Ethical Security Solutions

Motivation, satisfaction and lifelong learning

Copyright ESIS 2018


 The drive to motivate others and the need to be motivated by one’s own desire is a human being’s constant challenge. From being motivated to find a lifelong partner to give and receive love and companionship, all stem from long-term goals, and thus the person is motivated to seek out a partner in the hope of a desired and fulfilling future.

Without hope, we can see the human spirit crumble in his inability to envision a future filled with happiness and success and so they may not be motivated to push on. Lack of hope is the primary killer of any motivating “psychological techniques” one tries to employ upon himself.

Knowing that motivation is driven by a degree of hope, an organizational body of people or even an individual can be driven to take upon themselves the motivating process for lifelong learning and change. The hope of a positive and enjoyable outcome in the lifelong learning process and the journey is a great foreseeable intrinsic or even extrinsic reward.

Motivation can also be based on the ego, for example, to gain a sense of self-respect, self-confidence, as well as public recognition to boost self-esteem or ego. In turn, motivation has many factors that contribute to our gaining our needs and wants in the context of becoming a whole person.

Motivation can be viewed as an internal self-preservation mechanism that keeps the individual happy and fulfilled. Without this mechanism of self-determination (motivation) a human being can die away from the lack of hope, which destroys an individual’s motivating factor to act and follow through. This would be like giving up and dying because going on would be pointless and futile. In a work environment, motivation can be described as the individual forces that create the direction, level, and continuation of one’s effort used at work (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2002).

In the study of motivation and motivating factors in context to learning or lifelong learning, a person can take up the following subject and theories, for example, Maslow’s Theory of Need Hierarchy, Motivation and Hygiene Two Factor Theory, The Theory X and Theory Y, ERG Theory, Vroom’s Theory of Motivation (Performance Satisfaction) and Porter — Lawler Theory. These theories should and can be used as a foundation for a person to continue on this subject and therefore gain a broader understanding of the motivating factors in the context of motivation and learning.

I will use these theories and explain them more in this essay in relation to motivation in either work or lifelong learning environment. Through them, I will attempt to express and illustrate the concepts as well as ideas of motivation, and motivating factors in an organization when it comes to lifelong learning.


Motivating factors to learning in the context of a person’s work depend on cultural background, geographic background, and gender. And in some cases financial reasons the aspect of motivation we will not discuss in this writing.

According to Jackson, Gardner, and Sullivan (1992), there is continually more evidence that there is a major difference in how women and men make judgments on what is valuable to them. Even though some women who are starting their careers have better credentials for their first jobs, such as better verbal skills or higher GPAs. On average, men think that they bring better inputs to their jobs even if their credentials aren’t as good as the women’s.  Even in female-dominated fields, men have higher performance expectations than women. Women do value pay and promotions just as much as men do, but at the same time, they give more value to non-financial outcomes, such as interpersonal relationships.  There is no surprise then that since women think they can bring less value into the company and count more outputs as compensations of a job, women think that lower pay is more acceptable than what their male counterparts think (Jackson, Gardner & Sullivan, 1992).

Here we see some motivational factors in men’s versus women’s career income and job performance satisfaction as well as what motivates them. We can see that women and men have different outlooks when it comes to career needs and wants, we also see that the statement shows that women enter the workforce with a bit higher education than their male counterpart in their first jobs.

With all that said, we will keep the topic of the differences between men and women to this limit. I wanted to point this difference out to high light this issue if this question comes to the reader’s mind. 

Rewards and punishments as motivators 

What drives and motivates people to continue on their path forward is the potential gained reward. What may drive an employee to further his education may also depend on the reward that they may receive. If for example, an employee or company owner doesn’t see a reward for furthering their education, it will be hard to convince them to just do it for fun. For many, learning is not fun, and this may go back to their upbringing and past experiences with the educational system.

If however a person sees a reward at the end of his learning and continued education, then that is a positive stimulus for the continuation of their education and motivation. Within this context, we should also take into consideration the positive support and re-enforcement to motivate people to keep going with their education towards their goal. Rewarding someone for continued learning is a very important factor of the lifelong learning process and motivation.

When we talk about re-enforcements, there are four types of re-enforcement. These are positive, negative, punishment, and extinction. Positive and negative use two different approaches in trying to achieve a wanted behavior. Punishment and extinction simply try to prevent undesirable behavior (Kondalkar, 2007). 

Education as a form of motivation 

In addition within the context of motivation and re-enforcement of continual studies and development according to Kondalkar (2007), training and development programs need to be run systematically and in a preplanned way. Kondalkar asked employees in an organization what they would expect from the owners of any organization if they were working there. He found out that the employees expected two things. Initially, they should be trained in the profession so that they would be able to advance in their career to a higher position. And secondly, that all their entitlements would be paid on time. These are the major contributions any organization can make to their workers (Kondalkar, 2007).

