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Organizational Psychology Motivation and Job Attitudes

Updated on February 19, 2016

What is the difference between internal and external motivation? Are you more regularly influenced by internal or external motivators, and why? How might you use this knowledge about yourself when leading others?

Internal motivation, also known as intrinsic motivation, is when a person engages in a behavior because it is personally rewarding; meaning that a person is performing an activity for its own sake rather than for the desire for an external reward (Cherry, 2015). An example of an internal motivation would a person playing soccer because they enjoy it and not for a reward. External motivation, also known as extrinsic motivation, is when a person is motivated to perform a behavior or activity in order to earn a reward or avoid punishment. An example of external motivation would be a student studying for a test in order to earn a good grade or a child completing their chores in order to avoid be grounded.

When comparing the influence of internal or external motivators I find that external motivators influence me the most. Most of the actions and behaviors that I currently exhibit are geared more towards getting something I want rather than out of simple enjoyment. For instance, I spend a good portion of my time working on my college assignments; I do not spend time on these assignments because I enjoy them, I spend time on them because I want to get a good grade. There are activities that I do that are internally motivated as well like playing video games or reading, but I devote less time to these activities than I do towards those that are influenced by external motivators. My current job as an after school counselor is motivated by both internal and external motivators; I remain at my current job because I enjoy working with children, but I continue to remain at my job because of the fact that it will look good on my resume and I am satisfied with the pay and the benefits. My life is currently influenced the most by external motivators because I spend more time on activities and actions where I am externally motivated than I do on those where I am internally motivated.

I could utilize my experience with internal and external motivators when leading others by being able to create external motivators that would assist in work place motivation. As a leader I would want to increase extrinsic satisfaction; extrinsic satisfaction is satisfaction that is derived from external aspects such as pay or benefits (Landy & Conte, 2013). As a leader I would increase extrinsic satisfaction through offering more benefits and bonuses to employees who have higher performance ratings; this would reward those with good performance while motivating those with low performance to perform better.


Cherry, K. (2015, December 31). Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation: What's the Difference?

Retrieved January 13, 2016, from

Landy, F. J., & Conte, J. M. (2013). Work in the 21st Century: An Introduction to Industrial and

Organizational Psychology, 4th Edition.

Review the Job Descriptive Index article and then answer the following questions:
Which facet of job satisfaction is most important to you, and why? How might your answer differ from that of a parent or loved one? Finally, how might you apply this understanding of different facets when motivating different employees?

The Job Descriptive Index (JDI) research group has developed the JDI family of scales; the JDI is a facet measure of satisfaction, which measures and assesses people’s satisfaction with five differentiable aspects of the job: the work itself, pay, opportunity for promotion, supervision, and coworkers (Lake, Gopalkrishnan, Sliter, & Withrow, n.d.). When considering the five facet of job satisfaction, I currently find the work itself to be the most important factor. I find the job itself to be the most important facet of job satisfaction because I find it important to enjoy my work. As an after school counselor I enjoy my job as I find it fulfilling to be able to impact the lives of the children that I work with in a positive manner. When I graduate from Southern New Hampshire University, I will begin to look for a full time job at which time I believe that my facet of job satisfaction will change to income since I will be moving out of my parents’ house and the most important factor will be my ability to support myself. My current belief of the job itself being the most important facet of job satisfaction is vastly different from my father’s. My father would say that either pay or the ability for promotion is the most important facet of job satisfaction.

The Job Descriptive Index (JDI) has helped to teach me about the facets of job satisfaction; I will be able to utilize this information in a constructive manner if I am ever in a career that requires me to motivate employees. If I was required to motivate employees I would first send out an electronic survey to all employees on the five facets of job satisfaction in order to determine which facet my employees valued the most. I would use that facet in order to motivate them; for instance I could offer bonuses and promotions to employees with high performance. If employees valued the job itself and were unhappy in their current position I could change their duties or transfer them to a more suitable position. I could alter the level of supervision, and/or I could pair the employees with coworkers that they enjoy working with for group assignments provided that they can perform well together.


Lake, C., Gopalkrishnan, P., Sliter, M., & Withrow, S. (n.d.). The Job Descriptive Index.

Retrieved January 13, 2016, from

What is the difference between a group and a team? How can we minimize the stress related to teamwork, in general? Further, what steps can we take to minimize stress related to cultural issues surrounding global teams?

The terms group and team are often used interchangeably because they are very similar to each other. However there is a slight difference, groups include members who may work together or may just share some resources while teams always include members whose tasks are interdependent (Landy & Conte, 2013). A team is an “interdependent collection of individuals who work together towards a common goal and who share responsibility for specific outcomes for their organizations” (Landy & Conte, 2013, p 519). When a team of people are working together towards a common goal, it is likely that the team will experience stress in relation to their teamwork. There are steps that an industrial and organizational psychologist can take to minimize the amount of stress a team experiences. One of the easiest ways to minimize the stress that comes from teamwork is to listen to the team member and set aside the time to hear what is causing the member of the team stress and, when possible, to work with the team to reduce the stressor. For instance, if the main stressor is the result of clashing personalities then perhaps certain team members can be reassigned to reduce the stress. Another step an industrial and organizational psychologist could take to reduce stress that comes from team work would be to implement a program to help employees balance the stress that arises from their work as a team member. Such a program could educate teams on stress reduction methods, how to work out conflict without antagonizing anyone, and how not take their work home with them.

Global teams are often under stress due to cultural issues that surround them. While a certain level of stress is inevitable, there are ways to reduce the level of stress global teams often experience. An industrial and organizational psychologist can work with a global team to reduce their stress level. The first step an industrial and organizational psychologist could take would be to have all members of the global team attend stress management training, either in person or virtually. This training would teach the members of the team how to deal with stress in a healthy manner. In order to reduce the stress that stems from cultural issues on a global team an industrial and organizational psychologist must first learn which cultural issues are causing the team stress; the cultural issue is normally due to a difference in: individualism–collectivism, power distance, time horizon, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity–femininity, and/or long-term versus short-term orientation (Landy & Conte, 2013). Once the industrial and organizational psychologist know what the stressor is he or she can minimize it through understanding the problem and building understanding among the team and creating a common ground. For instance, if the stressor is the difference in time horizons, then the stress would be caused by certain team member working towards long term goals while others strive towards short term goals. In this situation an industrial and organizational psychologist could reduce the stress through goal setting; the team would need to sit down and decide on one goal to work towards together at a time; this would ensure that the team members are all working towards the same goal and would reduce the level of stress that they would be experiencing due to cultural issues.


Landy, F. J., & Conte, J. M. (2013). Work in the 21st Century: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 4th Edition.


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