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Types and Benefits of Motivation at Work

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This essay talks about how important motivation and strengths are at work, how an individual’s behavior is related to what is emotional, and what performance is the mix of skills and motivation. Sometimes we do not realize that behind the success we have the motivation that is what keeps us firm to achieve our goals and that behind the failure we have the process of frustration, which is when an individual sees that their opportunities of growth are blocked by lack of motivation.


It is what motivates an individual to seek the satisfaction of their needs as they reach their goals, motivation determines the path we have to go to achieve what we want.

There are two types of motivation:

  • Intrinsic motivation refers to psychological rewards. Meaning that, employers acknowledge individual’s ability, achievements and in return receive rewards, acknowledgement and are treated in a considerate manner. Broader intrinsic also relates to psychological contracts as well as the changing nature of work environment, meaning that employers gain affection or are more committed to work due to long years of working in company. Grayson and Hodges stated that in early years’ loyalty has been long implemented in organisation, offering progression gradually up the hierarchy, offering a good salary, job security (Mullins and Christy, 2013).

Developing a passion for work can also be considered a psychological motivation, as Blanchard pointed out eight employee needs that an organisation should take into account as a mean to obtain the best performance from their employees (Mullins and Christy, 2013). The eight employee needs are as referred:

  1. Meaningful work
  2. Collaboration
  3. Fairness
  4. Autonomy
  5. Recognition
  6. Growth
  7. Connectedness with leaders
  8. Connectedness with colleagues
  • Extrinsic Motivation refers to behaviour that is carried out in the light of the desire for material or social goods or to avoid punishment, such as:
  1. Badges
  2. Competition
  3. Fear of Failure
  4. Fear of Punishment
  5. Gold Stars
  6. Money
  7. Points
  8. Rewards

According to Churchard (2013), bonuses are not the strongest motivator forces that influence employees, rather, a survey conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) revealed that 13% of people would be more motivated through good basic salary and pension, though, 59% of people agreed that job enjoyment such good working relationships, fair treatment, it was indicated top motivators to drive they performance.

The importance of keeping employees motivated is vital for organisation to understand, as motivated employees is what makes up a happy and motivated workforce. Regardless, of the motivation, it is important that organisations maintain their employees motivated through, giving constant feedback, giving autonomy in their role as well as opportunity to innovate and improve work environments (Churchard, 2013).

Theories of Motivation

There are various theories of motivation, each of them identify the nature and causes that may drive an individual to behave in certain way or that may influence in their decision-making process (Mullins and Christy, 2013).

Process theories in the other hand focuses on people’s expectations, equity, goals and attribution. It aims to identify the relationship between variables that make up motivation (Mullins and Christy, 2013). These variables include:

  • Expectancy Theory-based models – Vroom, Porter and Lawler
  • Equity theory- Adams
  • Goal theory – Locke
  • Attribution theory – Heider and Kelley
  • Expectancy-based models – Vroom, Porter and Lawler

Expectancy Theory is about the psychological processes related to the choices of decisions, this theory involves the definition of motivation of Victor Vroom. In 1964, Vroom described that an individual chooses a type of behaviour based on the outcome of that behaviour in order to prioritize their pleasure and minimize their discontent, Vroom found that an employee’s performance is based on personality, skills, experience, and knowledge.

  • Goal theory – Locke

Goal Setting Theory aims to develop a plan of action designed to motivate and guide an individual or group toward a goal. Goal setting is a source of motivation for workers because it specifies what has to be done and this goal setting can be guided by goal setting criteria such as SMART criteria that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely .

Content theories are based on what motivates people. It attempts to explain people’s needs, strengths, goals they seek as mean to satisfy these needs (Mullins and Christy, 2013).

The main theories of motivation are as followed:

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model
  • Alderfer’s modified need hierarchy model
  • Herzberg’s two-factor theory
  • McClelland’s achievement motivation theory
  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model

In 1943, Maslow created a motivational theory in psychology represented in a pyramid model with five hierarchical levels of human needs. Maslow stated that people are motivated to meet their needs and that certain needs have a precedent over others, that physical survival is the basic need that moves our behaviour.

Pyramid model include:

  1. Physiological needs; food, water, air, clothing
  2. Safety needs; security (feel safe, absence of pain, threat)
  3. Love needs; affiliation (friendship, company, love, belonging)
  4. Esteem; self-respect, achievement, prestige, recognition
  5. Self-actualisation; personal growth realization

This five-level model can be in two deficiency and growth needs, the deficiency needs are to motivate people and correspond to the first four levels of the pyramid and the growth needs correspond to the higher level.

Every individual wants and can raise the hierarchy to the level of self-realization but it is often impossible because of an error in attending the lower level needs derived from life events such as divorce or unemployment.

Maslow found that only one in every hundred individuals fully achieves self-realization because society rewards motivation according to love, esteem, and other social needs.

Both content and process theories are beneficial for organisations, thus, resulting in a better and happier workforce. Additionally, employee performances are improved. Therefore, it is important to understand that individuals are always driven by motivation and employers should seek for the most adequate motivation concept to implement in order to meet employees needs.

Comparing the motivations previously discussed intrinsic psychological motivation points out the inner needs of an individual to maintain their work commitment and job satisfaction. Being rewarded and gain positive recognition, stimulates an individual’s self-esteem, thus, allowing to deliver a better performance.

The motivation of employee at work

Employee motivation is vital for any company because motivated employees mean more productivity and more productivity plus overall performance for the company.

It is important to understand what motivates employees, although not everyone has the same needs, so the employer must engage in a motivation program that may include monetary incentives, rewards, recognition, and a fresh, discounted work environment. These motivation programs are the easiest and quickest way to encourage employees as they become more motivated when they see that their work and dedication are recognized, they look to be sure they are doing a good job through feedback from managers and With this they expect constructive critiques or evaluations.

Feedback is important because employees are going to feel that their opinions are heard and that they play an important role … motivation is the key because motivated employees create successful businesses.


The previous discussions, explain the importance of motivation and its theories, Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation, Content and Process Theories. With these elements we can evaluate the performance of employees and their needs because motivation is the guide to professional or personal success, an individual only feels fulfilled when he reaches his goals or otherwise will behave in frustration.


  • Churchad, C. (2013). People Management. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed on 06/06/2017)
  • Mullins, L. (2013). Management & Organisational Behaviour. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited  

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