Make your own free website on

Concept      Cognitions   Motivation

3. Motivation

Buy Apparition of My Cousin Carolineta on the Beach at Rosas, 1933 at
Buy it at 

Human needs and motives are inextricably linked; the relationship between them is so very close that it becomes extremely difficult to identify the precise differences which may characterize them. Terminology, in fact, appears often to be applied somewhat indiscriminately, as Bayton I observed: '. . . Some psychologists claim that words such as "motives", "needs", "urges", "wishes", and "drives" should not be used as synonyms; others are content to use them interchangeably.' This disturbing lack of agreement among researchers and writers has tended to complicate discussion.

The simple model shown in Fig. 3.1 indicates the relationship between needs, motives, and objectives:


wpe82178.gif (30450 bytes)


Fig. 3.1 Motivation links needs and objectives (behaviour)

Motives initiate behaviour and direct it towards specific types of activi ty. Ballachey' distinguishes between 'positive driving forces' which direct wants towards objects and 'negative forces' which lead wants away from objects. Motives of fear, for example, may cause some people to avoid air travel unless alternative methods of transport are not available. A strongly developed need for personal security may find expression in the types of investment made; some people may avoid using the telephone for ordering certain products because they prefer personal shopping which enables them to view and handle goods. Moreover, they may find that shopping expeditions provide them with opportunities for social contacts which would otherwise be denied them. But it is likely that only particular types of stores will be patronized; consumers may deliberately avoid buying from some stores because of past unsatisfactory experiences or, perhaps, because these stores do not appear to be the 'right places' to shop at.

A basic human need is food; hunger is the motivating force which causes a person to seek for means of satisfying this need. How precisely his appetite is quelled may vary according to his means, or the company he is in, or the climate, or even his age and social group. On some occasions, he may prefer not to cat on account of being overweight or for reasons of religious observance. in such cases, his behaviour has been modified by strong personal motives which have redirected his energies. Hence, identical behaviour is not necessarily displayed by all who experience similar basic needs.

Marketing management is professionally interested in needs; the basic phflosophy of marketing rests on the premise that customers' needs are the starting point from which all other business activities should logically be planned.

Because customers-whether they are acting as personal consumers or as buying agents for organizations-experience many kinds of need, an appreciation of the nature of needs would offer a valuable approach to the study of motivating influences in buying behaviour.

Buy Apparation of the Face of the Aphrodite of Knidos, 1981 at
Buy it at 

3.1 The nature of needs


Bayton,1 and other researchers, admit that it is difficult to derive a basic list of human needs; two general categories may be indicated: biogenic, and psychogenic.

The biogenic needs, , also described as primary , refer to the basic physiological needs which are related to the bodily functions such as hunger, thirst, sex, sleep , and exercise. Most of these needs demand to be satisfied without undue delay or an individual may begin to suffer deprivation. During the time in which they are actively experienced, biogenic needs tend to dominate an individual's attention. Once satisfaction has been achieved, equilibrium is restored to the human organism. Tension has been relieved, allowing an individual to pay heed to other desires which, initially, are less pressing in his pattern of life.

These physiological needs are triggered off by metabolic changes that arouse chemical and neural processes which act as important regulators according to the state of the human organism. Medical researchers have found, for example, that patients suffering from Addison's disease had a distinct craving for salt and for foods with high salt content. The term 'homeostatis' has been used by scientists to describe this regulatory phenomenon. The expenditure of energy in some task will result in an imbalance being experienced by an individual. Fatigue will eventually set in as the body temperature falls; this loss of energy WHI trigger off the stimulus of hunger which will lead to the search for food taking place. According to the personal level of toleration of a state of imbalance, an individual may be willing to expend further considerable effort in order to procure nourishment. Or, as modern food manufacturers suggest, the 'ready-prepared' meal may be the easy solution. Homeostatis is influenced. therefore, by  personal factors affecting perception, attitudes, motivation, etc.

The psychogenic needs-also referred to as emotional or psychological reflect the complexity of man's behaviour. Apart from the primary needs, which are innate and unlearned, a sophisticated structure of needs relating to social, cultural, emotional, and intellectual interests affects the behaviour of individuals. Primary needs may be modified by psychological needs, as Asch 3 commented:


Hunger is a primary need, but there are human ways- of eating and human attitudes toward food. Eating becomes under social conditions a developed activity. Food ceases to be something merely to be devoured ... it becomes connected with social and aesthetic requirements. This development is equally true of all primary needs ...

On many occasions, the fundamental need for food has been elevated to reflect social and cultural values. Political and civic events are celebrated by banquets and buffets attended by well-nourished dignitaries whose calorific intakes already appear more than adequate. Personal wealth may be displayed by means of the type of food offered to guests; considerable ingenuity is often displayed by hostesses in the preparation of special dishes which will give their parties particular appeal. The influence of social and cultural values in buying behaviour will be discussed at some length in the special chapters devoted to these subjects. At this stage, it will be noted that needs develop within the framework of society and are affected by the prevailing culture. Two American marketing scholars observed:


In middle-class Arnerica, most individuals seem to be attempting to satisfy their love or esteem needs. If advertising at all reflects the American needs structure, this becomes evident from a casual perusal of present day advertisements. Seldom does one see an advertisement message like 'Crispy Crackers fill your stomach fuller than other products'; more typically one sees 'Serve Crispy Crackers with exotic cheese and impress your friends'.

