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Motivational Levels Between Competitive And Non-Competitive Situations

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Motivational levels between competitive and non-competitive situations


This research was done to examine the difference in motivational levels between competitive and non-competitive situations. A sample of 61 participants was recruited for this study. All participants were students of HELP University College. A 2x2 between subjects design was used. Participants were required to complete a word search puzzle under one of the four conditions, individual competitive, individual non-competitive, group competitive and group non-competitive. Out of four hypotheses, only one was not supported. The results showed that the conditions had a significant effect on motivational levels, where it increases in a competitive condition and decreases in a non-competitive condition.

Motivational levels between competitive and non-competitive situations

The word motivation is often used to describe certain sorts of behaviour. One who excels in his or her studies may be described as highly motivated, while another may say that he or she is finding it hard to get motivated to study. While it may explain the behaviour, it does not explain the meaning of it. Motivation is typically defined as the forces that account for the arousal, selection, direction, and discontinuation of behavior (Biehler/Snowman, 1997).

A component of motivation would be intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, which can be categorized into tangible and intangible. Monetary rewards is belongs to an extrinsic tangible reward. A research conducted by Appelbaum, Steven H, Shapiro, Barbara T (1992), where they attempted to design a suitable pay for performance plan for numerous situations. They found out that there can be no perfect pay for performance plan that can work well in all situations. This basically means that everyone does not have the same wants and needs in life. And similarly, not everyone can be motivated by monetary rewards alone. Daniel G. Hansen (1997), stated that monetary is almost impossible to moderate correctly. He mentioned in an example, a bonus that pays only the worker with the highest sales will put the other workers into competition, and also sabotage each other. Also, he mentioned that individual incentive plans would be impossible as the output of the individual worker is difficult to measure.

Karau & Williams (1993), conducted a research on social loafing. Their results showed that amount of social loafing of an individual will decrease when one of the factors are present: "the possibility of being evaluated by authorities; a reduction in group size; understanding each individuals' contribution to the group product is one of a kind; competitive condition; importance of the task to the individual and group cohesiveness."

(Karau & Williams, 1993).

Bernard L. Ryack (1965) had a research on comparing individual and group learning of nonsense syllables. In his research, individuals and 2-man groups learned lists of either 6, 12, or 18 nonsense syllables. He found that the learning of a 2-man group was significantly superior compared to an average individual learning. From his research we can deduce that working in a group has significantly higher motivational levels and productivity compared to an individual.

Competition is also said to affect motivational levels. When an individual is placed in an event where he or she needs to compete to achieve a certain goal he or she desires, in most cases the individual will perform just above average, as they are not confident of their ability. But in some cases, the individual will go all out in that event as the competitiveness has made him or her all psyched up. Guerin (2003), conducted a study on effects of competition on social loafing. A total of 164 students participated in this study. The participants were asked to come up with as many uses that they can think of for a brick. Participants in the competitive condition were told that the individual who comes up with the most number of uses will receive a prize. The results of his study show that participants who worked in competitive conditions performed better compared to participants who are in a non-competitive condition.

Campbell & Furrer (1995), conducted a study on "goal-setting and competition as determinants of task performance". In their study, they recruited a total of 109 participants, whom where all students. Participants signed up in this research because of bonus marks they would be receiving. The participants were then asked to complete a simple arithmetic problem. The participants were given 15 minutes to complete the problems. After completing the task, the participants were given a break. After the break, they were asked to set a goal on how many questions that they will answer correctly. They were then given a second set of questions. The participants in competitive condition were told that the top five individuals would receive an additional 50 percent increase in bonus points. Their results show that participants that were in the non-competitive condition performed better after setting a goal. Participants in the competitive situation did not perform very well, even though they knew that the top five individuals would receive more bonus points.

The current study looks at the effects of competitive and non-competitive situations on motivational levels. This topic was chosen as we were inclined to find out to what extent competitive situations would affect an individuals motivational levels. Also, the difference of performance between group and an individual. There were many past researchers that were somewhat similar to



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