Enabling a motivated workforce: exploring the sources of motivation
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Purpose This paper recognizes self determination theory (SDT) as a model to successfully motivate an organization's workforce and recommends SDT as a more encompassing theory of motivation. Consequently, motivation assumes a different dimension and it therefore becomes necessary to consider issues associated with autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and motivation as a predictor of performance. This paper aims to address this issue. Design/methodology/approach The paper initially identifies the underlying assumptions of motivation that include: people having the capacity for responsible actions, a natural aspiration to learning and understanding things, and the desire to do good at work and play. The paper then proceeds to addresses several basic issues associated with SDT, namely, cognitive, affective and psycho‐motor development. Finally, it considers perception of the self, one's psychological and emotional needs, life goals and aspirations, individual dynamism, culture and the impact of social environments as key issues that determine one's ability to self‐actualize. Findings The study shows SDT's relevance to discussions in organizational behavior. The findings suggest that extrinsic motivation can be deleterious to intrinsic motivation. Work‐related happiness is acquired when individuals use their personality as a motivation determinant to fulfill a mission that is meaningful to themselves too. Individuals are most resourceful and innovative when they feel motivated largely as a result of their interest, their inner satisfaction, and challenges of the work itself and not by external pressures or incentives. Practical implications In this regard it is recommended that human resources professionals and/or managers need to consider issues associated with autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and motivation as a predictor of performance. Different attitudinal relationships towards work‐play necessitate distinct types of motivation. Should work and play become homogeneous, the defining role of human resources management in relation to motivation needs revisiting in particular SDT Originality/value This paper adds to the academic literature on motivation in a somewhat different vein by presenting autonomy, competence, and relatedness in SDT as vitally essential for psychological growth, optimal functioning, and well‐being in any fields of endeavor. The study identifies extrinsic rewards as undermining intrinsic motivation in most circumstances.