Motivation makes people act, take actions (or not at all). Without motivation there is no behavior. And if you want the right behaviour, you also need the right motivation.
Wanting to work longer, less prolonged, and frequent absences and a lower risk of burn-out: scientific research and practical experience show that the autonomous work motivation of employees has a positive impact on well-being, attitudes, work performance, and business results. And as an organization, you can effectively have a strong impact on the autonomous motivation of your employees. But what exactly does this mean? What is this autonomous motivation? And how can you increase it?
For a long time, the focus was on ‘intrinsic motivation’. An employee is intrinsically motivated for a task if he/she wants to perform that task. The disadvantage of intrinsic motivation is that it is sometimes difficult to influence it: you cannot force someone to like a task.
And then what happened? Jan always comes too late? Peter is not wearing his safety helmet? Sofie takes too long a lunch break? Does Inge refuse to use the new software? In these situations it is often too quick to switch to “punishing and rewarding”. Or even worse, to guilt and shame induction. Both are extrinsic types of motivation. This will certainly work in the short term, but there are a lot of negative consequences associated with this.
However, research now shows that there is also a certain type of extrinsic motivation that has a very positive influence, and even more so, is easy to influence. Provided you know what you are working on. We then talk about ‘usefulness and meaning’. Employees can be positively motivated as soon as they recognize the importance of something. Even if there is no intrinsic motivation for this. Then we speak of ‘autonomous motivation’. Autonomic motivation is broader than intrinsic motivation because it also applies to tasks which the employee does not like to perform, but estimates as meaningful or valuable.
Autonomous motivation – an employee likes his job, is interesting, valuable or meaningful – is opposed to controlled motivation, in which an employee only does something because it has to be done by others (‘I do it because my boss says I have to do it’ or ‘I only do it for pay’) or because of internal coercion (‘I do it because otherwise I will feel guilty’ or ‘I would be ashamed if I don’t do it’).
In the figure below this is shown schematically.