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Motivation and Performance

Motivation and Performance

Motivation and Performance

Workplace efficiency relies very largely on the level of motivation of the workforce. Motivation is a fundamental component of any credible model of human performance, and has been a core focus of industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology for many years (Cerasoli,  Nicklin,  & Ford, 2014).  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is the fundamental motivation theory that has influenced current theories and models of motivation in the workplace. The common element among theories of workplace motivation is that individuals are motivated by internal and external factors. Motivational forces can be described as either extrinsic or intrinsic, guiding the direction, intensity, and persistence of performance behaviors (Cerasoli,  Nicklin,  & Ford, 2014). Intrinsic motivation is driven by internal factors such as job satisfaction, and extrinsic motivation is driven by external factors such as praise and rewards.

Intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation involves internal motivating factors and personal gain. It is dependent on the individual’s personal interest and job satisfaction. Therefore, in order to instill high levels of intrinsic motivation amongst employees, employees should hire applicants who have a natural interest in the field of employment and specific job requirements. Intrinsic motivation is derived from a perceived internal locus of causality, wherein people experience the cause of their behavior as internal (Levesque, 2011). Organizations can increase intrinsic motivation by offering training and continuous learning, and encouraging employee participation. Extrinsic motivation involves external factors, such as recognition and reward. Cerasoli, Nicklin, and Ford (2014) explain that extrinsically motivated behaviors are influenced by the prospect of instrumental gain and loss (e.g., incentives), whereas intrinsically motivated behaviors are engaged for their very own sake (e.g., task enjoyment), not being instrumental toward some other outcome (p. 982). Therefore, organizations should offer compensation linked to performance and skills, employment security, and a supportive work environment to establish high levels of extrinsic motivation.

The most effective way to enhance performance in the workplace is to increase both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Cerasoli, Nicklin, and Ford (2014) conducted a 40-year literature review and meta-analysis to examine the interactive impact of incentives and intrinsic motivation on performance.  The article focuses on the interrelationship among intrinsic motivation, extrinsic incentives, and performance, with reference to two moderators: performance type (quality vs. quantity) and incentive contingency (directly performance-salient vs. indirectly performance-salient). Cerasoli, Nicklin, and Ford (2014) preformed an electronic search using the keywords intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and performance. After narrowing the search to peer-reviewed scholarly articles in the past 40 years they found a total of 2,903 non-duplicated unique original articles.  The majority of the article reviewed agreed that intrinsic motivation is a medium to strong predictor of performance (ρ = .21–45) the importance of intrinsic motivation to performance remained in place whether incentives were presented (Cerasoli, Nicklin & Ford, 2014).  When considered simultaneously through meta-analytic regression, intrinsic motivation predicted more unique variance in quality of performance, whereas incentives were a better predictor of quantity of performance. The results of their meta-analysis also indicated that intrinsic motivation was less important to performance when incentives were directly tied to performance (Cerasoli, Nicklin & Ford, 2014).  However, it was found to be more important when incentives were indirectly tied to performance. Therefore, with respect to performance, incentives and intrinsic motivation are not necessarily antagonistic and are best considered simultaneously (Cerasoli, Nicklin & Ford, 2014).  The most important theoretical and empirical contribution presented in this study is that incentives and intrinsic motivation are not counteractive. The research found that incentives coexist with intrinsic motivation, depending on the type of performance and the contingency of the incentive. Source of reference. Cerasoli, C. P., Nicklin, J. M., & Ford, M. T. (2014). Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic incentives jointly predict performance: A 40-year meta-analysis.

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