Incentive Theory of Motivation Process

Incentive Theory of Motivation

Incentive theory explains motivations in terms of external stimuli. In contrast to push or drive reduction theory, psychologists have proposed incentive pull theory because external stimuli pull the individual to some goal.   Incentives can either be positive or negative we are motivated to obtain positive incentives, whereas we are motivated to avoid negative incentives.   Incentive theory is primarily a psychological term, explaining the relation between motivation and behavior of the individual, as shaped by profitable intent.   The basic concept behind the incentive theory is goals.  Behavioral learning concepts such as association and reinforcement play an important role in this theory of motivation (Cherry,2010). When a goal is present, the person attempts to reach that goal.    For instance when we first decided to go back to school to obtain a degree in Psychology, this was a goal we put in front of ourselves and in order to reach this goal we begin to take classes that will help us to achieve this particular goal.   Incentive Theory is the theory that a person's actions always have social ramifications such as: If actions are positively received then individuals are more inapt to act this way or if actions are negatively received people are less likely to act in that manner.   According to Atkinson, a person is motivated to behave by the strength of his or her motives, the expectancy of attaining the goal, and perceived incentives. Atkinson further postulates that the three motives affecting behavior are the need for achievement, affiliation, and power (Atkinson, 1978).  
J. W. Atkinson and D. Birch.   Introduction to Motivation (New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1978).
Cherry, Kendra (2010).   A Closer Look at Some Important Theories of Motivation.   Retrieved on June 20, 2010.