TODAY -

Motivation and rewards for development

Oinam Nabakishore Singh *



Understanding human behavior is important for their development. In psychology, one of the basic and fundamental areas of study is motivation as it lies at the root of all human actions. What is motivation? It is defined as a driving force or energy to an action to fulfill some needs and expectations. In fact, every action by any living being has its root at motivation.

At the very basic level, motivation arises from physiological needs of all living beings - hunger, thirst, and shelter. This is manifest in animal kingdom when predators chase their preys. A lion or tiger muster all the energy and skill to run after the deer, which also makes all-out efforts to save itself.

Similarly, human being, when hungry, try to satisfy its hunger by using the best means. Shelters are made to protect from hostile weather and to protect from wild animals. Clothes are worn to keep oneself warm. These are some examples of meeting the physiological needs.

Another source of motivation is expectation of others, who are important to the person. A student tries to do better in school to fulfill expectations of parents, teachers, to get recognition and appreciation. A member of the society is expected to behave in conformity with the expectation of other members and social norms. An employee is expected to perform in accordance with the expectation of his/her employer to be relevant.

A sportsperson makes all efforts to fulfill the expectations of his/her fans. It is proven beyond doubt that expectation is an important tool and means for improvement of human being and hence society.

Creative people engage themselves in works of arts-painting, sculptor, designs, writing poems, etc. in order to mainly fulfill their inner happiness. Of course, appreciation and recognition by others also serve as inputs to continue the works and perform better.

Drawing lessons from the theory and widely accepted application of various forms of rewards, we should try to improve individuals, families, communities and organizations. Rewards are of two kinds-tangible and intangible ones. Tangible rewards are in kind, like cash rewards or incentives, trophies, raise in remuneration, promotions, physical items having financial value.

On the other hand, intangible rewards are in the form of appreciation, recognition, respect and status. Psychologists have concluded that intangible rewards last longer to motivate a person, while tangible rewards are short-lived in sustaining motivation. In order to motivate any individual or a group of individuals, we may use a combination of tangible and intangible rewards.

Teachers have been using both tangible and intangible rewards to motive students especially in lower classes.

Children are categorized as intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. Their approach and commitment to studies are different. Those intrinsically motivated do not require much tangible rewards and they are motivated internally to study more and challenge themselves.

On the other hand, extrinsically motivated children wait for rewards like appreciation and tangible rewards. They do not take any initiative to study unless rewarded or penalized. By proper understanding of the nature of children, both parents and teachers may use a mix of tangible and intangible rewards to improve the learning by students. There arises the need for training of teachers in lower classes with exposure to child psychology.

State Council of Education and Research and Private Institutes conduct one year primary school teachers’ training to equip teachers with necessary knowledge on teaching and learning. Here in Manipur, it should be mandatory to for primary school teachers to have training before recruitment.

In workplace, different incentives are used to motivate employees at different levels in order to improve productivity, quality and efficiency so that profitability improves. Most common incentive is cash rewards for better performance. In sales, incentives are linked to quantity of items sold as well as satisfaction of the customers in regard to not only the quality of the product, but also of the entire process of transaction.

Management of the firms take feedback from the customers so as to identify the areas of weakness and strengths so as to remain competitive. Firms use not only financial rewards, but also other intangible rewards like recognition and praise individually and in front of others to motivate employees. In Manipur, verbal appreciation appears to be less due to the culture of less verbalization of events.

Because of the law and order problems arising from the spell of insurgency in the state, doing more used to be penalized. Now with improved situation, doing more is being rewarded financially. A number of youths in the state have engaged in small businesses for the profit generated. Motivation for taking the risk of starting a new business is making profit-a tangible reward.

How to create an eco-system of rewarding risk taking especially in business to develop Manipur? Success stories of people who started in a modest way and went on to become very successful can motivate some youths. Examples of such stories of successful people in Manipur and the rest of India are abundant.

Penalty for not taking risk should also be emphasized. More risk may mean more rewards, even thogh all risk taking may not necessarily lead to rewards. Families and schools are the institutions which can help in motivating the young minds towards the most desirable direction so as to take Manipur to higher levels of growth and prosperity.


Views expressed are personal


* Oinam Nabakishore Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on March 12, 2019.


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