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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Job Motivation Field: Three Factors to Consider

“This is a pipe,” I’d have been lying!”
The Treachery of Images. René Magritte 1928
Job motivation is that intrinsic and extrinsic desire to accomplish certain goals within the workplace. It is the complex interaction of the inner and outer worlds of employees that pushes them to engage their organizations and work toward some constructive objective. Even though motivation can vary with individuals it is often in part predetermined by a nations economy, historical past, and cultural perspective (Savareike, 2011).  Yet, even with this knowledge it can be difficult for employers to create the right balance that encourages the intrinsic values to find avenues of attainment through the extrinsic mechanisms of the organization that fit within the employees understandings.

A concept called the job motivational field helps to see motivation through the perspective of the individual and allows for a stronger analysis of individualized factors. Organizations that can understand the needs and pressures of employees can better create an environment of individual self-actualization that furthers both the individuals and organizations needs. It should be understood that an organization is defined as a socio-cultural system that when highly developed is less subject to negative environmental factors and has greater creative utility of performance that fosters higher levels of revenue growth (Kvedaravicius, 2005).


The job motivation field is an accumulation of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which coincide with implicit and explicit forces that act like a magnetic field (area of influence) in enhancing motivation in the workplace (Savareikiene, 2012). The job motivation field is saturated with stimulus and opportunities as seen from the vantage point of the individual. These forces interact until the employee makes the decision to chase a particular avenue to achieve some goal.

Intrinsic factors are employee needs, values and traits while extrinsic factors take the form of an organizational profile, mission, vision, goals and corporate culture. The energy generated by such a job motivation field, through the pressures of the intrinsic and extrinsic forces, predetermines the direction and scope of employee behavior (Savareikiene, 2012). In essence, a match between individualized traits, values and needs with learned competencies, skills and knowledge will create higher levels of motivation due to the positive expectancy of attainment. Applying the motivational potentials of the organization to these concepts will create capitalization of human ability.

This concept can be broken down into three factors:

1.) Internalized traits, values, and needs
2.) Learned knowledge, skills and competencies
3.) Organizational potentials and pathways to needs fulfillment.

When the factors are in match their is a higher likelihood of successful effort through motivation. The intrinsic traits, values, and needs of the employee have matched with their learned knowledge, skills, and competencies and are manifested through appropriate organizational potentials (channels). If the needs and the skills are not in match the organizational pathway will not be used due to a lower level of expectancy. Likewise, if the employee doesn't feel pressure from their internalized values, even if they have the skill, they are unlikely to utilize the pathways.Yet when the internal needs, competencies, and the organization create an alignment, high levels of motivation can be realized. It is then only necessary to foster such motivation through an appropriate reward mechanism (pathway or potential).


Example: Jane has a need to earn a reasonable living, is social in nature, enjoys working with people and wants to earn enough money to buy a house. These traits and needs are her intrinsic motivational factors. She has learned through her working career that she is competent at comparing products, has skills in sales, and knowledge about the company. It would be expected that Jane will be motivated by her desire to purchase a house, create a reasonable lifestyle, and her social interests. She will fulfill these desires by helping customers make decisions on products, sell customers these products, and earn income and a promotion through her knowledge of the company. The more she is rewarded for her effort the more embedded the performance approach will become. She has made a match on the three factors and found a path to needs fulfillment.

Kvedaravicius, J. (2005). Organizaciju vystymosi vadyba. Kaunas: VDU leidykla.

Savareikiene, D. (2011). Darbuotoju poreikiu tenkinimu grindziamas darbo motyvacijos proceso vystymasi organizacijoje. Daktaro disertacija. Kaunas: Vytauto Didziojo universiteto leidykla.

Savareikiene, D. (2012). Motyvo interpretacija motyvacijoje. Ekonomika ir vadyba: aktualijos ir perspektyvos, 1 (25). 

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