Self-Esteem and Motivation

Every human being is a unique individual that has many unique thoughts, beliefs and behaviours. Every human being has much outstanding strength and some weaknesses as not one single person is perfect and there is a strong need for balance. Every one of us plays very different and important roles in our society, has various preferences and 1iking, and therefore the equation of what motivates one person must motivate another or all of us is incorrect. Everyone sees himself or herself with different pair of eyes and everyone’s motivation is different.

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“Motivation is complex concept and what motivates one person may very well not motivate another” (Cranwell-Ward, Bacon ; Mackie, 2002, p 148). Among the most compelling questions about human behaviour, question of “why? “. Why do people feel and behave as they do? What motivates our actions? Certainly one of the most interesting questions revolves around activities that seem to be performed other reason that the activity itself. Edward Deci (1976) has suggested that “intrinsic motivation” is the underlying phenomenon that these sorts of self-initiated activities.

The ultimate goal of education has always been the inculcation of intrinsically motivated behaviours even though the definitio measurement of this concept remains elusive. Deci’s studies (1976) stimulated a renewed interest in the area by suggesting an operational definition for intrinsic motivation. He defined intrinsic motivation behaviourally, as engagement in a task with no incentive to do so. Since Deci’s original study in 1971, intrinsic motivation received an increasing amount of-attention by persons in educational-psychological research.

Educators began to question methods of behaviour-change traditionally used in the classroom confusion and controversy concerning Deci’s hypotheses continues amongst researchers. Deci’s studies, which offered a paradigm for the study of intrinsic motivation, at the same time generated even more questions about the concept. His studies are the impetus for this research. Foremost among the hypotheses suggested by Deci is the implication that reward damages intrinsic motivation. This contention has elicited reactions from operant theorists about Deci’s theoretical hypotheses and the research methodology employed in studying intrinsic motivation.

The primary hypothesis resulting from Deci’s early studies (1976) maintains that reward has negative impact on the intrinsic motivation (IM) of subjects engaged in a highly interesting task. His formulations of Cognitive Evaluation Theory (CET) (1976) modified the proposition somewhat. He later predicted that reward would have a negative impact only if its controlling aspects, as opposed to its competency aspects, are salient for the individuals. That is, if reward increases one’s feelings of competency, it will also increase the probability of return to the task after the reward is removed.

Other researchers have contributed to Deci’s thesis. Calder and Staw (1975) argue for a perceptual measure of IM, rather than a behavioural one, advocating the use of self-reported perceptions as indicators of IM instead of voluntary engagement in a task after the removal of the incentive. They recommend using measures of expressed willingness to return to the task or post treatment feelings of interest or competency in order to examine whether feelings about the task changed due to reward.

Condry (1977), in an extensive review of the studies of IM between 1971 and 1976, supported the utilization of perceptual measures. In viewing the entire context of the task as important, Condry suggests the perception of the subject is the crucial measure of IM. Only if reward is perceived as separate from the normal task situation, as extrinsic to the task itself, will it have a negative impact on IM. The recommendation that perceptual measures be utilized as measures of IM is not surprising considering the integral role played by attribution theory and social psychology in the development of IM hypotheses.