Effectiveness is the key to the training and development programs. During training, a role model needs to be displayed and the theory of social learning applied. In addition to facilitating work-related training, the training should also enrich value systems, and develop ethics as well as teach morals creating a new approach to life. If all this is achieved, the organization should have conflict-free behavior. This type of training will develop a sense of belonging to that specific organization. This has been developed and followed in Japan (Kondalkar, 2007).

How well and effectively the training is done depends naturally on the skills of the trainer, the culture that the management wants to have in the organization as well as the level of commitment they want to the organization (Kondalkar 2007).

Moreover, mentoring programs as a way of progression in the context of continuing education is also a very effective way to motivate. Kondalkar (2007) tells a story about an Army lieutenant: “a 2nd lieutenant of an Army regiment was asked as to why he chose to join that regiment. The officer replied that his mentor was from that regiment which interested him the most during his training period. Most of the newly commissioned officers chose their regiment because of the smartness of their mentors, the dress they wear and skills they display during tactical exercises, briefings, and on firing ranges.” Thus mentors should display model behavior to create emulating behavior in subordinates. They should be able to develop a sense of responsibility in the subordinates so that they, in turn, would be able to take on higher positions in the organization. The subordinates are supposed to develop positive attitudes towards other subordinates, the task at hand, and achieve proper personalities based on social values and culture. To achieve this requires the full dedication on the part of the mentor and the trainee, both alike (Kondalkar, 2007).

In this above example, we can see that the 2nd lieutenant was made interested due to certain things he learned from his mentor. The mentor provided a good example for this man to continue his learning interests.

 Characteristics of Motivation 

To better understand how the motivation process looks, we can look at some characteristics of motivation. Kondalkar divides the characters of motivation into five sections.

1)     Motivation is a psychological phenomenon. It is created through an individual’s want to accomplish more. The lack of this accomplishment forces him to work harder towards the goal. The higher the individual’s motivation, the more it has a positive effect on performance and organization relations (Kondalkar, 2007).
2)     Motivation is a continuous process. As individuals, we have continuous needs. When one is satisfied, another one emerges. And so one strives to fulfill that need and a chain of continuation have been created (Kondalkar, 2007).
3)     Motivation is created by expecting to get some value from an action. The value is perceived and it is either the probability or the expectancy. Thus motivation = valance (value) × expectancy (Kondalkar, 2007).
4)     There are needs that have not been satisfied. An individual will be disturbed or tense until they are satisfied. This tension will cause a loss of balance in the behavior of the individual. The more motivated one is, the more one tries to get past the tension, and through this, and the goal is accomplished (Kondalkar, 2007).
5)     Positive motivation motivates people. These can be incentives that the organization offers to achieve efficiency. The incentives can be monetary, like bonuses, allowances, or even higher pay or overtime payment. It can also be non-monetary, like certificates, recognition, awards, status, competitions, etc. monetary rewards may either not motivate at all or prevent one from becoming non-motivated. Non-monetary rewards often motivate even better because they are related to the inner or psychological aspects of individuals (Kondalkar, 2007).

To extend on the above listed; there is also what is known as “intrinsic and extrinsic” motivational factors. It is used a lot in the psychiatric world to describe the inner and outer rewards of motivation and their relationship to the rewarding outcome of a certain task or job (Silverthrone, 2005).

For some time the ideas of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards have been theorized. They have been accepted in the field of organizational behavior. There still has been disagreement on what the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards and motivation exactly mean. F. Herzberg was the first one to popularize the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic work rewards. He suggested two classes of rewards at work: (1) intrinsic or job-content factors such as achievement, recognition, and advancement, and (2) extrinsic or job-context factors such as pay, working conditions, and job security. He also believed that only intrinsic rewards are the real motivators of people, though proper extrinsic rewards are necessary (Silverthrone, 2005).

This qualifies the reward as “labor of love” is what they dubbed as “intrinsic”. The employees are driven by the passion for their work and truly love what they do. The reward is in the work itself. This tends to be like an artist who loves his work and at times goes starving without any great financial reward (Silverthrone, 2005).

Extrinsic on the other hand can be looked at as is motivated by an external reward and therefore is based on goal-oriented motivations (Silverthrone, 2005). Intrinsic and extrinsic is another terminology that has been dubbed by the psychology community, and therefore I found it necessary to add it here for the reader’s own knowledge and understanding, thereby broadening their understanding of the terminology.

It can also be said and applied to the seeking of learning and further studies. Just like work that produces a reward in itself, the taking up of extended studies within the context of a profession or a career is also a motivating factor that generates inner rewards.

Of course, there is the external reward factor of a higher paid position or social status, but there is also the factor one can consider being an inner growth of spiritual growth. To some, this far outweighs the external reward motivating factors when it comes to the psychological aspects of lifelong learning. 


