To be motivated means to be moved to do something. Unlike intrinsic motivation which refers to doing an activity simply for the enjoyment of the activity itself, rather than its instrumental value. Extrinsic motivation refers to motivation that comes from outside an individual. The motivating factors are external, or outside, rewards such as money or grades.

These rewards provide satisfaction and pleasure that the task itself may not provide. An extrinsically motivated person will work on a task even when they have little interest in it because of the anticipated satisfaction they will get from some reward.

The rewards can be something as minor as a smiley face to something major like fame or fortune. For example, an extrinsically motivated person who dislikes math may work hard on a math equation because he wants the reward for completing it.

Extrinsic motivation does not mean, however, that a person will not get any pleasure from working on or completing a task. It just means that the pleasure they anticipate from some external reward will continue to be a motivator even when the task to be done holds little or no interest.


20 Extrinsic Motivation Examples

  1. Meeting a deadline to avoid penalties or fines.
  2. Putting in extra hours at work to earn overtime pay.
  3. Achieving a sales goal to earn a commission or bonus.
  4. Being paid for completing a task or achieving a goal at work.
  5. Participating in a survey or research study for a financial reward.
  6. Following company rules to maintain job security.
  7. Completing a certification or training program to advance in a career.
  8. Meeting a production quota to keep a factory or business running smoothly.
  9. Completing a degree or program to improve job prospects.
  10. Participating in a loyalty program to earn rewards or discounts.
  11. Completing a task to gain a sense of accomplishment or to gain recognition from others.
  12. Receiving a promotion or raise for achieving success in a job.
  13. Getting a good grade on a test or assignment for the sake of academic performance.
  14. Being recognized with an award or certificate for outstanding performance.
  15. Completing a marathon or other athletic event to win a prize or trophy.
  16. Being given a gift or prize for winning a contest or competition.
  17. Completing a project to receive positive feedback or recognition from a boss or supervisor.
  18. Studying hard to get into a prestigious college or university.
  19. Saving money to buy a specific item or experience.
  20. Completing a task to avoid punishment or negative consequences.

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