Motivation: Meaning, Nature, Types and Importance

20/04/2020 2 By indiafreenotes

Motivation is an important factor which encourages persons to give their best performance and help in reaching enterprise goals. A strong positive motivation will enable the increased output of employees but a negative motivation will reduce their performance. A key element in personnel management is motivation.

According to Likert, “It is the core of management which shows that every human being gives him a sense of worth in face-to face groups which are most important to him….A supervisor should strive to treat individuals with dignity and a recognition of their personal worth.”

Motivation has been variously defined by scholars.

Some definitions are discussed as follows:

Berelson and Steiner:

“A motive is an inner state that energizes, activates, or moves and directs or channels behaviour goals.”


“It is the stimulation of any emotion or desire operating upon one’s will and promoting or driving it to action.”

The Encyclopedia of Management:

“Motivation refers to degree of readiness of an organism to pursue some designated goal and implies the determination of the nature and locus of the forces, including the degree of readiness.”


“Motivation is the complex of forces starting and keeping a person at work in an organization.”


“Motivation implies any emotion or desire which so conditions one’s will that the individual is properly led into action.”


“Motivation represents an unsatisfied need which creates a state of tension or disequilibrium, causing the individual to make in a goal-directed pattern towards restoring a state of equilibrium by satisfying the need.”


“A willingness to expend energy to achieve a goal or reward. It is a force that activates dormant energies and sets in motion the action of the people. It is the function that kindles a burning passion for action among the human beings of an organization.”

Nature of Motivation

Motivation is a psychological phenomena which generates within an individual. A person feels the lack of certain needs, to satisfy which he feels working more. The need satisfying ego motivates a person to do better than he normally does.

From definitions given earlier the following inferences can be derived:

  1. Motivation is an inner feeling which energizes a person to work more.
  2. The emotions or desires of a person prompt him for doing a particular work.
  3. There are unsatisfied needs of a person which disturb his equilibrium.
  4. A person moves to fulfill his unsatisfied needs by conditioning his energies.
  5. There are dormant energies in a person which are activated by channelizing them into actions.

Types of Motivation

When a manager wants to get more work from his subordinates then he will have to motivate them for improving their performance. They will either be offered incentive for more work, or may be in the space of rewards, better reports, recognition etc., or he may instill fear in them or use force for getting desired work.

The following are the types of motivation:

  1. Positive Motivation

Positive motivation or incentive motivation is based on reward. The workers are offered incentives for achieving the desired goals. The incentives may be in the shape of more pay, promotion, recognition of work, etc. The employees are offered the incentives and try to improve their performance willingly.

According to Peter Drucker, the real and positive motivators are responsible for placement, high standard of performance, information adequate for self- control and the participation of the worker as a responsible citizen in the plant community. Positive motivation is achieved by the co-operation of employees and they have a feeling of happiness.

  1. Negative Motivation

Negative or fear motivation is based on force or fear. Fear causes employees to act in a certain way. In case, they do not act accordingly then they may be punished with demotions or lay-offs. The fear acts as a push mechanism. The employees do not willingly co-operate, rather they want to avoid the punishment.

Though employees work up-to a level where punishment is avoided but this type of motivation causes anger and frustration. This type of motivation generally becomes a cause of industrial unrest. In spite of the drawbacks of negative motivation, this method is commonly used to achieve desired results. There may be hardly any management which has not used negative motivation at one or the other time.

Importance of Motivation

Management tries to utilize all the sources of production in a best possible manner. This can be achieved only when employees co-operate in this task. Efforts should be made to motivate employees for contributing their maximum. The efforts of management will not bear fruit if the employees are not encouraged to work more. The motivated employees become an asset to the organization. The following is the importance of motivation.

  1. High Performance

Motivated employees will put maximum efforts for achieving organizational goals. The untapped reservoirs, physical and mental abilities are tapped to the maximum. Better performance will also result in higher productivity. The cost of production can also be brought down if productivity is raised. The employees should be offered more incentives for increasing their performance. Motivation will act as a stimulant for improving the performance of employees.

  1. Low Employee Turnover and Absenteeism

When the employees are not satisfied with their job then they will leave it whenever they get an alternative offer. The dissatisfaction among employees also increases absenteeism. The employment training of new employees costs dearly to the organization. When the employees are satisfied with their jobs and they are well motivated by offering them financial and non-financial incentives then they will not leave the job. The rate of absenteeism will also be low because they will try to increase their output.

  1. Better Organizational Image

Those enterprises which offer better monetary and non-monetary facilities to their employees have a better image among them. Such concerns are successful in attracting better qualified and experienced persons. Since there is a better man-power to development programme, the employees will like to join such organizations. Motivational efforts will simplify personnel function also.

  1. Better Industrial Relations

A good motivational system will create job satisfaction among employees. The employment will offer those better service conditions and various other incentives. There will be an atmosphere of confidence among employers and employees. There will be no reason for conflict and cordial relations among both sides will create a health atmosphere. So motivation among employees will lead to better industrial relations.

  1. Acceptability to Change

The changing social and industrial situations will require changes and improvements in the working of enterprises. There will be a need to introduce new and better methods of work from time to time. Generally, employees resist changes for fear of an adverse effect on their employment. When the employees are given various opportunities of development then they can easily adapt to new situations.

They will think of positive side of new changes and will co-operate with the management. If the employees are satisfied with their work and are not offered better avenues then they will oppose everything suggested by the management. Motivation will ensure the acceptability of new changes by the employees.