It is very important to raise the efficiency of people and to raise the activity, the outcome as well as the production of a workplace. Efficiency and productivity can only be made possible if people are skilled and properly motivated. As we are looking into this matter of organizational behavior, we can say that motivation is the primary important link in an organization that an entire organization can relate to as a whole.

Kondalkar defines motivation as follows: Motivation is defined as “inner burning passion caused by need, wants and desire which propels an individual to exert his physical and mental energy to achieve desired objectives”. Efficiency, on the other hand, depends on a person’s performance. Kondalkar suggests a formula to calculate performance:

Performance = Ability × Motivation.
(Kondalkar, 2007).

I can illustrate an example here that may show one way a person in a company can motivate himself. A company employs a secretary that uses a typewriter and is very proficient with it. This secretary may know that if she takes up the study of MS Word and learns computer skills, she will be more skilled and will gain a higher performance at her job, and may even feel good about it, in addition, receive more self-worth as a reward as well as more effective work output.

She now has a motivating factor to learn computer and word processor skills to make her life easier, more effective, and have efficient outputs and therefore yields more benefits. The need for her to learn computer skills gets translated into a motivating factor because of the great reward of the workload output’s simplicity.

Until this secretary learns computer skills, she may have tensions regarding learning, progressing, self-worth, and even possible employability. There will be in her a stress factor that keeps her in a sense of tension not only in her job but towards learning itself.

The flowchart below illustrates the story of the secretary. Needs and wants to create in us tension, which in turn creates a specific behavior to achieve desired goals. Thus releasing the tensions and creating a feeling of satisfaction.

Figure 1. The process of motivation (Kondalkar, 2007).

We can see from the above example, that feeling like a person is obsolete and worthless can be a motivating factor to stimulate the learning behavior. However, at times the obsolete and worthless factor may motivate some to suicide and depression.

But in the example, I presented about the secretary, the feeling of self-worth by learning a new thing, express itself in a more positive way, and is a contributing factor to the wanting to learn the growth process.

The importance of motivation in the workplace is similar to motivation in regular life, for example, sports, relationships, hobbies, and many other things. If there is no cause and effect type of stimulus, then motivation will either not be produced or will simply shrink.

How important is motivation in the workforce? Let’s examine some importance of motivations and its outcomes as presented by Kondalkar.

a)     High level of performance. Every manager is responsible to ensure that their employees are highly motivated. The manager should give monetary and non-monetary incentives. When employees are motivated they won’t be absent from work and they feel committed to the organization. Work quality will be better, wastage at a minimum, and productivity will increase with performance levels that are high (Kondalkar, 2007).
b)     Low employee turnover and absenteeism. If the managers show a low level of motivation, employee turnover and absenteeism will rise. Dissatisfaction is directly linked to less enjoyment at work assigned to workers. This leads to a tendency for absenteeism. The employees will continuously seek other employment and will leave the organization when they find an opportunity. Increased absenteeism will increase wastage, poor quality, lower the levels of productivity, and disrupt production schedules. An increase in turnover will cause problems for any organization since it creates financial strains due to additional recruitment, selection, training, and development. Thus motivation is a very important management tool to achieve organizational excellence (Kondalkar, 2007).
c)     Acceptance of organization change. Management should continually check the external and internal environment. Social change and the evolution of technology have impacted greatly the motivation level of employees. Social change can increase the goals of employees, and thus put demands on the organization. These demands should be taken positively so that a positive and encouraging working environment is created. Every organization should employ technical innovations, improved working conditions and, R&D facilities, encouragement towards employees, and better personal policies. All these will help in the retention of employees. To avoid resistance to change and to facilitate organizational growth, the management must make sure that the changes are introduced properly and the benefits explained clearly to the employees. Simple things such as job rotation, job enrichment, empowerment, the introduction of new technologies and re-engineering can have a major impact on enhancing employee morale and achieving a high level of motivation (Kondalkar, 2007).
d)     Organizational image. Employees are the business cards or images of an organization. Managers should create high monetary and nonmonetary rewards to go with the expectation of high performance. Training and development programs and employee skill improvement must be done regularly. This will have a positive effect on the employees while improving the image of the company. It will help reduce turnover as well, and better quality job seekers will be applying to work at the organization. A better image will contribute towards the brand image of the products or services the organization is offering to its markets (Kondalkar, 2007).

I believe the author has captured it pretty nicely in my opinion. And from my own work experiences, his list seems to be spot on. 


 Job satisfaction brings joy to many people. The fact that job satisfaction keeps employees, management, and owners happy can be seen in the context of work enthusiasm. Amongst those organizations that have a high satisfaction rate, there are most likely less missed workdays, happier workforce, and productivity.

The next section will address three theories that relate to job satisfaction and motivation. These theories are Maslow’s Theory of Need Hierarchy and Motivation, Hygiene Two Factor Theory, and Theory X and Theory Y. 

