November 07, 2013


Motivation is a hugely important factor in having a productive, efficient and skillful workforce. Yet what necessarily motivates employees? From some of my readings on the subject area, the common theme observed is that motivation can be either intrinsic, or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation occurs when an employee enjoys their work, and feels to have a high level of autonomy, doing engaging and skillful work that is challenging and fulfilling. Extrinsic motivation concerns things that aren't directly related to the work, such as wages, promotion and bonuses.

Traditional and emerging managerial theory argues that intrinisc motivation leads to a more productive workforce, where as extrinsic motivation can actually decrease job performance. This idea has been already explored in class when we watched a video slating performance related pay by Daniel Pink.

However, some theory I have recently read is not so quick to criticise extrinsic motivation, and argues that it can be used in tandem with intrinsic motivational tools to increase productivity and motivation to its highest level.

In some respects, this makes sense to me (although I have myself critiicised concepts such as performance related pay in previous blogs). A high level of automony for example, with some form of performance related pay, or promotion opportunities, I feel could get a higher level of productivity than using either one or the other. It is important not to over compensate however, and is extremely important not to create an internal competitive environment! (We all know Deming's view on this!

However, I feel a blend of the two can achieve a hugely productive environment.

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