Motivating the Unmotivated: Understanding the levers that leaders can pull to motivate employees

Date of Award


Document Type

Capstone Project


Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Master of Professional Studies


Leadership & Organizations


David Frostman


basic human needs; corporate culture; empowerment; extrinsic; intrinsic; leadership; motivation; self-efficacy; trust


Leaders will argue that employee motivation is a critical element in achieving organizational goals. However, understanding how individuals are motivated is often a misunderstood concept. Research confirms that employees who are intrinsically motivated are able to attain a sense of purpose and passion for the task at hand. Intrinsic motivation is associated with increased levels of creativity, goal persistency and perceived self-efficacy. Intrinsic motivation results from the fulfillment of personal needs and desires. While intrinsic motivation is derived from within, this research project argues that there are levers available to leaders to attain higher levels of motivation from staff members. Through empowerment, personal growth, organizational trust and open communication, the leader can create a highly productive and positive culture that is focused on fulfilling the needs of employees.

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