Motivation: Characteristics and Importance of Motivation

Motivation is derived from the Latin word movere, which means "to move". It is derived from the word "motive". Motive is the inner state of our mind that activates and directs our behavior or implies action to satisfy a need. It makes us move to act. It is always internal to us and is externalized via behavior. Motivation is one's willingness to exert efforts towards the accomplishment of his/ her goal.

Related Topic: Motivation: Definition and Concept of Motivation


Motivation is the psychological process of creating willingness to work and cooperate for the achievement of organizational goal. Hence, motivation is an inner state that energizes, activates and directs behavior towards achieving organizational goals. So, motivation always helps the people to work effectively and efficiently to achieve the goal. A man can be physically, mentally and technically fit to work but he may not be willing to work. At such situation, motivating an employee is to create a need and a desire on the part of an employee to make him better present performance. Thus, performance is determined by two factors: level of a ability or capability to do certain work and level of motivation. It can be expressed as follows:

Performance = Ability x Motivation

Characteristics of Motivation 

Motivation is a theoretical construct used to explain behavior. It represents the reasons for people’s actions, desires, and needs. Motivation can also be defined as one’s direction to behavior or what causes a person to want to repeat a behavior and vice versa. Motivation has following special characteristics.
Characteristics of Motivation

1. Continuous Process
Motivation is a continuous or never ending process. It is so because human needs, desires, wants or wishes are endless. All of them can never be satisfied simultaneously. Satisfaction of one need, gives size to another need. Therefore, motivation process goes on forever.

2. System-oriented
Motivation is system-oriented. It is the system that contains three main factors:
  • Factors operating within an individual i.e. his needs, aspirations, wants, wishes, values etc.
  • Factors operating within the organization such as organization structure, technology, physical facilities, work environment etc.
  • Factors operating in external environment such as custom, norms of society, culture etc. Motivation is the result of interaction among these factors.

3. Need-satisfying Process
Motivation is a need satisfying process. An unsatisfied need creates tension that stimulates drives within an individual. These drives generate a search behavior to find particular goals that will satisfy the need and reduce tension.

4. Dynamic Process
Motivation is a dynamic and complex process. It is so because it is related to human behavior which is never static but dynamic. It keeps on changing continuously.

5. Motivation is Internal Feeling
Motivation is internal feeling of an individual. It points out the energizing forces within an individual that direct or influence him to behave in a particular way.

6. A Psychological Concept
The concept of motivation is mainly psychological. It relates to those forces operating within the individual employee which impels him to act or not to act in certain ways.

7. Energizing Force
Motivation is the process that energizes or encourages individuals to put in effort to achieve organizational goals and to satisfy their needs.

8. Willingness to Exert Effort
Motivation is the willingness of an individual to exert effort in the pursuit of organizational goals and to satisfy some individual needs.

Importance of Motivation

Motivation is regarded as one of the most important functions of management. Importance of motivation can be hardly being overemphasized. Highly motivated people can make things happen in organization. The importance of motivation is summarized in the following points.
Importance of Motivation

1. Positive Feeling of Employees
Effective motivation system inspires employees to do work or to take action. It prepares them to do their work with full devotion. It creates willingness among the employee to perform their work with great enthusiasm, zeal and loyalty.

2. Higher Performance
Highly motivated employees perform better and higher as compared to the employees with low level of motivation. Motivation is the mainspring of performance. Without motivation, the other contributors to performance become rather irrelevant.

3. High Productivity
Motivation increases the productivity of the employees. It utilizes the ability, potentiality, efficiency etc. of the employees. Once the employees are motivated, they do the work heartedly. And this ultimately increases the productivity of the employees and organization.

4. Change of Behavior
It is a research based fact that properly motivated employees are more receptive to new things and ready to accept change. This attitude facilitates to introduce change and keep the organization on the path of progress.

5. Acceptance of Change
Change is the most for organizational and personal development. Through motivation, one can bring change in the resistivity to change behavior of the employees. This helps in accepting the organizational change. Therefore, motivation is important to accept the organizational change.

6. Better Employee Relation
A good motivation system creates congenial work environment and job satisfaction. Employees tend to work with cooperative spirit and in a disciplined manner. Management also offers them better wages and incentives. Hence, chances of conflict are greatly reduced. All this leads to better employee relations.

7. Satisfied Human Resource
A sound motivation system ensures proper supply of motivated human resource. Such a system in an organization can also ensure the satisfaction of needs and aspirations of individuals. Thus, it can attract and retain satisfied human resource in the organization.

8. Effective Utilization of Resources
Motivation helps in utilizing the resources. The motivated employees never let the resources go for wastage. They utilize the resources in an optimum way. They always work hard for the betterment of the organizational development and try to give maximum satisfaction from the minimum resources.

9. Reduction on Absenteeism and Employee Turnover
When the employees are motivated, they are much satisfied with the organization. Because of this, there is low absenteeism and turnover. They stay in the organization for the longer time. When organizations do not do any activities for motivation, then there is high turnover and absenteeism. This high absenteeism and turnover create problems which do not help in realizing the goal of an organization.

10. Boosts Morale
Morale refers to the attitude and feelings of employees about their work and work situation. Through motivation, employee attitudes and feelings towards work can be improved. This in turn boosts employee morale.

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