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Griffin works at a firm, is planning to pursue a PhD and makes time for the gym as well. How does he do these things? This includes a combination of various factors that keep motivating him. He is being motivated through rewards, money and incentives and enjoys continuing his job. His interest and thirst for knowledge drive him in pursuing a PhD. Going to the gym for his health and fitness could be because of his health and beauty concerns.

types of motivation

Motivation refers to a process that leads, guides and maintains behaviors towards our goals. It explains why people initiate and continue particular behaviors. This process involves biological, social, emotional and cognitive causes or bases. It can be influenced by our culture, media and lifestyle as well. Psychologists have studied motivation for decades and have explained it through the use of various theories and types.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation are the primary types of motivation. The difference between them is the point of where the reward is coming from.

1. Intrinsic Motivation

It is the motivation that comes from the inside. This motivation leads to being rewarded internally. It involves doing an activity or performing a behavior for personal gratification. The activity or behavior itself makes the person happy or satisfied, without requiring any outside force or reward.

For example, Sara likes dancing. She likes to dance every week, just because she enjoys it. She does not receive any money or award for it, she does it just because it makes her happy, which is an internal reward. She wants to learn different types of dances because she is interested in the activity.

This interest and happiness motivate several people to join a gym, cycle, engage in the art, pursue a course, etc. Some people find this motivation in several aspects of their job as well. It helps them to continue and maintain performance levels.

The intrinsic motivation includes on the basis of three different components namely competence, achievement and creativity.

a). Motivation based on curiosity or competence comes under intrinsic motivation. This type of motivation comes from the willingness or desire to learn or know more about a subject, topic or behavior. It is not based on any external reward or competition but stems from an internal desire to gain more knowledge.

People with this motivation do not need external pressure to work on their goals, they do it by personal choice. These goals can be studying research papers for gaining knowledge or pursuing a particular career field due to curiosity and interest.

For example, Hanna is interested in teaching and making an impact on children. She keeps reading articles about this topic because of her innate curiosity and wanting to gain more competence in this area.

Another example would be that Diana is curious about palaces and architecture. She tries finding out more about it through reading and travelling whenever she can.

b). Motivation based on achievement also comes under intrinsic motivation. This type of motivation comes from the desire to achieve certain goals for personal satisfaction or for fulfilling a sense of purpose. People with this motivation work on their goals and interests for internal satisfaction, not external pressure. Such goals could be the pursuit of a difficult objective or working on a strict fitness program.

People who did achievements in the field of sports and artistry, winners of healthy competitions, and people making and breaking records come under this category. The name and fame they get pushed them to succeed further.

For example, climbing a high mountain or achieving a particular job goal (not for monetary purposes) or winning a sports match for feeling accomplished.

c). Motivation based on creativity also comes under intrinsic motivation. The motivation to perform or express or engage in any sort of creative activity just for internal happiness or satisfaction comes under this umbrella.

People with this motivation perform activities or behaviors for inner happiness, without having any expectations of rewards. These goals or activities could be writing a screenplay or acting in a play.

For example, expressing oneself through songwriting, or a particular dance form. It could also be through writing a letter, poem, book or creating painting.

2. Extrinsic Motivation

It is the motivation that comes from the outside. This motivation comes from extrinsic rewards, such as money, awards, recognition or force or punishment, such as judgment, fine, etc.

For example, A shampoo company creates challenges for their employees to perform well and bring in more sales and offers bonus as a reward for that performance. The employees participate in this challenge and aim to perform their best to gain the reward. The company, here, manages to motivate them through an extrinsic reward.

Another example would be people following traffic rules to avoid paying a fine. This motivation is used in several aspects of an individual’s life, such as workplace, personal life and social life. This motivation helps maintain or refocus on behaviors that are fading but are necessary to you.

For example, if you joined a gym and are not able to find the will to get out of bed and go, try remembering the body you desire or the fitness goals you set and told your friends about.

a). Motivation based on fear comes under extrinsic motivation. Fear is a powerful motivator and can help an individual in initiating or continuing a particular behavior. People with this motivation do not work until fear is used to motivate or lead them. Their behaviors are not based on internal satisfaction needs.

