Maslows theory of motivation claims that human motives develop in sequence according to five levels of needs. These needs are: psychological (hunger, thirst), safety (protection), social (be accepted, belong to a certain group), esteem (self-confidence, achievements, respect, status, recognition), and self-actualization (realizing one’s potential for continued self-development) (Maslow, 1970). For employees to be productive in an organization, they need to hold positive attitudes toward the elements of organizational life. For example, one should view such factors as work, authority, taking risks in decision making, the need for control, and the need for change in a positive way. A negative attitudinal posture toward these factors will keep ones job satisfaction continually low as well as stimulate considerable resistance to many normal organizational processes and activities. Someone with the wrong attitudes shies away from high effort because the performance it yields is not perceived as worthy. It is not "real" performance from the viewpoint of the employee (Armstrong, 2003).
For employees to exert high effort, they must see that it makes a difference in their performance. Employees must sense that effort will pay off in terms of performance--that it is highly correlated with performance and that higher effort will yield better performance. The stronger the perceived correlation, the stronger the motivation. Employee-job performance is a function of ability, job design, and motivation. If the employee has adequate ability and the job is designed well, then performance is solely dependent on the level of motivation. Assuming ability and job design are in order, high motivation becomes a necessary and sufficient condition for high performance. If employees know their ability is high and the design of their job is "top notch," then