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Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Essay

The notion “motive” is often used to define a psychological phenomena such as desire, aspiration, intention, fear, etc., which are reflected in human as a willingness to work towards a certain goal. Human activity is directed by a variety of reasons, which combination and internal process of interaction is called motivation (Sansone & Harackiewicz, 2000, p. 118). Motivation is closely connected with a wide range of human needs and can be seen when there is a need or lack of something.

Motivation is an impulse to action through a combination of different motifs, creation of a specific individual condition, which determines the intensity and direction of human activity in a particular situation. In principle, there are two different forms of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Extrinsic motivation is the means to achieve the goal, for example, to earn money, to get recognition, to take a higher position. It can be used in two ways: as a stimulus in the anticipation of benefits, that is the principle of hope and as a means of pressure in anticipation of the deficiencies that is the principle of fear. Extrinsic motivation directly influences the individual’s behavior but the effectiveness of its action is limited while it is perceived as either an incentive or pressure (Sansone & Harackiewicz, 2000, p. 287).

Intrinsic motivation is the understanding of the meaning, the conviction. It occurs when the idea, goals, objectives, and activities are seen as worthy and useful. It creates a particular state that determines the direction of actions, and the behavior will be a result from the corresponding internal motive. It is true not only for humans. Many organizations have started to create a quality system because of external motivation: the hopes for the advantages in the competition and the strength of the market position, the fear of the product incompatibility with the future quality standards and the market loss have created its foundation (Frey & Osterloh, 2001, p. 152).

Other companies decide to introduce a philosophy of quality based on the belief that the preventing of the appearance of defective products must be a principled stand in world production. Such position is valid for many areas of life. In this case, it is an intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation exists when the organizational idea, problem, or action is taken as expedient and worthwhile. One must feel responsibility for it and be able to predict the outcome. Then, an individual behavior will be a result arising from the corresponding setting (Thomas, 2002, p. 99).

The value of extrinsic motivation is great. However, intrinsic motivation in today’s world production is becoming more and more important. It is important because of its long-term impact on performance and attitude to work. Therefore, its influence is stronger as the requirements for the job content are more important and more diverse.

In the early stages, the extrinsic motivation has to serve as a support for the creation of effective labor. It can also be seen as an additional supporting incentive for the consolidation period. However, the long-term motivation and effective changes in the employees’ behavior are achieved only with the creation of intrinsic motivation.


  • Frey B. S. & Osterloh, M. (2001). Successful Management by Motivation: Balancing Intrinsic and Extrinsic Incentives. New York: Springer.
  • Sansone, C. & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2000). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: The Search for Optimal Motivation and Performance. San Diego: Academic Press.
  • Thomas, K. W. (2002). Intrinsic Motivation at Work: Building Energy and Commitment. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
June 29, 2012Tags: