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Yes! Money Motivates.

            Everyone on this planet needs to survive. At present times, money is essential for modern man to subsist. Necessities for daily life such as water, food, and clothing all come with price tags. For most human beings money is procured through exchanging their time and skills for pay.

Engaging in an activity for external incentives, such as money, is intrinsic motivation (Deci and Ryan, 1995, p56). Therefore it is logical to think that money is a major motivating factor for work.

            Motivational factors for work that are non-monetary such as achievement, personal growth, and recognition are indeed important. Most behavioral scientists posit that such motivational factors are more essential than the motivational value of money in the workplace. Reviewing the reinforcement and expectancy behavioral theories may lead to a different conclusion. They both show that money is indeed a valuable motivation factor in the workplace.

            Rewards and reinforcements are important for desired behaviors to be repeated again and for positive associations to form with a certain activity (Green, 1994, p78). In the setting of the workplace, it can be seen that money is both a conditioned reinforcer and a reward. A conditioned reinforcer is stimulus for behavior that requires the forming positive associations to achieve the desired function (Skinner, 1974).   Money is a conditioned reinforcer since it goes towards the goal of survival for a person. It is also a reward because it is a tangible occurrence that happens after the action of work.  Since money is both a reward and a reinforcer, it can be easily understood through behavioral reinforcement theory that money is an important and valuable factor for the motivation of human behavior.

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Individuals undergo through processes as they make choices. Furthermore, individuals make choices based on the rewards or beneficial outcomes of the choices they make. This stems from the fact that man has a natural tendency towards growth and development (Deci and Ryan, 1995, p.35). All individuals, whether they like it or not, take into account the beneficial outcome of getting paid for work as part of the decision making process.

             Expectancy theorists posit that performance outcome expectancy is the assessments of individuals that better outcomes require better performance (Carrel & Dittrich, 1975, p.204). If an individual then believes that he needs to work better and harder to get more money, then money is a motivational factor that increases the rate and quality of job performance. Systems that closely link rewards to performance will enhance or further motivate individuals to accomplish more and achieve more. Improving the employee’s belief that better performance will lead to better rewards, such as a salary bonus or an increase in pay; will most likely lead to better work performance outcomes.

            In equity theory, when workers feel that they are not properly rewarded they become distressed with the relationship between employer and employee. These distressed workers will then do something to return the state they were in before the distress occurred (Adams, 1965). A typical source of distress is that workers are not paid their due.  Here it is seen again that money is indeed an important motivational factor for work. Distressed workers will most likely come out with poor job performance. A distressed relationship between employer and employee would also be detrimental to accomplishing tasks at work. When the equity between job performance and salary is achieved will most likely result in higher levels of enthusiasm and effort in the work place and increased levels of productivity. Money then does indeed motivate

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Adams, J.S. 1965. Inequity in social exchange. Adv. Exp. Soc. Psychol. 62:335-343.

Carrell, M.R., and Dittrich, J.E. (1978). Equity Theory: The Recent Literature, Methodological

Considerations, and New Directions. The Academy of Management Review. 3;2: 202-210.

Deci, Edward L.; & Ryan, Richard M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in

            Human Behavior. New York Plenum.

Green, R. (1994). Human motivation: A psychological approach. Wadsworth Publishing.


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