Influence Of Intrinsic Motivation On Work Performance Education Essay

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This section of the paper sketches the history of intrinsic motivation investigations and presents the possible implications of the theoretical findings for working experience.

The well-established theory of human motivation is a self-determination theory (SDT) that has defined the concept of goal-directed behavior and is widely employed in research of motivation (Deci and Ryan 2000; Vansteenkiste and Sheldon 2006). This theory specifies the possible causes and outcomes of human success and identifies the general conditions that support or reduce the motivation. SDT concept of fundamental psychological needs provides the meaningful interpretation of research results in the area of intrinsic motivation which is considered to be a basic growth function. It seems to be reasonable to start to review the investigations on intrinsic motivation in terms of SDT.

2.1 Psychological needs and intrinsic motivation

The concept of intrinsic motivation has been explored since the early 1970's and was defined as a motivation inducing person to engage freely in such activity that is perceived to be interesting, challenging and novel. Since different investigations (Deci and Ryan, 2000) confirmed that intrinsic motivation leads to better efficiency and well-being a lot of studies are devoted to determination of conditions that intensify or weaken intrinsic motivation. In order to solve this problem first of all the most critical defining characteristic of the intrinsic motivation must be established. On the one hand if the activity is interesting it itself rewards intrinsically and do not require reinforcement. On the other hand the extent of interest is governed by the degree of need satisfaction the person feels while participating in such an activity. In other words intrinsically motivated behavior depends on the psychological needs and moreover it requires its satisfaction in order to be maintained although it is not necessarily directed at it. In the framework of this approach that was developed by (Deci and Ryan 2000, Gagne and Deci 2005) among the most essential needs the fulfillment of which facilitate the intrinsic motivation and interest the experiences of autonomy, competence and relatedness are distinguished.

According to studies by Deci and others intrinsically motivated behavior should be self-determined and when extrinsic introduction into such an activity occurs a person starts to feel controlled and stops to follow the inner interests. The external interference into personal autonomy can display itself in monetary rewards, control, threats, deadlines and so on diminishing the person's intrinsic motivation and having negative influence on creativity and problem solving by the worker. In contrast to it providing choice and freedom to the employer can increase the person's confidence and therefore support the intrinsically motivated behavior. When the person perceives the task as self-chosen, one becomes to be interested in it. That is why the fulfillment of need for autonomy is necessary for efficient functioning and providing the intrinsic motivation that was confirmed by intensive studies in real-world settings (Reeve and Deci 1996, quoted in Deci and Ryan 2000).

With respect to the need for the competence, the network of empirical results has shown that intrinsic motivation can be enhanced when the person has positive feedback. It means that when a person feel responsible for the efficient performance the positive evaluation of the work the person has done (it is called positive feedback) proves the competence and encourages the person. This satisfaction of the need for competence can have a great positive effect on the intrinsic motivation and productivity of the person whereas negative feedback that conveys incompetence weakens intrinsic motivation (Fisher 1978, quoted in Deci and Ryan 2000).

Theoretical research has also shown that in addition to autonomy and competence, relatedness seems to be a powerful tool to stimulate the intrinsically motivated behavior. Although when a person takes part in intrinsically motivated behavior it usually happens in isolation, nevertheless it is evident that if this activity is completely ignored and no interest is displayed to it at all the person starts to lose the intrinsic motivation. On the contrary, when the attempts to interact are made the person feels the external interest and becomes aware of the importance of the activity he/she is participating in. Relational support brings the sense of security and consequently enhances intrinsic motivation of the person.

Within SDT (Gagne and Deci 2005) intrinsic motivation contrasts sharply with extrinsic motivation that induces a person to engage in the activity in order to obtain an outcome that is separable from the activity. Extrinsically motivated person typically obtain less enjoyment from the activity itself.

The SDT detailed prescription for how to motivate people (intrinsically in particular) to work productively has obtained considerable confirmation in firstly in experimental studies (Deci, Koestner and Ryan 1999) and in different areas of human activity as business, education, parenting and sports (Deci and Ryan 2000, 2002).