Bayton suggested that the various formulations of psychogenic needs which have been devised by psychologists and other researchers could be conveniently classified as follows:


1. Affectional needs-'the needs to form and maintain warm, harmonious and emotionally satisfying relations with others.'

2. Ego-bolsterinp, needs-'the needs to enhance or promote the personality; to achieve, to gain prestige and recognition; to satisfy the ego through dornination of others.'

3. Ego-defensive needs-'the needs to protect the personality; to avoid physical and psychological harm; to avoid ridicule and "loss of face"; to prevent loss of prestige; to avoid or to obtain relief from anxiety.'

In offering these classifications of psychogenic needs, Bayton cautiously remarks that an individual may be moved by not merely one need but, more usually, a combination of needs. In this complex of needs, there is often one that is most dominant or 'prepotent'. A woman may buy a new coat because it protects her against the weather, but her dominant need may be to follow the latest fashion trend in styling and colour.

Man, as Maslows pointed out, '. . . is a perpetually wanting animal. Ordinarfly the satisfaction of these wants is not altogether mutually exclusive, but only tends to be. The average member of our society is most often partially satisfied and partially unsatisfied in all of his wants.' Human needs appear to be capable of almost infinite extension; 'as soon as one of (these) needs is satisfied, another appears in its place. This process is unending. It continues from birth to death. 6


3.2 Hierarchy of needs

Buy Washtub at
Buy it at 

Maslows has proposed that human needs develop in a sequence ordered from 'lower' wants to 'higher' wants. 'It is quite true that man lives by bread alonewhen there is no bread. But what happens to man's desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled?' Higher needs, states Maslow, then emerge in an endless series. Once hunger is satisfied, it no longer dominates the behaviour of an individual, who is then free to satisfy, for example, social and cultural desires.

This hierarchical sequence of needs is also supported by McGregor, in connection with industrial management problems. 6

Maslow devised the following order of needs, which he divided into five main categories:


1. Physiological needs, e.g., hunger, thirst, sex.

2. Safety needs, e.g., security and order; protection from both physical and psychological loss.

3. Belongingness and love needs, e.g., affection; sense of being part of a group; affiliation; to love and to be loved.

4. Esteem needs, e.g., prestige, success, self-esteem; status and importance in the eyes of others.

5. Need for self-actualization, e.g., personal fulfilment; self-realization of potential.

Although there appears to be a general lack of empirical evidence to support this sequence of needs, it contains elements of sound common sense which make it of particular interest to marketers. Maier, relating Maslow's theory to the motivation of industrial labour, noted that it does not follow that the satisfaction of lower-level needs ensures the functioning of those at the next level; 'rather, potential higher-level needs emerge and influence behaviour only after there is opportunity for satisfaction of lower-level needs'.

The strength of physiological needs has already been commented on; the basic economic problem of securing the necessities of life has largely been dealt with satisfactorily by modern industrial communities. Even in times of difficult trading, the standard of living enjoyed by most peopie is considerably above mere subsistence level.

The effect on behaviour of a chronic shortage of food was studied in an experhnent 8 at the University of Minnesota in 1945. Thirty-two volunteers between the ages of 20 and 33 were subjected to semi-starvation for six months, during which thne 25% loss of body weight was recorded. The subjects of the experiment became progressively more silent, apathetic, and irritable; sociability suffered and they were inclined to exclude their non-starving friends and the staff of the laboratory from their group feeling. They became easily annoyed about petty incidents, and humour was largely lost as a means of re. leasing social tensions. Food became the centre of conversation; members of the group found themselves day-dreaming about it. Whenever food was given to them, it tended to be treated like gold. Intellectual activities and emotional responses were largely suppressed because the need for food had acquired such potency.

Ballachey 2 records the field study undertaken by A. R. Holmberg in 1950, of the Siriono society, a semi-nomadic Bolivian Indian group. Their food wants were constantly frustrated because of the tropical climate, which made it difficult to preserve and store food, and on account of the very low success they achieved in their daily hunting expeditions. As a result of their harsh way of life, 'art forms, folk tales and mythology are only sparsely developed'. Ballachey summarizes: 'Men who must grub for food cannot want and seek beauty and intellectual understanding.' 2

In the area of marketing, the consumer whose main preoccupation is obtaining enough food to live on, is hardly likely to have much inclination (or money) to devote to other products. He is unlikely, for instance, to be very interested in life assurance policies, or in joining an association to foster the arts. However, variations in individual behaviour may occur, and Maslow prudently qualified his theory by observing that some individuals may be influenced by higher motives which achieve prepotency even when lower needs have not been entirely satisfied. Partial satisfaction of a particular need may be tolerated '. . . it is as if the average citizen is satisfied perhaps 80yo of the time in his physiological needs, 701/o in his safety needs, 50Yo in his love needs, 40% in his self esteem needs, and 1001o in his self-actu@ation needs.'9

This qualification is of interest to marketers, because it allows for characteristic buying behaviour in some areas. For example, cheaper types of food may be bought, or restricted quantities consumed, in order to run a car or to buy fashionable clothing.

