Motive is defined as an energetic force or tendency working within the individual to compel or inspire him to act for the satisfaction of his basic needs or attainment of some specific purposes.

According to Caroll (1969) "A need gives rise to one or more motives. A motive is a rather specific process which has been learned. It is directed towards a goal" psychologists have categorized motives into two broad types: physiological and psychological.

Types of Motivation

a) Physiological Motives

It can also be termed as innate unlearned, biological and primary motives. They are important for our survival, without which we cannot live. Hunger, thirst, the need for air, activity, rest and the sex motives all are biological motives. Hunger motive primarily arises on account of the need for fluid. Hunger and thirst motives are very much controlled by personal experiences and social learning. Sex motive although having a strong physiological base in the form of hormones functioning maternal motive is stimulated both by the biological factors and social learning.

b) Psychological Motives

Psychological motives are also known as acquired, secondary, social and learned motives. Psychological motives are learned and developed through social contacts and experiences. They are not directly related to biological survival of the individual or the species. The motives like aggression motive, affiliation motive and achievement motive are purely learned as they are linked with the demands of one's environment in terms of social learning.

c) Intrinsic Motivation

It means that the individual’s motivational stimuli are coming from within. The individual has the desire to perform a specific task, because its results are in accordance with his belief system or fulfils a desire and therefore importance is attached to it.

d) Extrinsic Motivation

It means that the individual’s motivational stimuli are coming from outside. It is external in nature. The most well-known and the most debated motivation is money.

Approaches to Motivation (Theories of Motivation)

  1. Instinctive Approach
  2. Drive-Reduction Approach
  3. Arousal Approach
  4. Cognitive Approach
  5. Incentive Approach
  6. Self Actualization Approach

a) Instinctive Approach:

Freud’s theory of motivation was based on instincts. In his last book, outline of psycho-analysis, he asserted that Eros (life) and the death instinct are the ultimate cause of the motivation in behavior. In fact life instinct, the urge for self preservation dominates the earlier scenes of one's life. When life instinct stops, death instinct comes into operation.

For example, the lover who has failed in his love affair may think of committing suicide freed maintained that from birth onwards human beings experience sex gratification and sex motive, therefore, is the ultimate sole motive that works in energizing the human behavior.

b) Drive-Reduction Approach:

Behaviorists put forward the need and drive reduction theory by emphasizing that need in the form of stimulation gives birth to a drive or motive which in turn produces motivation.

Watson and Skinner emphasize that needs and drives work as stimuli to evoke responses in the form of motivation behavior. However, the importance of needs and drives in controlling and guiding the motivational behavior of humans is beyond question.

c) Arousal Approach:

Arousal theory of motivation explains that a person is in energized state of complete a task. Arousal maintains or increases excitement. It varies in between individuals and throughout the day from low levels to high levels.

For example, a low level of arousal is optimal while reading an interesting novel or talking with a friend. A higher arousal will be better if an individual is competing in a serious analytical issue.

d) Cognitive Approach:

Cognitive psychologists with the help of their goal-oriented theory highlighted the role of cognitive factors in producing human motivation. According to this view, human behavior is purposeful with a certain end or goal in view.

An individual, who aspires to reach a goal, is helped by his cognitive abilities for the development of a desirable drive or motive. The cognitive view of motivation was first brought into focus by a philosopher-psychologist William James (1842-1910) who emphasized that the concept of motivation was necessary to bring the "psychomotor gap" between ideas and actions.

e) Incentive Approach:

The incentive theory is one of the major theories of motivation and suggests that behavior is motivated by a desire for reinforcement or incentives.

Incentive theory suggests that our actions are influenced by outside incentives. It is different as the individual does not desire to reduce the stimulus, but instead becomes attracted to it.

Incentive theory of motivation shift emphasize from the internal "pushes" to external "pulls." They state that motivation acts by making goal objects more attractive.

f) Self Actualization Approach:

In 1954 psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed that a motivational behavior may satisfy many needs at the same time implying that an act is multi-motivated. Hierarchy of motives explains the sequential level of motives according to their importance or requirement.

Maslow's Hierarchy of need range from physiological need such as hunger and thrust through self actualization. He believed that we naturally strive to travel up through his hierarchy.