How does extrinsic motivation change employee motivation? Specific examples and cautions

by | Oct 27, 2021 | Management , Motivation , Organization  | 0 comments

How does extrinsic motivation change employee motivation? Specific examples and cautions

Are you having trouble motivating your employees? There are two types of motivation that you need to know about: extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.
In this article, I will explain extrinsic motivation.

What is extrinsic motivation? The difference from intrinsic motivation

It is said that people’s motivation increases when they are motivated in some way. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the two approaches to increasing motivation are extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.

What is extrinsic motivation?

As the name suggests, “extrinsic motivation” refers to motivation by external stimuli. Easy examples are “rewards” and “punishments”. It is an external stimulus that causes us to take action or determines our direction.
Extrinsic motivation is also used to motivate people, but it is not limited to humans. Animals are also motivated by external motivators such as food.

The difference between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation based on personal feelings and intentions, such as “I enjoy it,” “I want to improve my skills,” and “I want to contribute. One’s own intention is the factor behind the action, and the goal is fulfillment and self-realization obtained through the action.

Extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation differ in where they come from. Extrinsic motivation comes from external sources, while intrinsic motivation comes from the individual’s emotions and other factors.

Extrinsic motivation comes from a third party’s intention to provide the necessary stimuli to the other person to encourage the expected behavior, but intrinsic motivation is not easy to promote.
If you want to be effective in a short period of time, it will be difficult to increase motivation through intrinsic motivation alone. An extrinsic motivational approach will also be necessary.

Examples of Extrinsic Motivation

Now that we have explained that extrinsic motivation is necessary to increase motivation in a short period of time, what exactly constitutes extrinsic motivation? Here are some concrete examples.

Rewards and evaluations

A typical example of extrinsic motivation is reward and evaluation. Motivation involving money is the easiest to visualize, as rewards increase when performance improves and decrease when performance declines.

In addition to rewards, there is also a method of evaluation, such as giving a position to a person with a high evaluation within the company and demoting a person with a low evaluation due to poor work attitude. In other words, it is a kind of candy and a whip.

Motivation through rewards and evaluations is used in all kinds of companies because it is easy to see and understand.

Emotional rewards

In addition to rewards and recognition, emotional rewards are another specific example. Emotional rewards are the reactions of those around us to our actions.

For example, a word of appreciation for an action may be a more meaningful extrinsic motivator than a reward or evaluation for some people. On the other hand, negative aspects such as being angry or having to be punished if one does not act as instructed can also be extrinsic motivation.

In contrast to rewards and evaluations, which can generally be expected to have a certain effect on everyone, emotional rewards are a good method for people who are easily influenced emotionally, although individual responses may vary.

Key points in extrinsic motivation

Next, I will introduce some key points in extrinsic motivation.

The Undermining Effect

The “undermining effect” is when extrinsic motivation (rewards) causes a decline in behavior that would otherwise be maintained or enhanced by intrinsic motivation.

For example, let’s say you have a job that you were highly motivated by, such as the ability to improve your skills. However, when incentives (rewards) are added to the work, the motivation decreases.

It may seem that the added motivation of “getting a reward” would increase motivation, but in the case of the subject, the purpose was to improve his skills. However, in the case of the subject, his goal was to improve his skills, and as a result, he lost his sense of purpose by shifting from intrinsic motivation to extrinsic motivation (reward). By losing sight of the purpose, motivation declines.

In addition, extrinsic motivation becomes difficult to maintain when we become accustomed to rewards.

Determine how the motivation affects the other person, and do not provide external stimulation for behavior that is intrinsically motivated. It is also necessary to not overuse extrinsic motivation.

Transforming extrinsic motivation into intrinsic motivation

Although extrinsic motivation is good for short-term motivation, it is not good for maintaining motivation over the long term. To be able to use extrinsic motivation to maintain motivation, we need to use extrinsic motivation as a trigger to change to intrinsic motivation.

Even if the trigger is extrinsic motivation, if we can create intrinsic motivation to sincerely engage in our work, we will not need to overuse extrinsic motivation.

If you want to motivate your employees, you can use the goal management tool “Goalous is recommended.
Colorkrew, the developer and operator of Goalous, also holds seminars on case studies. The case studies that are useful for “visualizing activities” will give you hints on how to improve employee motivation.

To register for the seminar, please visit here.
What has “activity visualization” done for your organization?

You can manage your goals Goalous allows each employee to be open about their goals, making it easy to get internal reactions to goals and actions. It also makes it easier to get internal reactions to goals and actions. The feeling that “someone is watching me” and “I want to work hard to achieve my goals” can lead to a change in intrinsic motivation.
If you are concerned about employee motivation, please visit Goalous


Extrinsic motivation is effective in motivating employees in a short period of time. However, it is not sustainable and can interfere with intrinsic motivation. In order to maintain employee motivation, it is important to use extrinsic motivation as a trigger and change it to intrinsic motivation.