Motivation and Leadership

Diagram of w:Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

AudioMotivation is defined as the processes that provoke and direct human behavior towards winning the organizational goal (Kini & Hobson, 2003). Motivation is raised and directed by a set of characteristics that exist within the person. These characteristics are similar to Maslow’s needs in the Hierarchy of Needs Theory. At the top of the need’s pyramid sets Self-Actualization which is for the person to become everything that he or she is capable of becoming. In other words, self actualization is reached when the person realize his or her potentialities. However, at The base of the pyramid sets the basic needs for food and water to survive.

In the core of motivation resides self-esteem to guide the human behavior (Greenberg, 2008). The expectancy theory state that motivation is the product of expectancy, instrumentality and value of rewards (Kini & Hobson, 2003). The individual’s self-steam is strengthened by his/her expectation for rewards or appreciations. An organization should motivate its employees by fostering moral behavior and ethical practices to reach its goals, then reward these practices to strengthen such behaviors and decision-making practices.


Words can be beautiful and motivating

The right training and good leadership is a key success factor in motivating the followers. A study done by Ling et al. (2008) on CEO’s from 152 firms and their Top Management Team (TMT) confirmed the transformational leadership effect of these CEO’s on their TMT’s. The CEO’s shaped four significant characteristic in their TMT’s. The characteristics are behavior integration, decentralization of responsibilities, risk-taking propensity and long-term compensation (Ling et al, 2008, 557). The study also found that the CEO’s transformational leadership was able to enhance their direct followers’ motivation, morality and empowerment (Ling et al, 2008, 569).

Dvir et al, (2002) sampled 54 military leaders, their 90 direct followers and 724 indirect followers. Transformational leadership training was given to the military leaders and then they measured their leadership effect on followers. The study found positive impact on the direct followers and indirect followers performance. The same effect was not seen on the controlled group. A study by Waldman et al. (2001) found a significant correlation between charismatic leaders and their organization’s financial performance during difficult times. The mentioned studies demonstrated the leaders positive impact on their direct and indirect followers and their organizations’ financial performance.


Dvir, T., Eden, D., Avolio, B., & Shamir, B. (2002). Impact of transformational leadership on follower development and performance: a field experiment. Academy of Management Journal, 45(4), 735-744.

Greenberg, J. (2008). Understanding the vital human quest for self-esteem. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(1), 48-55.

Kini, R., & Hobson, C. (2003). Making total quality initiatives successful in Thailand- the motivation theory effect. Journal of Transnational Management, 9(1), 21-37.

Ling, Y., Simsek, Z., Lubatkin, M., & Veiga, J. (2008). Transformational leadership’s role in promoting corporate entrepreneurship: examining the CEO-TMT interface. Academy of Management Journal, 51(3), 557-576.

Waldman, D., Ramirez, G., House, R., & Puranam, P. (2001). Does leadership matter? CEO leadership attributes and profitability under conditions of perceived environmental uncertainty. Academy of Management Journal, 44(1), 134-143.

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About Sami Malallah
My thoughts and ideas are without politics, sarcasm or negativity. Please comment on them and share them with others.

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