Maslow's second category of sequential needs, safety needs, relate to people's desires for protection against both physical and psychological dangers. In a stable society, an individual may develop his education and professional training and enhance his social position. In modern conununities, legislation at both the national and regional level protects people against fraudulent trading, dangerous additives to foods, and similar hazards. The rapid growth of the consumerist movements may be attributed to the greater need which consumers feel for protection against higffiy-organized business enterprises. The branding and advertising of products helps to reassure buyers who have a ,. . . very common preference for familiar rather than unfamiliar things, or for tP,e known rather than the unknown'. 5 Life assurance and other forms of insurance are other manifestations of the need for safety and security. As man has developed, he has attempted to control the environment in which he lives. From a primitive conception of life, he has extended his vision so that he becomes aware of many different kinds of danger. These may relate to his occupation, to the fear of redundancy, or to the problems of educating his children. (The motivating influence of fear will be discussed later in the text.)

The third sequential stage in Maslow's hierarchy is the fundamental belongingness and love needs: 'If both the physiological and the safety needs are fairly well gratified, then there will emerge the love and affection and belongingness needs. . .'s The need for acceptance by others, to give and to receive love and friendship, are significant factors in human behaviour and have been seen to extend also to the lower animals. The affiliation want finds expression in the purchase of gifts and in group activities in sports, and other cultural pursuits. This may also encourage the development of distinctive styles of clothing or the consumption of particular branded products, e.g., Coke. The strength of the need for affiliation will vary according to personality differences; those who spend their holidays at Butlin camps may be presumed to have higher needs for affiliation than the solitary, bird-watcher on a barren coastal mud-flat. Emotional needs plays a significant part in the decisions which consumers make about many types of products and services; marketing practitioners should endeavour to identify all the needs which their customers are seeking to satisfy when they buy a bar of chocolate, a car, or a tube of toothpaste. Kotlerio quotes Charles Revson, President of Revlon, who when asked what his customers really sought through buying cosmetics, replied: 'In the factory we make cosmetics, and in the drug store we sell hope'.

Maslow's fourth category of sequential needs, esteem needs, refers to deeply-rooted desires which are commonly experienced. These he subdivided into (a) 'the desire for strength, for achievement, for adequacy, for confidence in the face of the world and for independence and freedom. The other classification relates to (b) the desire for reputation or prestige,recognition, attention, importance or appreciation. Ballachey 2 reflects that the need for prestige may inspire men to accomplish good works, or, on the other hand, it could lead to destructive, antisocial behaviour. Indeed, history provides ample evidence of the compulsive power of the need for public esteem and adulation.

McClelland 1 1 studied in some depth the need that men feel for achievement. This may not be directly related to profits or to monetary reward in the business world, or elsewhere. He posed the question: why do civilizations rise and fall? and he decided that the basis must be psychological. He examined the folk tales from fifty different cultures and also the tales traditionally told to children. Writings from Greek literature, e.g., Homer and Pericles, war speeches, and hymns to the gods were analysed for their exhortations to high endeavour. Similarly, the European literature of the Middle Ages was also studied for the way in which it reflected and also influenced men's achievements.

In addition, McClelland undertook a series of experiments which -endeavoured to measure by means of an 'n-score' (n = need for achievement) the number of times achievement-related ideas occurred in stories written by subjects. He found that people with high 'n-scores' came mainly from the middle class; that the mothers of men with high n-aciiievement made demands on their children when they were very young and expected them to develop mature behaviour relatively early. High-n people tended to think ahead and to anticipate future events; they attempted to control their environment so that they could exploit opportunities. Their reactions to disaster were superior, and they quickly turned events in their favour.

The contribution of the 'Protestant Ethic', originally discussed by Weber in 1904, was also examined by McClelland. After comparing key economic data from a number of countries held to be representative of 'Catholic' or 'Protestant' cultures, he stated that it could 'be concluded with reasonable confidence that, as of 1950, Protestant countries are economically more advanced on the average, even taking their differences into account than are Catholic countries'. While admitting that there are obvious limitations to empirical findings, MeClelland argued that his research was based on systematic investigation, and that '. . . taken as a whole it tends to support the belief that achievement motivation is an important factor affecting the rate of economic development'. About this conclusion, few businessmen would disagree; marketing men in particular, tend to have high 'n-scores'. McClelland ', in fact, extended his research to investigate n-achievement levels in various types of business occupations over four countries. His 'most general conclusion' was that men involved in sales and marketing had higher n-achievement scores than production, engineering, or finance executives. 'Such a result does not come as a great surprise since the marketing role certainly requires to an unusual degree the kind of entrepreneurial activity (risk-taking, knowledge of results of sales campaigns etc.) that we have found to be characteristic of high n-achievement."' The desire for prestige is often closely associated with the 2equisitive and power wants. Thouless 12 has suggested that the ownership of newspapers enables some men to satisfy their self-assertive tendencies, because, run strictly as a business, '. - . the capital value of a large newspaper ... unlike most investments, bears no simple relation to its revenue-producing capacity'. Executives in industry frequently experience considerable satisfaction from the exercise of their authority in making significant decisions. Despite the tribulations of public office, there is no shortage of candidates for Parliamentary seats; there may be an element of altruism, but it would be rare to find that this was the sole, or even dominant, need inspiring people to sit in Parliament or other assemblies.