Maslow’s Theory of Need Hierarchy and Motivation and Hygiene Two Factor Theory 

Abraham Maslow created the hierarchy of needs based on the five principle needs humans have. According to Maslow, a person will behave in a specific way depending on which one of the needs must be satisfied. These needs are physiological needs, safety needs, and social needs, esteem needs, and finally on the highest level the needs for self- actualization (Kondalkar, 2007). Maslow suggested that a worker is concerned about his basic physiological needs, such as the need for food, water, shelter, and clothes and expects a minimum level of rewards so that these needs are fulfilled (Kondalkar, 2007).

Fredrick Herzberg applied theories to the same motivating factors and it was called the Motivation Theory or Two Factor Theory (Hygiene Theory). The Motivation Theory was called the two-factor theory because it was based on two factors (Kondalkar, 2007). I will apply this to the job satisfaction context.

Herzberg’s first factor was called the motivation factor, which teaches that there can be found specific work conditions that operate primarily to create motivation and job satisfaction. They are internal factors that help an individual to increase his output. These factors affect positively on productivity, morale, job satisfaction, and the general efficiency of the organization. These factors are achievement, advancement, the possibility of growth, recognition; work itself, and responsibility (Kondalkar, 2007).

The Second factor is Maintenance Factors. These factors are also called hygiene factors. They are job conditions that when they are missing, create dissatisfaction among employees. If they are present they do not work as strong motivators, but when they are absent they create dissatisfaction. That is the reason why these factors are also called dissatisfiers. These factors are Company Policy and administration, technical supervision, interpersonal relationship with superiors, peers, and subordinates, salary, job security, personal life, working conditions, and status (Kondalkar, 2007).

The listed factors are not internal parts of a job. Their main goal is to prevent losses through work restrictions. If these factors are not present, they function as de-motivators. Thus they are necessary to create at least some degree of satisfaction in employees. These factors represent a minimum level of working conditions the organization must maintain to achieve a minimum level of satisfaction. If the conditions are bad, then the employees will be quickly dissatisfied, and this will have a negative impact on trying to achieve goals. Having plenty of above-mentioned factors does not increase the level of motivation. The personality and characteristics of an employee influence that. Herzberg identified two types of employees: maintenance or motivation seekers (Kondalkar, 2007).
Frederick Herzberg seems to have understood the job satisfaction prerequisites and requisites as he demonstrates it above. He shows a little different view then Abraham Maslow, but yet they both go hand in hand when it comes to the big picture.

Job satisfaction is an ongoing process that is ever-growing or evolving or developing. When we take into this context Abraham Maslow and his theory in way of when one is satisfied, then the next need seems to be the primary factor of motivation. We can apply this to job satisfaction. For example, when an individual has been in a job for a certain time, he may have reached a level of pay grade. Once this individual has reached a certain level, his job satisfaction tends to erode with time. He is no longer satisfied with his level of play due to external or internal factors, in addition to psychological factors.

The employee may seek job satisfaction for example through group or company events. If companies just operate on work and go home basis, then, of course, the job just becomes a job and motivation starts to decline. So we can say that now the employee seeks to fulfill a team like need, or “family-type need. He will start seeking job socialization as his job satisfaction need.

To take it a few steps further to try to make my point clear. Once the employee has pay satisfaction, social satisfaction. He may now seek job satisfaction in self-growth in way of cross-training for other positions, or further education and development. Once that has been satisfied, he may typically seek a higher position in his company reflecting his newly gained education. He now wants to apply his knowledge and skills.

From my examples, as limited as they may be in this paper. We can list a person’s job satisfaction requirements. We can list these as:

  1. Pay
  2. Socialization
  3. Training
  4. Promotions

These four requirements are in my opinion typical and are typically found in any organization. However, this basic list is limited by age, gender, and other issues.

In addition, Herzberg identified that employees are either maintenance seekers or motivation seekers, thus putting the wants and needs of the individuals in the context of job satisfaction in different camps.

Within the context of job satisfaction, we can say that there is also job dissatisfaction. For example, if a person that is working on the job has his weekly hours reduced, this caused job dissatisfaction. Even though the employee was happy at low pay, without any special social needs or the company did not offer continued education. One can even say that job satisfaction means leaving things just exactly as they are. If the employee’s hours are cut by for example 10 hours a week, to keep him in the job satisfaction mode means giving him his hours back, or even replacing them with other things that may bring back job satisfaction.

Keeping an employee’s job satisfaction does not always mean giving him things for growth, but simply not taking things away. This is very common with older employees or industrial age employees. If this employee feels that things are being taken away (as opposed to given to him), he may now start to look for a new job where they will give him the same basic needs he had before, not better, just simply the same is enough. This employee may see having things the same and untouched as a form of security, not only for monetary needs but for psychological needs as well.

