Article | Human Resource Management Review | autumn 1993

Motivational Synergy: Toward New Conceptualizations of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in the Workplace

by T. M. Amabile

Abstract

The foundation for a model of motivational synergy is presented. Building upon but going beyond previous conceptualizations, the model outlines the ways in which intrinsic motivation (which arises from the intrinsic value of the work for the individual) might interact with extrinsic motivation (which arises from the desire to obtain outcomes that are apart from the work itself). In a modification of the prevailing psychological view that extrinsic motivation undermines intrinsic motivation, this conceptualization proposes that certain types of extrinsic motivation can combine synergistically with intrinsic motivation, particularly when initial levels of intrinsic motivation are high. Such synergistic motivational combinations should lead to high levels of employee satisfaction and performance. Two mechanisms are proposed for these combinations: extrinsics in service of intrinsics, and the motivation-work cycle match. Personality and work-environment influences on motivation are discussed, and implications are outlined for management practice and management development.

Keywords: Motivation and Incentives; Theory; Creativity; Situation or Environment; Organizational Culture;

Citation:

Amabile, T. M. "Motivational Synergy: Toward New Conceptualizations of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in the Workplace." Human Resource Management Review 3, no. 3 (autumn 1993): 185–201.