The definition of motivation is to give reason, incentive, enthusiasm, or interest that causes a specific action or certain behavior.
Motivation is present in every life function. Simple acts such as eating are motivated by hunger. Education is motivated by desire for knowledge. Motivators can be anything from reward to coercion.

Motivation is derived from motive. Motive means a drive or impulse within an individual that prompts him into action. It is a complex force that inspires a person at a work to willingly use his capacity for the accomplishment of certain objectives. It is something that impels a person into action and continues him in action with enthusiasm.

Dale S. Beach motivation is an inspirational process which impels members of a team to pull their weight effectively to give their loyalty to the group to carry out properly the tasks that they have accepted and generally to play an effective role in the job that the group has undertaken.

There are two main kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.

  • Definition of Motivation of the Extrinsic Kind
    Extrinsic motivation is external .It occurs when external factors compel the person to do something. Would include circumstances, situations, rewards or punishment, both tangible and intangible that participation in, results in an external benefit. Tangible benefits could include monetary reward or a prize. Intangible could include things like adoration, recognition, and praise.
  • Definition of Motivation of the Intrinsic Kind
    Intrinsic motivation is internal. It occurs when people are compelled to do something out of pleasure, importance, or desire. It includes involvement in behavioral pattern, thought process, action, activity or reaction for its own sake and without an obvious external incentive for doing so. A hobby is an example. If you are desirous of mastering public speaking for the sake of mastery and not any reward, you have experienced intrinsic motivation. In addition to forces that produce an actuation, there is a need to have the ability to fulfill the motivation. For example, a paraplegic may have the desire to get out of a wheelchair and walk, but lacks the ability to do so. A common place that we see the need to apply motivation is in the work place. In the work force, we can see motivation play a key role in leadership success. A person unable to grasp motivation and apply it will not become or stay as leader. Motivation is what propels life. It plays a major role in nearly everything we do. Without motivation, we would simply not care about outcomes, means, accomplishment, education, success, failure, employment, etc.

Motivation refers to the drive and efforts to satisfy a want or goal, whereas satisfaction refers to the contentment experienced when a want is satisfied. In contrast, inspiration is bringing about a change in the thinking pattern. On the other hand Manipulation is getting the things done from others in a predetermined manner.


  • Achievement Motivation
    It is the drive to pursue and attain goals. An individual with achievement motivation wishes to achieve objectives and advance up on the ladder of success. Here, accomplishment is important for its own sake and not for the rewards that accompany it.
  • Affiliation Motivation
    It is a drive to relate to people on a social basis. Persons with affiliation motivation perform work better when they are complimented for their favorable attitudes and co-operation.
  • Competence Motivation
    It is the drive to be good at something, allowing the individual to perform high quality work. Competence motivated people seek job mastery, take pride in developing and using their problem-solving skills and strive to be creative when confronted with obstacles. They learn from their experience.
  • Power Motivation
    It is the drive to influence people and change situations. Power motivated people wish to create an impact on their organization and are willing to take risks to do so.
  • Attitude Motivation
    Attitude motivation is how people think and feel. It is their self confidence, their belief in themselves, their attitude to life. It is how they feel about the future and how they react to the past.
  • Incentive Motivation
    It is where a person or a team reaps a reward from an activity. It is “You do this and you get that”, attitude. It is the types of awards and prizes that drive people to work a little harder.
  • Fear Motivation
    Fear motivation coercions a person to act against will. It is instantaneous and gets the job done quickly. It is helpful in the short run.

Motivation is very important for an organization because of the following benefits it provides:-

  • Puts human resources into action
    Every concern requires physical, financial and human resources to accomplish the goals. It is through motivation that the human resources can be utilized by making full use of it. This can be done by building willingness in employees to work. This will help the enterprise in securing best possible utilization of resources.
  • Improves level of efficiency of employees
    The level of a subordinate or an employee does not only depend upon his qualifications and abilities. For getting best of his work performance, the gap between ability and willingness has to be filled which helps in improving the level of performance of subordinates.
  • Leads to achievement of organizational goals
    Goals can be achieved if co-ordination and co-operation takes place simultaneously which can be effectively done through motivation.
  • Builds friendly relationship
    Motivation is an important factor which brings employees satisfaction. This can be done by keeping into mind and framing an incentive plan for the benefit of the employees.
  • Leads to stability of work force
    Stability of workforce is very important from the point of view of reputation and goodwill of a concern. The employees can remain loyal to the enterprise only when they have a feeling of participation in the management. The skills and efficiency of employees will always be of advantage to employers as well as employees. This will lead to a good public image in the
    market which will attract competent and qualified people into a concern. As it is said, “Old is gold” which suffices with the role of motivation here, the older the people, more the experience and their adjustment into a concern which can be of benefit to the enterprise.

