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Extrinsic motivation: definition, characteristics and effects

Extrinsic motivation: definition, characteristics and effects

April 2, 2024

Motivation is that force that drives people to do any kind of activity or to start and maintain all the projects that are proposed . This motivation acts both professionally or academically, such as starting an opposition; as in a personal environment, for example, starting a weight loss diet.

To achieve these objectives the person relies on a series of motivations that can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Throughout this article we will explain what extrinsic motivation consists of, as well as the differences between the intrinsic and what stages the person goes through this type of motivation.

Related article: "Types of motivation: the 8 motivational sources"

What is extrinsic motivation?

Extrinsic motivation refers to the type of motivation in which the reasons that lead a person to perform a particular job or activity are located outside it; or what is the same, are subject to contingencies or external factors.

In this kind of motivation the incentives or reinforcements, both positive and negative, are external and are beyond the control of the person. Therefore, it is conceived as extrinsic motivation all those types of awards or rewards that we obtain or are granted when performing a task or a specific task.

The example of external motivation par excellence is the salary that a person receives in exchange for carrying out their work . Another example can be those rewards or prizes that parents give to their children in exchange for them achieving a good academic performance.

Finally, another less material example consists of the compliments and acknowledgments that a person can receive after completing a task successfully.

However, in the majority of cases in which the motivation is exclusively extrinsic, a decrease in performance is produced independently of the scope to which reference is made. So the extrinsic motivation is not a good ally for long-term projects.

External rewards keep the person away from the motivation that really matters: intrinsic motivation . It is proven that when a person starts an activity or task motivated by internal factors and later external rewards are added, efficiency and productivity decrease with time. The explanation is simple, something that starts for the mere pleasure of doing an activity ends up being perceived as an obligation and not enjoyed in the same way.

However, this does not imply that any extrinsic motivation is harmful. The feeling after receiving a reward or reward for a job well done is always pleasant and enjoyable, but this should not end up replacing the satisfaction or delight that the activity itself provides.

Differences between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation

As mentioned above, there is another type of motivation that is different from extrinsic motivation and that motivation is born from within the person.

Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation constitute two completely different forms of motivation, but they have in common that both can occur in a positive or negative way and are likely to exert both effects on the performance of the person.

The following explains what these types of positive and negative motivation consist of:

1. Positive motivation

In this type of motivation the person initiates, directs and sustains his performance with the intention of getting some kind of reward . In extrinsic motivation it may be an economic reward or reward and in the intrinsic self-gratification or satisfaction that the task itself brings to the individual. These rewards act as reinforcers of behavior.

2. Negative motivation

In these cases the person initiates or maintains a conduct or activity with the objective of avoiding or avoiding a consequence that he considers unpleasant. When this negative consequence comes from the outside it can be treated to avoid some type of punishment, while when it comes from inside it is possible that what the person tries to avoid is a feeling of frustration before a possible failure.

Regarding the main differences between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, the intrinsic motivation has its origin in the same person who performs the activity and the extrinsic motivated by factors or agents external to it.

There are a number of factors that influence motivation, in the case of intrinsic motivation this is determined by internal agents such as interest, satisfaction, self-realization or internal needs . In addition, when the motivation comes from within the person is able to maintain that mood for longer, hence this type of motivation is so important.

Meanwhile, in extrinsic motivation the person does expect some kind of gratification, retribution or external recognition. Among the elements that give rise to this motivation are external pressure, the need for recognition or the need for social support.

Also, both forms of motivation can appear both united and independently and be used in any area in which the person has to perform a behavior, task or activity for a specific purpose. Whether it is a productive end (production of a company) or a personal end (losing weight).

Phases of extrinsic motivation

According to a theory developed by the researchers Deci and Ryan in 1985, there are a series of stages or stages through which the person can pass from a phase in which the motivation is purely external , until a final stage in which he is able to integrate and assume the purpose of his activity as his own.

However, these stages are not all mandatory. That is, a person can start at stage 3 and evolve or stay in a single state constantly.

1. External motivation

In this first stage the motivation is completely determined by external factors . The person has no control over it and performs the task only by external demand and waiting for a reward.

2. Introjected motivation

In this second case, the goal continues to be to meet a demand made from abroad , however, the retribution or satisfaction is internal. This motivation is related to self-esteem, with self-realization, but the person still does not have absolute control.

3. Motivation regulated by identification

In this third stage the person maintains his behavior or executes the task for reasons external to it . However, it has even more autonomy and sufficiency to make decisions about the reward.

4. Motivation by integration

It is the last stage in which motivation is practically intrinsic. In this stage the person incorporates the purpose as their own. However, it can not be categorized as intrinsic since the activity is not carried out for the mere satisfaction of doing it. Still, compared to the rest of the stadiums, this is where the person gets better performance .

Motivation:Characteristics and Types (April 2024).

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