Intrinsic & extrinsic motivation

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Motivation is what keeps individuals moving towards specific goals and accomplishing them. Motivation is necessary in everyday life, specifically in the workplace. Without motivation businesses would not be able to produce quality products and services. Every business needs individuals that are motivated, employees that desire to accomplish their goal for the well being of themselves and the organization or company they work for. There are two types of motivation, they are intrinsic and extrinsic. This paper examines the relationship and some aspects of these types of motivators in the workplace.

Keywords: Intrinsic & Extrinsic Motivation

When it comes to employee motivation, it is not an easy task. The reason for this is that some employees are motivated when a reward is given and others feel it is a responsibility to perform well in their job. Some examples of motivation by reward are receiving money or some days off for accomplishing their duty. Also, an employee can be motivated out of responsibility. He or she may feel that their job is very important and that in order for the company to be successful, they need to perform their tasks. There are also situations where an employee might not be motivated by either responsibility or rewards. In this situation a supervisor or manager has to look at other ways to encourage the employee to perform his/her job. This becomes difficult since you don't want to de-motivate an employee when trying different approaches.

Motivated individuals are great for any type of organization. Employees that are motivated tend to stay away from trouble and they focus on their task. They are more productive and they make sure their finished product is of good quality because they are proud of what they are doing and truly believe that they have an important job. They will treat customers with respect, thus making an organization look good in the eyes of the public. Then there is the situation where there are non performing employees. These individuals usually tend to finish their tasks without checking for quality and usually can't wait for their shift to end. They don't participate or collaborate as a team and usually make a certain group or department look bad within an organization. This becomes a difficult situation for management. Management has to find ways to make these individuals look at their jobs in a different perspective and thus motivate them to perform well and in the same level as the other employees in the organization.

There are two main types of motivation, they are intrinsic and extrinsic. When an employee is intrinsically motivated, they view their job or position within the organization as important. They feel they have an important place in the organization and they will strive in accomplishing their goals. Intrinsically motivated employees look forward to be recognized for accomplishing tasks. These employees usually want a job that is new or challenging for them. When a new product or idea to improve the process comes up, they are usually the first ones that volunteer for the task. Having employees that are intrinsically motivated is good for any organization because they will usually be interested in their job for years to come.

The other type of motivator is extrinsic motivation. Extrinsically motivated employees usually are not satisfied with their job duties or tasks that management assigns to them. These individuals need some form of motivation in order for them to perform. When employees are extrinsically motivated, they expect that after accomplishing their goals they will receive some kind of incentive or reward. These rewards could be a pay increase, time off, bonuses, or gifts. This type of motivation is good but is limited. In time the organization might not be able to provide incentives because of budget reasons and as a result the extrinsically motivated employee might start underperforming. This is a situation where management might start using negative extrinsic motivation. Management might start pressuring employees to perform their jobs by threatening them with laying them off or cutting their pay. When this type of situation occurs, the morale of the rest of the group starts diminishing and thus job performance starts going downhill.

Throughout the years many individuals have studied different forms of motivation in order to understand and help employees perform well within an organization. In the second half of the past century, Herzberg, Mausner, and Snyderman's pioneering work on the model of motivational versus hygiene factors inspired countless studies on the relationship between intrinsic as well as extrinsic job characteristics and job satisfaction (Vliert, 2003). The weight of evidence from previous research seems clear: both intrinsic and extrinsic job characteristics are positively related to job satisfaction (Vliert, 2003). Another aspect of work motivation is the intrinsic-extrinsic distinction. The roots of the intrinsic-extrinsic distinction can be traced back to the work of the first contemporary cognitive theorists, Lewin and Tolman. Their work directed psychology away from an exclusively behaviorist, stimulus-response outlook, which considered all motivation to be extrinsic (Broedling, 1977). The intrinsic-extrinsic distinction grew out of a need to explain behaviors not easily accounted for within the extrinsic, behaviorist framework. The immense current popularity of the intrinsic concept attests to the fact that many aspects of human behavior are not extrinsic (Broedling, 1977). In the Organizational Behavior field, the effects of perceived contingencies have been stressed within the rubric of expectancy theory. Expectancy theory explains motivation as a function of how much an employee values the various potential outcomes of the job valence, whether one sees those outcomes as contingent upon job performance, and whether one sees oneself as able and willing to perform sufficiently well to obtain (or avoid) the relevant outcomes (Broedling, 1977). In organizational behavior the practical call for finding a more parsimonious organization of person characteristics and their influence on work motivation has important implications for theory development. Historically, personality is assumed to influence work motivation. In turn, motivation and abilities jointly influence job performance (Kanfer, 2009). Although substantial progress has been made delineating the structure and influence of person determinants on motivational processes and action, far less attention has been directed to studying situations or the context for motivation and action. At the most general level, context pertains to the circumstances or events that form the environment within which motivational processes and action takes place (Kanfer, 2009). The transition from an industrial to postindustrial economy in much of the developed world has set in motion a sea change in the defining features of the workplace. In contrast to manufacturing work dominant during the industrial era, the workplace today is increasingly no longer a single physical place where the individual performs routine job tasks, on a routine work schedule, for most of his/her adult life. Modern-day workers are less likely to work for the same or just a few organizations over the adult life span and may often perform job tasks at a variety of physical locations, on irregular work schedules, in the absence of a supervisor, and with a changing cast of coworkers and clients. Examples of change in the nature of work include healthcare employees who work irregular shift schedules; professional employees who work for at least part of the work week; and employees in marketing, military, and even manufacturing organizations who often work in self-governing project teams (Kanfer, 2009).

In conclusion, by viewing the intrinsic and extrinsic forms of motivation, I have a greater understanding of how an organization manages their employees to perform their job duties. In my opinion, I personally believe that intrinsic motivation is the best form of motivator in any organization. This is due to the fact that intrinsically motivated employees are interested and proud in performing their job. A company might be in financial problems and not be able to provide pay increases for some time and yet intrinsically motivated employees will perform their duties with a feeling of responsibility to help the company or organization succeed. On the other hand, extrinsically motivated employees might just quit or move to another department in their search for monetary rewards. Works Cited

  • Broedling, L. A. (1977). The Uses of the Intrinsic-Extrinsic Distinction in Explaining Motivation and Organizational Behavior. The Academy of Management Review , 267-276. (Retrieved from JSTOR)
  • Kanfer, R. (2009). Work Motivation: Identifying Use-Inspired Research Directions. Industrial & Organizational Psychology , 77-93. (Retrieved from Business Source Complete)
  • Vliert, X. H. (2003). Where Intrinsic Job Satisfaction Fails to Work: National Moderators of Intrinsic Motivation. Journal of Organizational Behavior , 159-179. (Retrieved from JSTOR)