Motivation in Management: Importance, Nature, Types, Level, Process, Techniques

  • Post last modified:2 August 2023
  • Reading time:35 mins read
  • Post category:Management
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What is Motivation?

Motivation refers to the way in which urges, drives, desires, aspirations, striving, or needs direct, control or explain the behaviour of human beings.

Motivation has been defined differently by people in many ways and most motivational theories are based on the fact that human behaviour has a purpose and is directed towards the attainment of a goal. There is a concept of “motive” that refers to the ‘purpose underlying the goal’ that is directed into actions.

These are due to the desires, drive wants or needs of the person to attain the goal. There may be cases where all the motives may not be equally important or refer to the context of the goal. There could be certain actions that can arise from a need that could be biological or physiological and over which people do not have much control. These forms of motives are very commonly found to be present in the entire animal kingdom.

Motivation Definition

According to Memoria A willingness to expend energy to achieve a goal or reward. It is a force that activates dormant energies and sets in motion the action of the people. It is the function that kindles a burning passion for action among the human beings of an organisation.

According to Dalton E. McFarland, Motivation refers to the way in which urges, drives, desires, aspirations, striving, or needs direct, control or explain the behaviour of human beings.

According to The Encyclopaedia of Management, Motivation refers to the degree of readiness of an organism to pursue some designated goal and implies the determination of the nature and locus of the forces, including the degree of readiness.

In the words of Vitiles, Motivation represents an unsatisfied need which creates a state of tension or disequilibrium, causing the individual to make in a goal-directed pattern towards restoring a state of equilibrium by satisfying the need.

Importance of Motivation in Management

Motivated employees are the key to the success of any business organisation. It is the factor of motivation that enhances the level of performance for attaining organisational goals. Positive motivation among employees increases the performance and negative motivation brings down the performance of the organisation.

The importance of motivation in management for the employees and the enterprises is as follows:

  1. Leads to Higher Efficiency
  2. Minimises Absenteeism
  3. Improves the Morale of the People
  4. Leads to Good Relations
  5. Leads to Lesser Employee Turnover
  6. Enhances the Image of the Enterprise
  7. Reduces Wastages and Breakages
  8. Minimises Accidents
  9. Leads to Better Initiative and Innovation

Nature of Motivation in Management

Motivation is a psychological process that initiates certain actions and behaviours in an individual to achieve a specific outcome. The various forces that activate the specific behaviour are due to the emotional, biological, social and other cognitive elements.

It is the force that drives a person to behave or act in a certain manner. It is a desire or needs that are generated to prompt or motivate people to satisfy their needs and steer ahead. The nature of motivation involves the following situations:

  1. The person is energised due to an inner feeling which motivates him to work more.

  2. There could be a motive that can result in any form of actions and behaviours.

  3. An individual is prompted to do a specific work due to his/her emo- S tions or desires.

  4. The individual’s balance is disturbed due to certain unsatisfied needs of a person.

  5. Unsatisfied needs of an individual are fulfilled by utilising his en- ergies towards a specific direction.

  6. The nature of motivation can have a positive or a negative impact on the behaviour of the person.

  7. Energies that are lying dormant in an individual are energised by directing them into certain behaviour or actions.

Types of Motivation in Management

The following are two types of motivation in management given below:

  1. Intrinsic Motivation
  2. Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation

This form of motivation arises from within the individual. Intrinsic motivation is also based on the needs and desires of an individual for their satisfaction. Intrinsic motivation leads to a better quality of life and has a long-term effect. A few examples of intrinsic motivation are:

  1. When a kid cleans up his own room because he likes every- thing neat and clean.

  2. Working for a low-paying job when other options are available only because a person is passionate about his work.

  3. Visiting different places because one likes to explore new plac- es and get to know different cultures and people.

  4. Working in a team because one likes to collaborate with differ- ent people

Extrinsic Motivation

This form of motivation arises from external conditions that could include certain incentives, rewards, recognition, monetary incentive, etc. Extrinsic motivation, sometimes, also come in a negative form. Punishment, disciplinary action, cutting of salary, being criticised etc. are some of the negative extrinsic motivation factors. A few examples of extrinsic motivation are:

  1. When a kid cleans up his own room because he does not want to be scolded by his parents.

  2. Working only because one must earn money for surviving and taking care of family.

  3. Visiting different places only to post pictures on social media.

  4. Working in a team as it is a workplace requirement.

Types of Motivation Levels in Management

There are two types of motivation levels in management:

  1. Positive Motivation
  2. Negative Motivation

Positive Motivation

This form of motivation is based on rewards and recognition. Employees are offered incentives and promotions in recognition of their work. According to Peter Drucker, “the real and positive motivators are responsible for placement, high standard of performance, information adequate for self-control and the participation of the worker as a responsible citizen in the plant community.

