Motivation to pursue and achieve a goal can arise from a broad variety of social, emotional, biological, and psychological factors. Within the field of psychology and related studies, a number of different types of motivation have emerged as explanations for the forces driving our behavior. The two basic types of motivation under which all types of motivation can fall are intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation can be defined as the completion of an action simply because the doer finds the action to be enjoyable and rewarding in and of itself. This type of motivation comes from within the individual. With extrinsic motivation, the pressure to complete the action comes from outside the individual. Rewards, incentives, coercion or even fear of punishment are examples of extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be broken down further into a number of different types of motivation.
People who are driven by an Achievement or Competence Motivation will pursue goals that can earn them praise and notoriety. Achievement motivation focuses on the completion of the goal in and of itself, with or without incentives and reward if the goal is reached. These individuals will focus on task-mastery, with complete success or even perfection of the task as the ultimate goal. Someone who is motivated by achievement will aim for a middle ground with his or her goals, not choosing tasks that are too simple for fear of boredom, but also not selecting tasks that are too risky because of their potential for failure. For example, a chemist who is motivated by achievement might elect to mix a difficult formula that has already been successfully replicated a few times. Though the task is challenging, worth of praise and recognition, it is not too risky because another chemist has already produced it as well.
An Affiliation Motivation drives many people to engage in activities that will promote cooperative, positive, beneficial relationships with other people. For someone who is motivated by a need for affiliation to a group, others’ approval will be highly valued by the individual. An example of a person motivated be a need for affiliation would be a young college student enduring humiliating hazing rituals in order to earn admittance to a fraternity.
A Power Motivation will compel the individual to command the attention, respect, and compliance of other individuals. A person motivated by a need for power will value the “greater good” over the needs of the individual. This individual will seek to organize and control the people in his or her own life, not necessarily in a negative way, but in a way that the individual deems beneficial. A person motivated by a need for power might take control of a group project, asserting himself and assigning responsibilities for the project with the goal of successfully completing it.
Incentive Motivation drives people to engage in an action or strive for a goal because they anticipate the acquisition of a reward, bonus or other benefit upon the completion of the goal. Incentive motivation is probably the most common type of motivation, as rewards like good grades, a scholarship, a raise, a company bonus, or a promotion are very common reasons for striving to do well in school and at work.
Fear Motivation drives individuals to set and accomplish goals because of the actual or perceived promise of negative consequences if the goal is not achieved. Fear motivation is in opposition to incentive motivation. Rather than acquiring something positive for completing a task, one is avoiding something negative by engaging in an action. An example of fear motivation is a child who cleans up his toys because he is afraid that he will receive some form of punishment from his parents.
Change or Progress Motivation occurs when an individual feels driven to make immediate changes in his or her environment. If an individual is unhappy with a particular aspect of his or her life, he may feel compelled to set goal and take actions to change that factor, with the assumption that making his change will be beneficial and lead to greater happiness. One example of change motivation is the weight loss motivation.