Adams Equity Theory

The Equity Theory on job motivation, created by a psychologist known as John Stacey Adams, has been circulating since 1963. They theory talks about how employees who feel they are being treated fairly are likely to do more or better work than those who do not.

Treat me like an equal, I’ll work like an equal; treat me in an inferior manner, I will work in an inferior manner.

In short, the theory focuses on input versus output. It’s a a game of give and take and your employees will alway be trying to figure out if their efforts are worth the rewards they’ve been given (if you’re giving a reward at all).

You may think that the salary and benefits you agree to give a person should be enough to encourage him to do his job. The truth is that many people get to work and feel as though they’re constantly being asked to go above and beyond the call of duty and, at a very minimum, complete tasks that are not part of their job descriptions. Therefore, the average person does not feel his salary matches the work that he does.

Employees look to be treated fairly and equitably at all times. There are dozens of things you can do to make your employees feel valuable, from rewarding them with bonuses to buying them lunch or giving them extra incentives for extra work or a job well done.

First, however, you need to take a look around you. Are your employees happy? Do they feel as though they’re being treated fairly? Find out now – before they all resign and you’re looking for a string of replacements.

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 30 November, 2009

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