Motivation and Organizational Behavior


Motivation may be defined as a psychological intrinsic phenomenon that tends to control certain individual behaviors and may be dependent on direction and focus of behavior, level of effort and perseverance. Psychological researches have shown that motivation may be linked to a basic need, a specific need or other behaviors, which are sometimes unexplainable in a comparative individual and social context like altruism. Educational institutions and workplaces employ various theories of motivation to enhance the work productivity of the employees. This essay aims to discuss motivation in the light of psychological contract, individuals’ roles, intrinsic motivation, theory X and Y, motivational drives, and locus of control.

Psychological contract and Individuals’ roles

Psychological contract and Individuals’ roles. It is a hypothetical psychological undocumented contract made by employees, students and family members so that they can understand their rights, obligations, power and responsibility towards their concerns. This type of unconscious contract is based on giving and taking relationships or exchanges within possible boundaries. At the office, the two components of the work system, the employers and the employees need to understand each other’s mutual obligations for the proper functionality of the tasks assigned and maintenance of high work standards. At college, the student and the college are inter-related with the successful completion of the collaboration. The student is rewarded for a good performance, and gives a good reputation for the college, while the poor performance may deteriorate the reputation so there may arise a chance of the psychological contract being broken. Even in families, the members need to understand the needs of each other, and their responsibilities towards them. In the social system, every individual has a role to play, and a proper display of the activities occurs only when the individuals have clearly understood their rights, obligations, power and responsibilities. This is absolute essentiality to avoid a possible conflict. At the workplace, the manager and the employee need to cooperatively carry out various tasks to maintain high productivity. The rank or the social standing demarcates the individuals’ functionalities better.

Intrinsic motivation and Theory X and Y

Intrinsic Motivation and Theory X and Y. Intrinsic motivation refers to the self-driven delight and execution of the task and needs no outside pressure for the same. It may be a result of the conscious desire to do well despite the limited resources and opposing conditions. Professor Steven Reiss stated that 16 basic desires guide all human behavior directly and strongly, and they are acceptance, curiosity, eating, family, honor, idealism, independence, order, physical activity, power, romance, social contact, saving, status, tranquility, and vengeance (Reiss 186-188). McGregor gave Theory X and Y; according to theory X, people have a tendency to dislike their work and will avoid working thus forcing the employers to use pressure tactics. Theory Y says that people can also directly control themselves to work towards the goals and objectives of the Organization. There was theory Z by Ouchi too, which stressed the team-like functioning of the managers and the employees.

Motivational drives and Locus of Control

Motivational needs and drives, and Locus of Control. David McClelland talked about people having strong motivational drives to pursue things in life, and it was out of their social culture. Achievement motivation was for working in a challenging and highly competitive environment to strive for excellence. Affiliation motivation was to work with people having similar psychology and was based on cooperation. Power motivation is to drive changes at workplaces through the use of controlling influence and bringing people closer to the organizational mission. Maslow’s need hierarchy theory was put in a pyramidal structure divided into five segments, with the base representing the individuals’ physiology such as thirst, hunger, etc., the next layer represented safety and security; the next segment represented the belongingness, friendship; further next layer represented the achievement, self-recognition, and the topmost layer represented the self-actualization stage. Each of these segments has certain individual needs that should be fulfilled ( 2012). The locus of control refers to the place of control of human behavior. It could be intrinsic, when the person is in full charge of his life, controlling his actions and responsible enough. It could be otherwise, extrinsic when the outside factors seem to act upon the individual behavior and maintenance of actions.


Thus motivation is a highly complex entity which social scientists have tried explaining using various models. But the understanding is far from complete as neural mechanics are not clear as to what all factors add to its overall complexity. Still, the psychological restructuring of individuals is possible through this process and could be positively put to use to reap maximum benefits, while the negative consequence should also not be undermined. It is to be understood that organizational behavior is a sum total of the individual psychological ecosystem, and an individual’s motivation at the workplace has a great effect on the overall productivity of the company. It is therefore the task of the human resource managers to closely monitor the human needs of the employees and do the needful to create a positive environment in the organization. This helps raise an individual’s performance bar and maintain excellence at the workplace.

Works Cited “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.” Businessballs, 2012. Web.

Reiss, Steven. “Multifaceted nature of intrinsic motivation: The theory of 16 basic desires.” Review of General Psychology 8.3 (2004): 179-193. Print.

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PsychologyWriting. "Motivation and Organizational Behavior." September 22, 2023.