Is it all about the money?

There is a dual opinion about what motivates people in the workplace. One side believes its all about the money, the other side believes that job satisfaction and involvement in the firm’s decision-making is what really motivates an employee to work hard.

I strongly believe that motivation in the workplace is all about employing the right incentives. I work in a commission based environment, and believe that my performance is recognized every month, and I get a salary equivalent to the effort I have put in. Every day on my job I ask myself a question: “What do I need to do today to accomplish my goal?” However, not everyone thinks creating competition among workers and encouraging incentives driven environment would benefit the employer and employees alike.

According to prior management studies, participation in decision making can fulfill people’s higher-order needs, which including self-expression, respect, and value. When those needs are met, employees develop a perception of being valued by the employer; as a result, it increases their work place satisfaction and strengthens their intrinsic motivation to work hard. Intrinsic motivation moves individual to work out of fun, or challenge he or she faces, not including the external factors like paychecks, bonuses, and commission.

In 1997, Frey introduced the existence of incentives and that people face different incentives that might crowd out our intrinsic motivation. He believes that all people are selfish and need to have a personal benefit from the act of giving.

Therefore, the article written by on different types of motivational theories suggests that:

  • You can’t motivate people.
  • You can provide an environment where people motivate themselves.
  • Apply what you know about people’s styles to strengthen their individual work “environment.”
  • And keep focus on intrinsic motivation factors. Which means: Build strong work relationships and expand them.

What is the thing that motivates you in your workplace???

See ya,



Jennings, S. (2009). Different types of motivation theories. Payscale.

Kyriacou, A. P. (2010). Intrinsic Motivation and the Logic of Collective Action: The Impact of Selective Incentives. American Journal Of Economics & Sociology69(2), 823-839.

Kuang, X., Moser, D. V. (2011). Wage Negotiation, Employee Effort, and Firm Profit under Output-Based versus Fixed-Wage Incentive Contracts. Contemporary Accounting Research.


4 thoughts on “Is it all about the money?

  1. Nice post, I work in sales and have to admit that the commission structure provided to me is what motivates how hard I try at work.

    I found an article that had some interesting points.

    Failure in Compensation Design Leads to Failure to Motivate (behavioral change)

    Typical compensation design problems include

    Failure to tie pay closely to achievement of objective and realistic performance measures

    Failure to regularly measure and provide feedback on performance

    Failure to design variances in pay related to performance that are large enough to be perceived by the employee as worth the effort

    Over-reliance on salary as the only significant method of financial rewards

    At my store, our commissions are scaled on a tier structure (which appears to be the standard nowadays) and it is almost pointless for us to settle at tier 1 because the commissions paid at tier 2 are where you see financial gains from hard work.

  2. Great insight into motivation Anastasia! This is something at my workplace I struggle with everyday. Trying to find the right combination of factors to motivate employees. Personally, my paycheque is a HUGE factor. I always need to enjoy what I do, especially as a career, but the more 0’s there are on my cheque, the more sacrifices I will make to get that cheque.

    I go to work to make money, and improve my style of living. The happy I am outside of work the happier I will be to go to a job, regardless of how much I enjoy it. Personal happiness is more important than professional happiness, in my opinion. You should check out this article from Psychology Today:

    It provides an opposite perspective on the motivational factor of money.

    What I hope for is that elusive job that provides both professional and personal happiness. One day, Anastasia, one day…

    Adam Torris

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