This job satisfaction issue comes with two faces. One where job satisfaction is satisfied with the need for more. And the other job satisfaction is ensured by keeping things the same. 

The ERG Theory of Motivation

 Clayton Alderfer took Maslow’s hierarchy of needs further in his studies. He developed it by identifying three basic needs of human beings instead of the five Maslow suggested.
These three needs are:

1)     Existence need (E): These needs are related to the basic needs of human beings, such as the provision of basic material needs. These would be Maslow’s physiological and safety needs (Kondalkar, 2007).
2)     Relatedness (R): This is the need an individual has to have and keep good interpersonal relationships. This is related to Maslow’s social needs and external needs of esteem, for example, the need for status, attention, and recognition (Kondalkar, 2007).
3)     Growth (G): This can be described as the intrinsic need to develop oneself. It is in a relationship with the intrinsic part of Esteem needs (Maslow), such as the need for advancement, self-respect, achievement, autonomy, and self-actualization (Kondalkar, 2007).

The ERG –theory basically describes what Maslow did but in a simplified form. These both in my opinion support each other, though I find Maslow’s theory a bit more self-explanatory. In an organizational context, this ERG -theory can be very useful in conveying the importance of need and motivation to for example managers.

Theory X and Theory Y 

In addition to the previous theories, there are Theory X and Theory Y. These theories were introduced by Douglas McGregor in which he describes two opposing types of people, the X, and Y.  According to Theory X, human nature is described as habitually lazy and works the minimum. McGregor says employees lack ambition, they do not like responsibility and prefer to be led. According to McGregor, humans are self-centered and indifferent to the needs of the organization, and by nature one resists change. Also, humans are gullible and not very intelligent (Kondalkar, 2007).

Here McGregor states that basically humans are lazy and prefer to be lead and led to being motivated. He also believes that they need to be managed and controlled through external means of control. It has to be done so that the immature and irresponsible behavior can be reduced and their energies can be directed to do productive work (Kondalkar, 2007). After Theory X was inserted then the outcome was production. Introduce a stimulus to motivate lazy humans into a certain need. One can say even that the stimulus is the loss of a job to motivate. Meaning, unless you do, you will be fired and grow hungry and homeless. This can be a motivating factor due to the fact that humans are primarily lazy.

In addition to Theory X, he talks about Theory Y, describing it basically as the employees now are seeking direction and exercise self-control as well as do not like a punishment. This means that once an employee accepts his fate, he now is willing to ask for or accept directions, the employee thinks of work as natural as resting and does not inherently dislike it. Theory Y was created after Theory X when McGregor realized the working environment had changed and so did the workers (Kondalkar, 2007).
Here is a basic and to the point comparison of McGregor’s X and Y Theories:

Figure 2. Differences between Theory X and Theory Y (Kondalkar, 2007).

Additional research within the job satisfaction lists four dimensions of assessment of a person’s work environment in the context of job satisfaction. We can list these as follows:

  1. Impact
  2. Competence
  3. Meaningfulness
  4. Choice
(Silverthrone, 2005).

The majority of employees will achieve job satisfaction through moderate challenges on the job. This happens because most individuals prefer work that gives them mental challenges. A job that provides too little or no challenges will result eventually in boredom. If there are too many challenges, this can lead to frustration, stress, and feelings of failure (Silverthrone 2005).

Psychological factors that keep people motivated are interest and excitement, joy, and pride, as well as the joy of being involved in a task very deeply. In addition, surprise and happiness are emotional components of intrinsic motivation that keep a person interested. Extrinsic rewards, on the other hand, have been considered to be foremost logical in nature (Silverthrone 2005).

In addition to job satisfaction in the context of rewards, it has also been observed that if employees are awarded financial rewards (extrinsic motivation) when accomplishing a task, they are less likely to put any additional effort without a reward that feeds the intrinsic motivation. It is thought that intrinsic motivation is caused by people finding self-initiated goals and behaviors rewarding and satisfying. If the only method of encouragement is bribing, people will stop enjoying doing that task and thus stop wanting to do it. They will expect bribery every time someone asks them to do something (Silverthrone 2005).

This above statement is very interesting that from the experiences of our co-workers this has been felt as fact in many cases. In human psychology, we can say that it is a carrot hanging by a string attached to a stick leading the employee. Once the reward carrot is not awarded, the employee stops performing due to the fact that he is not bribed anymore. Job satisfaction thus crumbles for those employees that are conditioned to be bribed to act and perform.

We can also compare this to a child that is given a little money for cleaning her room. Once the reward is no longer a factor, the child no longer wishes to perform by cleaning her room. The expectation of being paid or bribed has vanished and thus works no longer as a stimulus or a motivator. In comparison with the child, if the employee has the bribe taken away, then this no longer motivates the employee’s in any way to do the task and or the performance well.

