Motivation is the  set of reasons  that determines one  to  engage in a particular behavior.   The term is generally used for human motivation but,  theoretically,  it can be used to describe the causes for animal behaviour as well.  According to various theories,  motivation may be rooted in the basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure,  or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting,  or a desired object,  hobby goal,  state of being,  ideal,  or it may be attributed to less-apparent  reasons such as altruism,  morality, or avoiding mortality.

The  definition of motivation is to give reason,  incentive,  enthusiasm,  interest that causes specific action or certain behavior.  Motivation is  present in every life function.   Simple acts such as eating  are  motivated by hunger.   Education is motivated by desire for knowledge.   Motivators can be anything from  reward to coercion.

There are two main kinds of motivation : intrinsic and extrinsic.  Intrinsic motivation is internal.  It occurs when people are compelled to do something out of pleasure,  importance,  or desire.  Extrinsic motivation occurs when  external factors compel the person to do something.   However,  there are many theories and labels  that serve  as sub tittles to the definition of motivation.  For example.  “I will give you a candy bar if you clean your room.”   this  is an example of reward motivation.

A common place that we see the need to apply motivation is in the work place.  In the work force,  we can see motivation play a key role in leadership success.   A person unable to grasp motivation and apply it will not become or  stay a leader.   It is critical that anyone seeking to lead or motivate understand “Howletts Hierarchy of Work Motivators”.

Salary, benefits, working conditions,  supervision, policy, safety, security, affiliation, and relationships are all externally motivated needs.  These are the first three levels of ‘Howletts Hierarchy”  When these needs are achieved,  the person moves up to level four and then five.  However,  if  levels one through  three are not met,  the person becomes dissatisfied with their job.  When satisfaction is not found,  the person becomes less productive and eventually quits or is fired.  Achievement,  advancement,  recognition,   growth,  responsibility,  and job nature are internal motivators.   These are the last two levels of “Howletts Hierarchy.”    They occur when the person motivates themselves (after external motivation needs are met.)   An employer or leader that meets the needs on the “Howletts Hierarchy”  will see motivated employes and see productivity increase.   Understanding the  definition of motivation,  and then applying it,  is one of the most prevalent challenges facing employers and supervisors.  Companies often spend thousands of dollars each  year  hiring outside firms just to give motivation  seminars.

Another place motivation plays a key  role is in education.  A teacher that implements motivational techniques will see an increased participation,  effort,  and higher grades.  Part of the teachers job is to provide an environment that is motivationally charged.   This environment accounts for  students who lack their own internal motivation.  One of the first places people  being to set goals for themselves is in school.  Ask any adult:  “What is the main thing that motivates you.”    Their  answer will most likely be goals.   Even the simplest things in life are the result  of goal setting.   A person may say,  “I want to save 300.00 for a new T.V  Well, that is a goal.  School is  where we are most likely to learn the correlation between goals,  and the  definition of motivation.  That correlation is what breeds success.`


1.  The Incentive Theory of Motivation

A reward, tangible or intangible,  is presented after the occurrence  of an action (i.e., behaviour) with the intent to cause the behavior to occur again.  This  is done by associating positive meaning to the behavior.   Studies  show that if the person receives the reward immediately,  the  effect would  be  grater,  and decreases as duration lengthens.  Repetitive action-reward combination can cause the action to become habit.   Motivation comes from two things;  you,  and other people.  There is extrinsic motivation,  which   comes from others,  and intrinsic motivation,  which comes from within you.  Applying proper motivational techniques can be much harder than it seems.  Steven Kerr notes that when creating a reward system,  it can be easy to  reward  A, while hoping for B, and in the process, reap harmful effects that can jeopardize your goals.

Rewards can also be organized as extrinsic or intrinsic.  Extrinsic rewards are external to the person;  for example,  praise or money.  Intrinsic rewards are internal to the person; for example, satisfaction or a feeling of accomplishment.

