The Four Forms of Motivation are Extrinsic, Identified, Intrinsic, & Introjected

Are your motivations for striving intrinsic, introjected, identified, or extrinsic?

The Four Forms of Motivation are Extrinsic, Identified, Intrinsic, & Introjected

Four different types of motivation drive people through the tough times, make them high performing, and maintain focus on commitments. These motivation forms originate externally or internally and are defined by action or non-action, motivations to be categorized as extrinsic (external source, action), identified (external source, non-action), intrinsic (internal source, action), and introjected (internal source, non-action). Understanding these different forms of motivation are important both for the individual and for organizations seeking to promote higher performance or goal achievement.

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is an external influence that impels people to act in certain ways. External influences may include rewards, promotions, prizes, etc. The problem with extrinsic motivation is that it is prone to expectation. If the reward for doing something is consistently applied, people tend to see it as part of the effort not as a reward. There also is the problem of extrinsic motivation lacking meaningfulness. The effect of motivating someone with rewards does not work always or even consistently over time. If it did, offering bonuses for doing specific jobs would always garner individuals for those jobs and make them perform the jobs properly. Yet, human resources struggle to fill jobs with the most productive, creative people.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation refers to an internal motivation. This form of motivation is subjective by is believed to occur as a result of actions aligning with values or with pleasure for doing a task. This form of motivation is subjective but can be accessed in a variety of ways such as providing rewards that reflect value such as “employee of the month” or giving out a coffee mug printed with “best salesmen.” The key to understanding this internalized motivation is the relation to a person’s values or desires. People tend to place higher value on the boss saying things like “Good job,” then being given a bonus at the end of the year. However, intrinsic motivation is subjective and can be difficult to balance and utilize depending on the workforce and what appeases the staff.

Introjected Motivation

Introjected motivation is an internalized motivation like intrinsic motivation, but it is a negative form of motivation which results from non-action such as the job being done poorly or not at all and the person feeling guilty. This form of motivation is similar to negative reinforcement but the stimulus for the person’s motivation is internal rather than external. This form of motivation is more common than people might believe and occurs many ways such as bosses making comments about the poor job some one performed. These statements are often intended to induce feelings of guilt within people to motivate them to perform better. This motivation internalizes with many negative aspects such as angering or confusing people with constant negative interactions or from an inability to satisfy the themselves or the person causing them to feel negatively. People who endure manipulative behavior, passive aggressive attitudes, or bullying may form introjected motivations.

Identified Motivation

Identified motivation refers to a form of motivation which occurs as understanding or feeling the need to perform or accomplish some task but not yet acting on this need. This is powerful form of motivation as it is intrinsic to the person and prepares the person for acting. Often people believe the influencer of behavior such as a reward or punishment is enough to motivate action but more often motivation is a building process. For example, if lung cancer’s risk could motivate a person to quit smoking, many people would easily quit smoking. The need and desire to quit smoking often takes time to actualize; however, this presents the problem of the person dying in the of lung cancer before becoming motivated enough to quit smoking. This form of motivation is powerful because its actualization often creates lasting accomplishment or performance enhancement but it is often impractical to wait for someone to become motivated.

These forms of motivation provide different perspectives but more importantly, they provide different ways to access motivation for personal improvement or workplace applications.


Vincent Triola. Sat, Jan 02, 2021. The Four Forms of Motivation are Extrinsic, Identified, Intrinsic, & Introjected Retrieved from