Everyday we are confronted by motivation; a driving force to what we desire in life. As an example, if we are hungry, our motivation is to eat. The Intrinsic Motivation theory is a theory which helps us understand what motivates or drives us and if we are hungry, to eat. People are motivated by their belief systems. In 2016, Schunk viewed intrinsic motivation as a type of motivation driven by a desire to engage in an activity for no other reason or reward, except to engage in the task itself.
There are several factors found in the intrinsic motivation theory that prompts our desires. A person driven by intrinsic motivation prefers the sole act of doing the activity merely for the pleasure of doing the act. This is their satisfaction. The outcome of the act results in meeting their basic need to define a purpose and enjoyment derived from undertaking a challenge. Intrinsic motivation enhances self-growth and fulfills their desire or passion such as mastering the violin. It also effects a need for recognition where a person feels satisfaction from the appreciation of others from their accomplishments (Schunk, 2016).
Video games are often challenging as players compete to win or to make some type of achievement. In a business world, sales people compete against each other for recognition, high achievement and monetary awards; all driven by intrinsic motivation. Self-growth literature is a multi-million dollar market as people search for ways to better themselves.
As with most things, there is a balance and intrinsic motivation has its advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages to the intrinsic motivation theory is that the behavior desired to change is very slow. It is done gradually which may take a long period of time.
Another disadvantage is the time required to prepare for the task and the special attention it may need to complete it. In addition, people vary in learning styles. As an example, in a classroom, teachers must use different methods to interest and motivate students for attention and focus. There is also a problem when rewards are tangible and are expected. When a reward is not received, a person loses interest and performance decreases (Schunk, 2016). This could occur when a person anticipates a promotion for al the hard work and the promotion is given to someone else. In the Behavior Analyst, negative effects are found on high-interest tasks when the rewards are tangible, expected or offered beforehand, and loosely tied to level of performance (Cameron, Banko, Pierce, 2001). A person could receive an incentive prior to work being completed and on the next assignment receive no incentative.
In contrast to intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation engages in activities for external reinforcers and rewards. This theory acts as a means to an end to receive incentives and recognition. Students are often extrinsically motivated when they try to excel in school to please parents, receive high grades and obtain the teacher’s approval. (Schunk, 2016).
There are advantages to the extrinsic motivation. One advantage is that students who get good grades promote self-efficacy and motivation to obtain further education. In the workforce, a person may be extrinsically motivated to work hard to receive recognition and perhaps, a promotion in a position they do not particularly care to do. For a child, an example would be doing dishes to receive ice cream as a reward.
Extrinsic motivation changes behaviors quickly for desired short-term outcomes. It also requires very little preparation or knowledge on the topic of interest. This theory of motivation allows a person to determine their goals for rewards such as completing a project timely and receiving a bonus. More importantly, extrinsic motivation motivates us to continue our daily routines for employment to sustain us financially for survival.
Similar to intrinsic motivations, extrinsic motivations also has disadvantages. Extrinsic motivation’s main pitfall is reward. If the rewards are removed, motivation drops and nothing gets accomplished. Therefore, rewards are short-term and not sustainable over long periods of time; to much pressure to perform at the same level
In addition, this type of motivation creates an addiction and dependence on praise and reward. This might become an issue for dependency may increase if the person seeks external sources to stimulate their motivation (Schunk, 2016). When this occurs, a person may create a guilt complex and possible display anxiety and low self-esteem. Fear and punishment are avoided so others would think positively of someone. As an example, a employee may lead a project assigned by their supervisor for fear of discipline if he does not do so such as a demotion or loss of pay. A student might want to avoid some academic tasks but they complete them to receive rewards and avoid teacher punishment. The disadvantage, in this case, is that a person can lose interest in the reward and need to be constantly motivated (Schunk, 2016).
Though Extrinsic motivation is not the best method, we utilize it to get us through tough times and what we call, life.