The Western industrial communities are based strongly on acknowledging the power of the acquisitive want, which is said to be central to the general orientation of the prevailing culture. This tendency receives social approval because it encourages work and a degree of thrift. In some primitive societies, however, private ownership is strictly limited. 'Rivers said ... that amongst some of the peoples of Melanesia there is no private ownership except of such objects, e.g. weapons, as a man makes for himself. Canoes are possessed by a farnfly group, and land is generally held in the same way. . .' 12

By assiduously acquiring objects (viz., products) of various kinds, and by demanding an ever-widening range of services, consumers in modern society endeavour to express their needs for power and prestige. Vance Packard 13 relates how many Americans buy antiques because of their symbolic value ,even when their functional value is dubious'. He mentions the Chicago Tlibune's suburban study which found '. . . that, if a suburbanite aspires to move up into the "lower-upper class", he will buy antiques-symbols of old social position bought with new money'. People tend to ascend the social ladder by acquiring possessions; they move to houses in the more fashionable districts. By filling their homes with expensive furniture and other products they display their prosperity; the conferred status which generally follows satisfies their developing needs for recognition and prestige.

Critics of this social phenomenon, while no doubt personally enjoying the ownership of television sets, hi-fi record players, washing machines, and other ,status' products, condemn the apparently insatiable needs of modern man. Galbraith 14 had declared that consumption has become an addiction, and that consumers are coerced by propaganda to spend more and more until they become captives of the industrial system. His strictures seem to overlook that people, as any marketing manager knows, are not just 'advertising fodder'. They react, and not always favourably, to advertising messages. The influence and limitations of advertising will be considered in some detail later in this text.

Ballachey2 has underlined the tendency for wants and goals to be developed and organized to enhance and defend the individual. Self becomes 'a nucleus around which the many diverse wants and goals' are centred. Self-esteem is an important part of the psychological make-up of an individual. Most people are concerned to achieve an actual self as similar as possible to an idealized concept, which they have probably been trying to attain since childhood. In pursuit of this desirable self-image, consumption habits may be developed or modified. Certain brands of products may be carefully viewed for the symbolism which they convey. Advertisers frequently present cigarettes, perfumes, cars, or foods in terms that Suggest ownership almost automatically confers social and other benefits. Products like these become ego-involved and extenlions of the personality of those who buy them. A consumer's self-image tends ,0 be developed and confirmed by the material possessions he acquires.

Two American researchers's found that people who perceive themselves as 'cautious conservatives' were more inclined to prefer small cars, because these were convenient and economic; whereas another group, who classified themselves as 'confident explorers', preferred large cars, by means of which they felt able 'to control the environment'. (Further reference will be made to solid concept and the ownership of products later.)

It will be apparent, therefore, that Maslow's fourth and fifth stages of needs are not easily distinguishable, since, in pursuing status, an individual may be seeking personal fulfilment. By associating with particular kinds of people-at the golf club or at some prestigious function, the aspiring consumer is affected by the consumption habits of those whose company he wishes to share. He may modify his opinions about matters which are held to be of importance; he may even change his religion or his political allegiance. Conformity to group values may entail changes in an individual's characteristic behaviour; the more desirable he believes membership of a particular social group to be, the more closely he will be inclined to accept the wants and goals of that group. Social environment helps to fashion habits of consumption; modern industrial society is made up of many interrelated groupings with distinctive patterns of consumption.

The need to improve personal enjoyment of life may cause some people to enrol for educational and recreational courses of various kinds. Through acquiring extra skills and knowledge, an individual may attract social prestige apart from personal satisfaction. Today, there is a more liberal attitude towards those who seek to improve their education later in life. In Britain, the Open University has enabled many earnest adult students to obtain degrees on a part-time study basis. The need for personal fulfilment is powerfully experienced by ambitious men and women in the professions and in industry.


3.3 Maslow's 'Smaller Hierarchy of Needs'

Apart from the five sequential stages of needs postulated by Maslow, he also admitted the existence of a smaller hierarchy, related to the desire to know and to understand. These cognitive needs should not, however, be considered as separate from the basic needs, because 'the desire to know and understand are themselves conative, i.e., have a striving character and are as much personality needs as the basic needs'. 5 This leads to consideration of the, curiosity want, which is biologically deep-rooted, although varying markedly in strength among individuals. Environment appears to be a significant influence on the development of the curiosity want, but there also seems to be a 'self-generated' need for a certain degree of excitation. Boredom soon sets in whenever the environment ceases to provide experiences which are interesting to individuals. The nervous system is never really dormant; the brain may indulge in ideas below the level of conscious awareness. This activity may result in new wants, although their fulfilment will largely depend on the resources of the society in which an individual lives: 'In a country without universities, libraries, and laboratories, few men will strive to become scholars and scientists. . .' 2

When curiosity needs are poorly served, these intellectual ambitions may eventually be discarded. People may 'come to terms' with the limitations imposed on their wants. How individuals respond requires particular study. Clearly, people have different levels of frustration. Some will be prepared to make considerable sacrifices in order to satisfy their curiosity needs; those who undertake rigorous intellectual training have a highly developed curiosity want.

In marketing activities, it should be recognized that individual consumers tend to vary in the amount and quality of information they require about products and services. Today, there is generally greater insistence by the public on information being given to them on many varied topics. Marketers should endeavour to satisfy the information needs of their customers, and in doing so build up goodwill.

