The underlying fact or cause that provides logical sense for achieving goals and objectives can be labeled motivation. Motivation is defined as (Runes, 1983,
Motivation: Designation of the totality of motives operative in any given act of volition or of the mechanism of the operation of such motives. See Motive.
Motive: (Lat. motus, from movere, to move) An animal drive or desire which consciously or unconsciously operates as a determinant of an act of volition.
As defined, motivation is the property central in the explanation of intentional conduct. Specifically, a motivational explanation is “a type of explanation of goal-directed behavior where the explanans appeals to the motives of the agent” (Audi, 1999, p. 592). Understanding the motives for the behaviors associated with why is the central tenet of theories associated with motivation.
Categorizing Theories of Motivation
There are a number of implicit theories for motivation in the literature. However, before we discuss the elements of these theories, it is important to understand how the scientific community has categorized theories of motivation. There are also two accepted methods for categorizing these theories.
The first method for grouping motivation theories has three categories: (1) content-based theories of motivation; (2) process-based theories of motivation; and (3) environmentally based theories of motivation (Bowditch, Buono, & Stewart, 2008). Figure 8.1 is a depiction of this categorization.
The second method for grouping motivation theories also has three categories: (1) hedonic/pleasure-based theories of motivation; (2) cognitive/need-to-know- based theories of motivation; and (3) growth/actualization-based theories of motivation (Roeckelein, 2006). Figure 8.2 is a depiction of this categorization.
The two categorization schemas for motivation theories present twenty principal motivation theories, which are listed in Table 8.1. The theories are arranged and presented in chronological order to provide a contextual setting for how the theories were revealed over the last hundred or so years of research in this field. The sections that follow will review each of these principal theories of motivation.
Fig. 8.1 Categorization of theories of motivation (Bowditch et al., 2008)
Fig. 8.2 Categorization of theories of motivation (Roeckelein, 2006)