The term motivation is derived from ‘motive’. The term ‘motive’, implies action to satisfy a need. The need, desire, drive, want, motive are often used interchangeably by the psychologists. Any motive, need, drive, desire or want prompts a person to do something. It is, therefore, said to be the mainspring of action in people. Thus, motivation simply means the need or reason that makes people to do some work or to take some work. For instance, a person needs respect from others. It makes him to do outstanding work. Consequently, he gets praise, recognition, higher pay, promotion and so on. Ultimately he gets respect from others in the family as well as in society. According to Dale S. Beach, “Motivation can be defined as a willingness to expend energy to achieve a goal or a reward.”

In the words of William G. Scott, “Motivation means a process of stimulating people to action to accomplish desired goals.”

In the opinion of M.J. Jucius, “Motivation is the act of stimulating some one or oneself to get a desired course of action.”

According to McFarland, “Motivation refers to the way in which urges; drives, desires, aspirations, strivings, needs direct control or explain the behaviour of human beings.”

According to Terry and Franklin, “Motivation is the need or drive within an individual that drives him or her towards goaloriented action.”

In the words of Mondy et al., “Motivation may be defined as the willingness to put forth effort in the pursuit of organisational goals.”

In the words of Mescon et al., “Motivating is the process of moving oneself and others to work towards attainment of individual and organisational objectives.”

According to Kreitner, “The term motivation refers to the psychological process that gives behaviour, purpose and direction.”

In the words of Robbins and Coulter, “Motivation is the willingness to exert high levels of effort to reach organisational goals, conditioned by the effort’s ability to satisfy some individual needs.”

In the words of Fred Luthans, “Motivation is a process that starts with a physiological or psychological deficiency or need that activates behaviour or a drive that is aimed at a goal or an incentive.”

Thus, motivation is the need or reason that makes people to work or to take action. It includes the processes and forces in an individual that influence or encourage him to act or not to act in particular ways. It arouses or energises the willingness to put in effort in a particular direction. Following characteristics of motivation highlight the nature of motivation :

Motivation is internal feeling of an individual. It points out the energising forces within an individual that direct or influence him to behave in a particular way. Motivation is a continuous or never ending process. It is so because human needs, desires, wants or wishes are endless. All of them can never be satisfied simultaneously. Satisfaction of one need gives size to another need. Therefore, motivation process goes on forever.

Motivation is a dynamic and complex process. It is so because it relates to human behaviour which is never static but dynamic. It keeps on changing continuously.

The concept of motivation is mainly psychological. It relates to those forces operating within the individual employee which impel him to act or not to act in certain ways. [McFarland]

Motivation refers to the way in which urges, drives, desires, inspirations or needs direct, and explain the behaviour of human beings. [McFarland]

It is the psychological process that gives behaviour, purpose and direction.

Motivation is the willingness of an individual to exert effort in the pursuit of organisational goals and to satisfy some individual needs.

Motivation is system-oriented. It is the system that contains three main factors :

  1. factors operating within an individual i.e his needs, aspirations, wants, wishes, values etc.;
  2. factors operating within the organisation such as organisation structure, technology, physical facilities, work environment etc.;
  3. factors operating in the external environment such as customs, norms of society, culture etc. Motivation is the result of interaction among these factors.

Motivation is a need-satisfying process. An unsatisfied need creates tension that stimulates drives within an individual. These drives, generate a search behaviour to find particular goals that (if attained) will satisfy the need and reduce tension. [Robbins and Coulter]

Motivation is the process that energises or encourages individuals to put in effort to achieve organisational goals and to satisfy their needs.

Motivation can be positive or negative. Positive-motivation implies use of incentives such as increase in pay, reward, promotion, and so on for better work. Negative motivation, on the other hand, means punishment and penalties such as reprimands, threats of demotion, fear of loss of job etc. Every individual is an integrated whole in himself. Therefore, whole individual can and should be motivated. A part of the individual cannot be motivated. It is so because motivation is a psychological concept that is concerned with the whole individual.

A frustrated individual cannot be satisfied and motivated. In other words, an individual who is unable to satisfy his basic needs becomes frustrated. Such an individual cannot be motivated until his such needs are satisfied.

It is true that both motivation and morale relate to individual and group psychology. But distinction is made between the two terms. Firstly, motivation is the reason what makes an individual to do work. It consists of forces and procedures that direct or influence an individual’s behaviour. On the other hand, morale is individual’s or group’s attitude and feelings about his work and work situation. It is a resultant state encompassing the willingness to cooperate. Secondly, motivation is an individualistic concept whereas morale is a group concept. Thirdly, motivation is the result of satisfaction of needs, desires, aspirations etc. whereas morale is the result of good motivation.

Motivation is different from job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is the positive emotional attitude of an individual towards his job resulting from his job performance and job situation. It is a psychological contentment which an individual experiences from the factors associated with the job. Motivation, on the other hand, is the result of job satisfaction as well as individual’s needs satisfaction.

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