Motivation is important to an individual as:

  • Motivation will help him achieve his personal goals.
  • If an individual is motivated, he will have job satisfaction.
  • Motivation will help in self-development of individual.
  • An individual would always gain by working with a dynamic team.

Similarly, motivation is important to a business as:

  • The more motivated the employees are, the more empowered the team is.
  • The more is the team work and individual employee contribution, more profitable and successful is the business.
  • During period of amendments, there will be more adaptability and creativity.
  • Motivation will lead to an optimistic and challenging attitude at work place

Negative motivational forces
Some managers believe that they can achieve results from their teams by shouting and swearing at them or by threatening them with disciplinary action. However, although this fear factor can indeed produce results, the effects will probably be much more short-term and will mean that staffs are not focused on achieving business objectives but rather on simply keeping their jobs! Alternatively, setting unrealistic targets can also have a negative impact – no matter how hard the team works, they cannot reach the target and therefore can become demotivated.

Positive motivational forces
There is a wide range of positive ways to motivate a team but it is important to remember that these should also be implemented fairly.

  • Offering rewards and incentives – bear in mind that rewards must be deserved and recognition should be given only to those who have earned it
  • Encouraging healthy competition – this can be advantageous but can also be detrimental when pitting staff against each other

Identifying individual motivational triggers
Each member of a team can respond in different ways to motivational factors – what drives some may in fact be what leads to poor performance in others! You can find out what motivates the team by:

  • Simply asking them individually – this shows your personal interest in them and that you value their input
  • Holding team meetings to discuss general opinions – this can also help to improve the team spirit
  • The completing of feedback forms or questionnaires – these should be confidential so that employees will be open and honest about their feelings towards company policies and procedures


Perhaps one of the most effective ways of motivating a team is to ensure that they understand and appreciate the aims of an organization and are supported by their managers in working towards the achievement of those aims. There are a range of motivational techniques that can be used to improve productivity, reduce workplace stress and increase self-confidence ;
These include the use of:

  • Positive imagery
  • Team-building activities
  • Training
  • Enhanced communication
  • Targets, rewards and incentives
  • Positive imagery
    Posting motivational themes and messages, in the form of slogans or quotes, can help to positively empower a team. By enabling them to visualize success, through the words of celebrities or industry professionals, they are more likely to be able to imagine similar success for themselves thus motivating them to improve their performance.
  • Team-building activities
    Despite mixed feelings about team-building activities, the fact that they encourage people to work together outside the office environment can be a definite advantage. They can encourage healthy competition and give each member of staff the opportunity to be on the winning team. Improving team relationships can result in increased productivity and morale,
    and can lead to a much happier and healthier working environment. Such exercises can also help in the resolution of pre-existing issues within the team. It is important that all teambuilding exercises are carefully balanced to ensure that they do not play to the particular strengths, or weaknesses, of employees but are designed instead to give everybody a chance of success.
  • Training
    People can be taught to become more motivated by showing them how to deconstruct tasks and challenges, and how to feel less intimidated by their job roles. Demonstrating to them how to cope in the workplace can lead directly to improved motivation.
  • Enhanced communication
    Communication does not only mean talking to your team but also listening to them. It is important to ensure their understanding of company objectives and their individual job roles but it is equally important to show them the importance of their feedback to the achievement of targets and standards.
  • Targets, rewards and incentives
    It is generally accepted that having targets to work towards, as long as they are realistic, is one of the most effective ways of improving performance. Hitting targets improves morale and self-confidence but remember that those who consistently underachieve will end up feeling demotivated. Target achievement can be rewarded not only with financial incentives but perhaps with the offer of increased responsibility or even promotion. Different people are motivated by different things so it is important to make sure that you offer the right incentives to the right member of the team.

There are a number of different views as to what motivates workers. The most commonly held views or theories are discussed below and have been developed over the last 100 years or so. Unfortunately these theories do not all reach the same conclusions!
There are two different categories of motivation theories such as content theories, and process theories. Even though there are different motivation theories, none of them are universally accepted.

