Evaluating the applicability of Maslow's theory of motivation to ancillary staff

SMITH, Louise J. (2003). Evaluating the applicability of Maslow's theory of motivation to ancillary staff. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This research considers the applicability of Maslow's theory of human motivation (1943) to ancillary staff in UK National Health Service (NHS) Trusts and Universities (HE). It has been undertaken in response to a request made by managers in these sectors for evidence-based research that could be applied in practice. Maslow's model of motivation was selected to structure the research, to allow systematic consideration of the nature of staffs motivation and thus also to examine the applicability of the model to ancillary staff. Previous investigations of the theory in the work setting have concentrated on managerial and professional workers, hence one of the contributions to knowledge that this PhD makes is the originality of the workers included. By researching the sample and designing a tool to test the appropriateness of Maslow's theory, new understanding is added to Maslovian psychology, motivation theory and organisational behaviour. Traditionally research into the motivation of lower waged workers has focussed upon financial rewards (e.g. Thornley, 1996; Unison, 1997) and disregarded other sources. This research challenges such models and explores untapped elements of motivation in ancillary workers that can have practical use for those sponsoring the work and other employers. Two main premises of Maslow's theory are considered for their appropriateness to the ancillary staff. The first relates to the structure of human motivation into five types of needs that increase in complexity. The second explains the dynamic relationship between these needs determined by their level of satisfaction and importance. Primary data was largely gathered from NHS ancillary staff using a questionnaire that was then validated in focus groups. The design, application and results of each method are considered in the thesis for testing the appropriateness of Maslow's model. Repeating the questionnaire with a further group of HE ancillary staff examined the reliability of the findings and conclusions made, as did consideration of the data according to gender and work role. Three of Maslow's five classifications of human motivation were found in the ancillary staff, along with a further need confirmed in each analysis. Safety, Love & Belongingness and Esteem needs were confirmed in the satisfaction and importance analyses, and Self-Actualisation was to some extent established in the importance investigations. An Institutional Safety need was also repeated that consisted of trade union related items and considered staffs safety in their working terms and conditions. The process of motivation proposed by Maslow was not however supported.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Price, Ilfryn
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2018 17:01
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:07
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17880

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