Skip to main content
Business LibreTexts

7.5: Glossary

  • Page ID
    • Contributed by

    ability The knowledge, skills, and receptiveness to learning that an individual brings to a task or job.

    content motivation theories Theories that focus on what motivates people.

    direction What a person is motivated to achieve.

    intensity (1) The degree to which people try to achieve their targets; (2) the forcefulness that enhances the likelihood that a stimulus will be selected for perceptual processing.

    motivation A force within or outside of the body that energizes, directs, and sustains human behavior. Within the body, examples might be needs, personal values, and goals, while an incentive might be seen as a force outside of the body. The word stems from its Latin root movere, which means “to move.”

    performance environment Refers to those factors that impact employees’ performance but are essentially out of their control.

    process motivation theories Theories that focus on the how and why of motivation.

    role perceptions The set of behaviors employees think they are expected to perform as members of an organization.

    work motivation The amount of effort a person exerts to achieve a level of job performance.

    ERG theory Compresses Maslow’s five need categories into three: existence, relatedness, and growth.

    extrinsic motivation Occurs when a person performs a given behavior to acquire something that will satisfy a lower-order need.

    hedonism Assumes that people are motivated to satisfy mainly their own needs (seek pleasure, avoid pain).

    hygienes Factors in the work environment that are based on the basic human need to “avoid pain.”

    instincts Our natural, fundamental needs, basic to our survival.

    intrinsic motivation Arises out of performing a behavior in and of itself, because it is interesting or “fun” to do.

    latent needs Cannot be inferred from a person’s behavior at a given time, yet the person may still possess those needs.

    manifest needs Are needs motivating a person at a given time.

    manifest needs theory Assumes that human behavior is driven by the desire to satisfy needs.

    motivators Relate to the jobs that people perform and people’s ability to feel a sense of achievement as a result of performing them.

    motive A source of motivation; the need that a person is attempting to satisfy.

    need for achievement (nAch) The need to excel at tasks, especially tasks that are difficult.

    need for affiliation (nAff) The need to establish and maintain warm and friendly relationships with other people.

    need for power (nPow) The need to control things, especially other people; reflects a motivation to influence and be responsible for other people.

    need A human condition that becomes energized when people feel deficient in some respect.

    primary needs Are instinctual in nature and include physiological needs for food, water, and sex (procreation).

    secondary needs Are learned throughout one’s life span and are psychological in nature.

    self-determination theory (SDT) Seeks to explain not only what causes motivation, but also the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation.

    avoidance learning Occurs when people learn to behave in a certain way to avoid encountering an undesired or unpleasant consequence.

    effort-performance expectancy E1, the perceived probability that effort will lead to performance (or E ➨ P).

    equity theory States that human motivation is affected by the outcomes people receive for their inputs, compared to the outcomes and inputs of other people.

    expectancy theory Posits that people will exert high effort levels to perform at high levels so that they can obtain valued outcomes.

    extinction Occurs when a consequence or lack of a consequence makes it less likely that a behavior will be repeated in the future.

    extrinsic outcomes Are awarded or given by other people (like a supervisor).

    goal commitment The degree to which people dedicate themselves to achieving a goal.

    goal theory States that people will perform better if they have difficult, specific, accepted performance goals or objectives.

    input Any personal qualities that a person views as having value and that are relevant to the organization.

    intrinsic outcomes Are awarded or given by people to themselves (such as a sense of achievement).

    negative reinforcement Occurs when a behavior causes something undesirable to be removed, increasing the likelihood of the behavior reoccurring.

    nonreinforcement Occurs when no consequence follows a worker’s behavior.

    operant conditioning A learning process based on the results produced by a person “operating on” the environment.

    operant conditioning theory Posits that people learn to behave in a particular fashion as a result of the consequences that followed their past behaviors.

    outcome Anything a person perceives as getting back from an organization in exchange for the person’s inputs.

    overreward inequity Occurs when people perceive their outcome/input ratio to be greater than that of their referent other.

    performance-outcome expectancy E2, the perceived relationship between performance and outcomes (or P ➨ O).

    positive reinforcement Occurs when a desirable consequence that satisfies an active need or removes a barrier to need satisfaction increases the likelihood of a behavior reoccurring.

    punishment An aversive consequence that follows a behavior and makes it less likely to reoccur.

    referent others Workers that a person uses to compare inputs and outcomes, and who perform jobs similar in difficulty and complexity to the employee making an equity determination.

    reinforcement Occurs when a consequence makes it more likely a behavior will be repeated in the future.

    schedules of reinforcement The frequency at which effective employee behaviors are reinforced.

    self-efficacy A belief about the probability that one can successfully execute some future action or task, or achieve some result.

    state of equity Occurs when people perceive their outcome/input ratio to be equal to that of their referent other.

    underreward inequity Occurs when people perceive their outcome/input ratio to be less than that of their referent other.

    valences The degree to which a person perceives an outcome as being desirable, neutral, or undesirable.