The attribution theory refers to how much people attribute behavior of others to their characteristic personality structure rather than situational factors (Grison, 2016). The fundamental attribution error is therefore attributing a particular behavior in a particular situation to such personality characteristics, when in fact the behavior is just a situational anomaly (Grison, 2016).
Motivation is the study of what forces move people or why individuals or organisms behave as they do (Graham and Weiner, 2012). The attribution theory relates to motivational processes, such as in achievement behavior, because some tasks are inherently more motivating than others. Thus, it is not necessarily that a person is ‘lazy’, but he or she may be amotivated.
According to Niemiec, Ryan, and Deci (2009), placing importance on either intrinsic or extrinsic aspirations relates positively to attainment of goals. However, whereas attainment of intrinsic aspirations related positively to psychological health, attainment of extrinsic aspirations related negatively to psychological health and positively to ill-being (Niemiec, Ryan, and Deci, 2009).
Thus, any value given to goals should relate to intrinsic before any extrinsic aspirations, because the intrinsic or motivational factors within the individual themselves are known to be the driving force more than any external or outside factors. However, if no such intrinsic factors can be found, then outside incentives or other motivational goals can be brought up to make people achieve goals by comparing them to intrinsic or more personal goals.
Therefore, the way a teacher, a parent, a coach, or any other person in a leadership position may use this theory to motivate an unmotivated individual, is to understand how intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation works. Once the person in the leadership position understands the behavior, then he or she can use any intrinsic motivational factors that can be found to motivate the individual in their care to pursue the goals that they may now see more relevant to themselves. If no such intrinsic aspirations are readily apparent, then some extrinsic motivating factors can be used to make up for such motivational deficiencies to achieve the end result, by attributing intrinsic value to these extrinsic factors.
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