Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation in the Workplace
How it works
Everyone has a different way of motivating themselves. For this assignment, I am going to be discussing the differences between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation in the workplace and how they help achieve goals. I chose this topic, because I find it interesting how different things can motivate people. I first heard of these different motivators when we watched a TED talk done by Dan Pink in class. One of the things that Pink is trying to get across is, “There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.” (Pink), and I will further discuss why that is in this paper.
First, I am going to be discussing intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is the desire to accomplish something because it matters, the individual enjoys it, they find it interesting, or it is a part of something important (Pink). Intrinsic motivators are more likely to motivate people by the work itself, by the internal satisfaction an individual gets when they accomplish a task, and by the feeling that they are achieving something (“Motivation in the Workplace”). According to Pink, there are three elements that science shows that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction: autonomy, mastery, and purpose (Popova). Autonomy is the desire to control our own lives. Mastery means the urge to continue to improve at something that matters. And purpose is the want to do what we do in hopes that it serves as something meaningful for more than just ourselves. (Pink)
How it works
Now, I am going to be discussing extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation requires rewards for jobs done well, such as a raise, or a promotion. It can also be the threat of demotion if the job isn’t done on time or to the best quality (Palizban). Someone who extrinsically motivated will also be wanting praise from their peers or their boss when their task is complete (“Motivation in the Workplace”). According to Pink, extrinsic motivators don’t often work and more often do harm. In Pink’s video he discusses how a group of people did a study on employees. They offered them a small, medium, and a large reward. The employees aiming for the largest reward showed the poorest performance (Pink). According to Pink’s research, extrinsic rewards, such as “if-then” rewards, crush all creativity and self-motivation, and it doesn’t matter the task or age. Pink’s research showed that “if-then” rewards tend to: decrease performance, worsen behavior, inspire cheating, taking shortcuts and unethical behavior to an individual, even become addictive, and lastly “if-then” rewards could make individuals take on short-term thinking (Topham).
I am now going to discuss what I learned about how a leader can extrinsically and intrinsically motivate their team. If the leader is wanting to extrinsically motivate a group, they need to determine the groups and everyone’s goals and the outcomes that are expected. The leader needs to establish a set of rewards for the individual or group who does the best and give consequences to the underachievers, this could be in the form of more training. Setting goals, helping people get motivated to achieve tasks, and acknowledging them for their achievements is a proven method that betters a business. But, if the leader in charge only motivates their team extrinsically, the company could face difficulties. Extrinsic motivators, by themselves, forces people to look at the achievements, and pay little attention to the quality of the performance. This could create an environment where the motivation is not evenly distributed, meaning the top members are highly motivated, and the average members get demotivated (Palizban).
If a leader is wanting to intrinsically motivate a group, they need to create an environment where the members get excited by doing the work they do. It’s the rush of energy they get when they perform a task and the satisfaction they get inside when they achieve it. According to many HR experts, individuals are more likely to be intrinsically motivated if the company has a captivating vision, clear objectives, and a supportive team. It is idea to have an intrinsically motivated team, but it is difficult to just rely on a team to be internally motivated. Without extrinsic motivators like goals and recognition, it’s difficult to keep a business afloat (Palizban).
The best way to motivate a group is by using both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. To do this, the leader should create an exciting vision and clear goals (extrinsic) and enhance the company’s culture and environment so that the members love what they do and set their own individual goals (intrinsic). The leader should also show appreciation for the members based on their efforts and achievements (extrinsic) and on their contribution and behavior such as collaboration that are like the company’s values (intrinsic) (Palizban).
I chose this topic to help better my knowledge on how people motivate themselves and others. I learned how leaders can help motivate their teams, because not everyone is motivated by the same things. I found it interesting how Dan Pink thinks that extrinsic motivation isn’t good for motivating people in the workplace, but other sites show that when both motivators are used, it could result in success.