Theory of Scientific Management – Frederick Winslow Taylor
Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856 – 1917) put forward the idea that workers are motivated mainly by pay. His Theory of Scientific Management argued the following: Workers do not naturally enjoy work and so need close supervision and control Therefore managers should break down production into a series of small tasks Workers should then be given appropriate training and tools so they can work as efficiently as possible on one set task. Workers are then paid according to the number of items they produce in a set period of timepiece-rate pay. As a result workers are encouraged to work hard and maximize their productivity. Taylor’s methods were widely adopted as businesses saw the benefits of increased productivity levels and lower unit costs. The most notably advocate was Henry Ford who used them to design the first ever production line, making Ford cars. This was the start of the era of mass production.

Taylor’s approach has close links with the concept of an autocratic management style (managers take all the decisions and simply give orders to those below them) and Macgregor’s Theory X approach to workers (workers are viewed as lazy and wish to avoid
responsibility). However workers soon came to dislike Taylor’s approach as they were only given boring, repetitive tasks to carry out and were being treated little better than human machines. Firms could also afford to lay off workers as productivity levels increased. This led to an increase in strikes and other forms of industrial action by dis-satisfied workers.

Elton Mayo
Elton Mayo (1880 – 1949) believed that workers are not just concerned with money but could be better motivated by having their social needs met whilst at work (something that Taylor ignored). He introduced the Human Relation School of thought, which focused on managers taking more of an interest in the workers, treating them as people who have worthwhile opinions and realizing that workers enjoy interacting together.

According to Mayo workers are best motivated by:

  • Better communication between managers and workers.
  • Greater manager involvement in employees working lives.

Working in groups or teams
In practice therefore businesses should re-organize production to encourage greater use of team working and introduce personnel departments to encourage greater manager involvement in looking after employees’ interests. His theory most closely fits in with a paternalistic style of management.

Hierarchy of Needs – Abraham Maslow
Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970) along with Frederick Herzberg (1923- ) introduced the NeoHuman Relations School in the 1950’s, which focused on the psychological needs of employees. Maslow put forward a theory that there are five levels of human needs which
employees need to have fulfilled at work. All of the needs are structured into a hierarchy and only once a lower level of need has been
fully met, would a worker be motivated by the opportunity of having the next need up in the hierarchy satisfied. For example a person who is dying of hunger will be motivated to achieve a basic wage in order to buy food before worrying about having a secure job contract or the respect of others.

A business should therefore offer different incentives to workers in order to help them fulfill each need in turn and progress up the hierarchy. Managers should also recognize that workers are not all motivated in the same way and do not all move up the hierarchy at the same pace. They may therefore have to offer a slightly different set of incentives from worker to worker. Maslow’s theory argues that individuals are motivated to satisfy a number of different kinds of needs, some of which are more powerful than others. The term prepotency refers to the idea that some needs are felt as being more pressing than others. Maslow argues that until these most pressing needs are satisfied, other needs have little effect on an individual’s behavior. In other words, we satisfy the most proponent needs first and then progress to the less pressing ones. As one need becomes satisfied, and therefore less important to us, other
needs loom up and become motivators of our behavior. Maslow represents this prepotency of needs as a hierarchy. The most proponent needs are shown at the bottom of the ladder, with prepotency decreasing as one progress upwards.

  • SELF-ACTUALISATION – reaching your maximum potential, doing you own best thing
  • ESTEEM – respect from others, self-respect, recognition
  • BELONGING – affiliation, acceptance, being part of something
  • SAFETY – physical safety, psychological security
  • PHYSIOLOGICAL – hunger, thirst, sex, rest

The first needs that anyone must satisfy are physiological. As Maslow says:
“Undoubtedly these physiological needs are the most proponent of all needs. What this means specifically is that in the human being who is missing everything in life in an extreme fashion, it is most likely that the major motivation would be the physiological needs rather than any others. A person who is lacking food, safety, love and esteem would probably hunger for food more strongly than anything else”.

Once the first level needs are largely satisfied, Maslow maintains, the next level of needs emerges. Individuals become concerned with the need for safety and security – protection from physical harm, disaster, illness and security of income, life-style and relationships.
Similarly, once these safety needs have become largely satisfied, individuals become concerned with belonging – a sense of membership in some group or groups, a need for affiliation and a feeling of acceptance by others.

When there is a feeling that the individual belongs somewhere, he or she is next motivated by a desire to be held in esteem. People need to be thought of as worthwhile by others, to be recognized as people with some value. They also have a strong need to see themselves as worthwhile people. Without this type of self-concept, one sees oneself as drifting, cut off, pointless. Much of this dissatisfaction with certain types of job centre’s around the fact that they are perceived, by the people performing them, as demeaning and therefore damaging to their self-concept.

