What is Motivation?

The reason for doing something is what we call motive. These are the energizing forces that exist within us. The term ‘motivation’ is a combination of two words i.e. motive and action.

Motivation implies the process of impelling subordinates to act in a certain manner so as to achieve the desired goal. In a nutshell, it is goal-directed behaviour. It is something that causes a person to want or repeat a particular behaviour.

It encourages people to perform in the best manner so as to reach the goals of the organization.

In this process, first of all, the needs and desires of people are aroused, to initiate and direct their behaviour in a specific manner. It relies upon how the unsatisfied need of human beings gets satisfied and the objective is achieved.

Table of Contents

  1. Characteristics
  2. Importance
  3. Types
  4. Principles
  5. Wrap Up

Characteristics of Motivation



  1. Psychological Phenomenon: It is psychological in the sense it stimulates from within an individual, affecting the behaviour of the person and making him work to reach the goal. Hence, it is an internal feeling which includes needs, desires and urges that causes a person to work continuously towards the accomplishment of the goal.
  2. Complex and Difficult Process: Needs are mental feelings which is difficult to measure. In organizations, all employees have different needs and expectations. Hence, the motivation cannot be the same for all the employees. That is why it is a complex and difficult process. Therefore, while motivating employees through monetary and non-monetary measures, individual needs must be kept in mind.
  3. Continuous Process: On the satisfaction of a particular need, another need takes its place, so this process is continuous. Hence, it is an outcome of the interaction amidst human needs and the incentives offered to satisfy them. It is an ongoing process and not a one-shot affair because the needs are unlimited.
  4. Dynamic: Every person in an organisation is self-contained and a specific unit and his needs are interrelated.
  5. Positive and Negative Motivation: Managers use positive or negative tools to motivate subordinates. While promotion, increments, bonuses, rewards and recognition is a positive tool. It is basically incentive or reward-based motivation. Issue of memos, demotion, transfer and stopping increments are some of the tools of negative tools. Negative motivation involves force and fear which impels employees to act in a specific way.
  6. Produces goal-directed behaviour: Motivation leads to the achievement of specific goals. It directs the behaviour of the employees in a way that desired goals can be achieved. for example: If the employees want a promotion, then he will improve his performance to get that. So, here promotion acts as a motivation.

Importance of Motivation


  • Improves Efficiency: Motivation results in the satisfaction of the employees. Once an employee is satisfied, he will contribute to the success of the organization efficiently. Therefore, motivation helps in increasing the organization’s efficiency which ultimately increases the productivity of the company.
  • Facilitates achievement of the goals of the organization: The company’s management can accomplish the organization’s goals effectively by motivating subordinates. They can do so by setting up a good reward system for their employees for rewarding their good performance, which directly appreciates them to perform better.
  • Maximum utilization of the firm’s human resources: The organization uses various resources which include physical, financial and human resources. The optimum use of physical and financial resources is based on the ability and willingness of the human resources. When there is some sort of motivation, people automatically act accordingly. It develops a will in the people to work among the employees.
  • Reduction in Absenteeism: Motivation reduces absenteeism to a great extent, as it develops an urge to come to work. The main causes of absenteeism are poor relationships between superiors and subordinates, bad working environment, lack of recognition and so forth. With a sound motivation system, all these loopholes can be avoided.
  • Reduced employee turnover: Motivation not just develops confidence in people of the organization but also gains their loyalty for years. For this managers need to identify exactly the needs of the employees and offer them the right set of incentives. In this way, they won’t even try to find another job, because they feel that they are valued here for their efforts and commitment.
  • Reduced Resistance to Change: When the workers are rightly motivated, they easily overcome resistance to change. A motivated employee will always support all kinds of changes which are for the benefit of the company. This is because they find their own growth in doing so. Generally, employees resist change because they are not comfortable with the new technology. But with the right motivation, the change can be implemented effectively.

Types of Motivation


  1. Intrinsic Motivation: Motivation that results from self-generated factors which influence the behaviour of people is intrinsic motivation. It is the internal desire of a person to try and explore new things and challenges to check their capability and gain knowledge and experience.
  2. Extrinsic Motivation: It takes place when the company’s management does something to motivate people, is extrinsic motivation. It includes rewards like incentives, increments, appreciation, promotion and punishments like withholding pay, criticism or disciplinary action. In short, the motivation that comes from an external source is extrinsic.

Principles of Motivation

  • Arousing a feeling of job security in the employees.
  • Making the employees aware of their accomplishments and appreciating them for their efforts and contribution.
  • Developing a feeling of unity and oneness in the human resources of the company.
  • Providing the employees with opportunities for career growth and development.
  • Welcoming the religious, moral and social thoughts and values of the employees.
  • Implementing participative management to let the employees take part in the formation of the company’s policies.
  • Encouraging team spirit in the company.
  • Giving acceptance to the employee’s individual identity.

Wrap Up

Motivation leads to satisfaction in the employees by way of monetary rewards, recognition for efficient work and contribution toward the goal of the company. Further, it creates a healthy and friendly environment by developing cordial relationships between employers and employees.

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