Definition and Importance of Motivation

The concept motivation is derived from the Latin word "movere" which means to move (Huber, 2006, p. 481). The word motivation gets its origin from the root word "motive" meaning the reason we do what we do (McLean, 2006 ). Motivation is an action word that  influences every aspect of our daily lives. Whether in athletics, academics, business, industry, entertainment or any other edeavour, motivation is fundamental in the level of success an individual attains. We are either motivated or not motivated to perform certain tasks. Psychologist asserts that motivation activates behavior and propels an individual forward toward achieving goals or needs (Theobald, 2006). Motivation describes the process that energize and stimulate human behavior toward reaching specific goals (Huber, 2006). In essence, motivation propels an individual to act and continue until goal or need is met (Slavin, 2006).

Motivation is a psychological force that moves a person into action to attain preset goals or the satisfaction of certain needs (Slavin, 2006). Ormrod (2008) defines motivation as an internal state that arouses us to action , pushes us in particular direction and keeps us engaged in certain activities (Ormrod, 2008, p. 452). In sports terminology, you "have to want it to win it". Motivation can be either intrinsic or extrinsic:

 Extrinsic motivation - is motivation that comes from an external source. A person is motivate by external factors that are unrelated to task that is being performed ( Ormrod, 2008). An example, receiving an increase in pay from one's employer for obtaining a new degree. Employees are extrinsically motivated by monetary compensation, because money is a goal which provides satisfaction separate from the actual task (Osterloh & Frey, 1999). A student wanting good grades, or praise that come from accomplishing a task. Ormrod (2008) states people who are extrinsically motivated are motivated to perform a task as a means to an end, not as an end in itself (Ormrod, 2008).

 Intrinsic motivation - the source of the motivation comes from an internal factor. The motivating factors come from within a person and is related to the task being performed (Ormrod, 2008).  Individuals who are intrinsically motivated engage in activities for the sheer pleasure it affords them, assists them in developing important skills or for ethical or moral reasons (Ormrod, 2008). An example, a student returning to school for the sheer satisfaction of obtaining a degree for personal gratification.

Important Concepts of Motivation

Need for Affiliation
Need for Approval
Need for Achievement

Huber, D. L. (2006). Leadership and nursing care management (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

Ormrod, J. E. (2008). Human learning (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Osterloh, M. & Frey, B. S. (September- October, 2000). Motivation Knowledge Transfer, and Organizational Form. Organizational Science. 2 (5) pp. 538-550.

Slavin, R. E. (2006). Educational psychology: Theory and practice (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.


  1. Carolyn,

    You are the greatest motivator I know!! I am not at all surprise that you would choose to write about motivation. Thanks for all of the encouragement that you have given me. Excellent work!!!I hope to use some of the information in my class.

  2. I love your blog site. Motivation is the fuel that drives life. I especially like the definition about intrinsic motivation. The example of one going back to school for the sheer pleasure of earning a degree speaks volumes!!! Is it common for people to be both extrinsically and intrinsically motivated? Hmmm.....

  3. Patricia,

    Thanks so much for your inspiring comments!! Yes, according to Ormrod (2008) often learners are simultaneously motivated by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Ormrod (2008) gives this example,"Although Shannon enjoys her writing course [intrinsic], she also knows that a good grade will help her get a scholarship at State U[extrinsic]."

    Again, thanks so much!

  4. Great Blog Page!!! You are a great motivator! You inspire me everyday. Keep up the good work....


  5. Carolyn,
    Very motivational! Very professional looking presentation. Great pictures.

  6. Mrs. Gosa,
    This blog page need to be posted so everyone can read it. I give you a 110% for a job well done. Keep up the GOOD WORK. May God continue to bless you.

    Shelia Sharp
    Speech Therapist

  7. Love your blog. Excellent job!!!!!!!!!!!This should be a brochure that is placed in every profession in the USA. Motivation is a simple word that means to move. Most of us just need to hear the words, “you can do it”, and it drives us to move forward. I have always admired your endeavors throughout your life and it has driven me to move forward also. I have to keep my self motivation to move someone else. There is always someone that admires you and wants to be like you. “Iron Sharpen Iron". Keep up the excellent work. You keep doing it again, and again. I’m so proud of you.