How Do We Motivate Ourselves Commerce Essay


In everyday conversations, the word motivation is vaguely used. It is assumed that motivation is found only in successful people. It is thought that, motivation is an intense commitment of doing something, or it is a willingness to engage in particular set of activities. For instance, an employee who regularly spends half an hour more than his official job timings to finish work without being rewarded through overtime is said to be highly motivated. It is also common to believe that only few people have motivation, while others do not have it. However, the scholars across social sciences, such as sociology, psychology, and management sciences, have viewed, defined, and theorized about motivation somewhat differently from the conceptions of laymen.

Practitioners of social sciences view motivation as a force that energizes a behavior. Motivation is a drive, or a force that activates behaviors. Motivation makes it possible for humans to perform tasks consistently over period of time. For instance, typist whose lifelong work is to type and type must have a degree of motivation; otherwise he won't be able to maintain quality of his work. Contrary to the beliefs held by a lay person about motivation, scholars of social sciences argue that motivation is not limited to successful people. They contend that motivation is found in every human being. The factors that make an individual motivated are different. For example, some employees work hard to earn a promotion, while others value appreciation of managers, and of fellow workers. Motivation is not a behavior, not is it a level of performance. Motivation is an inner trait that triggers human actions, and behaviors, in order to satisfy a need, or achieve a goal.

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For instance, many employees work hard to receive a pay rise in order to better fulfill their economic needs. In the following paragraphs we offer a definition of motivation.

The literature offers several competing yet complimentary definition of motivation. The definition use work like ''need'', ''wish'', incentive'', ''drive'', ''desires'', ''motive'', and ''goals''. In the attempt to describe the nature of motivation, as a force having an inherent capacity to trigger human behaviors. In order words, individuals opt to behave of an incentive. In the following lines we shell highlight some definitions of motivation.

1.1 Definition of motivation

The processes that account for individual's intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal.

Motchell defines motivation as 'the degree to which an individual wants and chooses to engage in certain specified behaviors'.

Motivation is a process that starts with a physiological deficiency need that activates a behavior or a drive in aimed at a goal.

These definitions highlight the fact that motivation is a force, or a drive, behind human behaviors. It is a degree of intensity or willingness of an individual to engage in certain activates. In order to achieve goals, or satisfy needs. On the bases of these definitions, we can say that motivation has the following characteristics.

1.2 Characteristics and Factors of motivation


Motivation is an individual phenomenon. It is individuals who become motivated to achieve a goal, or satisfy a need. Motivation is individual also in a sense that different people are motivated by different things. There is no one formula of making everyone motivated. For example, singing a company song before starting work everyday may motivate few employs to work hard as they can for the company. On the other hand, it might be a laborious activity for other employees. This example shows that motivation is an individual phenomenon, and different things motivate different people.

1.2.2 Motivation is an intense pursuit of a goal

Intensity refers to a level of willingness or nonwillingness to carry out certain takes, or behaviors. In everyday conversation intensity is often used as a synonymous of motivation. When an individual desires to achieve a certain goal, for instance getting a salary increase, he works more diligently, to achieve this goal. Since his work so characterized by an aspiration of achieving a goal, as a consequence, his work would be full of intensity. This intensity is developed among employees because they want to achieve a certain goal. Hence we can conclude that intensity and pursuit of a goal are key factors influencing the degree of motivation among employees of any organization.

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1.2.3 Motivation is aroused by need, or an expectation

It is widely acknowledged that people become motivated when there is an unsatisfied need, or when they want to fulfill an expectation. This expectation could be of an individual from his own self, or it can be imposed on him by others. The needs that make individuals motivation can be various natures. These can be physiological as well as higher order needs. Some people enjoy and want because they enjoy what they are doing. As a result develop a positive self image. On the other hand some people work to maximize economic rewards. Expectations also play an important role in motivation individuals. An employee, who knows that his boss expects more from him, is likely to devote extra energy to his work. Self expectation also can increase the level of motivation. An employee believing that his work should be more productive is likely to give better outputs to the organization.

1.2.4 The ability of becoming motivated is found in everyone

Contrary to the general opinion held by people that only certain people have motivation; it is found in all individuals. As highlighted so far, the degree, and intensity of motivation is influenced by different factors. For instance, let us suppose an employee who does not like the way his boss treats him may not give good performance levels drastically improve. The scenario presented as an example above, illustrates it is not because an individual lacks an ability of being motivated, it is because of other factors, and in case of the present example situational factors that influence employee motivation. In short, all individuals have a capacity to be motivated. However the situations and factors that make them motivated vary from individuals to individual.

