Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Expectancy Theory, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and Cataloguing Departments

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Expectancy Theory, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and Cataloguing Departments

Article excerpt


This study of motivation and behaviour is the search to the perplexing question about the nature of Man. The problem of motivating other people is as old as man himself at least as old as that point in time when man found he could only accomplish certain tasks by combining his efforts with those of other individuals. The problem was further complicated when large number of people was needed to accomplish a given task. The situation then arose of providing direction that is, someone telling others what to do and overseeing their efforts. Then the matter of how to motivate other people became an issue.

A library is an Organization having the purpose of providing professional service to its users. All the library members of staff are the means by which these services will be provided. How well this service will be rendered will depend upon how well the various activities are carried out by staff of the library. How adequately these staff will perform will depend upon how well they have been motivated.

Expectancy Theory and Maslow's Hierarchy

An American psychologist named Edward C. Tolman formulated Expectancy theory in the 1930s. This theory suggests that human behavior will be motivated by the conscious expectation more than response to stimuli. The expectation will be that the action in prospect will lead to desired goal or outcome hence the name "Expectancy Theory".

If an individual worker for instance, needed more money to meet his needs, which according to Maslow are physiological, safety and security, social, esteem and self-actualization" and he is assured that if he works harder, he will receive more money to meet his needs. Then he/she can put in necessary time and effort to win the desired reward. Expectancy theory can also be used to explain another phenomenon. That is, an individual worker seems to adjust his own motivational levels to those of his/her colleagues and his acceptance by the group within and knows that exceptional output on a unilateral basis will anger his colleagues and disrupt the group norm of production.

But if the individual feels frustrated and unhappy, he will not make the maximum contribution to either the common task or harmonious relationship in the group, which will affects job performances as well as individual needs. That means, the group will fail in its task which infact intensify the disintegrative tendencies in the group and diminish the satisfaction of individual needs.

Adair (1996) suggested three areas of overlapping needs which are present in any working group. Specifically, he mentioned: (a) the need to accomplish the common task; (b) the needs of the group for unity; (c) and needs individual bring with them by virtue of being human beings.

The cycles are dynamic in the sense that each of them possesses its own motivational forces in a magnetic field, which it is the immediate work environment. These fields interact positively or negatively. So if there is a positive change in any one of them, the areas of needs will affect each other.

In the concern of general theory of the three interlaced circle, it can be seen how the meeting of individual needs affects the other areas.

What are these individual needs? To answer this question, one needs to study Maslow's hierarchy of need, which has been briefly discussed in this paper.

Cataloguing Departments

This is where library materials are catalogued, and classified (Olanlokun and Salisu 1993). It is in this department that other routine processing of materials are done before they are made available for public use. In a typical cataloguing department, three types of professional duties and host of other routine activities are carried out. These professional duties include descriptive cataloguing, subject cataloguing i.e. assigning subject headings and classification which also include assigning class mark. …

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