Some authors distinguish between two forms of intrinsic motivation:  one based on enjoyment,  the other on obligation.   In this context,  obligation refers to motivation based on what an individual thinks ought to be done.    For  instance, a feeling of responsibility for a mission may lead to helping others beyond what is easily observable,  rewarded,  or fun.

A reinforcer is different from reward,  in that reinforcement is intended to create a measured increase in the rate of a desirable behavior following the addition of something to the environment.



Intrinsic motivation occurs when people engage in an activity,  such as  a hobby, without  obvious external  incentives.  This form of motivation has been studied by social and educational psychologists since the early 1970s.   Research  has found that it is usually associated with high educational achievement and  enjoyment by students  Intrinsic motivation has been explained by Fritz Heider’s attribution theory,  Bandura’s work on self-efficacy, and  Ryan and Deci’s cognitive evaluation theory.

Students are likely to be intrinsically  motivated if they :

  • attribute their educational results to internal factors that they can control (e.g. the amount of effort they put in).
  • believe they can be effective agents in reaching desired goals (i.e., the results are not determined by luck).
  • are  interested in mastering a topic, rather than just rote-learning to achieve good grades.

In knowledge-sharing communities and organizations,  people often cite altruistic reasons for their participation,  including contributing to a  common good,  a moral obligation to the group,  mentorship or ‘giving back’.   In work environments, money may provide a more power full extrinsic factor than the intrinsic motivation provided by an enjoyable workplace.

In terms of sports,  intrinsic motivation is the motivation that comes from inside the performer.  That is, the athlete competes for the love of the sports.


Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the performer.   Money  is the most obvious example,  but coercion and threat of punishment are also common extrinsic motivations.

In sports,  the crowd may cheer the performer on,  and this motivates him or her to do well.  Trophies are also extrinsic incentives.   Competition is often extrinsic because it encourages the performer wo win nd beat others,  not to enjoy the intrinsic  rewards of the activity.

Social psychological research has indicated that extrinsic rewards can lead to over justification and a subsequent reduction in intrinsic motivation.   Extrinsic incentives sometimes can weaken the motivation  as well.  In one  classic study done by green and lepper,  children who were lavishly rewarded for drawing with felt-tip pens later showed little interest in playing with the pens again.


The self-control of motivation is increasingly understood as a subset of emotional intelligence,  a person may be highly intelligent  according to a more conservative definition (as measured by many intelligence tests),  yet unmotivated to dedicate this intelligence to certain tasks.   Yale School of Management professor “Victor Vroom’s “expectancy  theory” provides an account of when people will decide whether to exert self control to pursue a particular goal.

Drives and desires can be described as a deficiency or need that activates behaviour that is aimed at a goal or an incentive.   These are thought to originate within the individual and may not require external stimuli  to encourage the behaviour.  Basic drives could be sparked by deficiencies such as hunger,  which motivates a person to seek food;  whereas more subtle drives might be  the desire for praise and approval,  which motivates a person to behave in a  manner pleasing to others.

By contrast,  the role of extrinsic rewards and stimuli can be seen in the example of training animals by giving them  treats when they perform a trick correctly.   The treat motivates the animals to perform the trick consistently,  even later when the treat is removed from the process.


A. Drive reduction theories:

There are  a number of drive theories.  The Drive Reduction Theory grows out of the concept that we have certain  biological needs,  such  as hunger. As time passes the strength of the drive increases as  it is not satisfied   then as we satisfy that drive by fulfilling its desire,  such as eating the drive’s strength is reduced.  It is based on the theories of Freud and the idea of feedback control systems,  such as a thermostat.

There are  several problems,  however,  that leave the validity fo the Drive Reduction Theory open for debate.   The first problem is that it does not explain how Secondary Reinforcers reduce drive.   For example,  money does  not satisfy any biological or psychological need but reduces drive on a regular  basis through a pay check second-order conditioning.  Secondly,  if the drive  reduction theory held true we would not be able to explain how a hungry human being can prepare a meal without eating the food before they finished cooking it.

However,   when comparing this to a real life situation such as preparing food, one does get hungrier as the food is being made (drive increases),  and after the food has been consumed the drive decreases.   The only reason the food does not get eaten before is the human element of restraint  and has nothing to do with drive theory.  Also,  the food will either be nicer after it is cooked,  or it won’t be  edible at all before  it is cooked.


