One of the most frequently cited definitions describes work motivation as “a set of energetic forces both inside and outside the individual’s being, to initiate work-related behaviors and determine their form, direction, intensity, and duration. ”
This is the application of a psychological understanding of the person’s motivated state. Young (1961) defines the study of motivation as “a search for all the determinants of human and animal activity”. For example, the desire to earn more is a motivation that evokes a person to work hard to achieve their goals and objectives.
Motivation is described as “one of the most fundamental concerns of modern organizational research. Like everything considered fundamental, motivation influences many other important issues within an organization: employee performance, employee retention, creativity, and problem-solving, and other actions, if we combine motivation with other measures such as commitment. Not surprisingly, motivational studies are the most sought-after topics in the area of organizational behavior. “
Jones (1965) said that motivation has to do with: why the behavior starts, is energized, sustained, directed, interrupted, and what kind of subjective reaction is present in the person when all of this happens. Work motivation refers to how hard a person has tried to work hard and well; refers to the excitement, direction, and persistence of effort in a work environment.
From these definitions, we understand it
- Motivation to work arises both from context (e.g., organizational reward systems, the nature of the work performed) and from the intrinsic strengths of the person (e.g., individual needs and motivations).
- But whatever its cause, the motivation is with the person; we cannot directly observe the motivation. We can only measure the observable manifestations of work motivation, which in itself is a complex psychological process.
- The application of the psychological knowledge of motivation must be combined with an understanding of the social side of the individual and the organizational needs of the results.
Motivated Behavior Features
Arousal and direction of the goal
Motivation is towards a goal. Whatever the goal, it can generally be classified into two types: to achieve something desirable (because it would lead to pleasure) or to avoid something undesirable (because that would lead to pain).
Models of motivated behavior and choice of goals
A change in our environment awakens behavior in all of us, but how then can we explain the difference in individual behavior? So the answer is that different people seek different goals and therefore a different set of behaviors to achieve those goals.
This choice can become an individual role model and is often repeated. For example, many of us desire a “good life”, but some believe that life is good when something is accomplished. Achievement thus becomes a fundamental goal for achieving the ultimate goal of a “good” (perhaps meaningful, happy and satisfying) life.
Intrinsic or extrinsic motivation
Intrinsic motivation pushes people to do something because they find spontaneous satisfaction in the activity itself and in the final goal it directly satisfies: it is a necessity in itself. Intrinsically motivated people engage in specific behavior because, for them, it is inherently fun, challenging, interesting, satisfying, or meaningful.
When an activity is an intrinsic motivator, the person sees it as an opportunity for new learning, making important contributions, enjoying responsibility and autonomy, and being creative.
Related Article: Intrinsic Motivation VS Extrinsic Motivation
Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, requires the offering of some results of an act, so that satisfaction comes not only from the activity itself but from the extrinsic results to which the activity leads. For an extrinsically motivated person, work is just a means that must be done to obtain the rewards associated with work, which can be money or something else. Extrinsic motivation is necessary because:
- The “right” intrinsic motivation is difficult for everyone to create
- Not all intrinsic motivations are always ethical or desirable
- Organizations need a common denominator for all efforts
Motivated behavior continues until the goal is achieved through sustained effort over time and in the face of obstacles and failures. Persistence helps us distinguish motivation from similar concepts, such as job satisfaction.
Related Article: Importance of motivation in our life
Although job satisfaction is an attitude with a behavioral component, it is possible to find satisfied people without motivation to work. On the other hand, it is also possible to find motivated workers who express dissatisfaction with various aspects of the job.
Individual, group and organizational level of analysis
Basically, motivation remained in the domain of individual behavioral dynamics. However, with the growing popularity of groups and teams as the basic unit of organization and performance, managers must understand and create group motivation and design work contexts that create and support group motivation.
Furthermore, in these times of major organizational changes, changes, downsizing, mergers and acquisitions, and cross-border alliances; Understanding organizational motivation can be very helpful.