1.2.5 Motivation is influenced by intrinsic and extrinsic factors

Individuals are motivated by intrinsic factors as well as extrinsic factors. Sometimes the combination of both forms of factors motivates individuals. Intrinsic or internal factors mostly refer to psychological characteristics of individuals. They include the amount of interest an individual have in a given task. For instance how much an interest an employee has to work for a particular organization. Need is also an internal motivator. There can be several needs of employees, and it is not possible to identify a small group of needs, that is universally applicable, while attempting to understand the employee's needs. However commonly the needs of appreciation, the need of affiliation, and the need for self actualization has been identified as a motivating factors. No discussion on need as a motivating force can be complete without discussing the basic needs possess by every individual. These are physiological and security needs. In the economic system of modern societies these needs cannot be satisfied without money. All organization offer monetary reward to its employees in a form of salary along using several other motivating techniques. Extrinsic factors such as work environment, behavior of fellow workers and management, are also important factors influencing the degree, and intensity of motivation.

1.2.6 Different factors influence motivation in different cultures

While every human being blessed with a normal function mind has an ability to become motivated, the factors that make them motivated vary from culture to culture. For example employees working in cultures that value individuals are likely to be motivated by factors like opportunity for self growth, equality, and prestige. On the other hand, people living in collectivist cultures are likely to value benefits they can get from doing a job for their family. They also like to work in a harmonious environment and like to enjoy close relations with fellow workers.

1.3 Types of motivators

Simply put motivators are desires, or needs, that make an individuals motivates. For example, the need hunger motivates individuals to struggle to make sure that they can fulfill their need for food. Similarly the need for job security, keeps employees honest and committed to their work. Motivators can be divided into three types. These are primary motivators, general motivators, and secondary motivators. The most relevant motivators from the view point of organization behavior study are secondary motivators. In the following paragraphs, we briefly discuss primary and general motives. Then we would comprehensively discuss secondary motivators.

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1.3.1 Primary motivators

Primary motivators are also referred to as physiological, or biological, or unlearned motivators. There are two defining characteristics of these types of motivators. Firstly they are physiological in nature. Secondly they are unlearned. Most commonly recognized primary motivators are hunger, thirst, sleep, sex, and avoidance of pain. Since these motivators are universal and do not differ from societies to societies, and culture to culture, they are of less significance in organizational behavior study. They are treated as constant factors behind human behavior.

1.3.2 General motives

General motives are those motives which are unlearned but not physiological in nature. They are curiosity. Manipulation, activity, and feeling affection. The general motives are more relevant to the study of organizational behavior.

Curiosity, manipulation and activity motive.

The affection motive.

1.3.3 Secondary motives

The secondary motives are not physiologically based, nor are they unlearned. These motives are unquestionably the most important motives in the study of organizational behavior study. They are need for achievement, need for power, need for affiliation, need for security, and need for status.

1.4 Motivation and organizational behavior

The importance of employee motivation for organization:

Formal organizations have a hierarchy and division of labor is found in them. This means that people occupy different statuses, and positions in the organization. Also they have different skills, knowledge, and specialties. Formal organizations have well defined goal, and theoretically all employees are striving to achieve that goal. However, it is not easy to motivate employees to work with complete devotion and utilize all abilities to achieve organization goal. It is one of the difficult tasks for management of the organization to make employees motivated, and ensure they are giving their best to the organization.

The fact of an organization is usually determined by its employees. So it sounds logical to understand how employees can be motivated. So organizations can develop strategies of rewarding and motivating employees. Researchers have shown that all people cannot be motivated by similar thing. For example, two employees of a same organization, when ask would they prefer pay rise or better work environment, one might select pay rise, while other might opt for better work environment. Also different cultures value different things, so it is important to study what motivate people in different cultures. This knowledge is useful for organizations who work internationally.

In short, motivation of employees is a key determinant of success of any organization. The study of motivation is important as it provides management of an organization with necessary knowledge, and ideas of how to motivate employees.