Suggested by Leon Festinger,  this occurs when an individual experiences some degree of discomfort resulting form an incompatibility between two cognitions.   For example, a consumer may seek to reassure himself regarding a purchase,  feeling,  in retrospect,  that another decision may have been preferable.

Another example of cognitive dissonance  is when a belief and a behavior are in conflict.  A person may wish to be healthy,  believes smoking is bad for one’s health, and yet continues to smoke.


1.   Need hierarchy theory

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs theoryis the one of the most widely discussed theories of motivation.

The theory can be summarized as follows:

Human  beings have wants and desires which influence their behaviour.   Only  unsatisfied needs influence behavior,  satisfied  needs do not.   Since needs are many,  they are  arranged in order of importance,  from the basic to the complex.

The person advances to the next level of needs only after the lower level need I at least minimally   satisfied.

Further the progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality,  humanness and psychological health a person will show.

The needs, listed from basic (lowest,  earliest) to most complex (highest,  latest)  are as follows:

± Physiological

± Safety

± Belongingness

± Esteem

± Self  actualization


Frederick Herzberg’s  two-factor theory,  aka intrinsic/extrinsic motivation,  concludes that certain factors in the workplace result in job satisfaction,  but if absent,  lead to dissatisfaction.

The factors that motivate people can change over their lifetime,  but “respect for me as a person”  is one of the top motivating factors at any stage of life.

He distinguished between :

Motivatrs;  (e.g.  challenging work,  recognition,  responsibility)  which give positive satisfaction,  and

Hygiene factors; (e.g. status, job security,  salary and fringe benefits)  that do  not motivate if present,  but,  if absent,  result in demotivation.

The name  Hygiene factors is used because,  like hygiene, the presence will not make you healthier,  but absence can cause health deterioration.    The theory is sometimes called the “Motivator-Hygiene Theory”.

3.  Alderfer’s ERG theory :

Clayton Alderfer,  expanding on Maslow’s  hierarchy of needs,  created the ERG theory (existence,  relatedness and growth).  Physiological and  safety,  the lower order needs,  are placed in the existence category,  while love and self esteem  needs  are placed in the relatedness category.  The growth category contains our self-actualization  and slef-esteem needs.

4.  Self-determination theory:

Self-determination theory,  developed by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan,  focuses on the importance of intrinsic motivation in driving human behavior.  Like Maslow’s  hierarchical theory and others that built on it,  SDT posits a natural tendency toward growth and development.  Unlike these  other theories,  however,  SDT does not include any sort of “autopilot”  for achievement,  but instead requires active encouragement from the  environment.   The primary factors that encourage motivation and development are autonomy,  competence feedback,  and relatedness.


1.  Goal-Setting Theory

Goal-setting theory is based on the notion that individuals sometimes have a drive to reach a clearly defined  end state.   Often,  this end state is a reward in itself.   A goal’s  efficiency is  affected by three features:  proximity,  difficulty and specificity.  An ideal goal should present a situation where the time between the initiation of behaviour  and the end state is close.  This explains why some children are more motivated to learn how to ride a bike than mastering algebra.  A goal should be moderate, not to hard or too easy to complete.  In both  cases  most people  are not optimally motivated,  as many want a challenge (which assumes soe kind of insecurity of success).

At the  same time people want to feel that there is a substantial probability that they will succeed.   Specificity concerned the description of the goal in their class.  The goal should be objectively defined and intelligible for the individual.    A classic example of a poorly specified goal is to get the highest possible grade.   Most children have no idea how much effort they need to reach that goal.

Douglas Vermeeren, has done extensive research into why many people fail to get to their goals.  The failure is directly attributed to motivating factors.   Vermeeren states that unless an individual can clearly identify their motivating  factor or  their significant and meaningful reasons they wish  to attain the goal,  they will  never  have the power to attain it.

