The basic understanding, as far as motives are concerned, points to the fact that a motive results from an internal state arousing and directing behaviors to a given specific goal. This could also be as a result of a deficit and will differ in terms of types and amount. Most importantly motives will drive people to think, act and view matters with the aim of satisfying a need.
Motives are the core driving forces behind the things the people do in their day to day lifestyle and they have their basis on needs. Needs are generally the levels of tension present in somebody which reduce after the needs are provided for.
An American psychologist by the name Henry Murray proposed the personality theory (Murray, 1940). The needs were ordered in accordance to people’s needs, motives. According to Murray (1940) a need is a readiness to respond accordingly in varied circumstances. He stated that each kind of need relates with an intention, emotions, and actions and are always described by names of different traits.
Every person has a different kind of need which is affected by their immediate environmental factors. These types of needs are grouped into two broad groups, that is, primary and secondary. They are farther categorized into twenty four which totally vary with personalities.
These, he further grouped under ambition needs, power needs, affection needs, materialistic needs and information needs. Each need is independently vital but Murray asserts that they are interrelated. One of the main factors that affect the psychogenic needs relates to the individual’s environment which dictates an individual’s behavior ((Murray, 1940).
People tend to have varied motives for the actions they carry out or the behavior they exhibit. Three views of motivation namely psychoanalytical, humanistic and diversity can assist us in evaluating motivation in persons (McClelland, 1984). The psychoanalytical view covers the aspects relating to determinism, drive, conflict and the unconscious.
Those things that we seemingly have little control over often correlate with the concept of determinism. The drive pushes us to carry out the basic instincts. The humanistic view of motivation points at fulfilling the basic human or natural instincts. This will cover needs such as affection and materialistic. Diversity view as a concept of motivation covers the various motivations types which result in different goals (Mc Adams, 2005).
Martin Luther King who had a realistic outlook on life was counted as one of the great reformists of our time. In the eyes of those who knew him, King is described as a dependable, solid and reliable person among many other descriptions (King, 1959).
This perception was as a result of King’s motivation in addressing the needs in his life probably power and ambition needs. This could very well be according to the psychoanalytical view of motivation. King is described as having a strong drive in that when he had a purpose, he was fixed and immovable.
A diversity view of King’s motivation points to the fact that he showed a serious and subtle ambition perhaps partly aimed at addressing his ambition needs and yet still aimed at achieving materialistic accomplishments. Racism during King’s days shaped what motivated him according to the psychoanalytical view (King, 1959).
Martin Luther King appeared to invest a lot in terms of his world position and contribution to the society. This enables us to understand the humanistic and diversity views of motivation in King. King’s motivation drove him to assume more responsibility in whichever circumstance he was in than anyone else.
According to the diversity view of motivation Martin Luther King would set goals often sacrificing family and personal ambitions to achieve these goals. King was known for his faithfulness, persistence, patience and diligence (King, 1959).
A diversity view of motivation points out the fact that King was a realist and pragmatic in his approaches. King considered the final gauging of any fact to be its importance practically.
From the humanistic view of motivation, King was attracted to studying foreign culture and his overseas traveling helped him to expand his perception while widening his intellectual scope of the world. Being the revolutionist he was King had a mind that was so philosophical and always concerned with answering great questions that met his zeal for information.
Subtly King’s penetrating perception into people’s lives and a keen attention for the unseen and unspoken reveals the unconscious element of the psychoanalytical view of King’s motivation. For one to be able to effectively analyze motivation, he should understand the personality profile of an individual at the level of dispositional traits, life history and the adaptations characteristically (King, 1959).
King, M.L. (1959). The Measure of a Man. Philadelphia: The Christian Education Press.
Mc Adams, D.P. (2005). The Person: A New Introduction to Personality Psychology. (4th Ed.). New York: Wiley.
McClelland, C. D. (1984). Motives, Personality and Society: Selected Papers (Centennial psychology series). (1st Ed.). New York: Praeger Publishers Inc.
Murray, H. A. (1940). What should psychologists do about psychoanalysis? Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 2, (35), 150–175.