Sources of Motivation

According to the accepted definition, motivation is a reason for acting or behaving throughout in a particular manner. Speaking in a more concrete parlance of sociologists, motivation is a dynamic psychophysiological process that dictates human conscience as well as determines orientation, self-discipline, activity and tenacity of individuals (O’Neil, 1994). A prominent German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was the first to have used the term “motivation”. Nowadays, different scholars advance their own interpretations of this scientific category. Some regard it as a cumulative system of processes responsible for inducement and activity, while others tend to believe that it is merely a set of motives (Baldoni, 2005). It is obvious in this respect that incentives constitute one of the main categories in contemporary motivation theories. For the sake of avoiding tautology and redundancies, words like “a motive”, “a stimulus”, “an incentive” and “a fillip” are used interchangeably in this paper. The simplest definition of a motive in this context would be an object-related need. Stimuli are often mistaken for the necessities and goals. However, a necessity is, in essence, a subliminal desire to eradicate discomfort while a goal is a result of the conscious goal setting (Baldoni, 2005).

Sources of motivation abound. Motivation emanating from within a person is one of the most prevalent founts of enthusiasm waiting to be tapped into. If a person is emboldened to perform a certain task or comport oneself in a certain way just for their own delectation, which is derived from the process of doing work, this kind of motivation comes into play (O’Neil, 1994). The very toil is regarded as a well of motivation, for the laborers evoke pleasure from what they are doing. Instrumental rewards propel people when they realize that their behavior can yield some tangible results such as emoluments, incentive payments, career aggrandizement etc. Internalization of goals is yet another bountiful source of motivation. This means that a person assimilates behavioral patterns, which correlate with his/her own system of values (O’Neil, 1994). For instance, each worker believes in a cause and is, thus, motivated by the cause of the team.

Having made myriad unfruitful attempts to thoroughly explain human behavior, scientists have not relinquished the hope of attaining this august objective. As a result, a plethora of motivation theories have sprung up. The impact that motivation has on the behavior of people depends to a large extent on numerous factors. By the same token, human demeanor is not defined by a single motive, but rather by a bevy of fillips and interconnections between them (Baldoni, 2005). If this is correct, then the motivational structure of humans can be seen as a basis for their performing various parts with great vigor. The motivational structure of humans is characterized by a certain degree of stability. Nevertheless, upbringing and educational processes may leave an indelible mark on it, or even change it beyond recognition. Bearing in mind that the desire of children to study as well as willingness of parents to bring their offspring up hinges heavily on the reciprocal motivation that exists between them.


Baldoni, J. (2005). Great motivation secrets of great leaders. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

O’Neil, H. F. (1994). Motivation: Theory and research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Elbaum Associates.