Motivation theories are based on various morals, beliefs, inspirations, and desires of individuals to act in a particular way. Human beings have certain needs, which drive or make them act in a certain way. The early human needed food for survival, for which he hunted, resulting in the development of a profession. Similarly, modern society is characterized by various complex needs, and people strive to get these fulfilled, which results in a certain behavioral pattern. Now, in order to keep oneself motivated to pursue a certain act, there are rewards, accolades, or personal satisfactions. Motivational theories are based on analyzing the psychology behind a course of action based on the above benefits or wants. Some of these theories of motivation are acquired needs theory, cognitive theory, goal setting theory, opposite emotions theory, equity theory in addition to many more.
A Brief Overview of the Interactionist Theory of Motivation
Interactionist theory is based on the assumption that people follow a particular way of living based on the inferences and conclusions drawn through social interaction. In short, it is these interactionist attitudes that inspire or influence people to act in a particular way. A person interprets society based on the type of people he meets, experiences he shares with others, and develops an outlook based on these encounters.
This theory focuses mostly on the study of a person's feelings and thought processes, and attempts to explain social behavior at large. It was ideologically proposed in the works of German scientist, Max Weber, as a thought, and not as a theory. However, significant events in society led to the classification of this thought process as an interactionist motivational theory. According to which, there can be no generalization of a society or labeling it forward, backward, progressive, or pessimistic. It strongly supports the idea that every individual can break free and have his or her own assumptions about a way of living, not necessarily influenced by the majority.
For example, in a largely capitalistic society, there can be a person who comes across several experiences, which make him believe that communism is much better system of governance. Thus, he can pursue or strongly advocate communist principles. In other words, his interactions with the societal conditions have motivated a strong dislike for the capitalist form of governance and a liking for communism. Thus, sociologically, interactionist theory can be interpreted as study of motivations of an individual and their motivation for a particular behavior, in a society.
This theory plays a vital role in understanding the behavior of an individual and provides an insight into the unknown. In case of a terrorist under inspection, interactionist theory can throw light on the factors and people that he came in contact with, which shaped his mindset. This study can further influence creation of positive thinking and a healthy environment for living, which would foster prohibition of anti-social activities.
The ideas outlined by this theory have become one of the most dominant perspectives of viewing the world. The idea that an individual is not bound by social limitations and free to live with his own mindset, is a part of the interactionist approach of thinking. Though the theory does not believe in making assumptions based on statistical data, it can certainly highlight the reason for inspiration of a particular behavior, on an individual level which serves as the single biggest advantage of this theory.