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A Model of Human Motivation for Sociology

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Jacob Alsted

Many macro-sociologists have insufficient understanding of the roots of human motivation and this seriously hampers the effort to build theoretical models of society, social organisations and social change. The aim of this work is to remedy this deficiency. In this book, a model of motivation is constructed in order to demonstrate how it can improve our understanding of society. The aim here is an integration of concepts from psychology and sociology. Furthermore, it is the aim to clearly demonstrate that such a model adds new insights to our understanding of society. It can enrich key concepts used for analysis of meso- and macro-level phenomena. The author argues that the model of motivation can increase our understanding of, on the macro-level, the history of the state and, on the meso-level, dynamics in organisations.

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1. Introduction 15

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CHAPTER I Introduction The claim of this work is that many macro-sociologists have insufficient understand- ing of the roots of human motivation and that this understanding seriously hampers the effort to build theoretical models of society, social organisations and social change. The aim of this work is to remedy this deficiency by providing a model of motivation for sociology. In his controversial book Consiliencethe biologist Edward 0. Wilson claims that the goal of social sciences should be to predict what will happen if society selects one course of action over another. The ideal should, in other words, be close to that of natural sciences. By this, he says, social sciences are doing badly (Wilson 1998: 181). It is a common position within social theory to give up the ideal of natural science to produce predictions. Social theory, it is said, cannot live up to these ideals, since its subject matter is far too complicated and has too many indeterminable variables. This was true and still is. But perhaps not forever. The expansion of chaos- theory within physics, biology, chemistry- and now also sociology- has made the differences between natural and social sciences smaller. It has become clear that com- plex systems exist both in the natural world and in the social world and that these systems have several similarities (Eve, Horsfall et al. 1997). Society is a complex sys- tem. Unfortunately complex and chaotic social systems are still not fully understood. We do know, however, that even complex systems display...

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