Motivation – A Continuum from Extrinsic to Intrinsic MotivationGovernments establish many rules andregulations that guide organizations. From a governance perspective, very few ideas are more importantthan the dynamics of motivation.
Given that individuals as wells as organizations can be either proactiveand engaged or, alternatively, passive and alienated in carrying out certainactivities (Ryan & Deci, 2000),understanding what moves organizations towards efficiency and fulfilment iscritical. Only then can political leaders devise effective ways to interactwith organizations aimed at cultivating a climate that instils the desire inorganizations to go beyond prescribed duties. To that end, the present literaturereview provides an overview of the extant literature on motivation and presentsactionable recommendations to increase the government’s influence on organizations.Different Forms ofMotivationMany theories of motivation viewmotivation as a unitary phenomenon, one that varies from very little motivationto act to a great deal of it (Ryan, & Deci, 2000).
This view comes withseveral limitations, as individuals as well as organizations do not only varyacross amounts, but also across kinds (orientations) of motivation. Forexample, one organization may be highly motivated to commit itself toenvironmental protection without even knowing the actual monetary return-on-investment,whereas a second organization only commits to minimum effort in order toprevent hefty fines. In the first example, the motivational force at work canbe described as intrinsic, as the organization does something beneficial to theenvironment and society for the sake of the project itself (and theaccompanying wave of excitement and enjoyment that comes with it). Putdifferently, the project or activity provides its own inherent reward, somotivation for these activities is not dependent on external rewards (Deci,1971). The second scenario, in contrast, is an example of extrinsic motivation,which refers to doing something because it leads to a separable outcome (Ryan,& Deci, 2000).
Although very tempting, the distinction of motivationalforces as either extrinsic or intrinsic is a substantial oversimplication ofexisting theory (Cerasoli, Nicklin, & Ford, 2014). We therefore promote amore nuanced perspective proposed by Ryan and Deci’s (2000) self-determinationtheory (SDT), which classifies behavior regulation as one of six types on acontinuum from absent (non-existent) over extrinsic (controlled) to intrinsic(autonomous), nested hierarchically by global and contextual factors. As such,extrinsic motivation can be broken down into four different regulations,depending on which factors external to the self the motivation originates from.Following Sheldon, Turban, Brown, Barrick, and Judge (2003) each of theseregulations is classified as an extrinsic motivation because individuals or organizationsdo not engage in the activity for its own sake.Speficially, external motivation is present when an organization is acting solelyto get a reward,introjected motivation is presentwhen an organization is acting to avoid negative publicity in the media, and identified motivation is present when anorganization is acting to express their values. Lastly, SDT suggests thatextrinsic motivation can even be organismicallyintegrated into an organizations self-image, thereby making the taskmeaningful.
Moving from Extrinsicto Intrinsic Motivation.The extant motivation literaturehighlights that motivation based purely on reward and punishment is hard to sustainover time (e.g., Ben-Hur & Kinley, 2016), suggesting that governments needto find alternative ways to motivate organizations. Specifically, we suggest politicalleaders to pay increased attention to the power of intrinsic motivation. Decadesof research on what drives this type of internal commitment has shown thatmotivation involves three essential factors: 1.
Autonomy, which refers to a sense ofchoice, volition, and freedom from excessive external pressure toward behavingor thinking a certain way (Deci & Ryan, 1985). 2. Competence, which refers to organizations’perception of self-efficacy with respect to activities that are valued by thegovernment and society at large. 3. Relatedness, which refers to the feelingof belongingness and connectedness with others.