Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation: Differences and Examples

Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Motivation may be thought of as developing from incentives, enticements and benefits that could be founded either principally externally or principally internally in a person in a circumstance.

Another way of stating this is to allude to extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation:

Extrinsic Motivation

In extrinsic motivation, the primary driving force stems from rewards, such as salary and bonuses, or from constraints, such as job loss. Extrinsic motivation reflects the desire to do something to earn external rewards such as recognition, money, praise, or to avert penalty or retribution.

Examples of Extrinsic Motivation

  • A child tidies up her room to avoid being chastised by her parents.
  • A tardy employee at a bank is told to risk losing his job or arrive punctually and be ready to serve customers by the time the bank opens.
  • A benefactor donates a large sum of money to her alma mater and the university agrees to name a dormitory on the college campus after her.

Intrinsic Motivation

In intrinsic motivation, the primary driving force stems from things such as the individual’s involvement in work or satisfaction with work products. Intrinsic motivation reflects the desire to do something because it is enjoyable or fulfilling.

Intrinsic motivation is the stimulation of behavior that comes from within an individual (see Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’,) out of determination or out of inherent interest for the particular activity or pursuit. No external rewards or punishments are necessary to stimulate the intrinsically motivated person into action. The reward is the behavior itself.

Examples of Intrinsic Motivation

  • A teenager continues to train to run long distance to compete “against himself” in marathons. His goal is to get better at it with no intention of winning awards or becoming a professional athlete.
  • Doing something just because “virtue is its own reward” and without hoping to be recognized for doing or avoiding being punished for not doing.
  • An anonymous donor bestows a large sum of money to a charity because he believes in the cause that the charity intends to pursue.
  • A housewife starts a neighborhood bakery because she loves baking and cooking. Even though she intends to build a profitable business, she desires to make enough money to cover her costs and her own time. She is motivated more by her passion for baking, building a business she can be proud of, and serving her community.
  • A lawyer works pro bono to help low-income families with their legal issues because she herself comes from a low-income family and understands their struggles.
  • A software engineer learns a new programming language at work because of the fulfillment he gets from working with numbers and applying logic. This new skill might not be congruent to the industry he works in.
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