Motivation


Motivation is a term that refers to a process that elicits, controls, and sustains certain behaviors. Motivation is a group of phenomena which affect the nature of an individual’s behaviour, the strength of the behaviour, and the persistence of the behaviour. For instance: An individual has not eaten, he or she feels hungry, and as a response he or she eats and diminishes feelings of hunger. Motivation is a general term for a group of phenomena that affect the nature of an individual’s behaviour, the strength of the behaviour, and the persistence of the behaviour. There are many approaches to motivation: physiological, behavioural, cognitive, and social. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. 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. Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.
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. It is widely believed that motivation performs two functions. First one is often referred to the energetic activation component of the motivation construct. The second one is directed at a specific behaviour and makes reference to the orientation directional component. Motives can be divided into two types: external and internal. Internal motives are considered as the needs that every human being experience, while external indicate the presence of specific situations where these needs arise. 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. For those children who received no extrinsic reward, Self-determination theory proposes that extrinsic motivation can be internalized by the individual if the task fits with their values and beliefs and therefore helps to fulfill their basic psychological needs.
Motivational theories
Incentive theory
A reward, tangible or intangible, is presented after the occurrence of an action (i.e. behavior) with the intent to cause the behavior to occur again. This is done by associating positive meaning to the behavior. Studies show that if the person receives the reward immediately, the effect is greater, and decreases as duration lengthens. Repetitive action-reward combination can cause the action to become habit. Motivation comes from two sources: oneself, and other people. These two sources are called intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation, respectively.
Reinforcers and reinforcement principles of behavior differ from the hypothetical construct of reward. A reinforcer is any stimulus change following a response that increases the future frequency or magnitude of that response, therefore the cognitive approach is certainly the way forward as in 1973 Maslow described it as being the golden pineapple. Positive reinforcement is demonstrated by an increase in the future frequency or magnitude of a response due to in the past being followed contingently by a reinforcing stimulus. Negative reinforcement involves stimulus change consisting of the removal of an aversive stimulus following a response. Positive reinforcement involves a stimulus change consisting of the presentation or magnification of an appetitive stimulus following a response. From this perspective, motivation is mediated by environmental events, and the concept of distinguishing between intrinsic and extrinsic forces is irrelevant.
Applying proper motivational techniques can be much harder than it seems. Steven Kerr notes that when creating a reward system, it can be easy to reward A, while hoping for B, and in the process, reap harmful effects that can jeopardize your goals.
Incentive theory in psychology treats motivation and behaviour of the individual as they are influenced by beliefs, such as engaging in activities that are expected to be profitable. Incentive theory is promoted by behavioral psychologists, such as B.F. Skinner and literalized by behaviorists, especially by Skinner in his philosophy of Radical behaviorism, to mean that a person’s actions always have social ramifications: and if actions are positively received people are more likely to act in this manner, or if negatively received people are less likely to act in this manner.
Incentive theory distinguishes itself from other motivation theories, such as drive theory, in the direction of the motivation. In incentive theory, stimuli “attract”, to use the term above, a person towards them. As opposed to the body seeking to reestablish homeostasis is pushing it towards the stimulus. In terms of behaviorism, incentive theory involves positive reinforcement: the stimulus has been conditioned to make the person happier. For instance, a person knows that eating food, drinking water, or gaining social capital will make them happier. As opposed to in drive theory, which involves negative reinforcement: a stimulus has been associated with the removal of the punishment. The lack of homeostasis in the body. For example, a person has come to know that if they eat when hungry, it will eliminate that negative feeling of hunger, or if they drink when thirsty, it will eliminate that negative feeling of thirst.
Escape-seeking dichotomy model
Escapism and seeking are major factors influencing decision making. Escapism is a need to breakaway from a daily life routine whereas seeking is described as the desire to learn, gain some inner benefits through travelling. Both motivations have some interpersonal and personal facets for example individuals would like to escape from family problems (personal) or from problems with work colleagues (interpersonal). This model can also be easily adapted with regard to different studies.
Drive-reduction theory
There are a number of drive theories. The Drive Reduction Theory grows out of the concept that we have certain biological drives, such as hunger. As time passes the strength of the drive increases if it is not satisfied (in this case by eating). Upon satisfying a drive the drive’s strength is reduced. The theory is based on diverse ideas from the theories of Freud to the ideas of feedback control systems, such as a thermostat.
Drive theory has some intuitive or folk validity. For instance when preparing food, the drive model appears to be compatible with sensations of rising hunger as the food is prepared, and, after the food has been consumed, a decrease in subjective hunger. There are several problems, however, that leave the validity of drive reduction open for debate. The first problem is that it does not explain how secondary reinforcers reduce drive. For example, money satisfies no biological or psychological needs, but a pay check appears to reduce drive through second-order conditioning. Secondly, a drive, such as hunger, is viewed as having a “desire” to eat, making the drive a homuncular being—a feature criticized as simply moving the fundamental problem behind this “small man” and his desires.
