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Intrinsic Motivation And Extrinsic Incentives

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Discuss about the Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives.



In the present environment of highly competitive market, every organization irrespective of its market and industry size acknowledges the significant role of the employees in the success of the company and therefore, endeavors to hold on to them (Pinder 2014). In order to retain them and enhance the organizational effectiveness, the companies have to create a positive and strong relationship with its employees and motivate them to achieve the best performance level. The organizations also develop various strategies to help the members achieve their goals in competitive markets and improve their performance. Presently there has been a rising awareness among the organizations that the human capital is one of the main assets and that if the employees are motivated to strive to excellence, it becomes much easier for the leaders and managers to attain success for the organization (Olafsen et al. 2015). However, the motivating factors for the employees tend to vary from employee to employee; while some are motivated by personal achievement, others are driven by financial security. It is very important for the organizational leaders to understand the needs and expectations of the employees from their job and incorporate them in the organizational policies and environment.

Three articles have been chosen from the Journal of Organizational Behavior to evaluate the fact that which motivational factors work the most as the stimuli for the employees.


Similarities among the Articles

Three of the articles try to reach the factors of motivation from different angles yet they contain some certain points of similarity among them. Two of the articles written by Conway et al. (2015) and Fernet, Gagne and Austin (2010) refer to the intrinsic motivational factor. The intrinsic motivational aspects are those activities that are done for one’s own sake, as it seems satisfying and interesting in themselves. This is, however a part of the self-motivation theory and the article written by Conway et al. (2015) indeed refer to the application of this theory and its characteristics on the clergy of Church of England. This article, in fact helps to recognize the relationship between daily well-being of the organization members and the calling enactment by applying the self-determination theory. On the other hand, the article written by Fernet, Gagne and Austin (2010) admits the influence of self-determined motivation while performing any job then further divulges into discovering the influence of relationship among the workers that can trim down their burnout. Moreover, the similarity lies between the study conducted by Fernet, Gagne and Austin (2010) and Zhang et al. (2015) in terms of the research methods also. Both the studies use data collection method in order to reveal the factors affecting motivation. Furthermore in three of the articles there is significant insight on ideal HRM practices where all the writers have agreed that trust on management and higher level of HRM practices have immense impact on employee efficiency. The research done by Zhang et al. (2015), in line with the two others, in fact, directly refer to the effectiveness of high HRM practices in terms of performance appraisal, rewards and compensation as well as managing employee involvement and interpret that these have a positive result on increasing employee motivation in the job. Besides, the studies unanimously conclude that the companies should identify the underlying needs of the employees. As these requirements are satisfied, the employees will be self-motivated and ultimately focus on their jobs.

Differences among the Articles

Although three of the articles focus on the same topic of motivation, they differ in approach and hence, naturally there will be differences among them. In the first place, the article by Zhang et al. (2015) seeks motivational aspect in the external resources i.e. the pay for performance or PFP. It explores the fact whether PFP undermines or promotes the performance of the employees in Chinese firms and whether this reward centric approach of business firms can relate to the factor of creativity. This article is essentially grounded on HRM theories and practices especially dealing with the recruitment, promotion and appraisal of performances. While this article is based on some extrinsic motivational factors stated in self-determination theory stimulated by external rewards, the article by Fernet, Gagne and Austin (2010) refers to intrinsic motivational factor like relationships among the employees. The research strives to identify the role of this sociable work environment as releasing emotional burnout. The interpretation of the research reveals that the employees who exhibit lower self-determined motivation can certainly be benefited from this intrinsic factor of released burnout due to high-quality relationships at workplace. While conducting the research the researchers have paid considerable attention to the principal causes that generates burnout among the employees and whether there is any contribution of the lack of motivation in this. The examiners have also investigated the function of health-protecting factors that can potentially shield the employees from having burnout. Significantly, the researchers try to find here the function of work motivation created by the high quality relationships among the employees driving them towards success. The third study conducted by Conway et al. (2015)  dealt with a different perspective on intrinsic features like calling and motivation. Now, the calling perspective on motivation has not been mentioned in two other articles. Calling in modern terms refers to the autonomy in the process and meaning of the work. As Conway et al. (2015) states, the calling enactment is the inner drive of an employee with self-determination and this actually ensures the well-being of the members while they are associated with the organization. The study explores the potential of calling i.e. the intention or motivation of a person to do the work. Hence, the difference among the articles lies in that they seek to explore motivating factors for different circumstances and naturally, the emphasis is placed on different resources.


Although these three articles have focused on different aspects of HR practices of a business organization, primary objective of all the articles is to provide a vivid picture about the role of human resource management. These three articles have concentrated on the importance of Human resource management department of an organization to motivate the employees to give their best performance to achieve the organizational goal. The development of an organization is highly dependent on employee’s performance. Human resource managers play crucial role to improve the quality of the employee’s performance (Wang, Noe and Wang 2014). Human resource department of a business organization works as a link between the organizational authority and staff members. By providing training and development program to the employees, human resource managers influence the performance of the employees. According these articles the relationship among the coworkers also plays a significant role in the organizational performance. Human resource managers establish a strong relation among the fellow workers and provide healthy and friendly atmosphere within the organization. It boosts the motivation of the employees. It is the responsibility of the HR manager to inform them about the positive impact of team work and motivate them to work as a team. It will change the scenario of organizational structure. Employees will work as a team to achieve the common goal. As per these articles, human resource managers play crucial role in involving the employees in the decision making process of the organization. It provides a sense of importance among the employees. They will feel as an important part of the organization by such practices. It will motivate them to contribute to build a bright future for the organization. It is important for a team to communicate with each other as well as interact with the organizational authority. It will be beneficial to provide a clear picture about the organizational objective. It will motivate the employees to improve the quality of their performance to achieve the organizational target.

