Motivation is a term that refers to a process that elicits, controls, and sustains certain behaviors. For instance: An individual has not eaten, he or she feels hungry, as a response he or she eats and diminishes feelings of hunger. According to various theories, motivation may be rooted in a basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, goal, state of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with either volition or optimism.[1] Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.

History :

At one time, employees were considered just another input into the production of goods and services . But this changed after the Hawthorne Studies . The Hawthorne studies were conducted by Elton Mayo at Hawthorne Plant in the 1920's. The researches were studying the effect of different working environments on productivity. They used lighting as an experimental variable (the effect of bright lighting and dull lighting). Initially they noticed that employees were working harder but it was not because of the lighting. They concluded that productivity increased due to attention that the workers got from the research team and not because of changes to the experimental variable. Hawthorne studies found that employees are not motivated solely by money but motivation is linked to employee behaviour and their attitudes . The Hawthorne Studies began the human relations approach to management, so the needs and motivation of employees become the primary focus of managers.

Motivation concepts : Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on any external pressure. Intrinsic Motivation is based on taking pleasure in an activity rather working towards an external reward. Intrinsic motivation has been studied by social and educational psychologists since the early 1970s. Students who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to engage in the task willingly as well as work to improve their skills, which will increase their capabilities. Students are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they:attribute their educational results to factors under their own control, also known as autonomy,believe they have the skill that will allow them to be effective agents in reaching desired goals (i.e. the results are not determined by luck),are interested in mastering a topic, rather than just rote-learning to achieve good grades.

Extrinsic motivation refers to the performance of an activity in order to attain an outcome, which then contradicts intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are rewards like money and grades, coercion and threat of punishment. Competition is in general extrinsic because it encourages the performer to win and beat others, not to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity. A crowd cheering on the individual and trophies are also extrinsic incentives.Social psychological research has indicated that extrinsic rewards can lead to over justification and a subsequent reduction in intrinsic motivation. In one study demonstrating this effect, children who expected to be (and were) rewarded with a ribbon and a gold star for drawing pictures spent less time playing with the drawing materials in subsequent observations than children who were assigned to an unexpected reward condition.[citation needed] For those children who received no extrinsic reward, Self-determination theory proposes that extrinsic motivation can be internalised by the individual if the task fits with their values and beliefs and therefore helps to fulfill their basic psychological needs.


The self-control of motivation is increasingly understood as a subset of emotional intelligence; a person may be highly intelligent according to a more conservative definition (as measured by many intelligence tests), yet unmotivated to dedicate this intelligence to certain tasks. Yale School of Management professor Victor Vroom's "expectancy theory" provides an account of when people will decide whether to exert self control to pursue a particular goal.

Drives and desires can be described as a deficiency or need that activates behavior that is aimed at a goal or an incentive. These are thought to originate within the individual and may not require external stimuli to encourage the behavior. Basic drives could be sparked by deficiencies such as hunger, which motivates a person to seek food; whereas more subtle drives might be the desire for praise and approval, which motivates a person to behave in a manner pleasing to others.

By contrast, the role of extrinsic rewards and stimuli can be seen in the example of training animals by giving them treats when they perform a trick correctly. The treat motivates the animals to perform the trick consistently, even later when the treat is removed from the process.

Also Read : Common factor that Affects Motivation
Also Read : Motivation Theories

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