thumb user 1823161 2016 12 14 09 14 57 - Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: What’s the Difference?

What makes you jump out of bed every morning? What do you look forward to as the sun rises to shine over a new day? The question here is not “what”, but “why” you engage in a particular activity. One day, you may not need to snooze the alarm button and are already rearing to go to work as you may be receiving a promotion that day. Another day you may feel as if you are having to drag yourself to work because of a client meeting that you are dreading.

What are the reasons behind these differing emotions? Motivation. It is all about the level of motivation you possess to undertake any action. Although there are multiple forms of motivation, it can be broadly classified into two types: intrinsic and extrinsic. A person’s set of traits ascertain whether he or she will be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. Comprehending the reason for your deeds and behaviour will help you track your source of stimulation.

What is Intrinsic Motivation?

What is Intrinsic Motivation?

As the term denotes-intrinsic refers to the internal, natural inclination to conduct an activity for the sake of contentment or happiness; not to gain anything in return. It implies that the outcome created or caused is in sync with the person’s core structure of values. You embark on your own personal journey of self-purpose to strengthen your set of skills or to sharpen your knowledge base in a specific field.

Instances of intrinsic motivation can include going to a kickboxing class because you want to relieve yourself from stress. You could read a book because you enjoy losing yourself in its imaginary world or you choose to clean your home because you like a hygienic environment.

What Factors Affect Intrinsic Motivation?

  1. Inquisitiveness: Human beings are naturally curious creatures. It is possible that if something within the physical environment captures your attention, you may have your own internal incentive to learn more.
  2. Control: Individuals may feel more confident on the inside in being able to manage themselves and exerting control over their atmospheres.
  3. Recognition: You may relish having your achievements acknowledged by others and it may increase your level of intrinsic motivation.
  4. Challenge: When individuals try to attain challenging objectives that mean more to them, it acts as an inducement.

What is Extrinsic Motivation?

What is Extrinsic Motivation?

Extrinsic motivation stems from an outside channel that pushes you to act or behave in a certain way to evade a negative consequence or to gain a reward. The foundation of communities is constructed on the basis of extrinsic motivation as people thrive on social connections and recognition.

When you are incentivised to engage, study, or work on a task with respected results, then that is a form of extrinsic motivation. Even if you don’t find the project in question enjoyable or intellectually stimulating, you will persist in completing it as your energy is driven by an external force.

When a factory worker performs the same number of steps in an assembly line day in and day out, he is motivated by the pay check that he will receive at the end of the month. When you wish to assign or delegate a task, even within your family home, you may provide a positive or negative incentive to get the ball rolling. 

If you want your kids to tidy room, you may choose to let them have an extra scoop of ice cream or not allow them to watch television. If you read a book to prepare for a test (and not your own internal enjoyment), then you are extrinsically motivated. Perhaps you hit the gym every morning to lose weight for an upcoming wedding, not because you want to tone up.

What is the difference between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation?

Would it not be great if you did not require that extra momentum to perform our jobs or duties? Intrinsic motivation may appear to be more powerful as you are going to engage in an activity for the love of it, not for the sake of it. However, history tells a different story.

As human beings, we are not perfect and flourish naturally when there is an additional incentive. You may give a work assignment your best shot (even if you enjoy it) in hopes of your manager’s appreciation in the form of a bonus or raise. To function efficiently, both forms of motivation are important and necessary to make the world go around.

What is the Overjustification Effect?

Prizes offered as a basis of extrinsic motivation can help augment the level of interest a person may have in a job. Be it an increment in the percentage of sales commission earned, a promotion, a change in job title, or a raise, it encourages an individual to expand his existing scope of skills and broaden his learning horizons.

Along the way, he may fall in love with the subject matter at hand. However, you must balance it out and not over do it. Certain studies conducted have illustrated that by providing too many rewards for actions that are also intrinsically motivated may cause a reduction in that person’s natural motivation. This is known as the overjustification effect.

One renowned instance involves a research study held with children in the age bracket of nine and ten. They were rewarded for playing math games. Prior to the prizes bestowed, several children adored the games simply because it had a fun element. However, after they received the reward, they spent significantly less time playing.

Psychologists haven’t determined the cause of what has come be to known as the overjustification effect. The only determined fact is that projects that had a high degree of intrinsic motivation tended to decline after individuals were given awards for engaging with it.

If you are a leader and guide a work team, it is recommended to limit the utilization of extrinsic awards. Of course, it is vital to offer raises, quarterly bonuses and what not-however, it is equally important to allocate an adequate amount of resources and time to let your workforce discover their own tasks that excite them. As an individual, it is advised to strive for extrinsic incentives, yet do find the time to do what you love as well.

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