Chapter 5 – Theories of Work Motivation
Why Study Motivation?
•Motivation has become more important in contemporary organizations ⇒ mostly a
result of the need for increased productivity to be globally competitive. Also a result
of the rapid changes that contemporary organizations are undergoing (requirements
for flexibility and attention to customers require higher levels of motivation).
What is Motivation?
Basic Characteristics of Motivation
•Motivation: The extent to which persistent effort is directed toward a goal.
•Effort. The strength of the person’s work-related behaviour or the amount of effort a
person exhibits on the job. Involves different kinds of activities on different kinds of
jobs e.g., a loading dock worker exhibits greater effort by carrying heavier crates.
Refers to the quantity of work an individual produces.
•Persistence. The persistence that individuals exhibit in applying effort to their work
tasks. Refers to the quantity of work an individual produces.
•Direction. Do workers channel persistent effort in a direction that benefits the
organization? Refers to the quality of a person’s work –motivation means working
smart as well as working hard.
•Goals. All motivated behaviour has some goal or objective toward which it is
directed. Employee goals include high productivity, good attendance, or creative
decisions (support the objectives of the organization).
Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation
•Intrinsic Motivation: Motivation that stems from the direct relationship between
the worker and the task; it is usually self-applied. E.g., feelings of achievement,
accomplishment, challenge, competence derived from performing one’s job.
•Extrinsic Motivation: Motivation that stems from the work environment external
to the task; it is usually applied by others. E.g., pay, fringe benefits, company
policies, and various forms of supervision.
•Some motivators are both extrinsic and intrinsic e.g., a promotion or a compliment
might by applied by the boss but might also be a clear signal of achievement and
•Self-Determination Theory (SDT): A theory of motivation that considers whether
people’s motivation is autonomous or controlled.
•Autonomous Motivation: When people are self-motivated by intrinsic factors.
Facilitates effective performance, especially on complex tasks.
•Sometimes extrinsic factors can lead to autonomous motivation when an individual
internalizes the values or attitudes associated with a behaviour and, as a result, no
longer requires the extrinsic factor to motivate him or her to perform the behaviour.
•Controlled Motivation: When people are motivated to obtain a desired
consequence or extrinsic reward.
•The negative effect of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation occurs only under
very limited conditions (i.e., the notion that when extrinsic rewards depend on
performance, then the motivating potential of intrinsic rewards decreases).
Motivation and Performance
•Performance: The extent to which an organizational member contributes to
achieving the objectives of the organization.
•While motivation contributes to performance, the relationship is not “one-to-one”
because a number of other factors also influence performance.
•Factors Contributing to Individual Job Performance:
•General Cognitive Ability: A person’s basic information processing capacities and
cognitive resources (i.e., “intelligence” or “mental ability”).
oReflects an individual’s overall capacity and efficiency for processing
information, and includes a number of cognitive abilities (e.g., verbal,
numerical, spatial, and reasoning abilities) that are required to perform
oPredicts learning and training success as well as job performance.
•Emotional Intelligence (EI) (Peter Salovey and John Mayer): The ability to
understand and manage one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions. Four-branch
model of EI (the four skills represent sequential steps that form a hierarchy):
1.Perceiving emotions accurately in oneself and others. Involves the ability to
perceive emotions and to accurately identify one’s own emotions and the
emotions of others. E.g., the ability to accurately identify emotions in people’s
faces and in non-verbal behaviour. Necessary to be able to perform other
steps in the EI model.
2.Using emotions to facilitate thinking. The ability to use and assimilate
emotions and emotional experiences to guide and facilitate one’s thinking and
reasoning. Ability to use emotions in functional ways (e.g., making decisions
and other cognitive processes). Ability to shift one’s emotions and generate
new emotions that can help one to see things in different ways from different
3.Understanding emotions, emotional language, and the signals conveyed to
emotions. Ability to understand emotional information, the determinants and
consequences of emotions, and how emotions evolve or change over time.
Ability to understand how different situations and events generate different
emotions as well as how they and others are influenced by various emotions.
E.g., not asking somebody who is in a bad mood for a favour, but rather
waiting until the person is in a good mood.
4.Managing emotions so as to attain specific goals. Ability to manage one’s own
and other’s feelings and emotions as well as emotional relationships. Highest
level of EI because it requires one to have mastered the previous stages.
Ability to regulate, adjust, and change one’s own emotions as well as others’
emotions, to suit the situation. E.g., being able to stay calm when feeling
angry or upset.
•EI predicts performance in a number of areas, including job performance and
academic performance. Importance of EI for job performance depends on one’s
cognitive ability –EI is less important for the job performance of employees with high
levels of cognitive ability (vice-versa).
The Motivation-Performance Relationship
•Poor performance could also be due to a poor understanding of the task or luck and
chance factors that can damage the performance of the most highly motivated