those are extrovert and then next is introvert. You need to motivate the needs of each type based on their characters. For example, the extrovert people will be action-oriented, breadth of knowledge, frequent interaction, and energy comes spending with the people. On the other hand, the introvert people have characteristics such as thought-oriented, depth of knowledge, substantial interaction and energy comes by spending time by them.

The math is to reward the people for their positive achievements immediately, reward the positive behavior, and address the negative behavior at once before it grows. Then finally eliminate obstacles. Take up the PMP Course Online at StarAgile institute.

6. Review of Maslow's Model - In reality, the Maslow's model is the founding stone for all the other theories. Maslow's model is not only dynamic but also fluid. That is the people may be in various categories at various stages of their life. That is it does not categories into the different category but represent the structure when the people change their needs of motivation. The other theories discussed are more static that is it puts people into some categories and does not allow the changes that may be produced in their behaviors. But all the theories agree on one thing that is the internal motivating factors are greater and superior to the external motivating factors. As people are different and have different motivating needs with their changing life, you need to have different motivating factors. 

The question is how you know which one is the right motivating factor for the right people. The answer is that you need to evaluate and observe the people's behavior and match their skills with their personality types. StarAgile offers PMP Certification Training Online Courses that can be taken in the comforts of your home and office.


In this article, we have discussed several types of motivation theories. The best is to do the evaluations properly and accordingly motivate the right set of people. That is organizing the different people with different motivations based on their individual needs and personality traits go in recognizing what to use as motivation. You need to become an expert only when you practice the power of motivation on different people and enhance their positive behavior and curbing the negative traits of the individual.

After reading this article if you are motivated to pursue and learn more about the PMP course register with StarAgile.

To keep the basics right, reward the positive behavior, and do not delay in rewarding the achievements of the team or the individual. Reduce the negative behavior in the people at once when you find it. Rewarding the right people with the right motivation and at the right time is very crucial.