Good example of significance of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators within the workplace essay


Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains behaviors that are goal-oriented. It is a biological, social, emotional, or cognitive process of causing individuals to act. It is an internal process that makes an individual act towards achieving a goal (THOMAS, 2002). Motivation can be described as the reason as to why most individual work or perform some acts. Like intelligence, motivation cannot be observed but can be inferred by noting or observing a person’s behavior (HERZBERG et al, 1993). It can be described as the process that explains an individual’s direction, intensity, and persistence of efforts towards achieving a goal.
Motivation comprises of persistence, activation or direction, and intensity, which are intentional components both to the motivator and the person being motivated. Intensity refers to the magnitude of effort an individual puts forth in achieving a goal. Persistence refers to the length or duration that the effort is maintained while direction implies the efforts that are channeled towards reaching the goal. The performance of an individual is a function of motivation and the ability to act or perform a task (FREY, 2002). Motivation can either be intrinsically or extrinsically generated, but the effect on individuals may be complex, sensitive to different conditions, and multi-faceted.


Intrinsic motivation involves performing or engaging into a task because it is rewarding. It is behavior driven by internal rewards rather than external rewards (THOMAS, 2002). The motivation to engage in behavior arises from within the individual rather than promises that may be attached to the behavior by external forces (HIAM, 2003). Intrinsic motivation allows an individual to enjoy an activity or view such an activity as an opportunity to learn, explore and actualize potentials. Intrinsic motivation is driven by factors such as self challenge, recognition, curiosity, self control, and competition or co-operation. It allows individuals to gain self esteem and respect and enables a comparison between an individual’s performances to that of others.
Extrinsic motivation refers to behavior driven by external forces such as rewards, praise, grades, money, promotion, employment security, fame or fringe benefits. The motivating factors are external, and provide pleasure and satisfaction that the activity itself may not provide. An extrinsically motivated employee works on a task even without passion or interest in it. The anticipated satisfaction of performing the task is what keeps the employee motivated in completing the activity (HIAM, 2003). Extrinsic motivation does not, however, imply that an employee may not get any pleasure from completing a task. It implies that the pleasure anticipated from an external force such as a reward continues to motivate the employee even when the task holds little or no interest.

Whether intrinsic or extrinsic, motivation within the workplace is what energizes, controls, and maintains behavior. It acts as a stimulus for producing desirable actions. However, different individuals are differently motivated; some may be intrinsically motivated while others may produce better results when extrinsically motivated than when intrinsically motivated. The performance of motivated employees is higher compared to the performance of employees who are not motivated (ARMSTRONG, 2009). This results to increased productivity, and reduced operation costs. Motivated employees opt to get more oriented to their job requirements than de-motivated employees.
Intrinsic rewards revolves around a self managed process that comprises of four steps; individuals committing to meaningful purposes, choosing the most appropriate way to fulfill such motives, performing the activities in a competent manner, and making sure that progress is achieved in every step to achieve the purpose (MULLINS, 2008).
Intrinsic motivation is, therefore, important as it creates a sense of meaningfulness to the employee (PINDER, 2008). When employees are intrinsically motivated, they feel that an opportunity has been provided for them to accomplish something, which they consider of real value. The employees feel that they are on the right path that is worth of their energy and time, and this provides then with a string sense of direction and purpose (GRIFFIN, 2012). The sense of meaningfulness allows for optimal production, and employee satisfaction.
Intrinsically motivated employees are also free to choose how to accomplish their assigned activities. This allows them to work according to their schedules, and minimizes pressure which may affect their productivity. When employees are left to have ownership of their work they become more responsible than when working under dictated schedules.
Intrinsic motivation also creates a sense of progress among the employees where they are encouraged to see their efforts yielding into something. The employees feel that their work is on track, and moving into the right direction (THOMAS, 2002). This gives them the zeal and the urge to continue investing in their efforts for self satisfaction. Intrinsic motivators also build on competence, which is a crucial element for organizational development (HERZBERG et al, 1993). Employees feel satisfied of their work, and gain pride on how they handle their tasks, and this gives them the drive and passion to continue adding their efforts and resources to their work.
In the modern society, work place motivation relies predominantly on extrinsic motivation. Most workers gain the urge to be productive from pay rises, bonuses, time off payments, and other benefits attached to performance. Such rewards induce interest and participation in activities that employees do not have an interest in, and this improves on their production. External rewards also act as a source of feedback from the employees in areas where the management need to improve in order to better their performance (HIAM, 2003). Extrinsic motivation also allows employees to acquire new knowledge and skills in efforts of accomplishing the activities.
Motivation, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, leads to employee stability that influences the reputation and goodwill of an organization. Motivation allows employees to feel loyal, needed, and as part of an organization. This allows them to work for the organization for much longer time. It improves the willingness of employees to continue working for the organization preventing the organization from incurring high costs of employee turnover (ARMSTRONG, 2009). This also creates a positive image of the organization, and this attracts qualified and competent personnel.
Motivation also reduces the resistance to changes in an organization. Companies have to incorporate new laws and structures in line with chancing markets and technology. With the help of well motivated employees, such changes are accepted, assimilated, and implemented fast, which allows for continuity (HERZBERG et al, 1993).
Motivation brings employees closer to an organization. Meeting the needs of the employees through rewards, promotion opportunities, and recognition, amongst others, makes employees develop an interest to an organization, and this improves on their attachment to the company (FREY, 2002). The employees develop an attitude that does not differentiate between the company’s interest and their self interests. This assists in developing a cordial relationship between the workers and management, which is crucial for organizational growth.
Motivation is a continuous process since it is based on needs that are in most cases unlimited. For organizational growth and increased productivity, the process of motivation has to be continued throughout the organization’s existence (PINDER, 2008). On the other hand, wants and needs differ amongst different employees; this is a crucial factor that the management would put into consideration if it is to keep a close contact with the employees.