Apart from the need to know and understand which Maslow associated with his list of sequential needs, he also referred, although somewhat diffidently, to the existence of aesthetic needs: 'Some individuals have a strong aversion to the ugly and a ncid"i r the beautiful.'9 This aspect of human needs is of significance to designers and producers of many kinds of product. The increased volume of spending power today is largely in the hands of women, or is heavily influenced by them. By their nature, they are generally more sensitive to colour and fashion styling, and for many years they have been accustomed to a wide choice of well-designed clothing. When they now extend their buying interests into other product areas, such as cars, bathroom fittings, and lawnmowers, they are demanding aesthetic as well as practical satisfaction. Alert manufacturers will welcome this 'invasion', and will ensure that their products have built into them characteristics which will give them 'feminine' appeal. Not long ago, one of the largest British car manufacturers admitted that they had no woman designer on their staff, although from time to time, apparently, the opinions of women were sought, but there was no planned effort to seek this advice.

Design opens up a vast area for the keen marketer to explore. Overheads and other costs rise inexorably, competition is now not just from British firms but from firms in all parts of the world. The world, in effect, is a much smaller place. An effective design strategy can be the key which unlocks the door to further advance in world markets.

It would be futile, of course, to concentrate design resources on mere external appearance; design responsibilities cover the whole product: its satisfactory performance as well as its pleasant styling.

Marketing executives and designers should establish a dialogue which encourages the free and honest exchange of opinions and experience. It would be valuable, for instance, for designers to attend some of the sessions of sales conferences so that they become more personally aware of the reactions of customers and also of the sales force to their latest creations. In addition, it is sound commercial sense to allow designers, from tiine to time, to accompany ,elected members of the sales team on their selling trips. Where a company  markets its products overseas, designers should visit these territories and see for themselves the conditions under which their products have to operate or be consumed. It would also be useful to study the methods of distributing and presenting these to the final customer. Creative designers cannot fail to return from these explorations with a host of new ideas; their talents will be released with new energy and enthusiasm.

That aesthetic needs are not restricted to consumer products was dramatically illustrated by Theodore Levitt 16 in connection with a testing machine which was presented to a panel of highly qualified laboratory directors. One version of the machine had a front panel designed by the engineers who had developed the equipment; the alternative machine, which was intrinsically identical, was fitted with a control panel designed by professional industrial designers. The latter version 'attracted twice the purchase intentions compared with the engineers' design'. Levitt observed that even scientifically trained and experienced laboratory directors are 'quite as responsive to the blandishments of packaging as the Boston Matron'.

It is apparent that industrial products as well as consumer products need to be well des' ned both internally and externally. The 'added-values' of attractive styling contribute towards favourable buying decisions, and it would be short-sighted of manufacturers to dismiss this product attribute as a superfluous fad. Buyers may not consciously be aware of the influence of attractive styling on their decision to buy a specific product, and they may even strongly deny that aesthetic appeal was a factor influencing their judgement.

Successful industrial product manufacturers know the sales value of attractive design. James Pilditch, 17 Chairman of Allied International Designers, recounts the story of a Canadian pump manufacturer who asked consultant designers to redesign their range of pumps. The firm was asked why they thought it necessary to have their machines redesigned because, after all, these only go underground. ' "Maybe," the pump manufacturer replied, "but they are not bought underground." '

Maslow's reference to aesthetic needs reflects the influence of Freudian psychology; he concludes that needs are 'more unconscious than conscious in the average person and that everyday conscious desires are to be regarded as symptoms, as surface indicators of more basic needs'.9

3.4 Wants do not exist in isolation

The various human needs which have been discussed should not be regarded s entirely_definitive and absolute. Further, they do not operate in watertight compartments; man is a higwy.complex creature whose needs are varied and growing. Between needs, a certain degree of conflict may sometimes be experienced. The tendency towards prepotency of particular needs, such as the basic physiological wants, has already been discussed.

Conflict may arise, for example, because the need for security may be at variance with the desire for prestige and power. Exciting prospects of acquiring substantial capital gain by taking part in a business enterprise may be substantially reduced by the element of high risk involved which may intimidate some would-be investors. Some consumers avoid buying the latest model of a car until actual road users have had reasonably trouble-free motoring over a period of tinie. On many occasions, marketers often prefer to follow rather than to lead trends in the styling of their products. They willingly sacrifice prestige needs for the more certain satisfactions obtained from cautious marketing strategies.Housewives may suffer from conflicting needs in the buying of groceries and other supplies. They may, for instance, desire to buy highly nutritious food like'beef, but their need for economy may dictate that cheaper types of protein should be on their shopping lists. AJthough human needs are apparently insatiable, incomes are limited, and the Pattern of spending may vary considerably between families.It is clear, therefore, that wants are closely interrelated; that conflict may modify behaviour; and that the infuence of needs is felt differently by individuals. Within social groups, however, there is a tendency for common needs to evolve and to receive particular attention. The behaviour of man in society finds expression in the goods and services he uses; wants are dynamic, and Maslow's theory, while not empirically validated, is valuable in pointing out the nature of needs and their relationship to modern styles of living.


3.5 Motivation: an overview


Any discussion of motivation is inevitably related to the study of needs. Between motives and need exists an interdependence: motives actuate and direct actions to be taken in satisfaction of identified needs. Motivation acts as an energizing force which originates, sustains, and directs activities towards diverse objectives. Through the stimuli of motives, men are inspired to achieve success in their professional and private lives; to acquire a host of desirable products; and to satisfy their needs for affiliation, prestige, power, and many of the other wants which have been discussed earlier.

