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The Equity Theory of Motivation and Leadership

Motivation is a topic that generally gets significant attention from a leadership perspective. Many leaders can agree that the most prized motivation is recognizing that people are the most critical asset to their organization. Employees need to feel motivated to fulfil their roles effectively because it is vital to maintaining a productive workforce.

This article will briefly discuss the equity theory of motivation for the road ahead.

Some may ask, what exactly is the equity theory of motivation? Simply put, it is what an individual receives for their work that has a direct effect on their motivation. It is based on the idea that individuals are motivated by fairness.

This theory was developed in 1963 by John Stacey Adams, and it has since been used to explain employee behaviour and motivation with a focus on three components: inputs, outputs, and comparisons.

Essentially, inputs encompass what the employees bring to the role, such as education, experience, and skills; outputs encompass the resources that employees receive from the position, such as salary and recognition and comparisons, which are comparing one's inputs and outputs to those of others.

Here are some tips on how leaders can use the equity theory of motivation to keep their employees motivated:

Be Transparent: This is vital as employees must know precisely how to gain rewards. Keeping them in the dark will only increase resentment and distrust, worsening motivation.

Consistent Expectations: This will help employees monitor their equity balance by the organization's expectations.

Regular Positive Feedback: This shows your employees that you acknowledge their efforts, and they will be able to see how their contribution impacts the entire organization.

Avoid Employee Comparisons: It is important to remember that all employees will be observing the treatment of their colleagues, which will be used to judge fairness and decide whether to place trust in their employer.

As leaders, it is essential to know that this theory might not solve every problem within an organization or all issues relating to morale and enthusiasm; however, it can provide a structure that helps employees assess and evaluate workplace productivity and values.

Leaders must remember that the results can be undeniable if this theory is implemented correctly. In addition, leaders must continuously look for new and creative ideas to engage and motivate their teams to remain focused and interested in the organization for the road ahead.


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