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Two Divisions Regarding Motivation: Extrinsic and Intrinsic

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In this day and age, motivation performs a crucial role in the productivity and prosperity of an employee. Through the lens of organizational behavior, there are two divisions regarding motivation; Extrinsic and Intrinsic motivation. The research and analysis in this essay concentrate on the impacts that intrinsic motivation has on individual behavior. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term “intrinsic” is defined as “belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing.” Transcribed into business literature, intrinsic motivation is, “non-monetary motivation which managers can include praise and recognition, care and concern, empowering and developing employees and ensuring person-environment fit”. Factors, in particular, feelings of achievement, competence procured from accomplishing one’s work, and the sole interest in the job itself, are intrinsic motivators for an employee. Furthermore, recent studies have reasoned that intrinsic rewards result in a substantial impact on the psychological features of employee commitment. Research indicates that there is a strong correlation linking intrinsic motivation to employee appreciation, which, is also a predictor of employee engagement. Intrinsic motivation is a higher predictor for increased job engagement. Additionally, I will be comparing intrinsic motivation to individual behavior, strategy, extrinsic motivation, Self-determination theory, and Hofstede’s Framework. The objective of my research is to develop an in-depth understanding of how intrinsic motivation stimulates employee engagement and explore whether there is an impact on employee appreciation, all through the lens of organizational behavior.

How does intrinsic motivation drive employee engagement? Supposing intrinsic motivation is subjective to the behavior of the individual, self-management takes on a critical role. The process of self-management orbits around the four origins of intrinsic motivation, which ultimately incites employee engagement. The four intrinsic awards that spur employee engagement are ‘a sense of choice, a sense of competence, a sense of meaningfulness, and a sense of progress’. By implementing these factors, individual behavior is profoundly modified. For instance, an employee can self-identify the purpose of their job role, acknowledge rapid improvement, and incorporate their diverse competencies to promote solutions.

Of the four intrinsic awards, ‘choice’ plays into the part of autonomy. Some questions that an employee may ask themselves would be, is there any room for improvement or how to perform on the job? Can I choose how to accomplish this project? These questions illustrate how freedom can have a positive impact on job performance and more importantly, engagement. For example, when an employee is free to use their best judgment in managing their workload, eventually, they also obtain a larger sense of ownership and responsibility. As a result, the employee will be more inclined to exceed job expectations and maintain engagement since they obtained a feeling of responsibility for the success of the company. The second intrinsic award, “meaningfulness” blends into the employee’s morals. An employee that is seeking meaning in their work would inquire, does my performance benefit a higher purpose? Is it worth my time and effort? Intrinsically motivated employees perceive their worth as being satisfied because they realize that they are partaking in something of real value. Therefore, employee engagement increases because that sense of meaning is instantly prevalent in the individual. The third intrinsic award, “competence” ties into achievement. For example, if an employee believes that they are producing high-quality work, motivation will compel them to continue surpassing work standards. Henceforth, the individual will pursue more challenging engagements that will ultimately improve their job skills. Lastly, the fourth intrinsic award is ‘progress’. An employee’s sense of progress renders them with the assurance that their past choices were rational, and their future decisions will be successful. All in all, the four intrinsic rewards are “the reinforcements that keep employees actively self-managing and engaged in their work”. Individuals who are motivated by intrinsic factors exhibit more exceptional work concentration and are revealed to be more productive and efficient. Also, intrinsic motivation enhances an individual’s creativity, problem-solving skills, and conceptual thinking.

Next, I will be exploring how intrinsic motivation energizes individual behavior, which in turn, mounts to greater employee engagement. According to a modern study conducted by the Korn Ferry Hay Group, 76% of employees who surpass expectations feel energized to accomplish more than what is required of them, which showcases that intrinsic motivation is associated with better job productivity. Employees commit to investing more time in their work when they find it to be enjoyable and engaging. In the business environment, when an employee finds a sense of meaning in their work, they will apply more energy to their job performance. Workers with high reward levels will experience lower work burnout because they will experience fewer stress symptoms. Intrinsic motivation also has a positive effect on employee appreciation. According to a recent case study conducted on the influence of intrinsic rewards, “Employees take recognition as their feeling of value and appreciation and as a result it boosts up the morale of employees which ultimately increases the productivity of organizations”. It is claimed that intrinsic awards and employee appreciation maintain high spirits among individuals, which creates a linkage between behavior, job performance, and the appreciation of employees. Appreciation is a focal point toward employees’ motivation. Praise and recognition are powerful motivators that influence individual behavior.

