Motivation is the emotional stimulus that causes us to act. The stimulus may be a need or a drive that energizes certain behaviors. At work motivation is a combination of all factors in our working environment that lead to positive or negative efforts. If we understand what motivate us, we are more likely to achieve our personal and professional goals. Likewise, if organizations know how to motivate employees, they can increase productivity. This ability to boost production is increasingly important as U.S. organizations compete in the global market. While all companies make some effort to motivate employees, a growing number or organizations are introducing new strategies, including different compensation packages, as a means of motivating today’s workers. People need to be appreciated to motivate them. Our behavior is influenced by motivation. We have primary and secondary needs that affect our behavior. Some people can be satisfied by salary and working conditions. Motivation is definitely a challenge and employees need ongoing training to acquire new skills and knowledge.
Predicting motivation is difficult. To understand what motivates someone, we must guess what physiological and psychological processes underlie behavior. For example, if Yvonne works much harder that Janet, we assume that Yvonne is more highly motivated than Janet to achieve some goal—perhaps a bonus (http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/03/02/pink.motivation.bonuses/index.html), a promotion, or the prestige associated with being the top producer in the organization. Yvonne seemingly has a stronger need to work hard. However, unless Yvonne tells us why, we can only presume what her motivation or need may be.
Through studies of motivation and behavior, psychologists have generally concluded that all human behavior is goal directed toward satisfying a felt need. The figure below illustrates a basic behavioral model with an unsatisfied need as the starting point in the process of motivation. According to the model below, an unsatisfied need causes inner tension (physical or psychological). The individual engages in some action to reduce or relieve the tension. The individual wants to do something that will satisfy the perceived need. For example, a thirsty man needs water, is driven by his thirst, and is motivated to drink.
All humans have needs. They need to breathe, eat, drink and rest. But these needs are only part of a much larger picture. People also need to be accepted, fulfilled, recognized, and appreciated. They need to dream, aspire, desire, acquire! Many are the motives of individuals and groups. Understanding the complexity of these motives or needs—our own as well as those of others—is essential in establishing and maintaining good human relations.
Our behavior is clearly motivated by needs and yet we often do not understand the complexities and the subtleties of our motives and needs. How often have you done something and then asked...