How To Use Motivation theories in workplace/ organization?

First we need to understand What is Motivation? Its definitions, its types then we can utilize that understanding. 

  • The term ‘motivation’ -Latin word- ‘movere’ -means ‘to move‘.
  • We all know about the motive power or an automotive (self – moving) vehicle.
  • The mechanism of motivation – movement towards a desire object.


    • Logical scientific construct.
    • No immediate sensory testimony/ proof.
    • A hypothetical process, the functioning of which is inferred from observations of the behavior.
    • Like gravity/intelligence etc.


Definition of Motivation 

  • Motivation is defined as a hypothetical process inferred from certain changes in responses taking place as a consequence of certain changes in the stimulus.
  • Motivation involves forces which mobilise activities of the individual and channelise them in those directions which help in accomplishing goals.
  • Hodge and Johnson observe, Motivation in organisational settings refers to the willingness of an individual to react to organisational requirements in the short run. The more positive is the motivation of an individual towards the institution, She/he will perform effectively.

Definition of work motivation

  • Locke & Latham defined work motivation as the internal force that drives a worker to action as well as the external factors that encourage that action.

Types of Motivation As per Deci & Ryan (1985)

  1. Intrinsic Motivation- 
    1. Doing it because it is enjoying or interesting.
    2. Without any obvious external rewards or compulsion.
  2. Extrinsic motivation-
    1. They don’t particularly enjoy the tasks but are motivated to perform well to receive some type of reward or to avoid negative consequences
    2. It can be measured by –compensation, outward orientation, etc.


  • The psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal- 3 categories

1.Physiological/ primary  Motives— hunger, pain, etc

    1. Universal
    2. Largely unlearned or innate

2.Socio-Psychological/ secondary/ drive motives-

Security, status, autonomy, affiliation, achievement, dependence. aggression, power

3.General Motives

Intermediate category between the above two. like compassion


Basically two broad categories. None of them is universally accepted. Every theory has its own advantages and limitations.

  1. Content theories of motivation 
  2. Process theories of motivation
  1. The Content theories of motivation 

– Focus on the internal factors that energies and direct human behaviour.

    1. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
    2. Alderfer’s ERG theory
    3. Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene Motivation
    4. McClelland’s needs theory of motivation 

2.  The Process theories of motivation

Understand thought processes that influence behaviour.

    1. Adam’s Equity theory,
    2. Vroom’s Expectancy theory,
    3. Goal-setting theory
    4. Reinforcement theory.

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