Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation


Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are two distinct types of motivation that drive human behavior:

  1. Intrinsic Motivation:

    • Definition: Intrinsic motivation refers to engaging in an activity because it is inherently rewarding or enjoyable, rather than for any external rewards or pressures.
    • Examples: People are intrinsically motivated when they pursue activities such as hobbies, creative endeavors, or personal interests simply because they find them enjoyable or fulfilling. The motivation comes from within, driven by a sense of curiosity, satisfaction, or personal growth.
    • Characteristics: Intrinsic motivation is characterized by feelings of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Individuals are driven by their own internal desires and interests rather than external factors.

  2. Extrinsic Motivation:

    • Definition: Extrinsic motivation involves engaging in an activity in order to earn rewards or avoid punishment, rather than for the inherent enjoyment or satisfaction of the activity itself.
    • Examples: Extrinsic motivation can be seen in scenarios where individuals perform tasks to earn money, gain recognition, or meet external expectations. For example, working overtime for a bonus, studying for a good grade, or completing chores to avoid parental punishment.
    • Characteristics: Extrinsic motivation often involves external incentives, such as rewards, praise, or consequences. Individuals are motivated by external factors rather than internal desires or interests.

While both types of motivation can influence behavior, research suggests that intrinsic motivation tends to lead to more sustained engagement and higher levels of creativity and performance. Intrinsic motivation fosters a sense of autonomy and self-determination, allowing individuals to pursue activities that align with their personal values and interests.

Intrinsic Vs Extrinsic motivation in Project Management

In project management, understanding the dynamics of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is crucial for effectively managing teams and achieving project success:

  1. Intrinsic Motivation in Project Management:

    • Team Satisfaction: Intrinsic motivation plays a vital role in fostering a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment among project team members. When individuals find their work inherently interesting, challenging, or aligned with their personal values and interests, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to the project's goals.
    • Creativity and Innovation: Intrinsic motivation can drive creativity and innovation within project teams. When team members are intrinsically motivated, they are more likely to think creatively, take initiative, and propose new ideas or solutions to project challenges.
    • Autonomy and Ownership: Providing opportunities for autonomy and ownership can tap into intrinsic motivation. Allowing team members to have a say in decision-making, take ownership of tasks, and pursue their ideas can enhance their sense of responsibility and commitment to project outcomes.

  2. Extrinsic Motivation in Project Management:

    • Rewards and Recognition: Extrinsic motivators such as rewards and recognition can incentivize desirable behaviors and outcomes within project teams. Offering bonuses, promotions, or public acknowledgment for outstanding performance can motivate individuals to strive for excellence.
    • Deadlines and Milestones: External deadlines and milestones can serve as extrinsic motivators to keep project teams focused and on track. Knowing that there are deadlines to meet or milestones to achieve can create a sense of urgency and drive productivity.
    • Performance Reviews and Feedback: Providing constructive feedback and performance reviews can serve as extrinsic motivators for improvement. Clear expectations, regular feedback, and opportunities for skill development can motivate team members to enhance their performance.

Balancing intrinsic and extrinsic motivators is essential in project management to ensure that team members are engaged, productive, and committed to project success. While extrinsic motivators can provide short-term incentives and drive specific behaviors, intrinsic motivation fosters a deeper sense of engagement and satisfaction, leading to sustained performance and innovation over time.