2 Techniques of motivating employees

There are several techniques of motivating employees, and we will review some of them in the following pages. Techniques of motivation have been defined as any attempt on the part of the management and managers to ensure that their employees stay committed to the job, and strive to improve performance levels.

2.1 Recognition of superior performance

Several methods can be adopted to reward good performing employees. These methods can be tangible. For example, money, in form of bonus, or a salary razes. This reward can be intangible. For example, verbal appreciation of that employee. Recognition of performance has an impact on not only the employee who is performing well; it also tells other employees that they should also improve their performance.

2.2 Introduce healthy competition in organization

One other technique that management or managers can use to motivate employees is to introduce healthy competition in the organizations. These competitions can be of several types. For instance, a manager can give a same amount of work to two employees, and inform them that they must finish their work before the other. Also they can do the same with two teams of employees. However management should remain conscious of the fact that this competition should not take a form of conflict. This can be ensured by not offering very high rewards to the employees who have done well in the competitions. For example, offering a ten percent salary raze for the employee who has been most punctual in one month, may create an air of jealousy, and conflict in the organization. This is something that an organization must avoid at all costs.

2.3 Align organization goals with the goals of employees

Management should strive to spread a feeling in the organization that the goals of an organization are also goals of employees. For example, if a goal of car manufacture is to increase sales by Ten% an organization should try to make sure that this goal is shared by the employees. This can achieve by offering a portion of profits that a Ten% sales increase would give to the organization to employees.

2.4 Give incentives to employees

Giving incentives to employees is another technique of motivating employees. Simply put, incentives are a possible reward that an employee can strive to achieve. Incentives are not a reward as they serve a purpose of a possible benefit an employee would get. Obviously incentives are given to convince employees to increase their performance levels, or to achieve a goal. Example, of incentives are a possible doubling of salary, promotion to an executive post, providing housing or medical facilities, and receiving a large sum of money. Incentives are a useful motivating technique when a management wants employees to really work hard, or to achieve its goal in a short span of time. As it is believed that by presenting a big incentive an organization can quickly raze employee motivation, thereby performance.

3.0 Organizational reward systems

Organization reward their employees for their availability, competency and for work they do for the organization. Hence organizational reward can be defined as ''the return or benefit given by an organization to its employees for their contribution to the organization.'' This reward can be financial, i.e. in form of money. Management of organizations also reward employees for their efforts verbally i.e. by appreciating the employees performance.

3.1 Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards

The motivation literature classifies rewards into two distinct types. These are intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Extrinsic rewards are those which are external to the individual. Salary and housing facilities provided by an organization to the employees give examples of external rewards. Also prestige and power attached with a job is an example of external rewards.

Intrinsic rewards are internal to the individual. Examples of intrinsic rewards are enjoyment of doing a job, interest in the job and pleasure derived from doing work. Besides offering external rewards, organizations also attempt to make work of their employees intrinsically rewarding.

There is no general consensus in motivation literature on what rewards are most important in determining employee's performance. Some researchers have found intrinsic rewards to be of high significance, while others have given priority to extrinsic rewards. In reality, both of these types of reward go together. An organization cannot motivate its employees only by offering external rewards; it has to make sure that the work is intrinsically satisfying for the employees as well.

3.2 Types or organization reward system and their objectives

Organizations reward their employees for their membership and seniority, for their job status, for their competency, and for their performance. Each type of rewards has advantages and disadvantages. In the following paragraphs, we shall discuss in detail these rewards systems.

3.3 Membership and seniority based rewards

This reward system is not competency or performance based. In this reward system all members of an organization receive a fix hourly wage, or a monthly salary. As the seniority of members increases, they receive a pay rise. Many benefits are same for every member of the organization. For example, medical facilities.

Advantages and disadvantages

The member and seniority reward system has advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, it increases the number of job applicants. As the size of the reward i.e. salary, increases with seniority. Also in such a reward system, people do not feel afraid of losing a job as a result job security is higher. Considering the flexible and worker friendly nature of this reward system, employees are usually loyal with the organization.

3.4 Rewards based on job status.

In this reward system, employees are rewarded according to their job status. Jobs, that require more skill and effort, have more responsibility attach to it, and have difficult working conditions, have higher job status. High status jobs are placed in high pay grades. Evaluating jobs in term of their worth creates A hierarchy of jobs in organizations. Individuals having better job status enjoy financial benefits, as well as several facilities offer to them by the Organization.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

Giving employees rewards on the bases of job status has some advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that, this reward system motivates workers to complete with one another for higher status jobs. This creates an air of healthy competition in the organization. Secondly it maintains equality in the organizations. Employees placed in one pay grade according to job status receive a similar job status. It also maintains equality among genders. As both males and females receive a same salary if their job status is same. One another positive system is that it values good performance, unlike membership and seniority based system.

