Motivation: The Main Types and Characteristics


Good afternoon friends. Today we will talk about an important phenomenon, without which there would be no success in any undertaking – motivation. What is it and what is it for? What it consists of, what types it is divided into – read all about this below.



Motivation is a system of internal and external motives that force a person to act in a certain way.

At first glance, this is something abstract and distant, but without this, neither desires nor the joy of their realization is possible. Indeed, even a journey will not bring happiness to someone who does not want to go there.

Motivation is related to our interests and needs. That is why it is individual. It also determines the aspirations of the individual and at the same time is conditioned by its psychophysiological properties.

The key concept of motivation is motive. This is an ideal (not necessarily existing in the material world) object, towards the achievement of which the activity of the individual is directed.

Life coaches understand motive as an objectified human need. The motive is different from the need and the goal. It can also be seen as the perceived cause of human action. It is aimed at satisfying a need that may not be realized by a person.

For example, the desire to attract attention with extravagant clothing is designed to cover the urgent need for love and belonging, which is characteristic of people who are insecure. The motive differs from the goal in that the goal is the result of activity, and the motive is its cause.


  • The need is cognitive.
  • The motive is interest in reading (most often on a specific topic).
  • Activity is reading.
  • The goal is new experiences, the pleasure of following the plot, etc.

To more specifically represent your own motivation, answer the questions:

  • Why am I doing anything? What needs do I want to satisfy?
  • What results do I expect and how do they matter to me?
  • What makes me act in a certain way?

Main Characteristics of Motivation

The phenomenon of motivation can be described through the following characteristics:

  • Directional vector.
  • Organization, sequence of actions.
  • Stability of the chosen goals.
  • Assertiveness, activity.

These parameters are used to study the motivation of each individual, which is important, for example, at school. These characteristics are also of great importance when choosing a profession. A sales manager, for example, must be consistently focused on high income and proactive in achieving goals.

Motivation Stages

Motivation exists as a process and includes several stages: First there is a need. The person decides how it can be satisfied (or not satisfied). Next, you need to determine the goal and ways to achieve it. After that, the action itself takes place. At the end of the action, the person receives or does not receive a reward.

Any success is understood as reward. The effectiveness of the action affects further motivation. The need for action disappears if the need is completely closed. Or it remains, while the nature of the actions may change.

Types of Motivation

Like any complex phenomenon, motivation differs for various reasons:

  • By the source of motives.
  • Extrinsic (external) – a group of motives based on external incentives, circumstances, conditions (to work to get a salary).
  • Intrinsic (internal) – a group of motives emanating from internal needs, interests of a person (to work because I like work).

Everything inner is perceived by a person as an “impulse of the soul”, because it comes from his personal characteristics: character, inclinations, etc.

Based on The Results of Actions


Positive – the person’s desire to do something in the hope of positive reinforcement (overworking to get time off).

Negative – an intention to perform an action in order to avoid negative consequences (to come to work on time so as not to pay a fine).

By Sustainability

Stable – works for a long time, does not need additional reinforcement (an avid tourist conquers the trails again and again, without fear of difficulties).

Unstable – needs additional reinforcement (the desire to learn from one can be strong and conscious, from another – weak, hesitant).

By coverage. In team management, personal and group motivation is distinguished.

Scope of The Concept


The concept of motivation is used both in everyday life – to regulate the behavior of the individual himself and his family members, and from a scientific point of view – in psychology, economics, management, etc.

In Psychology

The science of the soul studies the connection of motives with the needs, goals, desires, interests of a person. The concept of motivation is considered in the following main directions: behaviorism, psychoanalysis, cognitive theory, humanistic theory.

The first direction claims that the need arises when the body deviates from a certain ideal norm. For example, this is how hunger arises, and the motive is designed to return a person to his original state – the desire to eat.

The mode of action is determined by an object that can satisfy the need (you can cook soup or eat something ready-made). This is called reinforcement. Behavior is shaped by reinforcement.

