Building on four types of motivation, a new survey helps identify different profiles of motivation for managers, offering a mix of extrinsic (e.g. salaries) or intrinsic (e.g. fulfilling work) rewards. The profiles reveal how the different motives of managers impact their job attitudes.
Self-determination theory describes four types of motivation, moving on a spectrum from other-directed to self-directed.
External motivation is at the other-directed end of the spectrum. Motivation is based on what others can give you (e.g. money, promotions, stock options and even praise) or what others can take away (e.g. demotion, termination).
Introjected motivation is more internally driven but still driven by outside pressure. Individuals are motivated by what they think they should do, but not necessarily what they want to do.
With both of these types of motivation, actions are more obligatory than voluntary, which leads to negative attitudes about the job. That said, introjected motivation is internal, which is comparable to the remaining two motivation types: identified and intrinsic motivation.
Identified motivation occurs when work fulfils the values and goals that are personally important to people.
Intrinsic motivation is the most self-directed of the motivation types. People find their work enjoyable, even fascinating. It’s what they want to do
Building on data from the Center for Creative Leadership’s World Leadership Survey, a team of researchers developed six motivational profiles for managers, reflecting different combinations of the four types of motivation. For their research, the team focused on the survey responses of 321 U.S. managers who had attended CCL leadership development programs.
The six motivational profiles are:
The World Leadership Survey includes questions related to job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and intention to turnover. Comparing each manager’s motivational profile to his or her responses on these issues, the researchers were able to determine which profiles were most favourable to the organization.
The self-directed and internally driven profiles were the most favourable in terms of job satisfaction, commitment to the organization and any intention to leave the organization.
Managers with a mixed profile were also relatively happy with their jobs and their organizations, although they were not as positive as self-directed and internally driven managers.
Managers with a typical profile had generally unfavourable job attitudes — certainly less favourable than self-directed, internally driven and mixed managers.
However, and not surprisingly, managers with the apathetic and indifferent profiles expressed the lowest job satisfaction and commitment to their organization, and were the most likely to try to leave for (in their minds) greener pastures.
The results of the research are unequivocal: managers need to be mostly internally motivated in order to be satisfied in their position and committed to their companies. External motivation doesn’t hurt, but by itself, this research shows, it’s not enough.
If internal motivation is the key to job satisfaction and commitment, what can organizations or bosses do to increase this positive effect? The research team suggests the following three levers to ‘unlock’ internal motivation:
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