In addition, it is clear that drive reduction theory cannot be a complete theory of behavior, or a hungry human could not prepare a meal without eating the food before he finished cooking it. The ability of drive theory to cope with all kinds of behavior, from not satisfying a drive (by adding on other traits such as restraint), or adding additional drives for “tasty” food, which combine with drives for “food” in order to explain cooking render it hard to test.
Cognitive dissonance theory
Suggested by Leon Festinger, cognitive dissonance occurs when an individual experiences some degree of discomfort resulting from an inconsistency between two cognitions: their views on the world around them, and their own personal feelings and actions. For example, a consumer may seek to reassure himself regarding a purchase, feeling, in retrospect, that another decision may have been preferable. His feeling that another purchase would have been preferable is inconsistent with his action of purchasing the item. The difference between his feelings and beliefs causes dissonance, so he seeks to reassure himself.
While not a theory of motivation, per se, the theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. The cognitive miser perspective makes people want to justify things in a simple way in order to reduce the effort they put into cognition. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, or actions, rather than facing the inconsistencies, because dissonance is a mental strain. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.
Need theories
Need hierarchy theory
The content theory includes the hierarchy of needs from Abraham Maslow and the two- factor theory from Hertzberg. Maslow’s theory is one of the most widely discussed theories of motivation.
The American motivation psychologist Abraham H. Maslow developed the Hierarchy of needs consistent of five hierarchic classes. It shows the complexity of human requirements. According to him, people are motivated by unsatisfied needs. The lower level needs such as Physiological and Safety needs will have to be satisfied before higher level needs are to be addressed. We can relate Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory with employee motivation. For example, if a manager is trying to motivate his employees by satisfying their needs; according to Maslow, he should try to satisfy the lower level needs before he tries to satisfy the upper level needs or the employees will not be motivated. Also he has to remember that not everyone will be satisfied by the same needs. A good manager will try to figure out which levels of needs are active for a certain individual or employee. The basic requirements build the first step in his pyramid. If there is any deficit on this level, the whole behavior of a human will be oriented to satisfy this deficit. Subsequently we do have the second level, which awake a need for security. Basically it is oriented on a future need for security. After securing those two levels, the motives shift in the social sphere, which form the third stage. Psychological requirements consist in the fourth level, while the top of the hierarchy comprise the self- realization So theory can be summarized as follows:
• Human beings have wants and desires which influence their behavior. Only unsatisfied needs influence behavior, satisfied needs do not.
• Since needs are many, they are arranged in order of importance, from the basic to the complex.
• The person advances to the next level of needs only after the lower level need is at least minimally satisfied.
• The further the progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality, humanness and psychological health a person will show.
The needs, listed from basic (lowest-earliest) to most complex (highest-latest) are as follows:
• Physiology (hunger, thirst, sleep, etc.)
• Safety/Security/Shelter/Health
• Belongingness/Love/Friendship
• Self-esteem/Recognition/Achievement
• Self actualization
Hertzberg’s two-factor theory
Frederick Hertzberg’s two-factor theory, a.k.a. intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, concludes that certain factors in the workplace result in job satisfaction, but if absent, they don’t lead to dissatisfaction but no satisfaction. The factors that motivate people can change over their lifetime, but “respect for me as a person” is one of the top motivating factors at any stage of life.
He distinguished between:
• Motivators; (e.g. challenging work, recognition, responsibility) which give positive satisfaction, and
• Hygiene factors; (e.g. status, job security, salary and fringe benefits) that do not motivate if present, but, if absent, result in demotivation.
The name Hygiene factors is used because, like hygiene, the presence will not make you healthier, but absence can cause health deterioration.
The theory is sometimes called the “Motivator-Hygiene Theory” and/or “The Dual Structure Theory.”
Herzberg’s theory has found application in such occupational fields as information systems and in studies of user satisfaction.
Alderfer’s ERG theory
Alderfer, expanding on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, created the ERG theory. This theory posits that there are three groups of core needs — existence, relatedness, and growth, hence the label: ERG theory. The existence group is concerned with providing our basic material existence requirements. They include the items that Maslow considered to be physiological and safety needs. The second group of needs are those of relatedness- the desire we have for maintaining important interpersonal relationships. These social and status desires require interaction with others if they are to be satisfied, and they align with Maslow’s social need and the external component of Maslow’s esteem classification. Finally, Alderfer isolates growth needs’ an intrinsic desire for personal development. These include the intrinsic component from Maslow’s esteem category and the characteristics included under self-actualization.
Self-determination theory
Self-determination theory, developed by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, focuses on the importance of intrinsic motivation in driving human behavior. Like Maslow’s hierarchical theory and others that built on it, SDT posits a natural tendency toward growth and development. Unlike these other theories, however, SDT does not include any sort of “autopilot” for achievement, but instead requires active encouragement from the environment. The primary factors that encourage motivation and development are autonomy, competence feedback, and relatedness.

