Motivational Factors At Work And Performance Commerce Essay


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An online questionnaire was e-mailed to our available contacts working in a corporate setup at various positions, and in different departments. They were further encouraged to forward the same to their contacts who, according to them, would be suitable target population for the survey. The respondents were asked about how they approach their job, how much satisfied they found themselves with their current job scenario, and what was their perception about their own performance.

Findings: There is a Partial Mediation of Job satisfaction in the interaction between Motivation Type and Job Performance. An employee's position in the organization too affects the Motivation- Performance relationship.

Research Limitations/Implications: The method of online questionnaire was predominantly used for the purpose of this survey. Since this involves low level of interaction between the respondents and the researchers, the accuracy level of the answers is lower. It might have been possible that the respondents could not understand some parts of the questionnaire, or filled certain responses driven by social desirability bias. Secondly, our model links a single predictor to a single outcome via a single mediator. This may cause the underestimation of the relationship between these variable as there is a possibility of it being caused by more than one predictor, or affected by more than one mediators, or result in more than one outcome.

Thirdly, our model is unidirectional that is, it assumes the flow of the relationship to be from Motivation type to Job Performance. It is possible, as is discussed later in greater detail, that it is Job Performance which affects the Motivation Type of an individual.

Future research could be based on a more comprehensive model. It could also test the direction of the relationship and provide some sound empirical evidence in this connection. Also, there is always scope for increasing the sample size to get a more accurate response.

Practical Implications: The results can be used by HR Managers to design such performance appraisal systems, and compensation packages for the employees that meet their aim of motivating the employees to perform better.

Originality/Value: Ample research has been done to find the relation between Motivation and Job Satisfaction, Job Satisfaction and Job Performance, and Motivation and Job Performance. But to the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt at drawing a relation between motivation and job performance through job satisfaction, and also to study how this relationship is determined. This is a research gap that we sincerely hope our study would be successful in filling.

Keywords: Motivation Type, Job Satisfaction, Job Performance, Intrinsic Motivation, External Regulation, Integrated Regulation, Identified Regulation, Introjected Regulation, Amotivation.

Paper Type: Student research study paper.


In the recent times, much hype has been created about the high amounts of salaries paid to executives. The numerous newspaper articles (Economic Times, 23 January 2010) stand as a testimony to the fact. Most times, these high salaries are justified in terms of their ability to keep employees motivated (Agarwal. 2010). Clearly this justification assumes that a high salary that is monetary rewards can in fact motivate people and hence cause them to perform well. If this assumption is false, then organizations are unnecessarily spending huge amount of money on a futile purpose.

Some studies reveal that job satisfaction plays an important role in causing the employees to not leave their existing jobs, and hence they perform well on them (Allent A., Veena, and Talia, 2010). Our study builds on this revelation and goes on to find empirical evidence to support the relationship between motivation type of an individual and his level of job satisfaction such that it results in better performance.

Another dilemma faced by behavioral scientists and HR managers is that of the conflict between Agency Theory and Intrinsic Motivation perspective. The former asserts the tendency of employees to value their own interests over those of the organization, and thus lays the need to devise methods such as monitoring and incentive schemes to facilitate performance. This reminds one of McGregor's Theory X individual. Contrary to this, the intrinsic motivation perspective believes in the inherent desire of an individual to work well in order to be accepted and appreciated in the social context. It speaks about motivating people through intrinsic mechanisms. (Ren, 2010) This study also attempts to find an appropriate response to this dilemma.

Research Background and Hypothesis

Understanding Motivation - The Predictor Construct

Work motivation is understood as a set of energetic forces that originate both within as well as beyond an individual's being, to initiate work related behaviour and to determine its form, direction, intensity, and duration (Latham and Pinder, 2005). The attempt to study motivation behaviour at work was first made through Hawthorne studies. This was followed by an array of theories like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Herzberg's two factor theory, et cetera. Of late, the growing belief is that there are different types of motivation processes (Deci, 1992). It is broadly defined into the following three categories:

Extrinsic Motivation - Motivation caused by external factors such as perceived fairness of the monetary and promotional parts of the compensation system (Herpen, Praag, and Cools 2005)

Intrinsic Motivation - When people are involved in an activity for the sake of interest generated by the activity itself (Gagne and Deci, 2005)

Amotivation - Non-intentional behaviour or impersonal causation of motivation ((Deci, 1992)

Now, we have many theories prevalent as to what drives this motivation. Some researchers suggest that rewards do not harm intrinsic motivation (Eisenberger and Cameron, 1999). Some others maintain a neutral standpoint by simply saying that their studies have proved that workers working not-for-profit displayed much higher intrinsic motivation as compared to those working for-profit (Lanfranchi, Narcy and Larguem, 2010). While a third school strongly asserts that explicit incentive schemes are fruitless in the long run because they injure an individual's intrinsic motivation by reducing the inherent value of the task to him (Benabou and Tirole, 2003). It is because of this debate that the recent times have witnessed an increase in the efforts to measure an individual's motivation behaviour. The measurement aspect is discussed in greater detail when we mention the scale used by us for the same purpose. Many other tributaries of motivation types have flown out of the three basic ones discussed above.

