Sources of Motivation for Different People

Motivation is defined as an internal driving force that guides the behavior of individuals. The factors that motivate individuals differ from person to person. Something that might motivate someone might not be as effective in motivating someone else. This paper will look into the differences in sources of motivation for different people. It will also develop a relationship between emotions and motivation.

Motivation, as one can see, is a result of the type of leadership given to the subordinates. If the leadership works in line with the employee’s attitudes then they would be willing to work more strenuously and with more determination. The result would be an increase in the motivation of the workers and more profitable results eventually. However, if the leadership works in the polar opposite of the employee’s attitudes then the employees and group members would be highly de-motivated and they would not find any satisfaction in the work that they do.

Since Ella can be accounted for by the biological theory of Motivation, it can be said that survival factors such as good food to eat, fresh water to drink and clean air to breathe would be a source of motivation for her (Nevid, J.S., 2008). She can be said to be motivated in an environment where these things are available. Emotion plays a very important role as a motivator for Ella. This can be explained with the help of James-Lange’s Theory of Emotion. For instance, when Ella is hungry, it triggers a physiological feeling (Changing Minds, 2009). This causes an emotion such as anxiety. To remove this negative emotion, Ella will get something to eat and satisfy his hunger. Therefore we can say that emotion was the driving force that motivated Ella to behave in a certain way.

Marcelo on the other hand would initially get motivated by basic physiological needs such as hunger, thirst, sex etc. Once these are satisfied, the individual will move up the hierarchy and try to satisfy safety needs. Social needs are next in line followed by self-esteem and self-actualization needs (Huitt, W., 2004). In the case of Marcelo, emotions also serve as motivators. When a certain level of need has been satisfied, Marcelo would experience happiness which is an emotion. This emotion is positive and in order to experience it again, Marcelo would be motivated to fulfill yet another higher level of needs. Cognitive Appraisal Theory of Emotion can be used to understand this. According to this theory, whatever emotion we feel depends on how we interpret or explain an event that just happened. The emotion that we will feel will depend on whether we interpret the event as good or bad for us, and what we believe is the cause of the event.

The sources of motivation for Masoko, on the other hand, depend on the conclusions and inferences that are developed by him through social interaction. The motivation for Masoko will be affected and shaped through interaction with people and society as a whole. The sources of motivation will therefore depend from person to person under the interactionist theory of motivation. The interaction with the social world will trigger certain emotions which will motivate or de-motivate Masoko and guide his behavior (Buzzle, 2009). The Two-Factor Theory of Emotion can be applied here. When an event occurs, Masoko has a feeling of arousal. After reasoning, a certain emotion is experienced and this emotion becomes a source of motivation for Masoko (Changing Minds, 2009).

Sam, who has a realistic combination of motivating theories, would have a wide range of sources of motivation. The factors that motivate Sam would depend on the situation he is in. Sam would want most needs to be satisfied at the same time. Since Sam’s combination of motivation theories is realistic, his sources of motivation will not be restricted to only physiological needs, psychosocial needs, or any other category of needs specifically. Sam will be more flexible in terms of accepting rewards compared to Ella, Marcello, and Masoko.

All the factors in the different sources of motivation are related to each other in one way or the other. Maslow has incorporated all the possible sources of motivation in a hierarchy. This, I believe, perfectly summarizes the relationship between the different sources. It categorizes the different needs and gives a general hierarchy according to the way people prioritize these needs.

In conclusion, I would once again like to emphasize that different factors motivate different people. This is because the personalities, values, behaviors, opinions, perceptions of people differ from person to person. Not everyone expects the same things and hence different factors motivate different people. This is very important to understand. Emotions also play a very important role in motivating people to behave in a certain manner. It is largely emotions that trigger that internal drive that motivates and guides our behavior.


Buzzle, (2009) Interactionist Theory of Motivation. Web.

Changing Minds, (2009) Theories about Emotion. Web.

Huitt, W. (2004). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. 2009. Web.

Nevid, J.S., (2008) Psychology: Concepts and Applications. Cengage Learning.

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