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6 Types of Motivation Explained

6 Types of Motivation Explained


    What makes people do what they do? Why do some people succeed while others fail? The answer just might be motivation. We know that from an early age motivation prompts us to want to learn and exhibit different types of behavior and stimulates us to accomplish new feats of success. As we grow and mature through the different stages of our lives, we hopefully learn what motivates us and what does not.

    What is motivation?

    Motivation is generally defined as the force that compels us to action. It drives us to work hard and pushes us to succeed. Motivation influences our behavior and our ability to accomplish goals.

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    There are many different forms of motivation. Each one influences behavior in its own unique way. No single type of motivation works for everyone. People’s personalities vary and so accordingly does the type of motivation, that is most effective at inspiring their conduct.

    Types of Motivation

    Incentive

    A form of motivation that involves rewards, both monetary and nonmonetary is often called incentive motivation. Many people are driven by the knowledge that they will be rewarded in some manner for achieving a certain target or goal. Bonuses and promotions are good examples of the type of incentives that are used for motivation.

    Fear

    Fear motivation involves consequences. This type of motivation is often one that is utilized when incentive motivation fails. In a business style of motivation often referred to as the, “carrot and stick,” incentive is the carrot and fear is the stick.

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    Punishment or negative consequences are a form of fear motivation. This type of motivation is commonly used to motivate students in the education system and also frequently in a professional setting to motivate employees. If we break the rules or fail to achieve the set goal, we are penalized in some way.

    Achievement

    Achievement motivation is also commonly referred to as the drive for competency. We are driven to achieve goals and tackle new challenges. We desire to improve skills and prove our competency both to others and to ourselves. Generally, this feeling of accomplishment and achievement is intrinsic in nature.

    However, in certain circumstances be motivation for achievement may involve external recognition. We often have a desire or need to receive positive feedback from both our peers and our superiors. This may include anything from an award to a simple pat on the back for a job well done.

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    Growth

    The need for self-improvement is truly an internal motivation. A burning desire to increase our knowledge of ourselves and of the outside world can be a very strong form of motivation. We seek to learn and grow as individuals.

    Motivation for growth can also be seen in our yearning for change. Many of us are wired by our personality or upbringing to constantly seek a change in either our external or internal environment or knowledge. We view stagnation to be both negative and undesirable.

    Power

    The motivation of power can either take the form of a desire for autonomy or other desire to control others around us. We want to have choices and control over our own lives. We strive for the ability to direct the manner in which we live now and the way our lives will unfold in the future.

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    We also often aspire to control others around us. The desire for control is stronger in some people than others. In some cases, the craving for power induces people to harmful, immoral, or illegal behavior. In other situations, the longing for power is merely a desire to affect the behavior of others. We simply want people to do what we want, according to our timetable, and the way we want it done.

    Social

    Many people are motivated by social factors. This may be a desire to belong and to be accepted by a specific peer group or a desire to relate to the people in our sphere or in the larger world. We have an innate need to feel a connection with others. We also have the need for acceptance and affiliation.

    A genuine and passionate desire to contribute and to make a difference in the lives of others can be another form of social motivation. If we have a longing to make a contribution to the world around us, it is generally a sign that we are motivated by social factors.

    The real importance of understanding the different types of motivation is in our ability to determine which form of motivation is the most effective for inspiring the desired behavior in either others or ourselves. None of these styles of motivation is inherently good or bad, the positive or negative outcome is truly determined by the way they are used.

    (Photo credit: Businessman Placing Motivation via Shutterstock)

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    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

    Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

    “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

    In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

    New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

    There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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    So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

    What is the productivity paradox?

    There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

    In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

    He wrote in his conclusion:

    “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

    Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

    How do we measure productivity anyway?

    And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

    In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

    But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

    In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

    But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

    Possible causes of the productivity paradox

    Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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    • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
    • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
    • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
    • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

    There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

    According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

    Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

    The paradox and the recession

    The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

    “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

    This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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    According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

    Looking forward

    A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

    “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

    Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

    “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

    On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

    Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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