2.2 Employee investment and intrinsic motivation

In recent studies (Kuvaas and Dysvik 2009), in which investment in employee development is widely discussed, SDT is integrated with social exchange theory. According to this investigation perceived investment in employee development (PIED) has a great influence on intrinsic motivation. First of all when the organization invests in employee development and employees can see the organization's interest in their long-term growth, the employees' need for relatedness can be satisfied. Second, if employees have possibilities to improve their competencies and skills the employees feel capable to manage their careers and increase their competitiveness on the labour-market. So, in such a way this kind of investment increases their satisfaction of the need for autonomy. Finally employees in which training organization invests have greater satisfaction of the need for competence then those, who have no possibility to develop their skills. The PIED fulfills above-mentioned needs that enhances intrinsic motivation and then improves perceived work climate. Dysvik and Kuvaas (2009) have observed that "the relationship between perceived training opportunities and both work performance and citizenship behaviours was fully mediated by intrinsic motivation" (Kuvaas and Dysvik 2009: 219).

According to Grant (2008) intrinsic motivation reinforces interplay between prosocial motivation and persistence, productivity and performance of employee. High-level intrinsic motivation arouses employees' autonomous prosocial motivation, since intrinsically motivated employees understand that good performance helps them to achieve self-selected goals since it brings enjoyment in working process and helping colleagues. On the other hand when employees experience weak intrinsic motivation they will percieve prosocial motivation as pressure-based and controlled. It can increase negative influence on work performance as a result of work enjoyment absence and increased stress level.

2.3 Human resources management with respect to intrinsic motivation

Kuvaas and Dysvik (2009) suggest that intrinsically motivated employees can get more from employee development then their weaker intrinsically motivated colleagues, because intrinsically motivated employee are expected to be more self-driven and more autonomous and to have higher level of responsibility and involvement in skills and competencies development process. Also it was noticed that only greatly intrinsically motivated employees increase their work performance due to performance appraisal. Therefore "intrinsic motivation completely mediates the relationship between PIED and work effort" (Kuvaas and Dysvik 2009: 232).

According to Kuvaas and Dysvik (2009) PIED and intrinsic motivation are related causally, that is why the results of this research can find important implications in practice. The organizations can use these theoretical findings to modify their human resources management towards intrinsic motivation. Particularly much attention should be focused on intrinsically motivated behavior characteristics such as job autonomy, feedback from working and task significance. The organizations in its turn should attach much importance to the process of employee recruitment with respect to the fact that employees should be capable to find sense in their work and must have potential to enjoy the working process in order to be motivated intrinsically in principle. And what also can be powerful is that HR policy should be directed towards employees' self-regulated behavior. It must be noted that these findings from theoretical research of PIED influence on intrinsic motivation are in very good agreement with STD.

2.4 Intrinsic motivation and creativity

Dewett (2007) in his study of intrinsic motivation in an R&D environment has demonstrated that intrinsic interest in employees work is foregoing cause for employee creativity.  This statement from practical point of view has meaning that in order to keep employees' creativity managers have to try not to weaken intrinsic motivation of the subordinates. Also it was suggested that risk taking mediates intrinsic motivation and creativity, because experimenting as example of risk taking increases interest in employees' work.

  Above discussed theory of intrinsic motivation allows to explain phenomena of open source software existence. The intrinsic motivation of a programmer for developing open source software is a combination of three motives:

"(a) the need for a particular software solution, i.e. the phenomenon of user-programmers,

(b) the fun of play, i.e. some form of homo ludens payoff, and

(c) the desire to give a present to the programmer community, i.e. a gift benefit." (Bitzer, Schrettl, and Schröder, 2007:162)

To summarize, investigation on intrinsic motivation has demonstrated that external control and the interference with autonomy tend to diminish the intrinsic motivation of the person whereas positive feedback and relational base tend to stimulate the intrinsically motivated behavior. So, the SDT concept of basic psychological needs (Gagne and Deci 2005) gives us a fundamental insight into the question of intrinsic motivation maintenance. The integration of SDT and social exchange theory (Kuvaas and Dysvik 2009) in its turn provides a better understanding of relationship between intrinsic motivation, perceived investment in employee development and different sides of work performance. In order to describe the overall picture of motivation influence on the person's productivity the scope of practical results that are obtained under the real-world conditions should be adduced and analyzed with regard to the different types of motivation. The practical aspects of causes, processes and outcomes of human motivation in organizations are discussed in the next sections of the paper.