The Quality Of Motivation
Posted by Stephane Gaskin PhD on Oct 22, 2016
When asked about their goals, managers will often respond that their major objectives are to be able to increase performance, productivity and effectiveness. Only more rarely do we hear from them that their goal is also to increase employee satisfaction, reducing absenteeism, reducing counterproductive work behavior and to foster a sense of belongingness to the company in their employees. Yet, these and other factors are major determinants of the long-term success of any company.
The next question concerns the way in which these objectives can effectively be implemented. All too often, the answer to this question centers on various aspects of motivation. Although motivation is important, managers overly focus on the amount of motivation rather than the quality of motivation. But as far as motivation is concerned, more is not always better.
Quality Of Motivation: The Self-Determination Continuum
Psychologists Richard Deci and Edward Ryan, propose that quality of motivation falls in two major categories: extrinsic and intrinsic. This is shown in the figure above. The source of regulation for extrinsic motivation is external to the person. With extrinsic motivation, a person’s behavior is controlled by the prospects of external rewards, punishments or the praise of others. For example, an employee may be motivated to keep working simply because of the paycheck that comes at the end of the week and to avoid being reprimanded by management. This type of motivation is the most extreme form of extrinsic motivation and is said to be externally regulated. In the least extreme form of extrinsic motivation, workers are motivated, not only by the prospects of monetary rewards and to avoid being punished in some way, but because their work earns them the approval or admiration of others, which strokes their ego. This type of motivation is fueled by interjected regulation.
In contrast to extrinsic motivation, the regulation of intrinsic motivation is within the person. That is, the person’s behavior is less controlled by external factors and the person feels more autonomous. For example, in the case of identified regulation, the motivation of an employee does not only depend on rewards and punishments or on the approval of others but on the extent to which the worker values the work being performed and to which the goals of the company are agreed upon. To take it one step further, the goals of the company may not only be agreed upon by the worker but are also consistent with the employee’s own goals and values. In this case, there is an integrated regulation of the worker’s motivation. The most extreme form of intrinsic motivation is when a worker’s motivation is regulated by the enjoyment derived from the work performed. This is known as the intrinsic regulation of motivation.
Therefore, when it comes to motivation, the goal of managers should focus not on increasing the amount of motivation in their employees but to identify the type of regulation that fuels their motivation and to move them up the continuum. That is, from working just for the money and because they have no choice to as close as possible to doing something they enjoy.
Stephane Gaskin PhD
Latest posts by Stephane Gaskin PhD (see all)
- The Quality Of Motivation - 10/22/2016
- Goals, Wants and Needs; Hopes, Wishes and Dreams - 01/08/2016
- Goals that Lead to Happiness and Well-Being - 09/09/2014
- Procrastination and The Four Steps - 03/18/2014
- Dare to Compare: Social, Temporal and Dimensional Comparisons - 02/16/2014