Something that was thought to be a positive aspect of a job “bribery” actually may have a negative impact in the long run, and the employee loses the motivation and eventually his job satisfaction. This can also be translated over to studies. No reward or bribe? No reason to study and expand.

However, there has also been researched done in this job satisfaction motivational context that a balanced approach seems to yield a positive result. According to Silverthrone (2005), some field research studies challenge the expected negative impact of extrinsic motivation on the effectiveness of intrinsic motivation. According to the results, under certain conditions extrinsic and intrinsic motivation might complement each other and also enhance outcomes. To determine if extrinsic motivators will function in an additive way with intrinsic motivators depends on three determinants. These are the person’s initial motivational state, the type of extrinsic motivator used, and the timing of when then extrinsic motivator is used (Silverthrone 2005).

So from in their research, there seem to be additional results that do in fact suggest that a balanced approach is a healthy and more realistic model. Not in all cases do employees stop in their goal to fulfill a job satisfaction need or a lifelong learning need if a bribe is taken away.

To an extent, we can say that we all get bribed in some way or another, without feeling that if the bribe is taken away, our need for extended learning or job satisfaction will stop, nor will it make other motivating factors disappear.

We can see all around us that many people work, learn, and are motivated for many different reasons other than say, money. It has been seen that many employees find job satisfaction in the fact that they are part of a bigger picture, bigger collective such a social membership, and therefore that in itself generates the motivational element for performance and motivation.

Relationship with the team leader, boss, or other co-workers plays a very important role when it comes to someone having job satisfaction. This, in turn, translates over to his ability to motivate himself to learn and move forward in his learning process.

However, a little bribe can be healthy in some cases and should not be discouraged if it is kept in proper balance and proper check.


Lifelong learning requires motivation, desire, and an open mind. Why are some people motivated to continue their lifelong learning education and some refuse or are scared to even consider it?

From my experience, individuals that do not pursue a lifelong learning mentality are not pursuing it either due to fear or lack of reward.  Lifelong learning is linked to self-discipline and self-motivation. This lifelong learning process will not include the possible third aspect which is financial. Although the financial aspect plays a large part in many respects, I will try to focus on the aspect of “all things being equal”. By this, I mean continued education is funded by the state as in the case of Finland or it is organizational/corporate-funded.

Lifelong learning is also known as life-wide, voluntary education, and self-motivated learning. The pursuit of knowledge for the purposes of personal growth or professional motives helps individuals in gaining a positively enhanced social acceptance and inclusion and is positively viewed by either the workforce, team members, or society in general (AGE - The European Older People’s Platform, 2010).

The positive outcomes of lifelong learning or the pursuit of further education raise the self-confidence and self-esteem of individuals, and therefore they feel that they are contributing members of society, and also they have the feeling of employability (AGE - The European Older People’s Platform, 2010).

The feeling of long-term confidence is a definite motivating factor for continued education. Gaining the trust of peers and other team members far outweigh the negative aspects of not progressing forward in an individual’s educational development (AGE - The European Older People’s Platform, 2010).

In today’s quick communication world, individuals have lots of options in their pursuit of continued education. Individuals and organizations can pursue a road of further education through distance learning universities, online courses, and many other options.

With all of today’s options and opportunities for continuing education, the key element for pursuit is motivation. Motivation must be followed by a reward. Reward typically comes in monetary forms, meaning higher pay. But the biggest reward is within the individual and that is the feeling of self-worth.

Vroom’s Theory of Motivation (Performance Satisfaction) 

Within this topic of lifelong learning, I have found that Vroom’s Theory of Motivation (Performance Satisfaction) fits nicely into the context.

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory is based on employee expectancy. According to Vroom, an employee is motivated to put out a high level of effort if he thinks that the efforts will lead to good performance, and thus he will receive rewards from the organization which will, in turn, satisfy the achievement of personal goals. The theory focuses on three elements:

1)     The relationship between efforts and performance. This means that an individual expects that exerting a certain amount of effort will lead to performance (Expectancy) (Kondalkar, 2007).
2)     The relationship between performance and reward. This means that an individual believes that performing at a certain level will lead to achieving the desired outcome (Instrumentality) (Kondalkar, 2007).
3)     The relationship between reward and personal goal. This means the amount to which a reward given by an organization will satisfy individual needs and how attractive it is for the individual (Valence). (Kondalkar, 2007).

Figure 3 shows the continuum of The Expectancy Theory.

Figure 3. Expectancy Theory – Vroom (Kondalkar, 2007).

In Vroom’s theory, it can be seen, that effort (e.g. continued learning) will enhance your performance. In addition, we can see a reward following this higher achieved performance and lastly a personal fulfillment that will typically embed itself into the person’s psyche, and thus, he is encouraged to continue the process due to the reward stimulation.