Positive motivation is achieved by the cooperation of employees and they have a feeling of happiness.” A few examples of positive motivation are:

  1. A salesperson, who works hard and stays motivated by the amount of incentives, would get on completing targets.
  2. Workers are often motivated by appreciation, acceptance by group and rewards.
  3. Transparent policies and practices at work usually motivate employees.

Negative Motivation

This motivation takes place in the form of punishments. It creates a sense of fear and insecurity among employees when they are punished, demoted or have to go through layoffs. This makes employees uncooperative and unwilling to put in their best efforts.

A few examples of negative motivation are:

  1. A salesperson who works hard and stays motivated because he/she does not want to take a pay-cut if he/she does not meet the targets.

  2. Workers are negatively motivated by lay-offs, transfers, penal- ties, group rejection, etc.

Process of Motivation in Management

A motive is an inner state that energizes, activates, or moves and directs or channels behaviour goals. The different steps involved in the motivation process are as follows:

  1. Identifying the Needs and Motives
  2. Searching Ways to Satisfy Needs
  3. Taking Action to Satisfy Needs and Motives
  4. Accomplishing the Goal
  5. Reviewing Employee Performance
  6. Providing Feedback of Performance

Identifying the Needs and Motives

Identifying the needs and motives: The first step in the motivation process is the identification of the need and the motive behind the drive for attaining the goals.

Searching Ways to Satisfy Needs

Searching for ways to satisfy needs: The second step involves looking for various alternatives for satisfying the needs identified in the previous step. The needs lead to action or behaviour that steers the decision of the individual’s need for satisfaction.

Taking Action to Satisfy Needs and Motives

Taking action to satisfy needs and motives: Implementing the action directed by the motive for satisfying the needs of the individual.

Accomplishing the Goal

Accomplishing the goal: The behaviour or activities are initiated towards the attainment of the goals by the person. The right action needs to be selected from the alternatives for satisfying the need.

Reviewing Employee Performance

Reviewing employee performance: The performance of the employees is reviewed and this initiates the action that guides the decision of the employee to follow a specific course of action that affects their form of performance.

Providing Feedback of Performance

The course of action taken by the individual leads to positive performance that the person is likely to repeat the same in the future. But if the feedback for the performance is negative then the person will not repeat the action.

Motivation Techniques

Motivation is an important technique that is used by management. The management motivates the workforce for getting the work done from them. There are several motives in the form of incentives that are given to the employees which act as the tools and techniques for motivating them.

The tools and techniques used by organisations to motivate people are as follows:

  1. Incentives
  2. Non-financial Incentives

Financial incentives

Incentives provided to employees act as stimulants and also induce certain actions and behaviours from employees. They have a positive impact on employees and motivate them to put in their total energies to perform better. Organisations use different forms of incentives to motivate their employees that are classified as:

Financial incentives

Money has an important role in motivating people to do their work. Money satisfies the physiological and social needs of people and provides security to many people. Money is also seen as satisfying the social needs of people by providing them power, status and respect. Money is used in many different ways, which include wages, bonuses, salaries, perks, medical benefits, retirement benefits and more.

There are the many reasons why the workers prefer the financial incentives that act as a motivating factor:

  1. Determines a direct relationship between efforts and rewards.
  2. Satisfies their basic needs and take care of their social needs.
  3. Provides monetary security to employees for old age, accidents, and sickness, and protects against uncertainties.
  4. Provides self-confidence to people and helps them to set higher goals for themselves.
  5. Provides a sense of responsibility to employees for earning more monetary rewards.

Non-financial Incentives

Non-financial incentives can be put into the following categories:

  1. Work Appreciation
  2. Healthy Competition
  3. Group Incentive
  4. Participation of Workers
  5. Growth Opportunity
  6. Job Enrichment

Work Appreciation

Appreciation of the work done by an individual is a big motivator. People being praised at work, in school or university or at home works as a big morale booster and is an effective non-financial incentive.

For example, Bob Steele, an employer, wrote an appreciation letter to his employee Ernie.

Healthy Competition

Healthy competition in the workforce inspires them to put in their best efforts to achieve their personal or group goals. Hence, competition acts as an important non-financial incentive for employees.

For example, competition among different sales teams of an organisation encourages healthy competition. When sales teams put in their best efforts, it leads to positive results for their respective branches and the overall organisation.

Group Incentive

Group incentive helps to boost and steer the team to perform better. It is more effective than individual incentives to motivate employees. It helps to improve team spirit among employees and makes the group work together as a team.

For example, many organisations offer different types of group incentive plans such as salon plans, co-partnership and profit-sharing, cash incentives, etc. for promoting teamwork.

