The Four Major Perspectives on Motivation

Motivation is a central factor in human behavior. The theory of planned behaviour suggests that it is the result of a variety of factors, including the individual’s own characteristics, environment, and expectations. Extrinsic motivation is derived from external factors, such as a reward or a punishment. The effectiveness of extrinsic motivation varies depending on self-esteem, locus of control, neuroticism, and the person’s attitude towards his or her job.

What are the four major perspectives on motivation

In early theories, motivation was understood in terms of individual needs. According to these theories, employees try to satisfy their needs by engaging in goal-oriented behavior. For example, an employee may have a need for companionship, and the behavior satisfies that need. Later, this theory was joined by Herzberg’s dual factor theory and McClelland’s acquired needs theory. The importance of context in explaining motivation is not negligible.

The first perspective on motivation is based on the theory of individual values, or the so-called relational perspective. In this view, motivation is a certain way of viewing values. It is about the relationship between value-oriented actions. Moreover, it focuses on the relationship between value-related behaviors and human behavior. The relational perspective describes values as primary entities, while the normative perspective views them as relational.

The second perspective, relational perspective, is based on relational metaphysics and semiotics. It views values as the cause of actions. In this view, values are seen as a primary entity. The relational perspective explains that people act out of dissonances that are created by their personal values. If the relationship between values is strong, they will behave accordingly. Similarly, a person may be motivated to engage in a behavior because it will allow him or her to fulfill his or her own desires.

The fourth perspective focuses on the motivation of others. Explicit motives, on the other hand, are motivated by the needs of others. Theorists define a motivator as something outside of the individual. Such a motivator acts on the individual. In this case, the person is not motivated by external factors. In the third perspective, the motive is self-created. A person is motivated by the desire to do something. Then, the action is driven by the self-image is expressed in a particular behavior.

Intrinsic motivation – A third perspective, known as “internal” perspective, is an intrinsic motivation. In this view, the motivation comes from personal interests and inspiring leaders. Integuent motivation is a social motivation that is based on a person’s social needs. This is different from identified motivation, which is driven by the agent’s internal reason for doing something. It is a socially conscious, and externally based, motive.

Intuitive motivation – a person performs a task for the satisfaction and pleasure of its own actions. In contrast, extrinsic motivation involves external factors, such as deadlines, and is governed by the self. Hence, intrinsic motivation has a positive effect on the person’s self-image. However, the purpose of an action is the reward. Its rewards reflect the intrinsic value.

Behaviorism – the first perspective is the most popular. It focuses on outward behaviors and tries to explain why an individual does what he or she does. It largely ignores the role of the environment. Behavioralists argue that a person’s motivation is determined by the situation in which he or she is. So, when a person is forced to take action, the result is often a symptom, such as a physical reaction.

Content theory – The third perspective, the content theory, takes the perspective that motivation is a result of the individual’s needs. The latter views the concept of motivation is about satisfaction of needs. But, as Maslow argued, “we need to satisfy our needs in order to be happy”. The four different perspectives on motivation differ in their emphasis on the role of happiness and the role of money in society.

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