Motivation and Work Performance

Topics: Motivation, Reward system, Behavior Pages: 8 (2403 words) Published: November 28, 2012
Research Questions

How does the different types of motivation impact work performance? Is there a relationship between specific type of motivation and work performance?


Motivation is not just a one-step concept. According to Krause, Bochner & Duchesne (2003) “Motivation involves the processes that energize, direct and sustain behavior. It can be thought of as an internal process that activates guides and maintains behavior overtime.” Intrinsic motivation can be defined as motivation based on taking pleasure in an activity rather than working towards an external reward. According to Akanbi (2001), people who are intrinsically motivated will be committed to the work to the extent to which the job inherently contains tasks that are awarding to them. Data around intrinsic motivation was first acknowledged within experimental studies of animal behavior. Deci and Ryan (2000) explain that scientists discovered that many organisms engage in exploratory, playful, and curiosity-driven behaviors even in the absence of reinforcement or reward. Furthermore, Deci and Ryan (2000) further note that “these spontaneous behaviors, although clearly bestowing adaptive benefits on the organism, appear not to be done for any such instrumental reason, but rather for the positive experiences associated with exercising and extending ones capacities.” Some scientists argue that intrinsic motivation exists in a natural form, or state, at birth. Deci and Ryan (2000) note, “ From birth onward, humans, in their healthiest states, are active, inquisitive, curious, and playful creatures, displaying a ubiquitous readiness to learn and explore, and they do not require extraneous incentives to do so.” This leads to the idea that humans, at birth, begin to complete such activities like attempting to walk, talk and touch things due to intrinsic motivation. Kaplan et al (2007) agree with the above research “Intrinsic motivation is clearly visible in young infants,

that consistently try to grasp, throw, bite, squash or shout at new objects they encounter. As a result, humans continue to grow and are intrinsically motivated to acquire hobbies like solving puzzles, reading and/or dancing.

As maintained by some researchers, intrinsic motivation is not something that exists on its own; rather it can be diminished or improved by different factors. According to Deci and Ryan (2000), there are three psychological needs that motivate the self to initiate behavior and specify nutriments that are essential for psychological health and well-being of an individual. These needs are said to be universal, innate and psychological and include the need for competence autonomy, and psychological relatedness, forming the Self-Determination theory (SDT) (Insert source). Through SDT, motivation can then be viewed as a process that is taking place at a unit rather than a broader concept that encompasses all tasks. For example, a person could be intrinsically motivated to complete a particular task at a particular moment. On the other hand, a person could never be intrinsically motivated to complete a task at any given moment. Furthermore, Deci and Ryan (2000) further explain that the Cognitive Evaluation Theory (CET) specify the factors in social contexts that produce variability in intrinsic motivation. They state “CET, which is noted to be a sub-theory of SDT, contends that interpersonal events and structures that conduce toward feelings of competence during action can enhance intrinsic motivation for that action because they allow satisfaction of the basic psychological need for competence” (Deci & Ryan, 2000, p.58). Based on the CET actions like positive feedback, freedom of choice and recognition can actually increase intrinsic motivation. On the other hand, negative feedback, threats and tangible rewards can decrease intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is what many deem as the...

References: Akanbi, P. (2001). Influence of Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation on Employees’ Performance. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley, 2010. p 172. Retrieved from:
Bjorklund C (2001)
Thomas, K. W. (2002). Intrinsic motivation at work: Building energy and commitment. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
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