Participation of Workers

When the management of the organisation invites workers to take part in decision making, it creates an impact on them and motivates them. Workers feel important that they are being heard by the management which is a good motivating tool.

For example, employees are encouraged to meet regularly and engage in joint decision making by establishing quality control circles.

Growth Opportunity

Individuals like to move ahead in their careers since people are ambitious and want to grow in their careers. When employees are given growth opportunities for their career advancement, they feel satisfied and become more committed to their work and goals.

For example, many organisations offer internal job postings and job rotations in order to provide growth opportunities to their employees.

Job Enrichment

Job enrichment leads to more responsibilities, better scope and more challenges. It gives employees a lot of satisfaction to get more challenging jobs and more responsibilities to handle their work. Job enrichment motivates people by giving them more incentives, which act as motivation for them to put in more effort for the accomplishment of their goals.

For example, when a customer support executive, whose main job is to help customers by providing information, is given the authority to initiate certain refunds within certain limits, he feels empowered and motivated.

Techniques for Stimulating Creativity

Motivating employees can be challenging for any organisation. This is because different people are motivated differently depending on their current environment. For example, the motivation level of an individual gets influenced differently as compared to that of a group.

An individual may always try to fulfil his/her higher level needs to get motivated, which may not be a case for a team. This happens because an individual may be motivated with the fulfilment of personal goals but a team gets motivated with the fulfilment of team goals.

However, motivation of individuals is necessary as a team is formed by individuals. If team members are able to fulfil their higher level needs to get motivated, the team will also be motivated. Thus, it is of utmost importance for every organisation to understand the substantial difference between motivating individuals and motivating a team. Organisations use different techniques to motivate individuals and teams.

Let us discuss these techniques in detail.

Motivating Individuals

A person needs to be individually motivated to motivate others or to remain motivated in a team. While motivating an individual, it is important for an organisation to understand the nature, personality, and needs of the individual.

Monetary and non-monetary benefits

These are one of the important ways of motivating individuals. Examples of monetary benefits are incentives, commissions, and bonus, while the examples of non-monetary benefits are appreciation, recognition, gift vouchers, medical claims, etc. It is believed that monetary motivational tools have better results in comparison to non-monetary ones. However, the importance of non-monetary measures cannot be ignored as there are certain needs of employees that cannot be fulfilled by money.

Job enrichment

It motivates employees by making a job more competitive. Job enrichment allows employees to share some responsibilities of their superiors. When employees are given more or additional responsibilities, they feel themselves as an integral part of the organisation. This further increases their confidence and maintains their interest in work, which, in turn, leads to in- creased productivity.

Job rotation

Performing the same kind of work on a daily basis can be monotonous for employees. Job rotation is a technique wherein employees are assigned different roles and responsibilities to retain their interest in the work. Job rotation helps in enhancing the performance of employees by keeping them motivated. In addition, it reduces the monotony of work.

Goal setting

Employees are given authority to set goals for the organisation. If employee participation is promoted while setting goals, they would feel more committed towards the attainment of goals.

Flexible shifts and skills development

Employees are given a choice to select the desired shift of work. In this way, they can work as per their comfort and convenience, which, in turn, boost their motivation. Moreover, organisations also focus on improving the skills of employees so that they can perform their work effectively.

Motivating Groups

In an organisation, group or team motivation is very important as it leads to the pursuit of organisational objectives. In a team, leaders play a primary role in motivating employees. Thus, it is a responsibility of a leader to assess and understand the motives of team members and identify the techniques that could motivate them.


In a group, people often get motivated with interesting work or an opportunity to achieve something significant. They get motivated in situations that offer personal responsibility and calculated risks. Thus, it is important for leaders to delegate responsibility to team members so that they can feel as a valuable part of the organisation.

Reward and recognition

Employees in a group want to be appreciated for the role they play in a team. Rewarding employees in a team and recognising their work is one of the important ways to enhance the motivation level of the entire team.


Some employees get motivated if they have close relationships with other team members. Thus, it is essential for a leader to develop a sense of belongingness among team members and explain them the importance of working collectively and developing a strong bond with team members.

Positive work environment

A pleasant and less stressful work environment spreads positive energy, which, in turn, boosts employee motivation and satisfaction. Thus, it is primary for an organisation to maintain a congenial work environment.

Fair compensation

Employees feel highly motivated if they get proper salaries in exchange of the work performed by them. If employees get fair wages, they are less likely to switch to other organisations. Thus, it is important for an organisation to ensure a fair compensation system.

Skills improvement

Organisations should conduct training pro- grams for enhancing the skills of employees. It would help employees in performing their jobs and duties effectively, which would ultimately lead to an increase in employee motivation.

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