When comparing, for example, Maslow’s and Vroom’s theories, it can be found that Maslow’s is a need-satisfying idea and Vroom’s is a personal fulfillment idea and thus increases the potential of the individual’s want to expand his lifelong learning process. He does this because it’s more than a need; it actually creates a feeling of fulfillment within the person and thus makes him happy.

The issue of creativity can also be added to this mix. For example, it is known that in many cases having creative employees is very important to many organizations. And there can be found much practical proof to show that people will have a higher rate of creativity when a person has a high intrinsic motive versus when extrinsic factors are pushed. It has been seen, including in my own life, that a lifelong learning process has a longer life within a person when it is motivated by intrinsic motivators.

There has been a belief that with training, extrinsic rewards can increase intrinsic behavior, especially when dealing with creativity. This belief has been supported by research done on children. Research done in business has revealed many extrinsic motivators that work to encourage creativity. These are for example rewards and recognition for creative ideas, clearly outlined overall goals of a project and continuous constructive feedback on the job. Series of controlled experiments have been done that give evidence about the connection between social environment, intrinsic motivation, and creativity (Silverthrone 2005). 

Porter and Lawler motivational model 

Lyman Porter and Edward Lawler have come up with a more comprehensive model of motivation. In their model, they added two sections to Vroom’s theory of motivation. The model explains the relationship that can be found between attitudes towards jobs and job performance. According to Kondalkar (2007), it is a complete model that separates itself from the traditional relationship between performance and satisfaction. (Kondalkar, 2007).

The Porter – Lawler model is based on four assumptions of human behavior. These are: The behavior of an individual is determined by a combination of individual and environmental factors: Individuals are considered to be rational and make conscious decisions about their behavior when interacting with other people: Everybody has different needs, desires, and various goals: Individuals decide between possible behaviors according to their expectations, and the outcome is related to the behavior patterns an individual displays (Kondalkar, 2007). From these assumptions they created their five-point model:

1)     Value of rewards: This is equal to the valence in Vroom’s theory. It means that people try to find out the rewards and decide if they are attractive enough to do the effort needed to receive the rewards. If the rewards are attractive enough, the individual will show extra efforts. If it isn’t attractive enough, the desire to do the job will be lowered (Kondalkar, 2007).
2)     Efforts: This is the amount of energy that an individual is willing to exert to do the task given to him (Kondalkar, 2007).
3)     Perceived Efforts – Reward Probability: An individual will try to assess the probability that if they put out a certain level of effort will it lead to a needed level of performance and thus to the possibility of the rewards. This is what people base the efforts they would want to put in (Kondalkar, 2007).
4)     Performance. The efforts of an individual lead to performance. The performance level is usually dependent on the role perception, which is the level of effort, ability, skills, traits, knowledge and intellectual capacity of an individual. The rewards should be both, intrinsic and extrinsic. An organization should pay attention to their reward system to achieve the desired behavior in individuals (Kondalkar, 2007).
5)     Satisfaction. This is achieved through intrinsic rewards. This means that an individual will compare the actual rewards with the perceived rewards. If the actual rewards are greater or equal to perceived, the individual will feel satisfaction. If they are less than perceived rewards, the individual will lessen his efforts and will be less satisfied (Kondalkar, 2007).

These five stages are explained in figure 4. The process starts with comparing valence and efforts, satisfaction and probability of reward. From this evaluation come efforts that lead to performance. This is affected by the role and abilities as well as the traits of the individual. Performance leads to intrinsic and extrinsic rewards when the goal has been accomplished. Achieving rewards, both internally and externally the individual will feel satisfaction. If the assessment, in the beginning, was correct and satisfaction is felt at the end of the process, this creates a further willingness and motivation to accomplish goals.

Figure 4. Porter and Lawler’s model (Kondalkar, 2007).
This model seems to be very complete. It can be applied to either work life as well as lifelong learning. It brings out, even more, the complexity of motivation and satisfaction and the individual aspect of it. The whole process of creating motivation is an internal evaluation process within an individual. This is the context of lifelong learning that could mean for example, that when an individual considers the benefits and rewards of continued learning, he will go through this five-stage process without even realizing it. Begin conscious of these stages an individual can use it as a step by step model in evaluating their motivation and chances of success as well as how to deal with for example lack of motivation. 

The state of flow in motivation 

Another aspect of motivation when it comes to learning continuation is called “the flow”. The state of flow could be considered the opposite phenomenon to lack of motivation.

Intrinsic and extrinsic reasons motivate people to do a certain activity. A reward system has to be linked to the activity in both cases. There is one prominent theory of intrinsic motivation that suggests that when an individual reaches a state of flow he will derive pleasure from pursuing that activity (Dai & Sternberg, 2004).

