Motivational process: what it is, the steps and the theories that explain it

In the field of psychology, the concept known as “motivation” is understood as the adaptive process which activates a person and directs his behavior towards a goal or an objective, and is therefore induced to maintain the actions necessary to achieve this. which was previously proposed.

Based on this idea, in the following lines we will talk about a fundamental phenomenon to which motivation is closely related: the motivation process.

    What is the motivation process?

    We could define the motivation process as a succession of dynamic processes that mobilize people towards a goal, an objective or to overcome adversity, whose main function is to increase the chances of being able to adapt to the environment and therefore to survive and also to be able to have a better quality of life.

    This process is also linked to the personal and potential growth of all human beings, including in the social sphere. However, the motivational process is above all an adaptive process.

    Below we will see the essential steps or phases of the motivation process that take place in a sequential and orderly fashion.

      Phases of the motivation process

      The motivational process, as a dynamic process, consists of three phases or sequential steps, which we will see below.

      1. The stage of anticipation and direction

      This first phase, that of anticipation and direction, is when the person has a set of expectations regarding an emergency and / or the satisfaction of a reason.

        2. The stage of active behavior and feedback

        In this second phase on active behavior and feedback, it is the one in which the person is responsible for carrying out a series of actions oriented towards a previously defined objective, so that they can approach or distance themselves based on the information they have obtained from the results of their own actions.

        3. The result stage

        This last phase, that of the final result, is the one in which the person experiences the consequences for the achievement of the goal he had chosen to achieve in the previous stages and towards which he had oriented his behavior.

        Since there are several theories about motivational process, we will explain them in the following sections, so that we can see that although they have a slightly different take on them, they have all been widely validated in the field of psychology.

        Once we have seen the three propositions on the motivational process, we can have a rather approximate vision of this process.

          Deckers’ theory of the motivational process

          One of the most important theories on this subject is the sequence on the motivational process proposed by Lamber Deckers. This researcher has divided this process into 3 phases.

          1. Choice of pattern

          In this first phase the subject chooses the goal or goal he must achieve in order to be able to achieve full satisfaction. The goal you choose will depend on several factors: the attractiveness of the incentives, the intensity of the motive, the estimated effort required to reach it and the chances of achieving it.

          2. Performing instrumental behaviors

          Once the goal has been chosen, to move on to this second step of this motivational process, the subject must be sufficiently motivated. Once you have enough motivation will perform the instrumental behaviors that will allow the subject to achieve the goal he had previously chosen.

          The instrumental behaviors to achieve a chosen objective are essential because it is thanks to the act of carrying them out on the path to achieve what the subject has set out to do. It is also common for different instrumental behaviors to achieve the same objective, even if it is in a different way, and in these cases it will be the subject who will have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each of the possible ways to choose the one that you are most interested in following, depending on the frequency, duration and intensity of each.

          These advantages and disadvantages of each type of instrumental behavior they must be assessed by the subject on the basis of three fundamental factors which are described below.

          • Frequency: The number of times these behaviors must be involved or initiated to achieve the goal.
          • Duration: the time it takes to achieve a goal based on the choice of one behavior or another.
          • Intensity: amount of effort that must be used to achieve each of the instrumental behaviors.

          3. Satisfaction with the chosen motive

          The final phase of the motivational process consists of the completion of the achievement of the goal that the subject had chosen in the first phase, that is to say the sequence of behaviors carried out by the subject during the motivational process. ends when the intended objective has been achieved.

          If the objective is reached, the subject will sometimes decide in the future to follow the same steps again to achieve the same or another similar objective; whereas if he does not, in the future he may wish to try again, he will have to consider whether to try again following the same path adopting a similar behavior or, conversely, whether to try again following the same path adopting a similar behavior or, conversely, whether he changes his lens for a more affordable lens

            The Fernández-Abascal theory of the motivational process

            Enrique García Fernández-Abascal, with the help of his team of researchers, developed an alternative theory on the process of motivation and presented it in a more schematic and clear manner.

