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What Is the Role of Motivation in Organizational Behavior?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 16, 2024
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The role of motivation in organizational behavior can have a critical impact on productivity, workplace atmosphere, and many other areas that help determine an organization's level of success. Understanding the psychological importance of motivation can help businesses, schools, sports teams, and other organizations create a healthy, supportive culture that helps meet organizational goals. Some of the most important practices that can improve motivation this area include strong leadership, incentive programs, and fair policies.

Motivation is what drives a person to participate in an organization. A motivated person generally works harder, produces more, and maintains a better attitude than a person who feels unmotivated. For instance, a student who feels he has been treated unfairly by a teacher may feel an impulse to skip class or ignore homework assignments, while a student who enjoys a class may be excited to go each day and look forward to projects. When a workforce or team of participants feels motivated, it may be easier for an organization to reach its goals efficiently.

Fulfilling the role of motivation in organizational behavior requires an in-depth study of needs, goals, and expectations. When a workplace pays an employee, it is helping him or her meet basic needs, such as the ability to pay for food and shelter. Further, if the workplace provides medical benefits, creative stimulation, and enrichment programs, it is working to meet both critical and secondary needs of its employees, thus motivating them to continue working. While payment is usually used as the basic incentive, motivation can be augmented by providing services and programs designed to cater to the needs and hopes of members.

In addition to meeting the needs of participants through compensatory means, there are many other strategies that can improve motivation in organizational behavior. Training strong leaders can be an important motivational tool, since workers may be more productive under a strong, well-trained supervisor who earns their trust and respect. Creating incentive programs, such as bonus structures, that reward superior performance can also encourage participants to work more productively.

One of the most important keys to motivation in organizational behavior is an underlying matrix of fair policies. If participants feel they are in a rigged system, they may quickly lose the will to participate, as they see little or no benefit to it. In an organization where each person has a fair chance to succeed, a safe place to work, and feels respected by peers and superiors, it may be easier to maintain a high level of motivation. Creating and enforcing strong ethics policies can help ensure that motivation is not deterred by unfair practices.

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Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for SmartCapitalMind. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By Instion — On Dec 10, 2013
This is all so true, and yet so many companies don't seem to know it! It just makes sense that an employee who feels he or she is treated well and receives the right compensation is going to work harder and feel more motivated than an employee who does *not* feel this way.

I believe this is something management for every type of company should learn: how to treat employees with the respect they deserve! It's always amazing that companies who don't follow such practices wonder why they have such high turnover!

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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