Csikszentmihalyi formulated the theory of flow to define issues related to intrinsic motivation and intrinsic rewards. He suggested that when an individual is experiencing a state of flow, they are totally involved in the situation with a complete internal focus of control and being able to keep up the focus and mental concentration. The state of flow is so strong, that even distracting issues like the environment and personal concerns are ignored. The competition and the challenge of the task create a feeling of a thrill as a reward for individuals who experience flow, rather than needing external rewards (Dai & Sternberg, 2004).

As in the statement above, one can be motivated to the further pursuit of leaning and get satisfaction from it is when they do it continually and non-stop. They “flow” through a constant state of learning, increasing rewards and thus continue the process over and over again throughout their whole lifetime. Some individuals take up this task when they get out of grade school and move on to a college setting or even in way of job training.

Once they enter in this continued learning cycle, many develop an intrinsic rewarding feeling and therefore feel a positive emotional state from this activity, and continue this process as long as they can keep their motivations and ambitions up.

It is also important in this state of flow to be aware of the boredom effect. This is when things happen in such a flow that it becomes complacent and stagnant and therefore be counterproductive due to its stimulation wearing down effect. People that reach a flow state within themselves are all too aware of the inherent boredom that may crop up, and therefore know through experience how to mitigate and create challenges within their self-motivated learning process.

These individuals have at times developed a mechanism within themselves to recognize the onset and the development of complacency, which in time will be a self-destructive force. When they feel the onset of these negative feelings, they quickly change their course and find activities that will offer them more challenges and thereby create a higher motivational state and flux, in turn producing further enhanced goals. 


In conclusion, one can say that motivation is a personal inner drive or love made manifest by wanting and a strong desire to be self-fulfilled. The more intense the need is, the higher the effort will be of an individual to fulfill the desire and thus his performance will reflect this in his output. We can then see under the equation that performance = ability × motivation.

We can also say that a person’s motivation will be expressed as an inner or spiritual state that fuels, kick starts, and focuses on the actions of the people to get to the goals they are setting.

Motivation or in this context motive is a very strong human desire. When a person’s need or desire gets fulfilled, we can see another desire or need come up and in an ever-growing continuum, the person looks for ways and attempts to fulfill it and thereby starting the process all over again. This process of motivation is an ongoing process throughout a human being’s lifetime and it seems never-ending as well as it comes in all forms and all activities.

If we look at the context of organizations and groups, we can say that it’s the leadership’s responsibility to develop and create a place where people are motivated and thus seek a higher purpose or goal.

If we understand as organizational leaders that motivation is where people seek and pursue roads in which to fulfill needs, urges, desires, and increase happiness, we can utilize this in developing a team’s behavior.

Within many people, there is an inner drive that wants a sense of purpose and is passion-driven, and this is called motivation, in which we see that it is an ever-flowing and continuous process. Motivation typically is a human’s drive and desire to achieve a non-monetary goal and therefore we can see it as an intrinsic nature.

If we think of a person receiving monetary incentives to motivation we can soon see a follow up in due time of the low level of productivity and motivation amongst people either in their work-life or when seeking out continued education. It has been evaluated that monetary motives have a short lifespan.

Probably the primary factor that a leader has in an organization is to motivate.
It is typically understood that a highly motivated individual has greater performance and works better with others in the group in an addition to of course a higher job satisfaction ratio compared to unmotivated members of a group.

In the way of employees, we can assume that employees accept change and it leads to a decreased company and organizational turnover rate and missed work.

We can see from the report that Maslow and others all in one way or another agree that motivational factors play a big part in job satisfaction and have a high rate of return when it comes to performance. Once a certain need is met, then the person is once again motivated by another higher level of wants, needs, and desires. The more one achieves, in many cases, there is a new level that needs to be conquered. The higher one's goals are, the higher the motivational aspiration.

Whichever theory or method one follows to achieve motivation for individuals or teams, one should not forget the reward. Without reward, motivational programs are doomed to failure. A reward is the natural outcome of any endeavor. Team leaders, managers, and all individuals that are looking to motivate individuals to a higher state of performance must always have a clear reward in place for individuals to focus on.

We can say that without receiving a reward being intrinsic or extrinsic, it is akin to a person running a race without a finish line and a trophy. No end in sight and a race without purpose.
Shamuel Kohen


AGE - The European Older People’s Platform. Lifelong Learning – a Tool for All Ages. [visited 21.2.2010]. Retrievable at:

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Jackson, L. A., Gardner, P. D., & Sullivan, L. A. 1992. Explaining gender differences in self-pay expectations: Social comparison standards and perceptions of fair pay. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 651-663.

Kondalkar, V., G. 2007. Organizational Behaviour. New Age International (P) Limited, Publishers. New Delhi, India.

Schermerhorn, J., R., Jr., Hunt, J., G. & Osborn, R., N. 2002. Organizational Behavior, Seventh Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. & University of Phoenix, United States of America.

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