Certain strategies can further promote intrinsic motivation in individuals’ behavior. It is claimed that the management role is to primarily foster a creative environment and promote captivating visions onto their employees. There are various creative strategies that managers can incorporate in their managerial methods to stimulate employee engagement. As an example, managers or supervisors can empower their employees to construct new methods of work that are solely based on their behavior, which hounds into the employee’s creative mindset. If managers remove bureaucracy and other institutional barriers, intrinsic motivation will power employees to increase their job performance. Within the lens of organizational behavior, authority figures can nurture close relationships with their employees. Therefore, the appreciation from a superior is more likely to validate an employee’s intrinsic need to produce work that showcases their skill sets. Investigations have found that if managers give praise and compliment their employees for good work, employees will gain more trust in the manager and overall have a positive impact on the business. Another solution that can help drive employee appreciation and engagement is job design. Job design refers to the structure and configuration of an employee’s work role. For instance, if a manager can design the workplace in a way that can promote intrinsic motivation, the employee’s self-concordance will be greatly magnified. After discussing how managers can utilize intrinsic rewards as a strategy to produce employee engagement, I will now discuss how an individual can employ the same rewards. One way that can help the individual is relationships in the workplace. For example, when healthy relationships are established between the employee and their co-worker, the individual is more susceptible to incorporating their opinions during group discussions. Individuals are more likely to collaborate with other co-workers. For example, when connections between an individual and their colleagues are established, intrinsic motivation is naturally promoted and improves employee experience. When employees mutually respect their colleagues, they become susceptible to exceeding job performance based on the reasoning that their job performance will have a positive impact on their team members. The development of motivational schemes, especially ones that involve intrinsic factors can improve employee engagement and individual behavior.

In contrast, intrinsic motivation does come with certain challenges that can have a negative influence on individual behavior. The most prominent challenge that individuals face is that it is hard to recognize what intrinsic factors motivate them. It is difficult to determine what internal factors stimulate an individual to invest energy into their job. Another challenging element that intrinsic motivation faces is that it is rare to concentrate on intrinsic factors in the workplace. When factors such as financial or health instability, employees tend to ignore intrinsic motivators and rely more on extrinsic motivators.

As discussed, motivation can be divided into two separate ideas; intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic rewards are tangible factors and are primarily external to the actual job. Some examples of extrinsic rewards are salary, bonuses, job security, and promotions. Research has shown that extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation can produce different qualities of performance. Intrinsic motivation stimulates an individual to be more motivated and exceed job expectations as opposed to an extrinsically motivated individual. To further this point, studies have reasoned that intrinsic factors create a psychological sense that employees feel after accomplishing meaningful work, receiving appreciation from a manager or co-worker, or performing well on the job. The presence of intrinsic motivational factors predominates the lack of extrinsic factors. Moreover, in a business setting, “extrinsic motivators are generally seen as low or poor sources of inspiration for an employee”. Although both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators influence overall employee engagement and behavior of the individual, intrinsic factors generally tend to overpower external rewards. Furthermore, intrinsic motivation can also be compared to autonomous motivation. The concept of autonomy comes from the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and focuses on how motivation can determine an individual’s choice while omitting external influences. Under the SDT theory, when extrinsic awards serve as payoffs for job execution, employees have a lesser sense that they are doing a good job because there is no personal motivator or desire to improve or increase the engagement. SDT is a principal predictor of autonomous support and it argues that the individual prefers to have authority over their actions. To conclude, by encouraging intrinsic rewards, and employees’ mindsets can shift the underlying reason of how they view their workplace. In other regards, intrinsic motivation holds to some connection to Geert Hofstede’s Framework. According to Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory, businesses that are settled in countries with a low “Individualism vs. Collectivism” score tend to have more extrinsically motivated employees. For instance, the United States has a low IDV score indicating that the majority of Americans are motivated by money, work benefits, and promotion. In contrast with Mexico, which the IDV score is higher, Mexicans are intrinsically motivated.

In conclusion, Intrinsic Motivation is an important and relevant subject that an individual should recognize. Since motivation is relatable to every individual, it is essential to know the reasoning behind people’s decisions and actions. Modern-day society emphasizes the importance and effects of extrinsic factors; however, we need to remind ourselves to evaluate intrinsic factors moreover the external influences. For instance, being intrinsically motivated allows an individual to have a long-term outlook on their lives. When change and adversity occur, intrinsically motivated people can recover and learn from those setbacks and gain an optimistic view of the future. Furthermore, knowledge of how to utilize intrinsic motivation to increase employee engagement can be extremely beneficial to business practitioners. For example, managers can foster creative environments within the workplace to help stimulate employee creativity. In other words, if a manager can invest time into their employees and establish personal relationships, the outcome would be greater confidence between the employee and the manager and overall, higher employee engagement. Similar to the individual, if they find their work to be interesting and purposeful, they will allocate more time and effort into assignments, which have a positive effect on their job performance. Furthermore, through my knowledge and understanding of organizational behavior, intrinsic motivation is a major contributor to my future career path. As a young adult who is soon to enter the workforce, it is inherent for me to understand the effects of intrinsic awards. After conducting extensive research on the outcomes of intrinsic motivation, I have realized that external rewards such as pay, and job rankings are not as important as they seem to be. Overall, by being knowledgeable of the benefits that intrinsic motivation has on individuals, it will prepare employers to effectively manage their team members and prepares employees to check what factors motivate them. 

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