What are three motivation theories and what examples illustrate them?

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davidmk4126 | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Intrinsic motivation specifies the behavior of an individual that is motivated by internal rewards. This theory argues that the motivation to take part in a behavior stems from the fact that it is rewarding intrinsically. This is in direct contrast to extrinsic motivation. Some examples of intrinsic motivation may include doing things for the gratification of the enterprise itself such as writing, reading, researching, etc. The individual’s motivation emerges wholly from within, as opposed to being focused on attaining an external prize.

In contrast to intrinsic motivation there is another type of motivation known as extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation specifies the behavior that is motivated by external rewards. This kind of motivation is derived from outside of the person. It refers to an individual’s inclination to operate in certain ways for external rewards. A good example would be studying hard in order to achieve good grades or to perform optimally at work in order to achieve a higher salary.

Operant condition is another spectrum of motivation that transpires via rewards and punishments for behavior. By the process of operant conditioning, a connection is created between a behavior and a result for that action. There are a plethora of examples of this motivation. For example, high school students working hard achieve higher grades. However, one should note that not only are rewards employed to increase motivation, but so is the removal of rewards. An example could be if a child is informed that he or she shall lose privileges if they behave a certain way, and this motivates them to change their behavior.

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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1. Cognitive dissonance theory:  This theory involves being motivated to make a decision of some kind based on the fact that doing one thing or being a certain way feels uncomfortable.  People don't like to feel uncomfortable.  They don't like the feelings of dissonance.  I teach junior high, so I see this motivation theory all the time.  If a student feels that they stand out for some reason, it makes them feel awkward.  In order to reduce the stress of that situation, that person is motivated to make some kind of change.  It might be in the clothes that they wear or how they do their hair or even intentionally getting lower grades to better fit in.  

2. Endowed Progress Effect:  A portion of my master's thesis was on this one.  This one says that any perception of progress is motivating in and of itself.  If a person perceives that they are making progress toward a goal of some kind, they are motivated to continue working at it.  Conversely, if no progress is perceived, that person is likely to abandon their efforts.  I use this motivation theory when making tests and homework assignments for my students.  Every 7 questions or so, I throw in a ridiculously easy question.  The student has no problem answering it, they feel affirmed in their efforts, they see a quickly completed problem, and they feel motivated to continue working.  

3.  Extrinsic motivation: People are motivated to do something because there is some kind of tangible reward at the end. You do it for the reward, not the fun of it.  People go to work because they get paid.  A person could say that they go to work because they enjoy it.  That's NOT extrinsic motivation.  Going to work because you get money at the end is extrinsic.  There is a tangible reward.  This one works on all kinds of people.  It works really well with my kids.  I have to use it sparingly though, because I don't want it to become the default motivation.  But the "if you do all of your chores today, I'll take you out to buy that toy you've been wanting" is extrinsic motivation.  

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kanhimack | (Level 2) Honors

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Explain the principle of delegation of authority, including why it is often inadequately performed.

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