Following are some of the characteristics of motivation:
- Motivation is a psychological concept– It is based on human needs which generate within an individual. Needs are feelings in the mind of a person that he lacks certain things. Such feelings influence the behaviour and activities of the individual.
- Motivation is total, not piece-meal. A person cannot be motivated in parts. An employee is an indivisible unit and his needs are interrelated. He cannot be motivated by fulfilling some of his needs partly.
- Motivation is a continuous process– It is not a time bound programme or a touch-and- go affair. Human needs are infinite. As soon as one need is satisfied new ones arise. In the words of McGregor, “man is a wanting animal, as soon as one of his needs is satisfied another appears in its place. This process is unending.” Satisfaction of one need gives feeling of another and the process continues.
- Motivation causes goal-directed behaviour– A person behaves in such a way that he can satisfy his goals or needs. A person will work so long as he feels his actions are fulfilling his strongly felt needs. He will not pursue-the activity and will lose interest in his work if he feels that it is not satisfying his needs.
- Motivation may be financial or non-financial– The form of motivation depends upon the type of needs. Financial incentives include pay, allowances, bonus and perquisites. Non- financial incentives consist of recognition, praise, responsibility, participation in decision- making, challenging job, etc.
- Motivation is a complex process– There is no universal theory or approach to motivation. Moreover, individuals differ in what motivates them. Therefore, a manager has to analyse and understand a variety of needs and has to use a variety of rewards to satisfy them. He should not expect overnight results.