One of the most significant drivers for achieving workplace success is the ability to motivate your subordinates or employees. It has always been a challenge for supervisors and managers to understand what makes each employee get motivated as no two employees are alike. Several motivation theories have emerged over time. This paper is based on the scoping and synthesizing of literature. Even though the theories of motivation are well grounded in both empirical and theoretical literature within the management field, and particularly human resource management domain, this paper aims to re-emphasize the relevance of motivation theories in contemporary management. It also highlights how that understanding can help administrators in public institutions to motivate their subordinates to carry out tasks more effectively and efficiently. The paper argues that no one theory of motivation is more effective or efficient in generating a positive employee workplace attitude, but largely depends on how each motivation theory is applied within an appropriate organizational context. Other lessons for administrators in public institutions are highlighted.