            According to this author, the motivational process begins with one or more of the motivational determinants influencing the subject so that the required conditions are met so that he can intend to start performing a certain behavior.

            The second phase of this process begins with the activation of a series of conduits with a certain intensity., at the same time as the “intention” must indicate the direction that the subject must follow and towards which he will direct these behaviors. Throughout the motivation process, there is systematic feedback, so that the behavior acts on the environment, while opposing the information about the progress it is making through the execution. of this behavior.

            The term “intention” in this theory of motivational process refers to an element that serves to the subject receives feedback on his actions, so that you can self-regulate your behavior depending on whether you need more or less intensity in your actions or whether or not you are going in the right direction to achieve your initial goals. Therefore, intention is the most influential motivator in the subject’s behavior.

            On the other hand, it should be noted that the intention depends on two essential factors:

            • Attitude towards behavior: assessment of whether the behavior is favorable or unfavorable to the achievement of the objective.
            • Subjective norm: the subject’s perception of whether or not others consider this behavior acceptable.

            The same time, there are a number of internal and external determinants that influence people’s behavior, such as those listed below.

            • Internal: homeostasis, heredity, cognitive processes and the potential growth of each.
            • External: hedonism, learning and social relationships that determine behavior.

            All of the above factors influence the choice of a series of behaviors or others to achieve a goal through action through the activation phase.

            The third and final phase of this model of the motivational process is that of motivational leadership, which refers to the subject’s tendency to approach or, on the contrary, to avoid a specific objective. This is important because activation without a direction to go cannot trigger motivated behavior, and direction can be a crucial variable for a series of motivated behaviors to occur. place.

            Palmer’s theory of the motivational process

            The theory of the motivational process proposed by Francesc Palmero seeks to give a deeper and, at the same time, a broader view of what is happening throughout the motivation process. A brief view of this proposition is explained as follows, with the motivational process being divided, according to Palmero, into the phases explained below.

            The first phase refers to the choice of an objective or an objective to be achieved and the decision-making, being that phase covered by a process that begins with the appearance of the stimulus until it is possible to perform the motivated behavior, and is essential because without the appearance of a stimulus that triggers it, the process motivational would not be possible. If this stimulus is external, it is called “desire”; whereas if it is internal, it would be called “need”.

            The second phase is where the center of the result is or, on the other hand, controlling the behaviors that have been done to achieve the motivated behavior. This second step, aimed at the perception of the stimulus necessary to start the motivational process, is also fundamental, because without this perception, this process would not begin. For this to happen, appropriate receptors must act on the subject so that he can perceive the stimulus.

            The third phase is developed by the process of evaluating and appreciating the objectives or goals, so that they allow the subject to choose which stimulus will trigger the motivated behavior.

            The fourth phase consists of the decision-making process and the choice of the objective to be followed. In order to choose the most suitable goal to pursue, you need to assess the desire or need to achieve it, as well as the value that this goal has for the subject and the expectations that they have to be able to achieve it.

            The fifth and final phase goes through behavior action once it has been motivated. To achieve this, the subject has already had to choose his objective and has chosen the behaviors to be carried out among those available to him, according to his skills and his personal situation. This motivated behavior is one that is made up of all actions taken through the entire motivational process and will be directed to achieve a specific goal.

            In all these stages, it is important to underline the concept of activation which is activated from the moment when the subject detects a need which triggers the subject to propose the objective of meeting this need through the actions described in the different phases of the process. . In this process, there has been an activation of the subject’s homeostasis, as their own body is still trying to achieve equilibrium by covering a deficiency or balancing its own resources.

            Bibliographical references

            • Chóliz, M. (2004). Motivational Psychology: The Motivational Process. University of Valencia.
            • Palmero, F. (1997). Motivation: Conduct and process. Electronic Journal of Motivation and Emotion, 7 (21-22).
            • Sanz, MT, Menéndez, FJ, Rivero, MP and Conde, M. (2019). Theoretical and practical foundations of motivation. Madrid: Editorial Sanz i Torres.

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