Why Intrinsic Motivation Is Better Than Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation derives from enjoying a task and owning it. Unlike extrinsic motivation, an individual does not feel external pressure to encourage excellent performance in a task. He, inwardly, performs without external promises or coercion. This applies to people across the board. That is, students, employees and even family members. As authors suggest, intrinsic motivation is better than extrinsic motivation because of the following reasons.

Reduces Costs

In an organizational setting, employees that are intrinsically motivated reduce costs associated with motivation. Line mangers focus more on their work instead of having to spend time motivating employees. It also reduces the need to pay off motivated employees. Intrinsically motivated employees solve problems; take initiatives without requiring managerial help or supervision (Glor, 2001).

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Creativity and Innovation

Intrinsically motivated people are creative. They value accomplishments and personal growth. They derive happiness in coming up with meaningful achievements in the organization. This makes them invaluable at school or in the corporate world. This is manifest in software development companies and entrepreneurial ventures. It also leads to mastery of a particular topic, profession or hobby.

Reduces Unfairness

Reward plans to benefit bad behavior has a bad effect on intrinsically motivated employees or students. It amounts to rewarding bad behavior instead of discouraging it. The people, who get rewards for correcting bad behavior, or avoiding it, do not understand the need to do something good from the heart.

For example, if a person arrives late at work frequently and the human resource manager introduces a bonus payment for people who come early, people who had been arriving early may find it unfair. Those who had been arriving late may feel like winners. This creates a bad precedent (Glor, 2001).

Creating a Habit

Extrinsic motivation may create a recurring habit. This happens when people study and take advantage of the reward system. Hence, the employee or a student creates a bad situation that undergoes corrective measures to get the reward. A study in developing countries showed that criminals and bad elements in society committed wrongs to end up in prison specifically.

This is after prison systems improved and life from the outside became harder. A prison was, therefore, a safe haven with food, television and security. This situation may replicate itself in many organizations like schools and corporate organizations (Cervone, et al. 2006).

Control of Operations

In institutions where people are extrinsically motivated, the cost of operations is high. These people need closer supervision to get the job done. Close supervision is intolerable to some people, but others grow and perform better in such situations. When employees’ motivation to work comes from within, controlling them becomes unreasonable. This is because they will obviously get the job done.

References

Cervone, D. et al. (2006). Self-Regulation: Reminders and Suggestions from Personality Science. Applied Psychology: an International Review, 55 (3): 333–385.

Glor, D.E. (2001). Key Factors Influencing Innovation in Government. The Innovation Journal, 3(2): 1-9.