For example, it could support performance levels at a job, due to fear of failure or fear of being fired by the boss.

Another example is George, who told his friends and family members about his fitness goals for the year and joined a gym. Now, he feels he has to maintain this goal and go to the gym, as he is accountable to the people he shared this news with, and the fear of disappointing them makes him want to go and work on his muscles.

b). Motivation based on power also comes under extrinsic motivation. Power is an impactful term and motivator. People who enjoy leading can be motivated by this factor. This motivation helps gain control over your life or employment situation or any other behaviors that a person wants to control in their life.

For example, Yusuf wants to be a boss of his firm, as he believes in his own vision for the company and enjoys leading roles. He works hard and smart for gaining this role.

c). Motivation based on affiliation also comes under extrinsic motivation. Some people are motivated through the validation and praise received by colleagues or superiors due to their performance. This keeps them motivated to work and reach higher goals.

People with this motivation are team-players and thrive on cooperation and good relationships with co-workers. They will be a good addition to any team that requires collaboration and support.

For example, Jenny works at an advertising firm. She regularly pitches new ideas and is sometimes acknowledged for the same, which motivates her to work and perform well.

Other Types Of Motivation

Attitude motivation is the process of motivating others by impacting their thoughts, opinions and perspectives. For example, rewarding co-workers through verbal praise or bonus points (if you are a manager) to keep them motivated.

Expectancy motivation is the tendency to perform a behavior or act because of the expectation of a particular result or reward.

For example, doing a job well because of the expectation of high pay or a bonus.

Some good-hearted and wealthy people give donations to a charitable trust, help the needy and poor for the sake of self-satisfaction and felt as if blessed by God.

Rex agreed to pick up and drop off his friend at university every day, and there is no doubt that he would expect help from his friend.

Why Is Motivation Necessary And How To Use Them?

Motivation is an important concept for every human being. It helps in setting goals, performing certain behaviors and guiding actions. Motivation leads us to eat healthy, exercise, pursue a particular career, or even get up and drink a glass of water.

Motivation can be used to maintain a job, maintain appropriate nutrition and good health. New goals can be set through motivation as well.

For example, a person feels thirsty. The thirst motivates the person to get up from the chair and drink a glass of water to fulfil the need thirst.

Which Type Of Motivation Is Better?

S. No.Intrinsic MotivationExtrinsic Motivation
1.This motivation comes from the inside.This motivation comes from the outside.
2.It can be hard to stimulate or initiate in people.It can be easily applied or boosted in people.
3.It is easier to maintain for a longer amount of time.It can be fizzled out after a while.
4.It can help you feel satisfied and happy, and maintain your attention span for a longer amount of time. It can be helpful when you want to complete a task at your job, that you don’t enjoy a lot, but have to do, in order to maintain your job.
5.This motivation includes interest, curiosity and internal satisfaction or happiness.This motivation includes money, promotions and external factors such as fear or pressure.

Both types of motivation are good for you. Sometimes you need the former, and sometimes you need the latter. At times, both these motivations work together to help the individual.

For example, a student who has an assignment due on Monday is working on it to avoid late submission (good marks, extrinsic motivation) and also because she enjoys this particular work (enjoyment, intrinsic motivation).

Research Evidence

Study By: W. A. Edirisooriya

Aim: To study the impact of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards on the performance of employees.


  • 100 participants were selected for this study. Top-level, secondary level and bottom-level employees were chosen.
  • A questionnaire related to demographic details that are related to intrinsic and extrinsic rewards and job performance was circulated among the subjects.
  • Intrinsic motivation factors include learning opportunities, recognition, and career advancement. Extrinsic motivation factors include pay, bonus and benefits.
  • The organization’s annual reports, online references and journal articles were also used to gain more data about the employees’ performance and reward system.


  • It was found that both intrinsic as well as extrinsic motivation have a significant impact on the employees’ job performance.

Hence, both motivations are important to initiate and maintaining performance or behaviors.

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