Motivation – The “Driver”

It is pretty interesting to dig deeper into what motivates employees in the workplace. It is also interesting how we deal with this everyday of our lives without even thinking about it. Motivation is very important in the workplace because it is what drives employees to accomplish tasks and excel expectations. David McClelland’s need theory claims that there are three driving motivators: achievement, affilitation or power. He claims that

“these needs are found to varying degrees in all workers and managers, and this mix of motivational needs characterizes a person’s or manager’s style and behaviour, both in terms of being motivated, and in the management and motivation others.”

There are 2 types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is being motivated to do something because you enjoy doing it without expecting any external rewards; Extrinsic motivation is the opposite, where this type will engage an individual to do something because of external rewards such as some form of award (monetary or not) or praise. The first example I can think of when intrinsic/extrinsic motivation comes to mind is how different my mom and I are when it comes to cleaning the house. My mom finds such joy in cleaning that it is almost a stress-reliever for her; you don’t even need to ask her to do it! Her day will be considered “successful” because she has a spotless house and she will not be able to sleep peacefully until it is up to her standards. On the other hand, my mom claims that it’s almost like pulling teeth when it comes to asking me to clean the house when she is at work. It has come down to her adding on to my weekly allowance when I as younger or treating me out for ice cream or something sweet (which I always gave into). I am definitely extrinsically motivated when it comes to cleaning. But going back to the world of business, this article outlines some extrinsic factors of motivation in our world today. It also states that

“An organization is nothing but the people who work in it. No individual can accomplish great things alone. Happy employees translate into successful organizations.”

All of these factors are important to think about especially in our economy today. Are employees getting less and less motivated in the workplace today because of our struggling economy? CNN came out with a great article recently that caught my attention relating to motivation and the economy. As we all know, many people are getting laid off and those jobs are going to the employees that are still in the company, adding on to their pile of work – causing “employee burnout.” Many commission incentives (in retail at least) have been taken away and those companies have to intrinsically motivate their employees in order to keep up with this economy. A previous retail job eliminated the commission incentive and replaced it with points and more hours when sales goals were met. Many of my coworkers were not happy with this, but as this article states that

“No one wants to complain for fear of losing their job”

What do you think? Is motivation correlated to the economy today? I’d love to get your feedback!


P.S. here an article on Forbes I found interesting.

David C McClelland’s Motivational Needs Theory. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Levesque, C., Copeland, K J., & Pattie, M D. (2010). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. Rochester, NY: Elsevier


Pillai, Maya. (2010). Employee Expectations in the Modern Era. Retrieved May 28, 2012 from

Stern, G. (2012). Employee burnout: Around the corner? Already here?. Retrieved May 28, 2012 from

Ready, K. (2012). What Employees Secretly want. Retrieved May 28, 2012 from