Employee Motivation


motivation, in psychology, the intention of achieving a goal, leading to goal-directed behavior. Some human activity seems to be best explained by postulating an inner directing drive. While a drive is often considered to be an innate biological mechanism that determines the organism's activity (see instinct), a motive is defined as an innate mechanism modified by learning. In this view human drives serve to satisfy biological needs, such as hunger, while motives serve to satisfy needs that are not directly tied to the body requirements, such as companionship. Learned motives are sometimes linked with drives; e.g., the motivation to achieve social status is often viewed as a derivitive of the sex drive. Motives are sometimes classed as deficiency motives, such as the need to remove the physiological deficiency of hunger or thirst, or abundancy motives, i.e., motives to attain greater satisfaction and stimulation. American psychologist Abraham Maslow has classified motives into five developmental levels, with the satisfaction of physiological needs most important and esteem and self-actualization needs least important. According to Maslow, the most basic needs must be satisfied before successively higher needs can emerge. Cognitive psychologists such as Albert Bandura have suggested that individual mental processes, such as beliefs, play an important role in motivation, through the expectation of certain reinforcements for certain behaviors. Studies have shown that humans and other animals are likely to seek sensory stimulation, even where there may be no foreseeable goal. In recent years, the use of various tools for brain scanning has worked toward the discovery of a neurological basis for motivation.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Manager's Guide to Rewards: What You Need to Know to Get the Best For--And From--Your Employees
Doug Jensen; Tom McMullen; Mel Stark.
American Management Association, 2007
Army of Entrepreneurs: Create An Engaged and Empowered Workforce for Exceptional Business Growth
Jennifer Prosek.
AMACOM, 2011
Rewards and Intrinsic Motivation: Resolving the Controversy
Judy Cameron; W. David Pierce.
Bergin & Garvey, 2002
Improving the Performance of Government Employees: A Manager's Guide
Stewart Liff.
American Management Association, 2011
Beyond Leadership: The Impact of Coworker Relationships on Employee Motivation and Intent to Stay
Basford, Tessa E.; Offermann, Lynn R.
Journal of Management and Organization, Vol. 18, No. 6, November 2012
The Concise Adair on Teambuilding and Motivation
Neil Thomas; John Eric Adair.
Thorogood, 2004
Fifty Years of Employee Motivation Surveys: Three from the Final Half of the Twentieth Century
Richmond, F. Lynn; Schepman, Stephen.
Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, Vol. 9, No. 2, July 2005
An Examination of Employee Culture-Based Perceptions as a Predictor of Motivation
Emery, Charles R.; Oertel, Simon.
Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, Vol. 10, No. 2, July 2006
How to Motivate and Retain Knowledge Workers in Organizations: A Review of the Literature
Carleton, Karen.
International Journal of Management, Vol. 28, No. 2, June 2011
The 4 Rs of Motivation
Maccoby, Michael.
Research-Technology Management, Vol. 53, No. 4, July 2010
Motivation, Beliefs, and Organizational Transformation
Thad B. Green; Raymond T. Butkus.
Quorum Books, 1999
Work Motivation in the Context of a Globalizing Economy
Miriam Erez; Uwe Kleinbeck; Henk Thierry.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001
Motivation, Emotions, and Leadership: The Silent Side of Management
Richard C. Maddock; Richard L. Fulton.
Quorum Books, 1998
Mastering People Management: Build a Successful Team : Motivate, Empower and Lead People
Mark Thomas.
Thorogood, 1997
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