Types of Motivation

Motivation can be defined as the reason behind one’s behavior or action. Talking about employee motivation, it can be defined as the factor that arouses energy and desire in employee to be constantly interested in or committed to a job, in an attempt to attain to achieve desired result.

In general, motivation is of two types. They are

  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Extrinsic motivation

Some critics have noted that intrinsic motivation plays more vital role than that of extrinsic. However, they also don’t believe that intrinsic motivation can be effective on its own. It is the combination of both intrinsic as well as extrinsic motivation that helps in getting the best output from an employee. These motivations are explained below in detail.

Intrinsic Motivation


Intrinsic motivation is the type of motivation that comes from within the person. Such motivation is driven by the internal rewards and by the sense of satisfaction and pleasure one gets after completing the job.

Intrinsic motivation refers to the reason why we perform certain activities for inherent satisfaction or pleasure; you might say performing one of these activities in reinforcing in-and-of itself.

-  Brown, 2007

Intrinsic motivation occurs when we act without any obvious external rewards. We simply enjoy an activity or see it as an opportunity to explore, learn, and actualize our potentials. Intrinsic motivation occurs when we act without any obvious external rewards. We simply enjoy an activity or see it as an opportunity to explore, learn, and actualize our potentials. 

-  Coon & Mitterer, 2010


Some people set their personal goal and are motivated to work hard to achieve them. Other than desire to achieve goals, people are motivated by the desire to learn, to improve skills and to be competitive. They find it satisfying to prove their abilities to themselves and to others.


The desire to increase knowledge to grow and develop is a strong and true form of motivation and can be regarded the most powerful one too as it is the cause of true progress.


Everyone wants them and their opinions and views to be valued or accepted by their seniors and co-workers. An opinion from an excellent employee is always considered the best than from those whose performances are comparatively poorer. Therefore, people become committed to their work.


Employees find it demotivational if they are micromanaged all the time. Therefore, there is always a desire in employees to work hard and become independent so that their works and opinions are respected.



It is a human nature to have desire to be superior to others. Regarding employees, every employee would love to be the one who gives order, rather than follow them. This desire is regarded to be a strong motivation driving factor.

Social factors (status and contact)

There are various social factors that drive the motivation of a person. These factors are:

  • Social status
  • Social contact
  • Social service

A successful person is recognized by everyone; in the office and in the society too. Their status rises, with which expands their influencing power and reach to everyone.
Another reason that people are motivated is that they are genuinely to do good for others such as establishing a free education institute, health care centers, etc.


No one would love to stay the same forever as it is a human nature to seek change and development. People change their attitude, behavior and performance to bring changes in the results.


Not always good factors motivate people to be committed to their duty. Where factors like rewards and promotion fail to motivate employees, fear does its work. The fear of being demoted, fired or suspended keeps the employees in track.

Extrinsic Motivation


Extrinsic motivation is a type of motivation that is driven which is driven by external forces. That external force may be monetary as well as non-monetary. In simple words, extrinsic motivation when we are encouraged or interested to do something in order to obtain the reward, other than self-satisfaction.

Motivation can come from the outside, such as the motivation to win medals, receive financial rewards, and attract attention from the media. This is known as external, or extrinsic, motivation because it involves participation in sport for some kind of reward that is external to the process of participation. 

- Karageorghis & Terry, 1969

Extrinsic motivation refers to our tendency to perform activities for known external rewards, whether they be tangible (e.g., money) or psychological (e.g., praise) in nature. 

- Brown, 2007


Anyone would love to have their picture / name framed and hung on the wall of the office, with bold letters saying “Employee of the Month”. The hunger of fame, praise and recognition makes a man motivated to do his duty faithfully.

Benefit packages

Many of the companies nowadays have the system to provide various fringe benefits as a return gift for their contribution. These benefits may be health insurance, transportation facility and others. They boost employee’s will to work hard.


Several other companies has policies to add commission to the salary of employees as per their performance. Employees put all their efforts to make as better outputs as possible in desire of getting extra payment.

Other factors

All the above mentioned factors cause a great difference on people’s attitude towards their duty. However, there are some factors such as poor economic condition which genuinely motivates a person to work harder.