Finally, Maslow says, when all these needs have been satisfied at least to some extent, people are motivated by a desire to self-actualize, to achieve whatever they define as their maximum potential, to do their thing to the best of their ability. Several points must be made concerning Maslow’s model of motivation. First, it should be made clear that he does not mean that individuals experience only one type of need at a time. In fact, we probably experience all levels of needs all the time, only to varying degrees. In many parts of the world, hunger is a genuine reality but we have all experienced the phenomenon of not being able to concentrate upon a job because of a growling stomach.

Productivity drops prior to lunch as people transfer their thoughts from their jobs to the upcoming meal. After lunch, food it not uppermost in people’s minds but perhaps rest is, as a sense of drowsiness sets in. Similarly, in almost all organizational settings, individuals juggle their needs for security (“Can I keep this job?”) with needs for esteem (“If I do what is demanded by the job, how
will my peers see me, and how will I see myself?”) Given a situation where management is demanding a certain level of performance, but where group norms are to produce below these levels, all these issues are experienced.

If the individual does not produce to the level demanded by management, he or she may lose the job (security). But if he or she conforms to management’s norms rather than those of the group, it may ostracize him or her (belonging) while the individual may see him or herself as a turncoat (esteem) and may have a feeling of having let the side down (self-esteem.) We do not progress simply from one level in the hierarchy to another in a straightforward, orderly manner; there is a constant, but ever-changing pull from all levels and types of needs.

A second point that must be made about Maslow’s hierarchy is that the order in which he has set up the needs does not necessarily reflect their prepotency for every individual. Some people may have such a high need for esteem that they are able to subordinate their needs for safety, or their physiological or belonging needs to these. The war hero springs to mind. There is little concern for safety or physical comfort as the seeker of glory rushes forward into the muzzle of destruction.

A third and very important point to be made about Maslow’s hierarchical model is the assertion that once a need is satisfied it is no longer a motivator – until it re-emerges. Food is a poor motivator after a meal. The point in this is clear for management. Unfortunately, many organizations and individuals still fail to get the message. Most incentive schemes are based upon needs that have already been largely satisfied. If management placed emphasis on needs that have not been satisfied, employees would be more likely to be motivated towards achieving the goals of the organization. Human behavior is primarily directed towards unsatisfied needs.

Finally, an important aspect of Maslow’s model is that it provides for constant growth of the individual. There is no point at which everything has been achieved. Having satisfied the lower needs, one is always striving to do things to the best of one’s ability, and best is always defined as being slightly better than before. There has been a great deal of debate over Maslow’s hierarchical concept of motivation. It has a basic attraction to most people because it seems to be logical, to make sense.

Dual-Factor Theory – Frederick Herzberg
Frederick Herzberg (1923- ) had close links with Maslow and believed in a two-factor theory of motivation. He argued that there were certain factors that a business could introduce that would directly motivate employees to work harder (Motivators). However there were also factors that would de-motivate an employee if not present but would not in themselves actually motivate employees to work harder (Hygiene factors)

Motivators are more concerned with the actual job itself. For instance how interesting the work is and how much opportunity it gives for extra responsibility, recognition and promotion. Hygiene factors are factors which ‘surround the job’ rather than the job itself. For
example a worker will only turn up to work if a business has provided a reasonable level of pay and safe working conditions but these factors will not make him work harder at his job once he is there. Importantly Herzberg viewed pay as a hygiene factor which is in direct contrast to Taylor who viewed pay, and piece-rate in particular

Herzberg believed that businesses should motivate employees by adopting a democratic approach to management and by improving the nature and content of the actual job through certain methods. Some of the methods managers could use to achieve this are:

  • Job enlargement – workers being given a greater variety of tasks to perform (not necessarily more challenging) which should make the work more interesting.
  • Job enrichment – involves workers being given a wider range of more complex, interesting and challenging tasks surrounding a complete unit of work. This should give a greater sense of achievement.
  • Empowerment – means delegating more power to employees to make their own decisions over areas of their working life.