Like other rewards systems, rewards based on job status, has many Disadvantages as well. It rewards members, according to their skills, efforts, Responsibilities, and difficulties. This creates psychological tensions between Employees, and management, resulting in lack of communication. This Happens because every employee wants to improve his or her job status. Failure to improve job status can result in discontent, and low motivation in Employees. This system gives high priority to skills and effort. This Sometimes encourage employees to provide a wrong description of their Jobs. In attempt to improve their job status. Also sometimes employees claim Qualifications, and expertise they do not have.

3.5 Rewards on the bases of competency.

Competencies are skills, knowledge, and other underlying characteristics that Lead to superior performance. In this system of rewarding employees competent employees are more rewarded then less competent employees. The question arises how do organizations reward competent employees? Organizations limit the number of pay grades in the organization, and reward Employees according to their competency in their assigned jobs. This is done By creating a small number of groups in the organization. Employees with Least competence are place at the lower end of the hierarchy of the Organization, and employees with the highest competency are placed at the Top. Least competent employees are offered chances to improve their skills, and move upwards in the organizational hierarchy. For instance, clothing Retailer Eddie Bauer created three groups of employees. These being entry, Intermediate and specialist. Employees had the opportunity to improve their competence, and move upward in the organization.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

The competency system of rewards allows for employees flexibility. Because Employees learn many skills, they can perform different job as situations require. Organizations using this system of rewards can maintain a quality of their products. This due to the fact that workers have multiple skills, and they have a comprehensive understanding of work process. One another Advantage of their reward system is that, it provides a solution for continuously hiring and firing. For instance, if an employee leaves the Organization instead of hiring a new employee, an existing employee can be moved to fill vacant position.

Like any other system, this system is not without flaws. One obvious flaw is that measurement of competency is subjective. Particularly if personality Traits are being measured. This system also proves expensive for the organization. Because of the emphases on competency organization has to spend a lot on worker skill development.

3.6 Performance based rewards system.

The basic idea behind performance based system is simple to explain. However it is difficult to summarize in a short paragraph how this system is practiced around the world. Simply defined, in a performance based reward system, an employee is rewarded for his better performance. The complexity is how the reward is provided to the employee. Some organization offer a bonus, while others give a promotion, some organizations increase overall salary, and few organizations offer a lucrative pries such as a paid vacation at famous places of the world.

Advantages and disadvantages:

One advantages of performance based reward system is that it provides a Meaningful incentive for the employees to perform well. It also creates a Healthy competition in employees to perform well. By rewarding good Performance an organization is able to tell employees that must perform well if they want to have a better future in the organization.

Disadvantages of this system are that it creates a psychological conflict between workers. Fellow workers are not seen as fellow worker. Rather they are perceived as a potential threat to achieving a reward of Performance.

Summary, recommendation for managers, and conclusion:

At times, motivation is a complex phenomenon to understand. This is because variety of meanings attached to it by scholars, and by lay people. While it is impossible to present a definition of motivation on which everyone can agree. Motivation can be understand as a driving force that activates a Behavior. It is an intense pursuit of goal.

Try to higher competent people:

As a old saying goes, you can bring hoarse to water, but cannot make him drink it. Similarly organization can provide many incentives or rewards to employees. But if they are not competent to do a job at hand, nothing will work. Hence managers should always hire appropriate people for appropriate job.


In this paper we discussed motivation; we learned how motivation can determine the success of an organization. The techniques of motivation were discussed. Rewards system was discussed next. Followed bay summary of the paper, and recommendation for managers. This paper has illustrated that motivation is a difficult concept to explain. Also we do not know with certainty what factors motivate, and what do not motivate employees. Years and years of research have put together several factors that influence employee motivation. Even then we are not certain that particular method would be successful in improving employee motivation. This paper has asserted that intangible rewards are as important as tangible. In some cases intangible rewards outweigh tangible rewards. It is recommended that further work on motivation should continue this debate and if possible collect some empirical data for strengthening the argument.