The world motivation comes from the Latin word "movere" which means "to move". Motivation emphasizes on internal and external forces that leads us to move. It refers to activation, urge and internal craving from within the organism.

Motivation is an internal process that actively guides and maintains behavior. It helps to explain causes of behavior. It is a driving force behind behavior that leads us to pursue some things and avoid others. Motivation may be regarded as something which prompts, compels and energizes an individual to act or behave in a particular fashion at a particular time for attaining some specific goal or purpose. 

According to Pinder (1984). "Motivation refers to the forces within a person that affect his or her direction, intensity and persistence of voluntary behavior." According to Lahey (1995), "Motivation is an internal state that activities and gives direction to our thoughts."

Nature and Characteristics of Motivation 

  • Motivation is an inner feeling which energizes a person to work more.
  • Motivation directs the behavior towards the goals.
  • It leads to self-actualization in heavier.
  • It stimulates the learning activities.
  • It helps to select appropriate behavior.
  • It is the internal condition or factor of learning.
  • Motivation is not the ends but the means.
  • It is affected by physical and mental as well as internal and external condition.

The Motivational Cycle

Why we behave how we behave in a particular fashion at a particular moment can be understood items of motivation.

It is one's motivation which prompts, compels and energizes him to engage in a particular behavior. The activating forces working in motivation may be name as needs, drives or motives.

The cycle moves ahead as soon as the need is satisfied.


Needs are general wants or desires. Every human being has to strive for the satisfaction of his basic needs if he is to maintain and actualize or enhance himself in this world. They can be broadly classified as biological and socio-physiological. Biological needs include all our bodily or organic needs like need for oxygen, food, water, rest, sleep and sex, etc.

They are linked with the survival of the organism and species. Socio-psychological needs like need for love affection, security, affiliation, self-assertion and self-actualization, etc., are linked with the socio-cultural environment and psychological makeup of an individual.


A need gives rise to drive which activities an individual from within and directs its activities to a goal that may bring about the satisfaction of the need. An internal motivational state that is created by a need is a drive.

For example, need for food creates a drive state of arousal or tension. Drives are the action oriented component or the motion to fulfil the desire of the motivated behavior. It takes the deprived states to action for, example, the person who is hungry moves to find food.


Incentive is the appropriate object or situation toward which motivated behavior is directed. Appreciation, rewards, bonus, fulfilment of one's needs and getting the desired objectives are some of the examples of incentives.

Incentive works as reinforcing agent as it adds more force to a drive like adding fuel to the already ignited fire. Incentive alleviates a need and reduces a drive. It can provide satisfaction for the aroused drive for example; food is the incentive for the hungry man, water for the thirsty etc.


Once the organism has obtained the incentive it derives satisfaction, which is the reward. Reward restores the homeostatic condition. It brings read adjustment, for example, rice is the reward for a hungry person who feels relieved and satisfied with it.