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A Little Ditty on Motivational Theories

Updated on December 29, 2011

From my experiences there are three motivational theories that have been used together in a work place; Goal setting, financial incentives, and motivation through empowerment.

The goal theory is where a person is motivated by goals they set. We can define a goal as an outcome which we strive to obtain in order to satisfy certain needs. The goal is the end result, the need, and the driving force that spurs us towards that result (Stuart-Kotze 2010). In order for this theory to be effective a person’s goals must be; clear and understandable, challenging but not too hard, and achievable, so we do not fail.

Motivation through financial incentives states that the better a person performs the more money they should receive. My last company did this through profit sharing. We received extra money at the end of each yearly quarter if were productive, had little to no scrap, and very few mishaps. This did work well for a while but when the coast of supplies went up our profit sharing check went down regardless of how hard we worked.

Motivation through empowerment is where a person is motivated by enhancing their own self-efficiency. Employers can help increase efficiency by letting employees make dictions in the company. This will give the employee a sense of ownership. The goal is to give the employees more responsibility so they will perform better.

One thing that all three have in common is they all set goals. For the financial incentive theory, the goal for the employees is money. The problem with this is it only sets one goal and only works towards the overall performance; not individual performance. Using the goal theory we can set multiple types of goals and receive different types of rewards, either physical or non physical rewards. A person can set smaller goals in order to achieve a larger goal. It is hard to do this by just using financial incentives, but combining both theories together would be very effective. With empowerment, one must also set goals, but the goals set by the employee are encouraged by the company. The more support a company gives the employees, the more important reaching the goal becomes than just the employee setting the goal just for themselves.

Stress can be good and bad when it comes to motivation. “To a certain point, increasing levels of stress result in increased performance. Too much stress, however, is de-motivating and leads to decreased performance and possibly ill-health” (Davis, 2010). When under pressure, a person can work harder to accomplish their goals. If an employee is consistently under pressure, a person can become over stressed and become less effective. It is important for a company to realize that when trying to motivate someone, be aware of potential stressors. Also they can help their employees deal with negative stress. Such as improve work conditions and provide a support network. A good support network can “provide you with a sense of closeness, warmth, and acceptance that will reduce your stress” ( Du Brin 2004 p.170).


Du Brin A. (2004) Applying Psychology (Individual & Organizational Effectiveness) Pearson

Education NJ.

Davis, E.(2010) Stress and motivation Featured in the Motivation in Practice training manual

Retrieved from

Stuart-KotzeR (2010) Motivation Theory Goal Setting Guide

retrieved from

suggested readings


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    • Thomas Forbes profile image

      Thomas Forbes 6 years ago

      thank you jacobkuttyta

    • jacobkuttyta profile image

      jacobkuttyta 6 years ago from Delhi, India

      Very interesting post.