Job design involves the allocation of work tasks to individuals according to their knowledge and skills, and organizational expectations. Allocating jobs means specifying on the contents, relationship of jobs, and methods to be used to satisfy the organizational requirements, as well as personal needs of the employees (WILSON, 2010). Different strategies can be applied to assist employers in designing job roles that take into account the motivational needs of their employees.
Employers need to clearly indicate their job expectations when recruiting. This can be done through brainstorming on all the tasks that an activity requires, duration, and required skills. This encourages only those who are qualified to apply for jobs and limits chances of deploying skills into wrong activities. Indicating the requirements that a job role entails only encourages individuals with the right skills and motivation to seek for the vacancies.
Employers should design job roles that are in line with organizational goals, as well as employee goals (MULLINS, 2008). The job roles should be designed in such a manner that they take advantage of how employees would like to spend their time, and their objectives (GRIFFIN, 2012). This should be in line with the organizational expectations. Such a structure will make the employee work with a passion, and with set goals, which have to be achieved.
Job roles need to be designed in a manner that empowers an employee. The employer should ensure that the roles have some autonomy that motivates employees in finding their own solutions instead of having to rely on established means (FREY, 2002). This discourages the employees from being idol or waiting to be supervised and told what to do. Job designs that allow individuals to develop solutions so long as they are compatible to the organizational goals make the employees empowered to face challenges. When such solutions are developed, the employees feel motivated to continue performing the activity to see its result.
The job designs should allow the employer to identify individual differences. Embracing the differences in needs that exist amongst employees assists an employer in determining their motivational requirements. Job roles should, therefore, be designed according to the expected employee needs (MINER, 2007). For instance, jobs that require high levels of skills should have higher payments than those requiring low expertise levels. Additionally, low rated jobs may require more training and motivation than those whish are highly ranked. Understanding such differences allow employers to design job roles that are in consideration of the employee motivational needs.
Employers should also allow employees to contribute and participate in designing the jobs and in developing job policies. By giving them such opportunities, the employees design the jobs that match with their needs. This also ensures that the employees develop policies that fit to the needs of the organization, and as thus they have to accomplish them (WILSON, 2010). When employees design the roles, they become increasingly responsible to achieve the goals attached.
Employees need to ensure that the job roles and their rewarding or motivational systems are linked towards the performance. The mode of motivation attached to a job, for example, a bonus, should be earned from performance. This enables the determination of a target or goal that every employee has to achieve in order to be recognized (MULLINS, 2008). Having such targets attached to a job role ensures that employees put on maximum efforts for recognition of their motivational requirements. Action plans may also be useful where the employees are allowed to develop their development plans in achieving the goals attached to a job role (GRIFFIN, 2012). Every employee should be encouraged to create an action plan, which should act as a control tool of the means used in achieving the intended goal.
Every job role should also have a unique performance appraisal system. A well structured performance appraisal allows for periodical assessments of the employees performance and productivity. Such appraisals assist in assessing the effectiveness of employees, and what needs to be done to improve on their performances (ARMSTRONG, 2009). It also assists the employer in determining the roles that are not well performed, and in getting feedback of their failures. Designing the job roles with pre-established performance assessment methods will encourage employees to work towards targets, and such performances may assist the employer in determining their differences in motivational needs.
Employers can also design job roles that improve on employee commitment in an effort to embrace individual motivations in the roles (WILSON, 2010). This may be achieved through goal setting as a tool to motivate employees. The employer can develop a goal setting technique that allows employees to discover their accountability in a positive manner, and how to improve on their commitments. The roles should be designed to encourage positive accountability, and to empower employees to accept accountability in their roles.


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