Micro lesson one: Motivation

When thinking about motivation, for me it seems to quite difficult to grasp. What actually is motivation and how to measure it? Porter and Lawler wrote in 1968 about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, Vroom wrote in 1964 about expectancy-valence theory of motivation, and according to those theories (Gagne and Desi 2005): Intrinsic motivation drives people towards activity because they find it interesting, and they achieve spontaneous satisfaction from the activity itself. Extrinsic motivation requires an instrumentality between the activity and some consequences such as tangible or verbal rewards, so satisfaction comes not from the activity itself but from the extrinsic consequences to which the activity leads. Porter and Lawler (1968) proposed structuring the work environment so that effective performance would lead to both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.

So the motivation seems to require some kind of “reward” in return, whether it was spontaneous or tangible. Many people (including me) have had some kind of incentives for having good grades in school tests as a kid, but when thinking about motivation theories, is it always good to find motivation from possible monetary reward? Or is it even possible to somehow provoke intrinsic motivation from studies or e.g. grades?

I think people have different kinds of motivators: some may want to prove to himself, that I will success at something. Or somebody may want to prove someone, that I can do this by myself. Or maybe someone wants to achieve something in life before moving on to other direction in life. Motivation for me is always a personal thing.

When browsing through this topic, I found few interesting videos about motivation. One was about rewards and tasks in terms of motivation, from that video it became clear that by monetary rewards, the results are usually not expected, and the challenge (and mastery) can be what it takes for some people to be motivated for doing challenging tasks (e.g. open-source software, or wikipedia). Here’s the video http://www.wimp.com/surprisingmotivation/

Also I found one book about motivation: “Motivating students to learn” by Jere Brophy. I think I have to try to motivate myself for reading the book about motivation. But which kind of motivation do i need? Intrinsic or extrinsic?



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