Competence Motivation Theory: Everything You Need to Know

What is competence motivation theory?

CMT (Competence Motivation Theory)

Benefits of competence motivation theory in the workplace

Employees will internalize a self-reward system and a set of mastery goals if they are successful when trying new skills or tasks and receive positive reinforcement. Their confidence may benefit from this in the long run. Because they are internalizing their own standards, employees won’t need outside sources to evaluate their work or provide them with encouragement to keep going. Instead, they will be inspired to carry on independently because they are aware of their competence in that field.

People who consider themselves to be highly competent in one area will also put forth more effort and perseverance as well as prefer harder tasks. High levels of competence are associated with high levels of self-worth and self-esteem, which can have an impact on all aspects of a person’s life, including relationships and employment.

You can encourage an employee to want to perform in a way that will earn more praise by using the proper kind of praise and positive reinforcement. An added benefit will come from the person’s sense of accomplishment. The worker might also decide to set their own mastery objectives. Positive reinforcement increases your perception that you have control over your own circumstances.

What is competence motivation theory?

According to the theory of competence motivation, people are motivated to engage in activities that will help them improve or demonstrate their skills. When someone completes a difficult task successfully and receives praise from family or peers for it, they will feel competent in that achievement domain, whether it be physical, cognitive, or social.

Success in that field will assist them in realizing that they have control over their output. Positive feelings are produced by high competence and control perceptions, which support or boost competence motivation.

How to use competence motivation in the workplace

According to research, children’s competence motivation is elevated when teachers place a strong emphasis on meaning and individual development in the classroom. The same applies to employees in the workplace. You can immediately apply competence motivation in the workplace in the following ways:

1. Assign tasks that are personally interesting to employees

If a task or topic is personally interesting to them, they will be more motivated to pursue mastery of it. As a result, the employee will experience a sort of peak involvement in which they aren’t thinking about goals, rewards, or anything else extraneous. Additionally, the employee should be more likely to become proficient in the subject by fully engaging in learning.

2. Provide the right kind of feedback

By giving feedback that encourages employees to recognize the control they have over what and how they learn, managers or team leaders can help workers feel in charge of their learning and accomplishments. Mention the progress the employee has made since attempting the task for the first time when providing feedback. Focus on the process they are using to learn.

3. Assign tasks that are moderately and appropriately challenging

Encourage staff members to try tasks that are moderately difficult compared to their skill levels. Encourage them to concentrate on mastery goals, which are inherently just out of reach, in order to accomplish this successfully. Also, focus on the constructive value of failure and mistakes. This will assist you in striking a healthy balance by posing mental challenges and giving you comfort in the knowledge that occasional mistakes are acceptable.

4. Encourage mastery, skill development and the learning process

Mastery goals, as opposed to performance goals, which are outcomes-focused, are about mastering a task and improving each day. There is always room for improvement, so you never quite achieve them. Employees at your company will be less likely to give up in trying situations and more likely to persevere through setbacks if you place an emphasis on mastery, skill development, and the learning process.

5. Encourage challenging but achievable goals

The competence motivation theory states that completing a task successfully or to one’s satisfaction can result in an overall rise in self-perception of competence. The opposite outcome, however, may occur if the person consistently struggles with a task or does not receive peer support. Therefore, it is crucial to support setting ambitious but doable goals. The employee may become disinterested or even embarrassed by the ease with which the goals can be attained. In a public environment like a workplace, setting challenging goals is crucial.

6. Give praise when earned

Praise for improvement or greater mastery of a task or skill can help create a positive perception of competence in workers. Recognize and appreciate employees’ efforts by recognizing accomplishments in public and praising exemplary work across your department or organization.


What is an example of competence motivation?

People are driven by fundamental desires, but what drives them more is the desire to succeed. For instance, an engineer looking to demonstrate her abilities might look for projects that fit her skill set. She might pursue further education to gain a better understanding of design properties.

What is perceived competence theory?

The degree to which we believe we have the necessary skills (including social, emotional, physical, and intellectual/cognitive abilities) to succeed is known as perceived competence, while self-efficacy, which Bandura defines as “people’s personal assessment of their ability to perform,” is concerned with our own perception of our performance.

What is competence Effectance theory?

Competence-Effectance Theory, a closely related theory, asserts that a significant portion of play is driven by the player’s desire to test the environment, work through obstacles, and feel masterful and successful.

Why is motivation an important competency?

Although the first type of competence makes us feel good about ourselves, only learning new skills can help us move forward in the direction of success. We increase productivity, improve performance, become more energized, and have a higher chance of achieving satisfaction when we let our competence motivation take the lead.

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