2.  Models of  Behaviour change

             Social-cognitive models of behavior change include the constructs of motivation and volition.  Motivation is seen as a process that leads to the  forming of behavioral intentions.  Volition is  seen as a process that leads from intention to actual behavior. In other words, motivation and volition refer to goal setting and goal pursuit,  respectively.  Both processes require self-regulatory efforts.   Several self-regulatory constructs are needed to operate  in orchestration to attain  goals.  An example of such a motivational and volitional construct is perceived self-efficacy.  Self-efficacy is supposed to facilitate the forming of  behavioral intentions,  the development of  action plans,  and the  initiation of action.   It can support the translation of intentions into action.

3.   Unconscious motivation

Some psychologists believe that a significant portion of human behavior is energized and directed  by unconscious motives.  According to Maslow, “Psychoanalysis has often demonstrated that the relationship between a conscious desire and the ultimate unconscious aim that underlies it need not be at all direct.”   In other words,  stated motives do not always match those inferred by skilled observers.  For example,  it is possible that a person can be accident-prone because he has an unconscious desire to hurt himself and not because he is careless or ignorant of the safety rules.  Similarly,  some overweight people are not hungry at all for food but for attention and love.   Eating is merely  a defensive reaction to lack of attention.  Some  workers  damage more equipment than others do because they harbor unconscious feelings of aggression toward authority  figures.

Psychotherapists point out that some behavior is so automatic that the reasons for it are not available in the individual’s conscious mind.  Compulsive cigarette smoking is an example.  Sometimes maintaining self-esteem is so  important and the motive for an activity is  so threatening that it is simply not recognized and,  in fact,  may be disguised or repressed.  Rationalizatioin,  or “explaining away”,  is one such disguise,  or defense mechanism,  as it is called.   Another  is projecting or attributing one’s own faults to other.  “I feel I am to blame”,  becomes  “it is her fault;  she is selfish”.  Repression of powerful but  socially  unacceptable motives  may result in outward behavior that is the opposite of the repressed  tendencies.  An example of this would be the employee who hates his boss but overworks himself on the job to show that he holds him  in  high regard.

Unconscious motives add to the hazards of interpreting human behaviour  and, to the extent that they are present,  complicate the life of the administrator.   On the other hand, knowledge that unconscious motives exist  can lead to a more careful assessment of behavioral  problems.  Although few contemporary psychologists deny the existence of unconscious factors, many do believe that these are activated only in  times of anxiety and stress,  and that in the  ordinary  course of events, human behavior – from the subject’s point of view – is rationally purposeful.

Intrinsic motivation and  the 16 basic desires theory :

Starting from studies involving more than 6,000 people, Professor Steven Reiss has proposed a theory that finds  16 basic desires that guide nearly all people behavior.

The desires are:

  1. Acceptance,  the need for approval
  2. Curiosity,  the need to thin
  3. Eating,  the need for food
  4. Family, the need to raise children
  5. Honor, the  need to be loyal to the traditional values of one’s Clan/ethnic group.
  6. Idealism,  the need for social justice
  7. Independence, the need for individuality
  8. Order, the need for organized,  stable,  predictable environments
  9. Physical Activity, the need for exercise
  10. Power, the need for influence of will
  11. romance
  12. Saving, the need to collect
  13. Social Contact,  the need for friends (peer relationships)
  14. Status,  the need for social standing/importance
  15. Tranquility, the need to be safe
  16. Vengeance,   the need to strike back.

In this model,  people differ in these basic desires.  These basic desires represent intrinsic desires that directly  motivate people behaviour,  and not aimed at indirectly satisfying other desires.  People may also be motivated by non-basic desired,  but in this case this does not relate to deep motivation,  or only as a means to achieve other basic desires.

The Advantages of Motivation

Many experts have taken into consideration the very role that motivation has for creating positives situations and last but not least for creating personalities.  Indeed,  the procedures that motivation uses in order to accomplish its goals  are based on the actual aims of the parts involve in the process.