In the perspective of the Hierarchical Model of Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation, it was concluded that motivation takes place within an individual at three hierarchical levels of generality: Global (Personality), Contextual (Life Domain), and Situational (State) (Vallerand, 2001). It is from here that we derive our moderator for this study.

Role of Moderator

The moderator we have chosen is - the respondent's position in the organization. We have derived this from the third hierarchical level mentioned above that is, Situational. Situation, according to the same article by Vallerand, refers to the here and now of motivation in the sense of the current state. We take the current position in the organizational hierarchy as the determinant of the current situation. Various researches have proved that there is an observed difference between motivation type displayed by employees at different levels. For example, the results of one study show that workers with low incomes in non-supervisory positions were most concerned with money, while workers with higher incomes and higher organizational positions were motivated more by the work and its quality (Rai, 2004). It has also been found that middle level managers are badly squeezed under work pressure, and their desire to move higher up in the organization ladder leads to an increasing loss in the sense of identity (Gebler and David, 2009). Clearly, such a different work environment is faced at senior levels. It is these conditions that an individual is subjected to, that affect his current motivation type. From the perspective of work motivation, we are only interested in current state of motivation because that is what naturally plays the biggest role in determining their performance. Thus, we have our first research hypothesis whose validity we seek to prove:

H1 = The impact of motivation type on job performance is contingent upon the position of the respondent in the organizational hierarchy.

Understanding Job Performance - The Outcome Construct

Performance is said to be viewed from three perspectives: the functions fulfilled, behaviours displayed, and roles performed by an employee; the traits and skills of an employee; and the decisions taken by the employee (Borman & Brush, 1993). The arena of job performance is constantly under the lens of the researchers. Newer methods of measuring and explaining it are constantly being created. One very interesting view adopted is that of contextual aspects of job performance. This notion believes that in addition to execution of certain tasks laid down by the job description, job performance also includes a series of other organizational activities (Arvey and Murphy, 1998). This notion is in line with the increasingly accepted empirically supported belief that performance is multidimensional in nature. For instance, following are the eight specific dimensions of job performance; these could also be understood as the concepts used to define Job performance as a concept: industriousness, thoroughness, schedule flexibility, attendance, off-task behaviour, unruliness, theft, and drug misuse (Hunt, 1996). In this manner, various other researchers have attempted to develop dimensions and ascribing them to performance, thus widening the domain of this construct.

Understanding Job Satisfaction - The Mediator Construct

Confirmation/ Disconfirmation paradigm is a widely accepted process to understand the possible ways in which an individual develops a feeling of satisfaction or dissatisfaction (Chowdhury, Roy and Ghose, 2008). Following are the three ways:

Confirmation: The case when actual outcomes just match up to the standard or benchmark level.

Satisfaction: The case when actual outcomes are better than the standard or benchmark level.

Dissatisfaction: The case when actual outcomes are much below the standard or benchmark level.

The same article also mentions that satisfaction level of an employee is affected by the number of years he has spent in the particular industry. According to this, the employees are classified in three categories: the honeymooners, the disgruntled midterm, and the experienced veterans. The first type are new to the industry and thus due to the excitement of newness of things, have very high satisfaction levels. The second type has spent some time in the industry and is now in the phase of dissonance regarding the processes and the way things are done. They have the lowest satisfaction levels among the three types. The third type has spent considerable time in the industry and has become used to the process, it has also learned ways to make the actual outcomes meet expectation. They are in a content state with regards to satisfaction.

Many questionnaires have been devised to measure the job satisfaction level of individuals. We'll discuss them shortly.

Relationship between Motivation Type and Job Satisfaction

It is widely believed, and also empirically upheld by various researchers that intrinsic motivation leads to job satisfaction (Saleh, Hyde 1969). The basic reasoning behind this belief is that a rational individual uses is known skills to the fullest extent in order to continuously pursue personal growth. At the same time there are studies which reveal that motivation to work on jobs with intrinsic characteristics leads to job satisfaction only in richer countries. On the contrary, motivation to work on jobs with extrinsic characteristics leads to satisfaction in all countries (Huang and Vliert, 2003).

