A motive is a reason for doing something. Motivation is concerned with the strength and direction of behaviour and the factors that influence people to behave in certain ways. The term ‘motivation’ can refer variously to the goals individuals have, the ways in which individuals chose their goals and the ways in which others try to change their behaviour. Direction – what a person is trying to do. Effort – how hard a person is trying. Persistence – how long a person keeps on trying. Motivating other people is about getting them to move in the direction you want them to go in order to achieve a result. Motivating yourself is about setting the direction independently and then taking a course of action that will ensure that you get there. Motivation can be described as goal-directed behaviour. People are motivated when they expect that a course of action is likely to lead to the attainment of a goal and a valued reward one that satisfies their needs and wants.

Well-motivated people engage in discretionary behaviour in the majority of roles there is scope for individuals to decide how much effort to exert. Such people may be self-motivated and as long as this means they are going in the right direction to attain what they are there to achieve, then this is the best form of motivation. Most of us, however, need to be motivated to a greater or lesser degree. The two types of motivation are intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation can arise from the self-generated factors that influence people’s behaviour. It is not created by external incentives. Extrinsic motivation occurs when things are done to or for people to motivate them. These include rewards, such as incentives, increased pay, praise, or promotion; and punishments, such as disciplinary action, with holding pay, or criticism. Extrinsic motivators can have an immediate and powerful effect, but will not necessarily last long. Motivation is goal directed behaviour. People are motivated when they expect that a course of action is likely to lead to the attainment of a goal and a valued reward one that satisfies their needs and wants.

There are a number of motivation theories which, in the main, are complementary to one another. Motivation strategies aim to create a working environment and to develop policies and practices that will provide for higher levels of performance from employees. They include the development of total reward systems and performance management processes, the design of intrinsically motivating jobs and leadership development programs. What is employee motivation? Employee motivation is the “psychological forces that determine the direction of a person’s behavior in an organization, a person’s level of effort and a person’s level of persistence” and also motivation is the combination of fulfilling the employee’s needs. Many employees are motivated by financial rewards, while others like a combination of recognition and financial rewards. Managers must interact with each employee in order to determine what motivates each individual and then develop an individualized approach. Once managers find what motivates employees, they can use the information to reach organizational goals on a daily basis. For instance, the manager can tie rewards to the ability to meet customer perception levels.

When managers know what motivates employees, they can leverage that information so that the employees are effective. Although employee motivation varies from employee to employee, some motivators include money, nonmonetary incentives, job promotions, paid time off, feedback and recognition. Managers also must consider how frequently they offer motivational items and the number of rewards offered at one time. Offering only one reward demotivates employees, according to research, who say that one reward only motivates existing top performers, instead of motivating underperformers. Money is a powerful motivating force because it is linked directly or indirectly to the satisfaction of many needs. Money may in itself have no intrinsic meaning, but it acquires significant motivating power because it comes to symbolize so many intangible goals. Doubts were cast on the effectiveness of money by Herzberg (1957) because, they claimed, while the lack of it can cause dissatisfaction, its provision does not result in lasting satisfaction.

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