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Motivation and Money as a Motivating Factor

Motivation is a common word that we use in our everyday life and mainly refers to a positive factor to accomplish a target. Motivation is a very important concept in our daily life to achieve the best of everything – for example, it is obvious that the success of our children depends on how we motivate them or our reactions which may create demotivation. Currently, motivation is a key component of success in all fields such as sport, school, business, politics, etc. In modern organizational management, the motivation of employees is a day-to-day concern on the table as it is one of the critical factors driving productivity and employee retention. In contrary to motivation, there is demotivation that causes darkness in our success and relationships. Demotivation is a repelling force that pushes employees away from the company and its objectives. There are several meanings given to motivation. Among the various, I believe the below defines it best.

“Motivation is an inner wish to make an effort” (Laegaard, J. & Bindslev, M. 2006).

Based on the above meaning of motivation and reviewing different motivational theories, I think motivational factors are more personal and dynamic as they can be influenced by the social, economic, and psychological conditions of the employees. The extent how money motivates employees is an arguable concept. Different theories and models have put motivation and satisfaction in different contexts – Expectancy theory explains motivation is determined by the combination of three factors (Expectancy, Instrumentality, and value) which have to be high to increase motivation (Laegaard, J. & Bindslev, M. 2006). In other words, pay (money) performance is a key motivational factor to increase employee’s motivation (Syed

, 2017). However, research conducted with Minneapolis company showed a different result that pay was not among the top motivating factors chosen by the participants, therefore, money was not the sole motivator according to the study (Employee, 2005 as cited by Syed, 2017).

The motivational theories based on need had explained different needs as means of motivation by categorizing and placing them in a hierarchal level. Maslow’s and Alderfer’s need theories tried to put the level of need from basic to the higher need of self-actualization (Laegaard, J. & Bindslev, M. 2006). Based on such a level of need, money can be a motivator until the employee ensures or satisfies the basic need. In my belief, a person may move up and slip down in the need hierarchies as his formation or development of needs are affected by the change in the cost of living, family size, social status, and psychological status. According to Laegaard, J. & Bindslev, M. (2006), Herzberg divided job factors into two, as motivational factors and maintenance factors, to depict employees’ range of satisfaction and dissatisfaction scales. However, the separation of the two factors is not clear and no study can able to determine whether money is solely a maintenance factor.

In my conclusion, experts agree that money is a motivator to increase the performance of the employee. What is not yet determined is the extent to which money can be a motivator. From the different theories, we can identify some limitations which should be further studied to find out how the motivational factors are determined in different categories of society, and the extent of money to be a motivator in a group of people with lower economic conditions, people who have a large family size or single source of income for a large family, and people surrounded by higher income group with a high standard of living. Therefore, motivation is dynamic and personal which can be influenced by different factors beyond the organization. How do you motivate or balance money and motivation in your company?


Laegaard, J. & Bindslev, M. (2006). Organizational theory (1st ed). Ventus Publishing &

Syed Hasan (2017). To what extent is money a motivator to employees. Soil and water conservation Research Institute.

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