These three articles are interrelated. These three articles have concentrated on the impact of human resource managers in motivating employees. Employees are the key element of an organization. The success of the organization depends on the performance of each of the employees. It is important for the organizational management is to improve the quality of the performance of each of the employees to fight against other rival organization, as in this competitive era, every business organization is facing tough competition from their competitors. Business organizations are incorporating new and innovative techniques every now and then to provide quality service to their consumers. It will be beneficial for the organization to survive in the competition. Thus, every business organization is relying on the human resource department to improve the performance quality of their employees. HR practices are an integral part of the organizational strategy (Barrick, Mount and Li 2013). It covers almost all the areas of organizational functions. It is a key function of human resource department to motivate the employees to foster the growth of the organization. These three theories have concentrated on motivational function of human resource managers. HR managers often implement various strategies to build a strong relation among the employees. They are highly responsible to maintain healthy and friendly relation within the organization, as it is important to provide a friendly atmosphere to the employees to ensure the growth of the organization. In order to achieve the organizational target, human resource managers must maintain a transparent relation with the employees by providing clear idea about the organizational target. It will make the employees to feel as an important part of the organization. The human resource managers must involve the employees in an organizational decision making process. It may generate a creative idea. It may lead the organization to earn desired target and put a strong footprint in the industry. Moreover, it will motivate the employees and increase commitment towards the organization. It will improve employee’s performance as well as organizational performance (Montano and Kasprzyk 2015).


Use of the Interpretation in the Organizational Structure

Any organization that is facing various challenges due to the rise of various rival companies can implement motivational theory to boost the performance of the employees. Human resource managers of that organization can conduct various programs where they can share their vision with the employees. It will provide a strong platform to the employees to share their opinion over an issue. It will establish a strong relation among the employees and organizational authority which is beneficial for the development of the organization. Such program will motivate the employees to implement efficient strategies to achieve the desired target of the organization and establish a better future for the organization. Any business organization that is experiencing various challenges due to the low performance of the employees must motivate the employees (Cerasoli, Nicklin and Ford 2014). Human resource managers of that organization must review the performance of the employees frequently. It will help them to identify the weak performers. Human resource managers can organize various development programs where they can provide training session to enhance the employee’s skills. HR managers will be able to know their work experience as well as the issues they are facing in their work place. By identifying the actual problem of the weak performer, HR managers can resolve the issues to promote the performance of the employees. There are several obstacles that an employee can face to give their best performance, such as- health issues, psychological issues. Human resource managers must scrutinize the actual reason behind the low performance rate of that particular employee. It will help the HR manager to resolve the issue and foster the growth of the organization. In this case human resource manager must monitor the performance graph of the employees to maintain to understand the growth of the employees as well as the growth of the organization. The human resource managers must be capable of interacting with the employees in an effective manner. It will help them to maintain effective relation with the employees which will be beneficial to overcome all the issues facing by the organizational management due to low performance rate of the employees (Armstrong and Taylor 2014).



Reviewing the three articles, it can be said that all of them try to reach the same conclusion on how the organizations can employ motivational factors effectively according to the given circumstances. The articles also make it evident that both the extrinsic and the intrinsic factors of self-determination are important for stimulating the employees; however, the result should be to create such an environment that drives them automatically. Therefore, all the managers need to find the means suitable for their circumstances and purposes and the cumulative wisdom concluded from these articles are likely to show positive result as in the case of the chosen organization situation.



Armstrong, M. and Taylor, S., 2014. Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.

Barrick, M.R., Mount, M.K. and Li, N., 2013. The theory of purposeful work behavior: The role of personality, higher-order goals, and job characteristics. Academy of Management Review, 38(1), pp.132-153.

Cerasoli, C.P., Nicklin, J.M. and Ford, M.T., 2014. Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic incentives jointly predict performance: A 40-year meta-analysis. Psychological bulletin, 140(4), p.980.

Conway, N., Clinton, M., Sturges, J. and Budjanovcanin, A. 2015. Using self-determination theory to understand the relationship between calling enactment and daily well-being. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 36(8), pp.1114-1131.

Fernet, C., Gagne, M. and Austin, S. 2010. When does quality of relationships with coworkers predict burnout over time? The moderating role of work motivation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 May 2017].

Montano, D.E. and Kasprzyk, D., 2015. Theory of reasoned action, theory of planned behavior, and the integrated behavioral model. Health behavior: Theory, research and practice (.

Olafsen, A.H., Halvari, H., Forest, J. and Deci, E.L., 2015. Show them the money? The role of pay, managerial need support, and justice in a self?determination theory model of intrinsic work motivation. Scandinavian journal of psychology, 56(4), pp.447-457.

Pinder, C.C., 2014. Work motivation in organizational behavior. Psychology Press.

Wang, S., Noe, R.A. and Wang, Z.M., 2014. Motivating knowledge sharing in knowledge management systems: A quasi–field experiment. Journal of Management, 40(4), pp.978-1009.

Zhang, Y., Long, L., Wu, T. and Huang, X. 2015. When is pay for performance related to employee creativity in the Chinese context? The role of guanxi HRM practice, trust in management, and intrinsic motivation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 May 2017].


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