 Our group has chosen to proceed with the former view that intrinsic motivation leads to higher job satisfaction. In addition to support from literature reviews, this agreement is also driven by intuition. The final literary support in favour of the hypothesis put forth based on this analysis comes from a study conducted in France where it was concluded that satisfaction can be enhanced by making monetary benefits attractive, but this in turn injures the employee motivation level. The author of this research paper called it a kind of Rejection Effect among employees which suggested that the level of their being excited about the benefits is inversely proportional to their level of motivation in work (Igalens and Roussel, 1999). Thus, we now propose our second hypothesis to be validated in the research:

H2 = There exists a positive relationship between the level of intrinsic motivation displayed by an employee and the level of satisfaction he derives from his job.


Relationship between Job Satisfaction and Performance

Studies on, effects of contingent reward on intrinsic motivation, work-life balance, effects of complex organizations on the attitudes and satisfaction and abilities of performance, etc. all in some way suggest the possibilities for growth in the relationship between Job satisfaction and Performance.

Job satisfaction is an essential way to make an employee perform. In his paper on Feedback, Baird says that every employee likes being recognized for his good work and expects some kind of award, either tangible or not. The want for this recognition, if adequately given, makes him perform even more, Thus, it is very important to make an employee feel satisfied at his workplace. Through his research he also says that Job satisfaction and performance are not related and not able to generate performance in case where no feedback is given even when the satisfaction level is high. On the other hand, jobs with low satisfaction levels but feedback generate performance.

Some researchers put forth the argument that satisfaction comes out of intrinsic rewards and feelings of achievement with nothing to be controlled by external agencies. But as per task characteristics by Lawler and Hackman(1969), performance leads to sense of accomplishment when the task is high on variety, identity, autonomy and feedback and thus, finally delivers satisfaction.

Green and Haywood (2007) in their article on Performance pay argue that, Performance pay is an instrument for generating satisfaction and finally performance. Though, the results may be negative too for poorly designed subjective systems, for risk averse employees, etc.

Thus, we can now state our third Hypothesis:

H3 : There exists a positive relationship between the level of job satisfaction received and the performance delivered by an employee.

Relationship between Motivation Type and Performance

Performance is a function of Motivation and ability. Vroom's Expectancy Theory also talks about Motivation and Management playing a critical role in the performance of an employee. Hackman and Lawler(1971) identified three psychological states of of a job to make it motivating: experienced Meaningfulness, experienced Responsibility for work outcomes and the knowledge of the results. The MPS( Motivating Potential Score) by Oldham and Hackman and SDT(Self-determination Theory) by Deci and Ryan, all emphasize on Motivation and its kinds since, it plays an important role in Job Performance.

Gillet , Rosnet and Vallerand(2009) speak about predicting the future performance of the players based on the Motivational Clusters the players have at the beginning of the season. This essentially is trying to sustain the argument for our next hypothesis:

H4 : There exists a positive relationship between the kind of Motivation received and the performance delivered by an employee.

Performance through Motivation with Job Satisfaction as the mediator- A Research Gap

We, through this research paper shall try to bridge the research gap on establishing the relationship between Motivation and Performance when Job Satisfaction acts as a mediator.

Thus, stating the Fifth Hypothesis:

H5 : The effect of Motivation Type on Job Performance is mediated by the Job satisfaction.



The Sample comprised of professionals from various industries including Information Technology, Manufacturing, HR Firms, Banking, etc. working at different levels, under different departments. They were essentially the industry contacts of the researchers and contacted through electronic mails. Questionnaires were sent to the respondents and the results thus, further worked upon.


The questionnaire calculated the value for the three constructs using the following information.

Motivational Behaviour: This has been measured by the Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale (WEIMS). WEIMS consists of 18 items which correspond to six types of motivation postulated by Self-Determination Theory (SDT), assigned different weights (Blanchard, Tremblay, Taylor and Pelletier). These motivation types are: intrinsic motivation, integrated, identified, introjected, and external regulations, and amotivation. SDT was given by Deci and Ryan, and it focuses on the "nature" of motivation of an individual, that is the "why" of the behaviour. WEIMS asks the participants to indicate the extent to which a given item represents the reason why they are presently involved in their work, on a 5-point Likert Scale. (Appendix A)

We had also considered using the Situation Motivation Scale (Guay, Vallerand and Blanchard) for this purpose. But WEIMS covers the motivation behaviours in greater and more exhaustive detail. Integrated Regulation and Introjected Regulation are two additional forms of Motivation Behaviours that are covered by WEIMS and not by SIMS. In addition to this, WEIMS has a wide applicability in varied organization scenarios.

Job Satisfaction: The scale to measure this was Brayfield & Rothe's (1951) index of overall job satisfaction.This instrument consists of 5 items which utilize a 5-point Likert Scale. (Appendix B)

Job Performance: Performance was measured using a self assessment version of Mahoney et al's (1963, 1965) nine-dimensional managerial performance rating scale. The nine dimensions include 8 sub-dimensions of performance and one single overall rating(Adler and Reid). (Appendix C)

General Information: This section required information about the participant. It also covered the aspects that act as moderators while analysing the results in the process of the study.

