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Motivation and Engagement: Types of Motivation and Its Impact on Productivity

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This paper talks about the various motivational theories written over the years and further explanations are provided on the views of these authors. It also looks at how motivation and engagement are interrelated or interdependent on each other, when individuals are engaged they can be motivated and vice versa in a given situation. The intrinsic and extrinsic factors of an employee play an important role in determining job satisfaction in an organization. The manager must look at the various personalities of his employees and assign them tasks according to their ability to reach the desired goal and make sure there is no domination in the organization. Also, the employees must not always think that good work will be rewarded monetarily but can expect the positive feedback and other incentives.

Employee Engagement

Work engagement is considered to be the opposite of burnout where engaged employees have high levels of energy. When employees feel engaged they strive towards achieving any goal which in turn reduces distractions. In a stable environment, there must be a consistent amount of work engagement. Employee engagement depends on many factors and can be indirectly related to the work they do. It looks at factors like flexibility in an organization, healthy criticism, acknowledgment, and many more. Engagement plays a vital role in the employee’s attitudes, absence, and turnover levels and is also linked to productivity and success. 

There are a few different concepts that can be used to assess the work environment with regard to employee engagement. One of them is a psychometric quality assessment that deals with terms like reliability and validity. Since there is not much of psychometric data available in an organization, questionnaires are being used for assessing engagement. Gallup’s work (Q12) was used to assess employee engagement.

​The Q12 items must be scored on a scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Individuals are also provided with a sixth option that results in an unscored response option simply leading to don’t know or doesn’t apply. After further study, they concluded that the questionnaire only served as the purpose of understanding an individual’s level or resources rather than his or her level of engagement cited in.

​Saks says that “engagement is nothing but an umbrella for whatever one wants it to be”. Bakker has proposed a model of employee motivation with relation to work engagement as a psychological state that shows the impact of job resources and personal resources in an organization. Below is a tabular model showing the integration between motivation and engagement.

Robbins & Judge have a different approaches to motivation. They refer it to a set of processes that considers an individual’s intensity, direction, and their persistent effort to achieve a particular goal. Intensity can be defined as how hard a person tries to achieve his or her goal, the quality of effort taken to achieve that particular goal can also be considered. Persistence refers to how long a person can maintain the same level of effort in a task until their final goal has been achieved. There are a few theories with relation to motivation, they are as follows:

Early theories of motivation:

Hierarchy of Needs theory: 

​According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy theory, every human being has a set of needs that must be satisfied. The five needs are as follows:

  • Physiological needs: Hunger, thirst, shelter, and other basic needs.
  • Safety- Security: Protection from physical and emotional harm.
  • Social Belongingness: Feeling of belonging, acceptance, and friendship.
  • Esteem: Internal factors – Self-respect, sense of achievement; External factors – Status, recognition, attention
  • Self- actualization: Growth, achievement of a goal, self-fulfillment.

According to Maslow, the individual must identify at what level he or she is on and either stay on that level or move forward, whichever is well suited. This theory is widely practiced by managers as it is easy to understand. However, this theory is not applicable to diverse cultures other than their physiological needs. As needs vary from one culture to another. This theory could be used to develop one’s individual needs and nothing above or beyond that.

Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory:

According to Herzberg there are two factors that can be linked to motivation, they are:

  • Hygiene Factors
  • Motivators/ Motivational Factors

Although the two-factor theory does not have any well-supported research, it has shown that if the hygiene and motivational factors are of equal importance to a person, then both the factors are capable of motivating an individual. ​With regard to the question given, the two-factor theory may relate in accordance as the pay is the same when compared to any other small or medium-sized organizations and cannot work as a motivation factor. The organization can try to incorporate the motivational factors which in turn will only increase any kind of growth or employee engagement.

For Example: Every individual wants to achieve their goals, and incentives in terms of recognition and responsibility can be given to the employee which in turn will motivate the individual to strive harder and excel in their work.

McClelland’s theory of needs:

McClelland’s theory has three key components, which are as follows:

  • Need for Achievement: To excel, and achieve goals/targets.
  • Need for Power: The need to make others behave in a way they never would.
  • Need for Affiliation: Interpersonal relationships.

McClelland’s theory takes into consideration cultural dimensions and power distance. Personalities are also considered in terms of agreeableness that supports the need for affiliation but extraversion does not have a major impact in this approach. They do not take high risks because it only leads to a lack of achievement and results in low satisfaction from success. Similarly, they do not take low risks in tasks as well because their skills are not challenged. There is some amount of relationship between achievement and job satisfaction. 

The McClelland theory takes into consideration the amount of satisfaction one gets from doing the task after their needs are satisfied and Maslow’s theory only looks at the basic survival needs in an organization because an individual can only be at one level at a time. But when we look at the two-factor theory, satisfaction can only be temporary.

Contemporary theories of Motivation:

Self Determination theory:

​This theory focuses on the attitudes, values, motivation, and behavior of an individual. It looks at intrinsic motivation and extrinsic rewards in a working environment. Intrinsic motivation cannot be forced, it must come from within whereas, the external part can be in the form of punishment or threats, rewards, and feedback. 

