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Motivation: Instinct Theory

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Motivation: Instinct Theory

Nicole Lorenz Offutt

PSY/ 320

October 29, 2018

Debra Julian

Motivation: Instinct Theory

Motivation is the core to every behavior we express as humans. In order to be a productive member of society, motivation must be present in the positive form. Our genealogy and the way we have been raised has a lot to do with our instinctual motivation and the way that we behave on a daily basis. Knowing what motivates us as humans is forever an experiment that is needing to be solved, and the instinct theory is just one of many theories that have been formed around motivation.


Motivation is the reason or reasons an individual has for acting or behaving in certain ways. This can also be defined as the desire or willingness that an individual must complete a task (Boundless Psychology, 10/2). Employers are looking for motivated employees every single day. We see this in job listings and hear it in job interviews. Employees can show that they are motivated to complete their job by pushing themselves to do their very best. Motivation can also be shown by staying on task and not swaying towards social situations inside of the workplace. We often see employees on their personal phones or having personal conversations instead of help customers that are standing in front of them. Making a point to keep your personal business outside of the workplace will show employers that you are motivated to do your job (Zeiger, June). Most often, motivation is instinctual. This is proven within the Instinct Theory.

Instinct Theory

The instinct theory says that instincts drive all behaviors. This would mean that instinct is what produces and drives motivation (Reeve, 2015). This theory is hypothesizing that the biological programming that we all have within us gives us an impulse of motivation when it is needed. The theory also goes to say that the root of all motivation comes from the instinct to survive. In the workplace, one situation that would cause an instinct of motivation to become apparent would be to threaten to cut hours or pay. This would push the employee to get motivated because the employer is taking away the privilege to earn extra income. No earning enough income can then affect a person’s way of living. Another situation where the instinct theory is proven would be to lower the heath care insurance allowance. This would mean that an individual would not be given as much allowance by the company for their health care and would have to pay extra out of pocket. Motivation to do a better job would definitely become noticed in this situation. The fear of having our livelihood taken from us, having food taken from our mouths, or clothes from our back is a motivation to strive that all can be familiar with.



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