Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in Organization

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation. This refers to the behavioral change that pushes employees to perform well and achieve self-satisfaction. The desire to feel happy and satisfied with an employee’s work propels the individual to work hard and improve the performance of an organization (Amabile, 2012). There are no external factors that push individuals to want to perform well. An employee will participate in an activity because it is enjoyable and fun. Some organizations have sports and make it compulsory for employees to participate in them. These activities help employees to feel motivated and happy. Moreover, some employees may decide to solve word puzzles when they are in a dilemma regarding their responsibilities. These activities help them to relax and prepare their minds to solve the tasks that await them. These activities are motivated by a person’s need to achieve self-satisfaction by participating in sports and games that rejuvenate and replace their lost interests.

Extrinsic motivation. This type of motivation occurs when employees are forced to participate in activities or change their behavior due to external factors. The external factors influence an individual to change behavior or participate in activities that are perceived to yield the desired outcome. Most employees participate in extrinsic motivation to avoid punishments or attract promotions and monetary compensations. For instance, a student who wishes to pass examinations must study hard and explore all alternatives of ensuring all class discussions are understood properly. The desire to work hard motivates students to study throughout school days and during their free time. Parents may reprimand children if they do not keep their rooms tidy. The fear to avoid being reprimanded becomes the extrinsic factor that pushes children to keep their rooms tidy and organized.

Differences and Similarities

The major aim of intrinsic motivation is to gain self-satisfaction and fulfillment in doing an activity. For instance, some employees keep their offices organized even if nobody will reprimand them if they are kept untidy (Ryan & Deci, 2010). They feel happy when they work in a tidy office and this motivates them to improve their productivity. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is propelled by external factors that an individual has little control over them. For instance, employees must report to work on time if they do not want to be sacked. Reporting to work early does not mean that they will do a lot of work. However, the over-justification effect hampers the effectiveness of intrinsic motivation if excessive external rewards are offered.

Extrinsic motivation can induce an employee’s interest in an activity the individual had ignored or cause the change of behavior. The employees subconsciously become intrinsically motivated to seek new knowledge and this improves their performance at work (Benabou & Tirole, 2013). Some employees use extrinsic motivation to measure their performance and know whether it has achieved the standards set by their employers. However, too much extrinsic motivation makes behavioral change or participation in some activities look like work. Research conducted by Kendra Cherry, a psychologist expert, revealed that extrinsic motivation is beneficial in situations where people do not have an interest in participating in activities or changing their behavior for self-benefit. The application of either of these motivational approaches is determined by the experience and personal distance between employers and employees. Managers should understand their employees before adopting extrinsic motivational approaches to improve their productivity.

Organizational Management

It is not easy to manage an organization regardless of the number of employees or processes involved. The best way of managing an organization involves the combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivational approaches. A combination of these approaches means that employees will not be pushed to do what they do not like. For instance, it is easy to influence employees to accept and abide by new regulations if they are not forced to change their behavior overnight. Some organizations fail to implement changes because they use wrong approaches to influence their employees to change their behavior. Effective organizational management involves decentralizing power and giving employees opportunities to do what they think is right or good provided it does not violate the policies of an organization (Summers, 2014). Employees can change their behavior easily if an organization uses extrinsic motivation to influence them to perceive the importance of change. On the other hand, it is not easy to change the behavior of employees if they do not know the expected benefits of a new policy.

A good manager should be a leader and this means that the individual should know the activities that make employees happy. For instance, if company trips make employees happy and motivate them to work hard, then managers should ensure they are as many as possible. Employees will be motivated to work hard because they know they will be taken out to have fun. They will start to change their behavior and this practice will become part of their daily routines. It will be easy to introduce new policies or influence the behavior of employees if an organization has already won their trust through extrinsic motivation. However, managers who do not understand their employees cannot succeed in introducing changes in the practices of an organization or the behavior of employees. Decentralization of management powers ensures employees participate in making decisions regarding activities that will make and motivate them to work hard.

Transparency is an important aspect that enables organizations to achieve their objectives without opposition from the public. It is important for organizations to participate in activities that are understood by all members of the community. Transparency attracts trust and wins the confidence of customers because it shows that an organization is legitimate and participates in legal activities (Zur Muehlen, 2010). Moreover, employees are more comfortable working in a transparent organization than one that participates in unlawful activities. Accountability promotes transparency and enables organizations to know how their finances are managed. Moreover, it helped employees to appreciate the fruits of their hard work and commit themselves to improving productivity.

Proper and timely communication is a plus for organizations that wish to improve their performance and profits. Most managers do not understand the need to communicate on time when there is a crisis in their organizations. Some customers may assume that late communication shows guilt and proves that a mistake was committed intentionally (Summers, 2014). Communication enhances trust and ensures employees and customers know what is happening in an organization. It is not wise to keep people waiting for clarification regarding an issue that requires immediate attention. Organizations should have proper communication channels and ensure the responsible personnel sends to the public appropriate messages. The quality and purpose of all communications should be checked, verified, and cleared for publication to avoid confusing customers or other stakeholders.


Amabile, T. M. (2012). Motivational synergy: Toward new conceptualizations of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in the workplace. Human Resource Management Review, 3(3), 185-201.

Benabou, R. & Tirole, J. (2013). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The Review of Economic Studies, 70(3), 489-520.

Ryan, R. M. & Deci, E. L. (2010). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 54-67.

Summers, D. C. (2014). Quality management: Creating and Sustaining Organizational Effectiveness. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Zur Muehlen, M. (2010). Organizational management in workflow applications–issues and perspectives. Information Technology and Management, 5(3-4), 271-291.

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