Motivation  as a general concept can be classified in function of numerous factors.  However,  the factors that discussed here are the  ones regarding self motivation or motivation achieved by other people.  These two main categories in which this technique can be divided at some extent include the premises  of a preliminary classification.  However,  we will take them in turns and discuss the as they are.

First  of all,  we will take the self  motivation which is a very important feature of this great concept. Self motivation is the very basis of creating self awareness and of treating yourself with respect and recognition.   This technique is very beneficial as there are many people who have problems with their self awareness and for them,  self motivation can be  the only  way by which they can  get over  their issues of personality.  Self motivation is the solution for people to get rid of their inner problems and to treat themselves in a way that would bring them great  satisfaction,  both on the personal and on the professional plan. Hence,  we may conclude that self motivation is indeed a very important technique to take into consideration when you want to perfect yourself and especially to perfect your opinion about yourself.

By using the procedure of motivating yourself you will not only feel very fulfilled and content with yourself, but you will also feel as if you   are in perfect harmony with the universe that surrounds you and with all its elements.    These are just some of the concepts that scientists consider suitable for defining the idea of self motivation.

Besides that,  we may also take into consideration the situation in which other people motivate you or on the contrary,  you  motivate them.  This is the second  image that motivation takes and that is the feature of it that describes motivating other people.   It is also very beneficial and by using this technique we may even say that people are very likely to achieve that interpersonal  interaction between them and the  ones the motivate or by whom they are motivated.

Efficient work,  a positive way of thinking, inner welfare,  these are just some of the advantage that motivation brings for the people who use it.   The only problem put into discussion is the “how we should  do it”  part.   This is not difficult in fact,  as there are numerous courses and publications that teach people the most commonly used procedures of motivation and last but not least we must take into account  the existence and the effectiveness of motivational speakers who also have a ey role in the overall process of motivating people and of teaching them the basic methods of motivation.

The Disadvantages of Motivation :

Motivation may sometimes become habituated in a way that employees do not work until a kind of motivation is given to them.  Motivation in the form of training when given to the employees may have  some  expenses  which the organization should be ready in taking these certain expenses.

Techniques of Motivation :

Plan to  succeed :

Successful people are goal oriented.   They plan their goals,  then work in incremental steps to achieve those goals. Your goals need to be specific,  realistic and achievable.   Visualize your goals so that they become real,  then write them down and keep them some where   as a daily reminder of what it is you’re aiming for.

To stay motivated,  you  need to feel inspired and excited about what you are aiming to achieve.   If you can’t  get excited about your success goals,  you’ll never find the inspiration and motivation you need to take action to change your life.

The longest journey  begins with a single step,  so plan  on adding one new  positive step to your daily routine each day to move you towards your goal.  Adding  one positive step each day will  help you take control of your future and rid you or past negative habits.

Set aside 15 minutes each day to review your goals and the progress  you have  made.   Measuring your progress will keep you inspired to achieve the results you want and help you recognize problem areas that may need work.  Acknowledging your achievement is a way of patting yourself on te back for a job well done.

Believe in the  possibilities.   Don’t allow your fears to stand in the way of your future success.   Acknowledge the fact that everyone feels fear when they step outside their comfort zone.   As the old adage says,  “Feel the fear,  then do it anyway!”

Thinking  your way to success

            Successful  people believe in themselves and their ability to succeed,  despite the setbacks,  obstacles  and failures they will have encountered along the way.    The  road  to success is littered with those who fell at the first hurdle and didn’t have what it takes to get up again.

Accept the fact that you will fail,  may be more than once,  and in many different ways.    Believing  that you will achieve your goals without setbacks is unrealistic and a recipe for failure.  Successful people turn the negative events that are sure to occur into learning experiences,  then they adjust  accordingly and move on.

To be motivated you have to be positive.

Sure, we all have days when even  getting out of bed feels like a drag,  but hitting the “Snooze”  button on the  alarm is not going to get you to where you want to go.  Being positive puts you in control of your own destiny,  so when you understand that only YOU  can control your future you also understand that only YOU can control  the present.

On those days when it all seems too hard,  simply focus on what it is you’re aiming for and imagine  how exciting  it will be when you achieve your goals.