​However, suggest that individuals prefer to have control over their actions. It also states that extrinsic rewards will reduce intrinsic interest in a task. Similarly, the cognitive evaluation theory says that providing extrinsic rewards may be coercive to an individual’s intrinsic motivation. ​Although, a more recent study with regard to the self-determination theory includes self-concordance. It shows how consistent an individual is in terms of achieving their goals, interest, and core values. If people try to achieve their goals with intrinsic motivation then there is a chance of pursuing that particular goal. When there is a lack of intrinsic motivation, they do not enjoy doing their work but complete it because they are obligated to do so.  ​Managers can use this self-determination theory to provide intrinsic and extrinsic rewards or incentives which will not only make their work interesting but also increase efficiency and productivity.

Goal-setting theory:

Goal-setting theory is based on increasing the performance of a person in an organization. There are specific goals that are set to meet the standard of performance of a particular person. The results in terms of performance are prominent as it is easy to see who has performed well and who is lacking in certain areas. Only when a person has a determined goal, there will be a higher level of task interest.

During the early stages of this theory, goal setting was done only for monetary purposes but now it is done to increase the performance level of a person. This theory looks at job satisfaction only for the short run because when a goal is achieved there is satisfaction and when it is not the individual is dissatisfied, only leading to further problems. Goals also depend mainly on the ability of a person. The goal-setting theory has five key elements:

  • Clarity of goal
  • Determination of goal choice
  • Goal commitment
  • Further feedback
  • Task Complexity

When considering McClelland’s theory, individuals do not perform tasks when it is easy or extremely difficult but in accordance with the goal-setting theory however difficult or easy, the task is, the person must perform it keeping determination and commitment towards achieving the particular task or goal. 

Other Contemporary theories of Motivation:


Bandura & Adams said that self-efficacy refers to a person’s ability to perform any task with their behavioral skills and capabilities. It also looks at how a person is able to adapt and adjust in a particular environment. It takes into consideration how much effort a person has put in and for how long will they be able to continue the same. If a person has stronger self-efficacy, he or she can cope much faster than the rest and also survive longer in the organization.

​Robbins & Judge also have a similar or same approach to the self-efficacy theory. Higher self-efficacy results in better performance which in turn increases the productivity of the individual.

For example: A low level of self-efficacy in an individual will lead them to doubt themselves while performing a given task. High self-efficacy is known to create a positive spiral in the work environment.  The goal-setting theory and self-efficacy theory are meant to complement each other. Depending on how difficult a goal is, the individual must possess a certain level of self-efficacy to achieve that goal.

Reinforcement theory:

​The reinforcement theory looks at an individual’s behavior in an environment. They tend to ignore the things that attracted them at one point and look carefully at things that are of least importance. Money is not considered to be a type of reinforcement. “Reinforcement is much more than being rewarded”. Behavior and environment are not looked at separately but as factors that support each other in an organization. Behavior as such can bring out the worst in people while working under tense situations and leads to manipulation and misunderstandings. For Example: Getting lost in a crowd can also lead to unleashing of different behaviors and loss of self-awareness. 

​According to Robbins & Judge, the reinforcement theory is not necessarily considered to be a motivation theory but is important when motivation is discussed because when compared to the goal-setting theory, an individual takes direct action on a particular task but the reinforcement theory majorly looks at the behavior of any individual. It does not relate to intrinsic motivation but takes into consideration a situation and looks at what happens when he or she acts.

Equity Theory:

The equity theory suggests that there are only two components to motivate an individual, they are:

  • Fairness
  • Equity (Input and Output)

John Stacey Adam takes into consideration the relational satisfaction of employees in terms of what they want and what they receive. Input refers to what an employee gives to an organization, for example: effort, flexibility, skill, and output refers to salary, job security, and employee benefits but it also extends to praise, achievement and reputation.

​Adam stresses on the fact that there must be a fair balance between input and output only then all the employees will remain motivated. For example: If inequities are identified in the input or output, the employee will tend to assess the situation and either adjust their input to reach the desired goal or be demotivated and either stop striving to achieve the goal or put in less effort to do so.

Expectancy theory:

Vroom’s expectancy theory was a rich source for theoretical innovations. This theory states that an individual will reach a goal only if they believe in it and what helps them achieve this particular goal.

​​Force = Valence x expectancy

Force refers to the amount of motivation an individual has and valence refers to the strength of the outcome or how the employees value their rewards. Expectancy is the action that will lead to the outcome depending on the amount of force of a person. When there is a negative valance, the goal will not be achieved, and similarly, with there will be a negative spiral when there is zero expectancies or no motivation. The expectancy theory is similar to Adam’s equity approach as in both the theories the employees are looking for satisfaction in achieving the desired goals.


After looking at the various theories, it cannot be derived that only one theory will suit the manager’s need in increasing motivation, performance, and engagement. As nothing can be done with regard to the pay structure, we can consider Maslow’s Hierarchy theory for basic survival needs and also look at Herzberg’s motivational factors but also take into account McClelland’s theory of needs as he looks at cultural dimensions and power distance as well. The manager can also use the self-determination theory as it looks at the intrinsic and extrinsic factors of an individual along with the goal-setting theory. The goal-setting theory proves to be of much importance because an individual will have no vision if there are no goals to be achieved. The equity theory and expectancy theory have a similar approach in dealing with individuals and things which will also be useful to the manager to spread awareness and understanding about motivation and engagement.


  • Work-friendly environment rather than a competitive environment.
  • Never lose focus for pursuing desired goals.
  • Look at the input rather than the output.
  • Conducting workshops for employees
  • Can use technology to increase the efficiency and productivity of the employees.                

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Motivation and Engagement: Types of Motivation and Its Impact on Productivity. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 29, 2022, from
“Motivation and Engagement: Types of Motivation and Its Impact on Productivity.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022,
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