An employee’s performance is a function of ability as well as motivation. Ability refers to a person’s knowledge and skill. Knowledge and skill alone do not lead to action. Motivation is the choice to exert effort and to persist, drawing on knowledge and skill, until a desired goal is attained. A typology for understanding motivation includes a person’s needs, values, goals, affect, and performance.

Needs are physiological as well as psychological. They affect a person’s survival and well-being. Hence, they explain why people take action. Examples of an individual’s needs are food, sleep, pleasure, and self-esteem. Thus needs explain why certain broad categories of behavior are universal, but they do not take into account individual differences in the actions people take to satisfy their needs. These ...

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