Motivation: A Brief Overview
Motivation is what drives human behaviour and is often related to important work and life outcomes, such as performance, satisfaction and wellbeing. Some people are mostly motivated because they receive personal gratification from doing something, whereas others can be mostly motivated by financial rewards or status. The most common conceptualization of motivation is to divide it in two types: Intrinsic motivation and Extrinsic motivation.
In this conceptualization Intrinsic motivation is the “best” motivation. It describes the drive to do things because you are interested in them and think they are fun to do. Extrinsic motivation is considered the “weaker” motivation. It describes the drive to do things because you feel you have to; to do things for reasons other than your own enjoyment. Some of the reasons behind Extrinsic motivation could be the urge to appease others (e.g. study because otherwise your parents may get angry) or needing a financial reward (e.g. work to get paid).
Recent research, however, showed that that motivation consists not simply of two types. This research, based on the Self-Determination Theory, showed that there are several types of Extrinsic motivation and that they are not all bad. In fact, it’s not just the type of motivation that determines important work-related outcomes (such as satisfaction, engagement and performance), but also strong the motivations are relative to each other.
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