Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation is an internal state that prompts you to perform a certain action. The person then does not act because he has to, but because he wants to do a certain activity of his own accord.

Definition / explanation

Intrinsic motivation describes an internal incentive that motivates one to carry out a certain action. In relation to the world of work, in which this form of practical behavioral psychology plays a major role, this means that an activity is not carried out because a certain reward is waiting for the employee, but because the employee enjoys this activity.

Due to the intrinsic motivation, the work performance of the individual employee is significantly increased. In other words, those who enjoy their work are also willing to do more.

Sources of intrinsic motivation

The incentives and sources of intrinsic motivation can vary widely. On the one hand, recognizing the purpose of a certain activity can lead the employee to tackle it with more vigor.

Curiosity or the inner self-image to do a given task as well as possible can also be sources of intrinsic motivation. Your own ambition can also be an incentive in the sense of intrinsic motivation.

Prerequisites for intrinsic motivation

In order to create the optimal conditions for intrinsic motivation, the work environment of the employee should be designed in such a way that he feels comfortable at his workplace.

The tasks assigned to the employee should also be varied and not too overwhelming. In addition, it is very helpful to convey the big picture of what they are doing to the employees and not just to let them see their personal work.

What is the extrinsic motivation?

The extrinsic motivation is the opposite of the intrinsic motivation. The motivation to perform a certain action does not come from an inner attitude of a person, but is influenced by external, i.e. external factors. These can be a good salary, a threatened dismissal or even a possible promotion.


  • intrinsic motivation is a person's inner motivation
  • intrinsically motivated people work more effectively
  • In extrinsic motivation, employee motivation is influenced by external factors
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