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Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation exists within the individual and is driven by satisfying internal rewards rather than relying on external pressures or extrinsic rewards. It involves an interest in or enjoyment of the activity itself.

Activities involving their own inherent reward provide motivation that is not dependent on external rewards.Pursuing challenges and goals comes easier and is more enjoyable when one is intrinsically motivated to complete a certain objective, for example, because the individual is more interested in learning, rather than achieving the goal.

It has been argued that intrinsic motivation is associated with increased subjective well-being and that it is important for cognitive, social, and physical development. 

From the perspective or organisational transformation, intrinsic motivation is one of the key factors leaders should seek to inspire in the people within their organisation.


  • It provides the platform needed for people to remain motivated and engaged beyond the initial period of excitement.
  • It generates sufficient energy and momentum to ensure consistent progress even during difficult transformation processes.
  • It reduces the need for leaders to ‘coerce’ people to change and increases the probability of individuals choosing to ‘go the extra mile’.


  • It can be challenging for leaders to step away from their operational role and dedicate sufficient time to understanding the factors of intrinsic motivation and learning how to create the conditions for ‘shiny eyes’ in their teams.

Recommended resources:

Self-Determination Theory, Ryan Richard & Deci Edward, 2018, ISBN 9781462538966