Let the excitement of realizing your dreams fuel your imagination,  and  from that you can power into your day.  Learn something new  every day.   The more you know,  the closer you’ll get to achieve your  goal in the time you’ve set yourself.  Information can help you  gain confidence,  dispel fear and give you the inspiration  and motivation you need to lead a better,  more fulfilling life.  Get your life right Staying motivated and achieving your goals is a whole lot easier if you can keep your focus.

Organize your workspace so that it creates a positive, stimulating  environment.  A cluttered workspace  creates a cluttered mind,  so take the time to clean up around you.

Make  your  workplace a happy place to  be by pinning your favorite quotation to the wall where you can see it,  or adding a  vase of fresh flowers to a table nearby – whatever brings a mile  to your face will keep you in a positive frame of mind and dispel any  negative thoughts that may  try to creep in.

An active mind requires an  active body and an active body requires a healthy lifestyle.   You can’t expect to operate at your peak if you don’t have the physical stamina to maintain the momentum.   That means  eating a  healthy diet, getting regular exercise and getting enough sleep.   Feeling positive about your physical well being has a tremendous impact on how you feel about achieving your goals.

Helping or hindering :

Surround yourself with people who inspire and motivate you to succeed.  Ask yourself if the people in your life are helping or hindering  you on your path to success,  then make any changes necessary.

You don’t have to go  it alone :

Share  the excitement of what you are aiming to achieve with those around you who will  root for you every step of the way.

Take time out each day to relax:

Switch off and spend time  doing an activity you enjoy (other than work!) – go for a walk, take a bike ride or simply spend quality time with your family.   Balancing work and play is an important part fo staying healthy,  happy and  motivated.

Learn to live your life with passion :

Appreciate all the you have around you and  how great it feels simply to be alive at this particular moment in time.   Yes, it’s important to keep your focus on the  goals  you wish to achieve,  but the journey can be as exciting and stimulating as the destination.   Keep your eyes open and enjoy the ride !


The employee’s attitudes and previous experiences affect the nature and amount of what  they learn.   The motivation you  use must fit a employee’s value system.   Employee’s have more interest in a subject that deals with goals they see as important in their lives.


Attitudes consist of feelings for or against people,  objects,  or ideas.   Showing a positive attitude  about the subject you present can cause the student to want to learn.   Students have more desire to learn when instructors show an interest in what they teach.


Incentives or rewards can  stimulate motivation.  Incentives such as good grades,  awards,  or selection as a distinguished graduate motivate employees who want to achieve,.


Achievement is a strong desire,  a longing, an aim,  a goal,  or a desired objective.    To make an effort to succeed,  students must have a need to achieve at a certain level.

Although motivation is one of the prime tasks of instruction,  it is both the employees and the instructor’s responsibility.   The following techniques will assist you in developing motivational strategies to use when instructing:

Make the subject matter interesting .   Plan motivational strategies to keepthe lesson interesting.  A dull presentation causes employee to become bored,  restless,  and uninvolved.  A lack of response from the employee will affect the quality of your instruction.   As a result,  you may lose confidence and enthusiasm,  which,  in turn,  will have a negative effect on employee motivation.   To promote interest,  use a variety of materials while instructing.

Establish goals:

The goals of instruction come directly from the learning objectives.  Ensure that you present the objectives for each block of instruction so that employee will understand exactly what they are expected to be able to do  as a result of training.

Provide informative feedback:

Employee need feedback when they are trying to meet goals.  You can give either oral or written feedback,  but eb sure you give recognition for proper employee behavior and achievements.  Also be sure to point out employee errors and how to correct them.  Recognizing  good  performance and pointing our areas that need improvement contribute to effective learning.   Show interest in your students.   Give employee detailed feedback when they respond to a question or perform some task related to instructional objectives.    Feedback may make the difference between a student’s feelings of  success or Failure.  Always comment favourably on successful performance

Encourage participation :

You should be open to employee contributions and points of vie.   Employee’  brings many  different experiences to the learning environment.   Use these experiences to stimulate interest and add variety to learning.