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A Model of Human Motivation for Sociology


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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4. A Model of Motivation: Towards a Better Founding of Macro and Meso Level Theory 65


CHAPTER 4 A Model of Motivation: Towards a Better Founding of Macro and Meso Level Theory In this chapter an elaborate model of motivation will be constructed. As will be seen, the model draws heavily on core concepts from psychological theory. Psychology has been criticised by social scientists for being too narrow in its focus. The history of one individual's psychological development does not have ex- planatory power on the societal level (Liechty 1995: 21; Smelser 1998a: ch. 1). Since we cannot psychoanalyse every individual, psychoanalysis is not useful for the social sci- ences. The aim of this book is to refute this claim and to demonstrate the relevance of psychology for social sciences. There is much to be gained for sociology if a general model of motivation is developed {Alsted 1998). Having started this work, I found comfort and support for this idea in Doyal's and Gough's A Th~ory of Human N~~d Although I do not fully agree with their approach {see section: A Summation of the Model), I think they demonstrate the value of trying to generalise about human needs. In this chapter, therefore, we will have a close look at the human condition. This is done with the intention of improving our understanding of why we act as we do in organisations and society. Fineman has had much the same inspiration and claims that students of organisation can learn much from psychodynamic theory (Fineman 1993). In this chapter we will do just that: try to...

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