HR Terminology Motivational Theories

Complygate has put together a complete list of key HR terms, phrases, acronyms and jargon to assist HR professionals in navigating the extensive, ever-growing HR terminology. We would like to encourage you to read, share and make use of this terminology collection. If you have any suggestions of terms or keywords we have missed, please contact us and we will include them in our next update.

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What are Motivational Theories? Theories of Motivation

Motivation theory is the study of what drives a person to work towards a particular goal or outcome, what motivates them. These can help employers design strategies to motivate employees.

Figuring out what is it that motivates certain people can be a challenge for HR managers and employers.

It’s relevant to all of society but is especially important in the corporate field, because motivated employees are more productive, which translates to a boost in productivity and performance.

Most motivational theories differentiate between two factors: intrinsic and extrinsic.


  • Extrinsic motivations focus on the outcome of the activity (employees are motivated by the outcome rather than the activity itself).
  • Intrinsic motivation focuses on an individual's interest and motivation to participate in an activity.
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