EIAI Model for Intrinsic Motivation
EIAI is a conceptual and practical management tool aimed at increasing internal motivation among team or group members.
EIAI Model is a conceptual management tool aimed at increasing internal motivation among team or group members.
A few words about motivation
The term motivation generally refers to the will, intent, and direction of human behavior towards a particular task or goal. It involves an individual’s internal processes, which can be strengthened from outside the individual (as external incentives), as well as from the inside (as internal ambition). The word ambition derives from the Latin word ambire, meaning ‘to go around’ (originally referring to the canvassing of votes), emphasizing the energy of effort and motion (ideas and action) in the achievement or attainment of a goal.
Motivation is driven by two key factors:
Belief in the ability to influence and succeed.
In other words: the level at which a person values their ability to succeed.
The desire or value attributed to the effort (to succeed or achieve a goal).
In other words: the strength of the aspiration for success. Herein also lies the link to the sense of reward that comes with achievement and success.
The self-belief people have in themselves, and in their abilities is known as “self-efficacy”. Self-efficacy is the perception of a person’s own ability to perform in a way that will lead to a specific outcome (the desirable result). People with high self-efficacy are able to consistently increase their efforts to meet their goals and tend to be willing to invest as much of themselves as is necessary to do so. In contrast, people with low self-efficacy will have difficulty motivating themselves to accomplish the task, often due to a lack of faith in their ability to have any real significant influence. Another possible reason for low self-efficacy is that the eventual result is not deemed to be important enough to strive for.
It is important to understand, before any effort or action is undertaken, and in preparation for any goal, that there is a decent likelihood of encountering difficulties, complexities, obstacles and barriers along the way. Having high self-efficacy enables a person to overcome such challenges, whereas having low self-efficacy may lead someone to not even start the task at all. Thus, self-efficacy effects not only how a person performs, but also whether he or she is even likely to begin the effort to succeed and accomplish something.
Critically, when there is significant impairment in self-efficacy, a situation can arise resulting in a state of “learned helplessness”, which is more severe and detrimental than normal procrastination, as it negatively impacts both a person’s overall ability to perform and their general mood.
Using the IM method’s Three Principles of Management, managers gain the ability to increase their self-efficacy, and in turn, to enhance their team members’ performance
Characterizes situations in which the motivation towards a goal stems from internal stimuli, such as pleasure, influence, or, as we claim, from one or more of the EIAI model’s sources of motivation (i.e., any and all factors dependent on the individual). Intrinsic motivation can be a conscious process, where the individual both understands the importance of the goal and strives towards it; or an emotional process, where the individual finds performing the task at hand to be a pleasurable, interesting, or challenging activity.
Characterizes situations in which external events or forces influence the motivation towards a goal (i.e., any and all factors dependent on the individual’s environment). This refers to models of incentives and bonuses, with rewards and prizes; or vice versa, to models of deduction and punishment – or in common parlance, the “stick and carrot approach”.
The EIAI Model
The EIAI model is named for an acronym that describes the four sources of motivation for both managers and employees in an organization. While it is true that sizeable bonuses can provide immediate motivation, it is also true that external incentives have repeatedly been shown to be weak over time, without producing good and/or healthy results in the long-term. They may be used in certain processes, but do not in any way replace internal motivation, which is long-term in nature, and more powerful by several orders of magnitude.
Tim Mosshol | Unsplash
So, what are the four sources of motivation?
Characterizes situations in which the motivation towards a goal stems from internal stimuli,
Expertise is the desire to learn and master a skill or field. As a manager, it is important to think about how you can provide your team members with the sense or experience of expertise, of specialization in a given field, and to become the go-to person in times of need.
such as pleasure, influence, or, as we claim, from one or more of the EIAI model’s sources of motivation (i.e., any and all factors dependent on the individual). Intrinsic motivation can be a conscious process, where the individual both understands the importance of the goal and strives towards it; or an emotional process, where the individual finds performing the task at hand to be a pleasurable, interesting, or challenging activity.
Our sense of independence derives from the feeling that something is under our authority, is our responsibility, and that we are in charge of the process, task, or issue at hand. As part of creating an employee’s sense of independence, we will aim to offer her the opportunity to manage her time and tasks, and to prioritize her work. An excellent source of motivation is found in the well-known Agile methodologies, such as “Scrum”.
Affiliation refers to the sense that the person (the employee) has, that they are part of something; a partner; a vital component in the social framework. As a manager, your responsibility is to create this feeling for your team, especially for the team members who seem to have lower affiliation – those who do not feel that they belong. In order to do this, you must strive to create genuine connections between your team members and yourself, along with links to all related tasks and events, both formal and informal.
The sense of affiliation can be increased through allowing the employee to feel necessary (by being given time in meetings, provided with updates, included in deliberations, etc.). Other methods include encouraging language, respectful consultation (requesting the employee’s opinion or position), providing undivided attention to their ideas and requests, etc.
The sense of impact is the feeling or knowledge that one is dealing with, and influencing, something that is greater than oneself. It is the belief that one can have a significant influence on other people, or on a given project or task. That if the purpose or action are truly worthy, then one should be proud to have a share in the “credit”.
Managers have the ability to help their employees both to be, and to feel influential. A sense of influence is achieved by recognizing our power to “change something in the world.” Increasing the sense of impact can take place through the provision of feedback or “credit” for the achievement of a particular goal. Another way is by selecting an attainable task for a team member to perform and through which to experience success, thus increasing their sense of impact on processes within the organization.
A case study of the EIAI model
In the development department of one of the organizations we worked with, a team manager (middle management) repeatedly expressed in conversations with the VP of technology, his difficulty in connecting to his management role in the organization. In our subsequent conversation with that VP of technology, he found it difficult to put his finger on the source of the junior manager’s feelings, despite his best efforts to address the source of the issue in multiple face-to-face meetings.
“I even tried giving him a raise and an extra yearly bonus, but sadly I didn’t notice any change in his motivation.”
During our guidance meetings with the VP of technology, it became apparent that an important source of motivation for the young manager was a sense of influence, though the intense workload of the organization had prevented him from stopping to understand where his successes lay and how they benefited the organization’s progress. Subsequently, this led to the development of an action plan, in which the VP would periodically review and present his young manager with his relevant successes, along with the influence they had on the organization.
Following a quarter in which the VP of technology consistently presented the manager’s accomplishments in personal conversations, while also voicing praise for his actions in the presence of others in the organization, these efforts began to bear fruit. The young team manager became more affiliated with the work practices, the organization, and his role. The impact was also apparent in his output and even led him to adopt new and updated management practices that he believed would serve both the employees on his team and the organization as a whole.
So, what do I do with it?
We suggest that you write down the names of four of your current team members. Then, next to each name, write the source of motivation you think is most important for them as an employee. Next, we suggest you note two or three actions or tasks that could increase this source of motivation. Now all that is left is to apply these changes over the course of a week or two and watch how the internal motivation of your employees is affected. You must remember that the whole process is to be performed behind the scenes, because if your team knows or feels that the source of motivation has been offered solely in order to increase their motivation, it may actually have more harm than benefit.
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