There are two types of motivators, one type which results in satisfaction with the job, and the other which merely prevents dissatisfaction. The two types are quite separate and distinct from one another. Herzberg called the factors which result in job satisfaction motivators and those that simply prevented dissatisfaction hygienes
The factors that lead to job satisfaction (the motivators) are:

  • achievement
  • recognition
  • work itself
  • responsibility
  • advancement

The factors which may prevent dissatisfaction (the hygienes) are:

  • company policy and administration
  • working conditions
  • supervision
  • interpersonal relations
  • money
  • status
  • security

Hygienes, if applied effectively, can at best prevent dissatisfaction: if applied poorly, they can result in negative feelings about the job.
Motivators are those things that allow for psychological growth and development on the job. They are closely related to the concept of self-actualization, involving a challenge, an opportunity to extend oneself to the fullest, to taste the pleasure of accomplishment, and to be recognized as having done something worthwhile. Hygienes are simply factors that describe the conditions of work rather than the work itself. Herzberg’s point is that if you want to motivate people, you have to be concerned with the job itself and not simply with the surroundings.

In a medical sense, growth, healing and development occur as natural internal processes. They are the result of proper diet, exercise, sleep etc. Hygienic procedures simply prevent disease from occurring. They do not promote growth per se. Herzberg says that we should focus our attention on the individuals in jobs, not on the things that we surround them with. He maintains that we tend to think that growth and development will occur if we provide good working conditions, status, security and administration, whereas in fact what stimulates growth (and motivation to grow and develop) are opportunities for achievement, recognition, responsibility and advancement.

Herzberg goes further than Maslow, cutting the hierarchy off near the top and maintaining that motivation results only from some elements of esteem needs and self-actualization.

The Need for Achievement – David McClelland
The one single motivating factor which has received the most attention in terms of research is the need for achievement (n-ach). As a result, we know more about n-ach than any other motivational factor. Much of this knowledge is due the work of David McClelland of
Harvard. Individuals with a high n-ach have a number of distinctive characteristics which separate them from their peers. First of all, they like situations where they can take personal responsibility for finding solutions to problems. This allows them to gain personal
satisfaction from their achievements. They do not like situations where success or failure results from chance. The important thing is that the outcome be the result of their own skill and effort.

A second characteristic of high n-ach people is that they like to set moderately high goals for themselves. These goals are neither so low that they can be achieved with little challenge, nor so high that they are impossible. High n-ach individuals prefer goals that require all-out effort and the exercise of all their abilities. Once again, the achievement of this type of objective results in greater personal satisfaction. This phenomenon can be observed in very young children. A child may be given a game of ring toss, told that he or she scores whenever a ring lands over the peg and then left alone to play the game.

A third distinctive characteristic of high achievers is that they want concrete feedback on their performance. Only certain types of jobs provide this kind of feedback, however, and so some kinds of jobs are unattractive to high achievers. For instance, teachers receive only imprecise, hazy feedback as to the effectiveness of their efforts while production managers have a daily output chart to look at with either joy or disappointment.

There are some additional minor characteristics possessed by high achievers. They tend to enjoy travel, are willing to give up a bird in the hand for two in the bush and prefer experts to friends as working partners. The image is clear; the high achiever is a personality type suited admirably to certain jobs and not others. It would be wrong to treat all individuals as high achievers and attempt to motivate them by offering them challenging jobs, rapid and objective feedback on performance and personal responsibility for success or failure.

Expectancy Theory of motivation – Victor Vroom
Victor Vroom has challenged the assertion of the human religionists that job satisfaction leads to increased productivity. (This theory has been called the contented cow approach to management.) The assumption is that if management keeps employees happy, they will
respond by increasing productivity. Herzberg, in a delightful film of motivation, highlights the fallacy of this assumption with an interview between a manager and a secretary. The secretary is complaining about the job, and the manager lists all the things that have been done for the secretary – increases salary, new typewriter, better hours, status and so on – at the end of which she looks straight at him and asks, So what have to done for me lately?

The point may be made that satisfied needs do not motivate people Hygienes simply keep employees quiet for a time. For an individual to be motivated to perform a certain task, he or she must expect that completion of the task will lead to achievement of his or her goals. The task is not necessarily the goal itself but is often the means of goal attainment. Vroom defines motivation as:
“A process governing choices, made by persons or lower organisms, among alternative forms
of voluntary behavior.”

In organizational terms, this concept of motivation pictures an individual, occupying a role, faced with a set of alternative voluntary behaviors, all of which have some associated outcomes attached to them. If the individual chooses behavior 1, outcome A results; if 2 then B results and so on. However, Vroom makes the point that task goals (productivity, quality standards or similar goals attached to jobs) are often means to an end, rather than the end in itself. There is a second level of outcomes which reflect the real goals of individuals and these may be attained, in varying degrees, through task behaviour.

(Visited 165 times, 1 visits today)
Share this:

Written by