Meaning, Definition, Nature and Types of Motivation

Motivation Meaning

Motivation is derived from the word ‘motive’. Motive refers to the drives, needs, impulses, and wants within a person that induces him to continue in the course of action enthusiastically. 

Motivation may be defined as the complex process of stimulating a person to achieve desired goals and to perform actions by using his maximum capabilities for the achievement of certain objectives. It includes stimulating desires and needs in individuals to initiate and direct their behaviour in a purposive manner. It is a psychological phenomenon that arises from the feeling of the needs and wants of individuals. It causes goal-directed behaviour.

Motivation can be described as the driving force within people that drives them to perform actions. This driving force is generated by tension, which exists as a result of unsatisfied needs. Consciously and subconsciously people try both ways to reduce their tension through behaviour that they anticipate will fulfil their needs and thus free them of the stress they feel.

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Motivation Definition

According to Dalton E. McFarland, “Motivation refers to how urges, desires, drives, strivings, aspirations, or needs direct, control or explain the behaviour of human beings”.

According to S.P. Robbins, “Motivation is the willingness to exert high levels of effort toward organisational goals, conditioned by the effort and ability to satisfy some individual need”.

According to Likert, “Motivation is the core of management which shows that every human being gives him a sense of worth in face-to-face groups which are most important to him. A supervisor should strive to treat individuals with dignity and recognition of their worth”.

Nature of Motivation

The nature of motivation is as follows:

1) Psychological Concept: The person’s activation depends upon the perceived needs and expectations. The process of motivation, which is mainly concerned with desires, needs, expectations, satisfaction, and confidence, is a psychological phenomenon. The psychology of every person is different from others and therefore it is very difficult to ascertain in practice what methods and purposes will motivate a person towards desired goals.

2) Continuous Process: Human wants are unlimited. With the satisfaction of one want, another want of the higher order is created. Thus, new wants arise when the present wants are fulfilled. Moreover, all the wants cannot be satisfied at the same time, they are to be satisfied one after another continuously. So, motivation is a continuous and never-ending process.

3) Dynamic and Situational: The ideas, performance and aims all are dynamic. The things that motivate a person today may not motivate him tomorrow. His drives,  expectations, needs, and value judgment keep changing and hence the process of motivation is extremely dynamic. 

Motivation is also situational in a set of organisational climate, physical facilities, structure, and nature of work, a person may be deeply motivated, but any change in them may affect his motivation.

4) Not Easily Observed Phenomenon: The actions of a person can be observed and then we try to understand the actions which constitute his behaviour in terms of his underlying motivations and fulfilment. In this analysis, there can be many misunderstandings.

5) Goal-Oriented Process: Proper and effective motivation inspires people to contribute their best towards the realisation of their individual goals as well as organisational goals.

6) Influenced by Social and Cultural Norms: Social and cultural customs, values, and traits play an essential role in motivation. If society attaches respect, acceptance, and recognition to a job or organisation, a person is motivated toward that job or organisation.

Types of Motivation 

In General, there are two Types of Motivation.

  1. Positive motivation and 
  2. Negative motivation

Motivation can be classified on the following bases, some of the important types of motivation are as follows: 

  • Positive Motivation and Negative Motivation
  • Rational Motivation and Emotional Motivation
  • Primary Motivation and Secondary Motivation
  • Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation
  • Financial Motivation and Non Financial Motivation

1) Positive and Negative Motivation

i) Positive Motivation: 

It tries to create an optimistic and supportive environment in the organisation. Positive motivation is that such type of motivation that involves identifying an employee’s potential and making him realise the possible result by achieving his potential. People are said to be positively motivated when they are given a reward and shown the way to achieve it, compensation can be both financial or non-financial.

ii) Negative Motivation: 

An individual can get the desired work done by installing fear in the minds of other people. In this method of motivation, the fear of results always keeps the worker in the desired direction. This method has got several limitations. Fear produces frustration, a hostile state of mind and an unfavourable attitude towards the job which hinders productivity and efficiency. So the use of it should be kept to its lowest.