The CronBach Coefficient for the scales has been calculated using the responses to the questions and the SPSS Software. The values, as disclosed later were greater than .7 for all.

The study uses the Four step mediation method by Baron and Kenny.

Multiple Regression Analyses were carried out to understand the effect and interdependence of various constructs, with and without Moderation. The first Analysis is the Effect of Motivation Type on Job Performance with Job Satisfaction acting as the Mediator. Thereafter, Using the Moderator, Position in the organization, taking it as Senior Position, the Mediator effect is recalculated. Lastly, only for position as Junior, the Mediator effect is again calculated.


Referring to Table 1, all the constructs show a positive and strong correlation with each other, the highest correlation being between, Job Satisfaction and Motivation.



St Dev

Job Performance

Job Satisfaction


Job Performance




Job Satisfaction











() implies the CRONBACH's Value for the scale

Mediation without Moderation:








The Following Table 2, provide the different Statistical values calculated during the Multiple Regressions:




Moderator condition


Adjusted R2





Std Error

β stdz


Coeff Significance
















Job Satisfaction















Job Satisfaction














Job Satisfaction




































position senior












Job Satisfaction


position senior













Job Satisfaction

position senior













Job Satisfaction

position senior












position senior























position junior












Job Satisfaction


position junior













Job Satisfaction

position junior













Job Satisfaction

position junior












position junior






Step1: The Dependent Variable Job Performance is regressed against the Independent Variable, Motivation kind. The dependence is found to be significant with a R2 value of 23.9%, p<.001 and F=31.177. There is a possibility of Mediation, causing such great impact. The Hypothesis, H4 thus, stands true that Job Performance is directly affected by the Motivation Type.

Step2: The Dependent Variable, which is the mediator in the research proposition, Job Satisfaction is regressed against the predictor, Motivation. This also results in significance with p<.001, R2=38.3 % and F=62.945. Therefore, we can move ahead with the Analysis. The Hypothesis, H2 that Motivation type affects Job Satisfaction, stands true.

Step3: The Dependent Variable, Job Performance is regressed against the Mediator as a predictor to check the significance of the relation. The significance is again sustained with a regression of 20.1%, P<.001 and F=24.9. H3 stating that Job Satisfaction has a significant impact on Performance also is verified.

Step4: Finally the impact of both the independent Variables, Motivation and Satisfaction (as a mediator) is together regressed against the Dependent Variable Job Performance. The Test is still significant but less than that in Step1. The Unstandardized Beta has decreased by .062 implying a six percent lesser impact on Performance via the Moderator, thus, the Mediation effect. Beta value has too significantly gone down by 0.146.

Therefore, it can be said that there is Partial Moderation by Job Satisfaction for the interaction between Motivation Type and Job Performance. The Hypothesis, H5 stating that Motivation Type affects Job Performance, mediated by Job Satisfaction can be assumed to be true seeing the partial effect.

Moderator Affected Mediation

The Hierarchical Position of an Employee as to his Job Responsibility and accountability which come with the Level, affect the Motivation Type, the Job Satisfaction and thus, the Performance. The Moderator's affect is studied through another set of regression wherein only the employees in senior levels are considered for response and the scores.

Steps stated above are then repeated to find Mediation under Moderation.

It can be observed that, the Standardized Beta value comes higher for those in senior Positions, implying that the impact of Motivation is more on Performance for employees in senior positions. The Tests remain significant with B=.177, p<.001, F=6.432.

The Hypothesis, H1, stating that Motivation Type affects Job Performance, contingent on the position in the organization is thus, proved.

Discussion and Implications:

While earlier studies have strengthened the fact that Motivation and Performance are positively correlated, the research here not only supported the relation but also proved the mediating affect of Job Satisfaction. The Motivation sought by Human mind as broadly categorized above is converted to a motivation score which represents, Self Determination (Deci and Ryan), and it can be hereby concluded that this Motivation leads to Job Satisfaction in an employee, which eventually leads to Performance.

Although, the nature of mediation is partial, which can be explained as, there can be factors other than satisfaction which generate performance from a well motivated employee.

Out of the several kinds of Moderators, viz. Global, Contextual and Conditional, the one taken into account here, which could affect the constructs most is, the situational moderator of position. The position of an employee in an organization directly impacts what motivates him to work more and efficiently. As proven, for a senior level employee, the Job Performance affected directly or indirectly by Motivation, is more than that at a Junior Level. With the increase in responsibilities and autonomy, the Job satisfaction increases and thus, the performance is boosted.


The Research within its limitations and drawbacks, if any, has tried to point towards a way to answering the performance issues at workplace. A novel way to look at the performance could be to match the Motivation needs of the employee with the Job provided, so that this could lead to a condition of satisfaction at work and efficient Performance.

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