Broad theories
The latest approach in developing a broad, integrative theory of motivation is Temporal Motivation Theory (TMT). Integrating theories of motivation. Introduced in a 2007 Academy of Management Review article, it synthesizes into a single formulation the primary aspects of several other major motivational theories, including Incentive Theory, Drive Theory, Need Theory, Self-Efficacy and Goal Setting. The original researchers note that, in an effort to keep the theory simple, existing theories to integrate were selected based on their shared attributes, and that these theories are still of value, as TMT does not contain the same depth of detail as each individual theory. However, it still simplifies the field of motivation and allows findings from one theory to be translated into terms of another.
Achievement Motivation is an integrative perspective based on the premise that performance motivation results from the way broad components of personality are directed towards performance. As a result, it includes a range of dimensions that are relevant to success at work but which are not conventionally regarded as being part of performance motivation. Especially it integrates formerly separated approaches as Need for Achievement with, for example, social motives like dominance. The Achievement Motivation Inventory is based on this theory and assesses three factors (in 17 separated scales) relevant to vocational and professional success.
Cognitive theories
Goal-setting theory
Goal-setting theory is based on the notion that individuals sometimes have a drive to reach a clearly defined end state. Often, this end state is a reward in itself. A goal’s efficiency is affected by three features: proximity, difficulty and specificity. An ideal goal should present a situation where the time between the initiation of behavior and the end state is close. This explains why some children are more motivated to learn how to ride a bike than to master algebra. A goal should be moderate, not too hard or too easy to complete. In both cases, most people are not optimally motivated, as many want a challenge (which assumes some kind of insecurity of success). At the same time people want to feel that there is a substantial probability that they will succeed. Specificity concerns the description of the goal in their class. The goal should be objectively defined and intelligible for the individual. A classic example of a poorly specified goal is to get the highest possible grade. Most children have no idea how much effort they need to reach that goal.
Models of behavior change
Social-cognitive models of behavior change include the constructs of motivation and volition. Motivation is seen as a process that leads to the forming of behavioral intentions. Volition is seen as a process that leads from intention to actual behavior. In other words, motivation and volition refer to goal setting and goal pursuit, respectively. Both processes require self-regulatory efforts. Several self-regulatory constructs are needed to operate in orchestration to attain goals. An example of such a motivational and volitional construct is perceived self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is supposed to facilitate the forming of behavioral intentions, the development of action plans, and the initiation of action. It can support the translation of intentions into action.

9 responses

  1. Pingback: Money Motivation Mythology « ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Impressive! FYI: I linked this to Money Motivation Mythology on ADDandSoMuchMore ( #2 in the What Kind of World do You Want series) – along with a comment that your article was info-dense.

    I welcome links to related content on blogs of like-minded spirits, btw. I don’t always have time to “make the rounds” before I post, so if you write something related to what I’m writing (or wrote previously), feel free to leave a link in the comments section. I’ll approve it, even if Akismet marks it as spam (as soon as I have time to sift, that is). Eventually, when I have the time for blog housekeeping, I’ll put the link IN the article (not everyone reads the comments).

    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, SCAC, MCC – (blogging at ADDandSoMuchMore and on ADDerWorld – dot com!)
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

  3. Pingback: 10 ways to greater happiness « Rightways's Blog

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