2) Rational and Emotional Motivation

i) Rational Motivation: 

Traditionally the term rationality is associated with persons who carefully weigh the pros and cons of all the alternatives and then choose the one that gives them the greatest utility. In the marketing context, we can say that consumers who are ‘rational’ will select the goals after learning many objective criteria such as weight, size, price, etc.

ii) Emotional Motivation: 

As against this emotional motive are those goals, which are selected based on emotion’s involvement. Usually, such goals are selected purely on personal or subjective criteria such as a desire for recognition of status, fear, pride, esteem, love, etc.

3) Primary Motivation and Secondary Motivation 

i) Primary Motivation: 

Primary motivation also known as biological motivation has a definite physiological basis and is biologically necessary for the survival of the individual or species. These arouse the behaviour of the organism in directions that lead to the required change in the internal environment.

The sources of biological motivational needs include increased/decreased stimulation (arousal), activating senses (taste, touch, smell, etc.), and decrease hunger, thirst, and discomfort.

ii) Secondary Motivation: 

Secondary motivation is learned motivation and is sometimes known as psychobiological motivation. They are not physiologically based. These are the reasons for the development of a personality. Secondary motives originate during our lifetime. They are gained and learned through our interaction with people. They are classified into two types which are social motives and psychological motives.

Social motive is those which motivates us to go out, interact with people and do the things that give a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction and psychological motives are individualistic in nature as they are related to self-security, self-freedom, self-exhibition, self-esteem, and self-assertion.

4) Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation 

i) Intrinsic Motivation: 

It refers to motivation that comes from inside of an individual rather than from any external or outside rewards, such as money or grades. People may work at a job because it gives them feelings of competence and a sense of personal control, the job is a subject of pride, doing the job is fun, the tasks are challenging, and so on. In this situation, the person is intrinsically motivated to do work.

Therefore, intrinsically motivated behaviours are ones for which there is no clear reward except the activity itself. People may be motivated by intrinsic needs, for example, the need for the satisfaction that accompanies performing meaningful, interesting, enjoyable or challenging work, a desire to belong to a social group, a sense of responsibility, self-esteem, success, creativity and making a difference in some way.

ii) Extrinsic Motivation: 

Extrinsic motivation refers to behaviour that is driven by external rewards and comes from the outside world. The tangible motivating factors are rewards such as grades or money and intangible rewards are praise or fame. These rewards provide happiness, fulfilment and satisfaction that the job itself may not provide. Extrinsic motivation drives the performance of an activity to gain a particular externally offered or required result. The motivation that leaders or managers create in people through their actions is extrinsic. People are motivated to do something or not to do it as a result of a leader’s or manager’s behaviour.

Motivation is not just a result of good leadership. People may be motivated to achieve the required results through bullying or fear to avoid unpleasant consequences. This is negative reinforcement. People may be motivated by the hope of extrinsic rewards, such as money recognition and other externally provided rewards and benefits. Extrinsic motivation entails a feeling of compulsion to do things for an external source to achieve a result that satisfies usually lower-order needs like money for survival.

Extrinsic motivation entails securing and seeking a reward to work. Extrinsic motivation occurs when an activity is rewarded by incentives that are not inherent in the task, i.e., extrinsic motivation is external to the individual; rewards such as money are presented for engaging in tasks.

5) Financial and Non Financial Motivation

The term ‘incentive’ means a temptation, which excites or motivates one to act in the desired direction. An incentive has a motivational power, it influences the decisions of people about putting efforts toward task completion. In modern organisations, various incentives are used to motivate people.

These incentives are of two types, as given below:

i) Financial Motivation: 

These are monetary in nature as they involve the flow of money from the organisation to staff. Examples of pecuniary benefits are wages, salaries, allowances, bonuses, fringe benefits, etc.

ii) Non Financial Motivation: 

Non financial incentives do not involve many financial commitments on the part of the organisation. They do not add to the monetary benefits of those who receive them. They take the form of job enrichment, participative management, praise, an opportunity for growth, etc.

Types of Motivation