The difficulty of distinguishing clearly between needs and motives has been acknowledged in published works; inevitably, the very close relationship that links these phenomena gives rise to a degree of confusion. There is, moreover, the classifications adopted for describing motives and needs, which is to be expected since these cannot really be considered for long in isolation. Motives have been classified, for example, as learned or unlearned,rational or emotional, conscious or unconscious, physical (biogenic) or psychological (psychogenic), etc. Nearly 50 years ago, Copeland 18 listed 33 buying motives, classifying them as emotional or rational. The former he defined as those which have their origin in human instincts and emotions, giving rise to impulsive or non rational responses. He believed that consumer goods were largely bought as the result of instinctive and emotional motivation. Such wholesale listing and classification of buying motives is no longer tenable; it is rarely possible in practice to be so defmite about the nature of motivation related to specific products and services. Like wants, motives tend to act in concert and the multiplicity of motivational forces eludes simple analysis. A new car may be bought for many reasons: these may include rational motivations, such as reliability and availability of personal transport (the old car tended to break down), or a good trade-in price for the old car tempted  purchase of a new model, etc.; emotional motivations may reflect the influence of neighbours and friends who have recently bought new cars, the desire for greater comfort and speed or the symbolic affluence which this purchase may reflect. Katona 19 recalls empirical studies concerned with the purchase of war bonds in the US during the Second World War. Significant differences in the amount of bonds held by individuals could not be explained solely on the grounds of income or occupation. 'There were people who, in spite of intensive questioning, mentioned only one reason for their buying war bonds, namely, the patriotic reason "to help win the wa?'.' However, these people bought fewer bonds in each income or occupational group than those who, in addition to patriotic reasons, gave personal financial motivations, such as saving up for a house or to buy a business. Furthermore, when the effect of sales promotion and personal selling of war bonds was investigated, it was found that these methods affected the rate of purchase '. . . even though the people themselves did not mention solicitation among the reasons for their buying bonds and seemed unaware of the great influence exerted by solicitation'. Those who were motivated to buy bonds because of several reasons and who were also ,solicited to buy' were discovered to be the largest buyers. Katona reflects that the more numerous the forges that drive an individual in the same direction, the greater will be his action. Hence, the success of the war-bonds campaign was ensured by advertising several reasons to buy them, and backing-up their promotion by personal selling.

Successful marketing of goods and services of all kinds-whether these relate to personal needs or to those of organizations-should be based on a fundamental appreciation of motivation. How people will respond to marketing stimuli, viz., price offers, advertising, product attributes, etc., is not always easy to predict. This leads two American researchers20 to comment: 'Human behaviour is so enormously varied, so delicately complex, so obscurely motivated that many people despair of fmding valid generalizations to explain and predict the actions, thoughts, and feelings of human beings-despair, that is, of the very possibility of, constructing a science of human behaviour.' Systematic, intelligent study and analysis will help to obtain insight into the behaviour of people as consumers of products and services of many types. Later in this text, specific research techniques of value in studying motivational influences will be discussed. Perfect knowledge in any science is never attained, but this should not discourage attempts to find out more about the wants of customers and the reasons why they buy their particular goods. Products are bought for the benefits which it is anticipated they will give to purchasers. Experienced marketers evaluate their products in terms of customer-expectations, and ensure that they build into their merchandise valid reasons why people should buy from thetn and not from a competitor. Obviously, this cannot be done successfully without a sensitive awareness of the role of motives in buying behaviour. In the chapters dealing with consumer and organizational buying behaviour, further discussion of the complexity, and occasional conflict, of motives in specific purchasing decisions will take place.

Marketers are interested in motivation of their sales staff and distributors as well as those who consume their products. Marketing management is an integrating influence within a company; one aspect of marketing's responsibilities is to motivate designers and production staff to develop and manufacture products which have characteristics likely to make them successful.


3.6 The nature of motives


The study of motivation is concerned with the question 'why?' Cognitions, as Ballachey 2 states, guide a man's actions, '. . . but when we ask why he acts at all, we are asking the question of motivation'. The word 'motive' derives from the Latin root 'move'; thus, a motive is a reason for action directed towards a desirable goal, which could be the possession of a washing machine or some other domestic aid. Kassadian and Robertson 4 describe motivation as '. . . a driving force or a "necessity" to reduce a state of tension'. Tension mobilizes energy, which is directed by personal motivational systems in a certain direction. The tension may be caused by physical imbalance, e.g., hunger, or it may largely be psychologically based, as when a woman notices that one of her friends is rather more fashionably dressed than herself.

Motivation is subject to personal perception of needs, and until these needs have been stimulated by marketing activities, an individual consumer may perceive no reason to buy a particular product. His need may be latent and unrecognized by him, although he may, in fact, benefit considerably from using that product. So-called impulse purchases may frequently result from exposure to stimuli (e.g., shop displays or advertisements) which awaken in an individual dormant needs. His mind is alerted to the existence of certain products, and he may find them sufficiently attractive to be motivated to buy. Motivation is, therefore, affected by the environment in which a person lives. In modern societies, there tends to be perpetual stimulation of needs by commercial firms, though the impact of these stimuli are affected by personal differences in perception and meaning (see chapter 2). Exposure to the same set of stimuli does not mean that all members of the audience will react in the same way. Messages must be meaningful to individuals, and suggest that the products or services they are sponsoring are going to help to solve personal needs and desires.