In psychoanalysis, motives are viewed as a response to needs generated by unconscious impulses. That is, in turn, they are based on the instincts of life (in the form of sexual and other physiological needs) and death (everything that is associated with destruction).

Cognitive (cognitive) theories represent motivation as a result of a person’s perception of the world. Depending on what his presentation is aimed at (for the future, at achieving balance or overcoming imbalance), the behavior develops.

Humanistic theories represent a person as a conscious person, capable of choosing a life path. The main motivating force of his behavior is aimed at realizing his own needs, interests and abilities.

In Management

In personnel management, motivation is understood as motivating people to work for the good of the enterprise.

Theories of motivation in relation to personnel management are divided into substantive and procedural. The first study the needs of a person, which make him act in a certain way. The second look at the factors that influence motivation.

By stimulating subordinates to perform work activities, the manager solves several tasks: increases employee satisfaction with work; achieves results-driven behavior (such as increased sales). This takes into account concepts such as needs, motives, values, employee motives, as well as incentives and rewards.


The impulse refers to the feeling of lack of something. Unlike need, it is always conscious. Incentives develop a goal to close the need. For example, the need for recognition creates an incentive to achieve career heights, and the goal may be to be a director (with milestones along the way).

All objects of the material world that are important for a person can act as values. In this case, it is a social position. The motive is understood as the desire to satisfy the need. And stimuli are those external factors that cause certain motives.

Motivation aims to create the desired motives for the employee in order to direct his activity in the right direction. After all, striving for success depends on what is meant by success. Especially for managers, we wrote more about staff motivation.

In Economics

Among the economic theories of motivation, the teaching of the classic of science, Adam Smith, is interesting. In his opinion, work is certainly perceived by a person as something painful. Various activities are not attractive in their own way. In early societies, when a person appropriated everything he produced, the price of the product of labor was equal to compensation for the expended effort. With the development of private property, this ratio changes in favor of the value of the commodity: it always appears to be greater than the effort expended to earn a given commodity. In simple terms, he is convinced that he works for cheap. But a person still wants to balance these components, which makes him look for a better paid job.

A look at the motivation of workers in the economy is directly related to the problem of the efficiency of the enterprise. As the experience of foreign, in particular, Japanese, studies have shown, material stimulation of labor is not always exhaustive. Often, the activity and involvement of employees in production is ensured by a comfortable environment, an atmosphere of trust, respect and involvement, social guarantees and a system of various incentives (from diplomas to bonuses).

Nevertheless, the salary factor is important for the worker and is taken into account by many economic theories. For example, the theory of justice speaks of the relationship between reward and the efforts of team members. An employee who feels underestimated decreases productivity.

The cost of each type of incentive is estimated from an economic point of view. For example, an authoritarian management style presupposes an increase in the managerial staff, which means the allocation of additional rates and wage costs.

Labor productivity in such a team is average. While the involvement of employees in production management, the ability to independently choose a schedule or work remotely has a low cost and gives high results. Remote work is good because income depends only on you, and you are motivated yourself. Check out the list of online professions – you may soon be able to make good money on your hobby.

Why Do You Need Motivation?


The system of motives is an integral feature of the personality. This is one of the factors that form the uniqueness. Motivation is associated with our mental characteristics (for example, choleric people need to move a lot, get as many different impressions as possible) and physical condition (when we are sick, we almost do not want anything). This is not inherent in nature.

The meaning of everyone’s life is to live it according to their own scenario in order to realize their own goals and purpose. This is why each person strives for a unique set of values, actions, and experiences. This does not mean that everything we want is definitely good, and what we don’t want is destructive and bad.

Unformed motivation is common, and you will definitely have to work on it so that the person is able to overcome obstacles, including in the form of laziness, and is aware of himself as successful. But it is worth listening to motives, desires, interests in order to know and develop oneself. It is not for nothing that people who are very eager for something, achieve greater results than others, all other things being equal. As the people say, “God gives angels to the aspirant.” You can and should control your aspirations. If development stands still, you can increase your motivation and thereby achieve impressive results.

Stay tuned for a lot more. And may everything you do bring joy.