Human motives may lead to complex behaviour. Unlike lower animals, mall has a highly developed set of needs related to his physical welfare and emotional stability. The same motive may result in diverse behaviour by different people. For reasons of prestige, for example, a man may buy an expensive car, or an impressive house, or develop expertise in some art or branch of learning. He may frequent fashionable hotel-bars, or even give away large sums Of money to charity in the hope of securing public approval or political honours. On the other hand, the same behaviour may be caused by quite different motives. Some people, for example, appear to be compulsive eaters: they consume food not merely from hunger, but more because they may be suffering from loneliness or lack of affection. Food may also be eaten for reasons of social gratilcation. To tale another example, people may be motivated to visit the theatre or cinema because: (a) they really want to see the show; (b) they are bored, and find time on their hands in some strange town; (c) they are invited to accompany someone whose company is important to them; (d) they may just want to sit down somewhere and avoid the rain.


3.7 Aspirations affect motivation


McClelland's proposition of 'n-achievement'l l has already been referred to in connection with human needs. Men are motivated by differing levels of aspiration which are reflected in their behaviour. Katona'9 has formulated 'a few generalizations which have been established in numerous studies of goal-striving behaviour':

1. Aspirations are not static; they are not established once for all time.

2. Aspirations tend to grow with achievement and decline with failure.

3. Aspirations are influenced by the performance of other members of the group to which a person belongs and by that of reference groups.


Clearly, social and intellectual aspirations influence people's behaviour and extend to the types of products and services they consume. In the later chapters on social and cultural influences in marketing, the effects of social mobility, opinion leadership and group membership on consumption habits will be analysed. Because of the insatiability of human needs, consumers accumulate an ever-increasing collection of products. Dissatisfaction soon emerges and change is demanded. The luxuries of yesterday tend, moreover, to become the necessities of modern life today. Society is dynamic and so are its needs, and this is reflected in the buying behaviour of consumers.

Technological and scientific invention and innovation have enabled people to lift their levels of aspiration. Transistors, for example, have led to the development of home-stereo equipment; people listen to superb orchestral concerts in their own homes. Advances in medical science have resulted in people expecting improved methods of surgery and nursing; what were once considered to be relatively dangerous surgical operations are now regarded as common place. Travel has speeded up enormously. Holidays abroad are no longer the prerogative of the wealthy and leisured classes; the problem for some people appears to lie in seeking out distant lands that are not already the target of popular package-deal tourists.

Levels of aspiration are closely associated with other factors affecting human behaviour apart from motivations, factors such as the values and beliefs (cognitions) which individuals hold; their attitudes towards life in general and those related to specific aspects of it; their personality traits; and all the characters and interests of people in society. Katona'9 has remarked that it is unwarranted to assume that there is a direct relation between need gratification and saturation. Other variables intervene to 'determine what happens following gratification of needs'. The rich industrialist continues to pursue his business activities, despite heavy personal taxation, although he may have no financial need to acquire extra money. Seldom does he seek retirement because of what he declares to be crippling taxation or intolerable trading conditions. The challenge of business enterprise, the opportunities to exercise managerial skills, and the deep satisfaction of exercising power motivate him to achieve even higher production and selling targets. Eventually, even these may fail to give him personal pleasure, and he may aspire to win acknowledgement by his munificence in founding a new college or medical school in some university.

Marketers should study trends in the markets they do business in since society in general is impatient and demands ready-made solutions to its needs. The problem of innovation will be discussed at some length in chapter 9.


3.8 Theories of motivation


Various theories of human motivation have been propounded over many years. These have been flavoured 'by the particular philosophy or theory of personality,4 which researchers have tended to support. Clearly, there is no generally agreed and comprehensive theory of motivation, although in some specific aspects there is a measure of agreement among psychologists. For example, the coincidence of views held by Maslow and McGregor about the hierarchical structure of needs and motives has already been observed. Howard and Sheth 21 also refer to the 'dominance hierarchy of motives'; because a buyer cannot satisfy equally many motives at any one time, 'the most urgent motive, that is, the one at the "top" of the hierarchy, is satisfied first'. (Note that these researchers use the terms needs' and 'motives' interchangeably.)

Motivational theories display considerable heterogeneity because psychological Phenomena admit of more than one interpretation and different methods of investigation may have been used. Early theorists, such as Darwin (1 809-82), projected man as a creature striving towards goals which were controlled by the environment. He emphasized that, in the struggle for survival, human beings differ considerably in intellectual and other abilities. Darwin's biological studies blazed the trail for the extensive researches which were to take place later into aniirnal behaviour. 'When Darwin demonstrated the pres. ence of close relations between the bodily structure of men and other animals, and formulated the principles of variation and natural selection, he realized clearly that the evolutionary process must extend to psychological and social phenomena, that it cannot be restricted to anatomical and physiological facts.' 3

Darwin stressed the importance of instinctive behaviour which, during the course of their lives, human creatures develop and transmit to their offspring. The behaviourist theory of psychology extended Darwin's biological concept of instinctive human behaviour. His adaptive behavioural tendencies were accepted, but the dominance he ascribed to instinct was replaced by emphasis on the process of learning as a modifying influence.

E.L. Thomdike (1 874-1949) was an influential figure in fortnulating a doctrine of learning in which the process of trial and error was influenced by the stimuli of reward and punishment (see chapter 2, section 9). Instinctive theories of motivation were to be re-emphasized by Sigmund Freud (1 8561939) and his associates. Its ideas have had profound influence in psychology, sociology, and medical science, and they have been extended to the marketing of products of many kinds. Advertising, in particular, has exploited Freudian concepts in appealing to the emotional, deeply-rooted needs of people.

Freud postulated two basic drives, or instincts, which affect human behaviour: (a) self preservation, and (b) procreation. He identified three interacting forces in the personality which produce behaviour: the id, the ego, and the superego. 'Ihe id is the unconscious part of the psyche which consists of instinctual impulses such as aggression, destruction, and pleasure-seeking. These, he declared, are present in the newly-born child. The id is the source of all the driving psychic energy which makes these instinctive needs of paramount importance in the life of the unrepressed infant. Unrestrained, these impulses are likely to result in antisocial behaviour; the superego, therefore, intervenes to impose moral restraints and inhibitions through the agencies of parents and society in general. 'The term "super-ego" has been used for the introjected system of parental prohibitions which is the hypothetical source of pathological gUdt.,12 Cultural beliefs obviously affect the moral standards imposed in particular situations. Freud contended that what he termed the 'dread of society' was the essence of what is called conscience. The ego mediates between the powerful, instinctive urges of the id and the inhibitions emanating from the superego. Through the ego, man comes to terms with reality so that he may organize his energies to achieve personal goals.

The manner in which the ego guides the libidinal energies of the id and the moralistic demands of the superego accounts for the rich variety of personalities, interests, motives, attitudes, and behaviour patterns of people. It accounts for the purchase of a four-door sedan rather than a racy sports- 2, car, the adoption of a mini-skirt, and the use of Utra-Brite toothpaste...

Freudian psychoanalytic theory has been subjected to severe criticism by psychologists and other commentators, largely because many of its projections lack substantial empirical validation. There is no proof, for instance, that the id, ego, and superego really exist. Some Freudian interpretations related to marketing practice seem to originate more from the fertile imaginations of researchers than from scientific or objective inquiry. Too great a stress appears to be laid on sexuality as a prime motive in human behaviour, whereas, as Cheskin 23 remarked, it should be obvious that individuals are motivated both socially and libidinously.

Freudian theories of motivation are valuable in drawing attention to the existence and significance of unconscious influences in human behaviour. It is recognized that guilt, anxiety, and other conflicting emotions and beliefs is recognize may affect man's actions. Man is not a cold calculating machine but a creature of flesh and blood, whose emotional desires should never be ignored.

Motivation research has largely been developed from the concepts of Freudian psychology, and later in this text some of the techniques used in this type of research will be discussed.

Because any consideration of motivation must almost inevitably extend to theories of personality, in the next chapter some of the concepts of behavioural science related to personality traits and theories will be discussed. In this way it is hoped to integrate the study of the diverse motivations to which individuals react in the course of living in modern society.


1. Bayton, James A., 'Motivation, cognition, learning-basic factors in consumer behaviour', Journal of Marketing, 22, January 1958.

2. Krech, David, Crutchfield, Richard, S., and Ballachey, Egerton L., Individual in Society, McGraw-Hffl, New York, 1962.

3. Asch, Solomon E., Social Psychology, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1952.

4. Kassarjian, Harold H. and Robertson, Thomas S., Perspectives in Consumer Behavior, Scott Foreman and Company, Glenview, Illinois, 1968.

5. Maslow, A. H., 'A theory of human motivation', Psychological Review, 50, 1943.

6. McGrego r, Douglas M., Leadership and Motivation, The MIT Press, 1966.

7. Maier, Norrnan R. F., Psychology in Industry, Houghton Miffin Company, Boston, 1965.

8. Keys, A., Brozek, J., Henschel, A., Mickelson, 0., and Taylor, H. L., The Biology Of Human Starvation, University of Minnesota Press, 1960.

9, MaslOw, A. H., Motivation and Personality, Harper, New York, 1954.

10. Kotler, Philip, Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning and Control, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1967.

11. McClelland, David C., The Achieving Society, The Free Press, New yok, 1967.

12. Thouless, R. H., General and Social Psychology, University Tutorial Press, London,1967.

13. Packard, Vance, 7he Status Seekers, Penguin, 1969.

14. Galbraith, J. K., The Affluent Society, Penguin, 1962.

15. Jacobson, Eugene and Kossoff, Jerome, 'Self-percept and consumer attitude toward small cars', Journal of Applied Psychology, 47, August 1963.

16. Levitt, Theodore, 'The morality of advertising', Harvard Business Review, July/August 1970.

17. Pilditch, James, 'Product design for industrial goods', Marketiyg, November 1971.

18. Copeland, M. T., Piinciples of Merchandising, A. W. Shaw, Chicago, 1924.

19. Katona, George, 7he Powerful Consumer, MeGraw-Hill, New York, 1960.

20. Berelson, Bernard and Steiner, Gary A., Human Behavior.. An Inventory of Scientific Findings, Harcourt, Brace and World, New York, 1964.

21. Howard, John A. and Sheth, Jagdish N., 7he Theory of Buyer Behavior, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1969.

22. Kassadian, Harold H., 'Personality and consumer behavior: a review', Journal of Marketing Research, 8, November 197 1.

23. Cheskin, Louis, How to Predict What People will Buy, Liveright, New York, 1952.

Concept      Cognitions   Motivation