Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation
Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward.
Notes that businesses work on a completely outdated model of punishment and reward, finding that both are ineffective in motivating workers. In some studies, people who were offered more money performed more poorly on specific tasks. Reward and punishment create little positive motivation, and in many cases increasing the payment or punishment decreased the productivity.
When monetary pay is adequate (the carrot) and punishment is minimized (the stick), other factors are far more important to productivity. Pink defines the three most important motivators are intrinsic drives in human nature:
- Autonomy: the independent desire and freedom to choose time, place, and subject of work. Studies find that companies like Google and Wikipedia succeed because because they follow this model. Wikipedia, for example, with its no-pay, volunteer system crushed Encarta Encyclopedia, who was attempting the similar task of creating a definitive online encyclopedia. People are more motivated when they have individual freedoms than when they have larger financial rewards.
- Mastery: humans work more intensely when they are presented with challenging tasks that require hard work to master and perfect. Humans like to be challenged, as long as autonomy is secure.
- Purpose: when employees see the significant purpose behind what they are doing and value it, they perform more efficiently across the board. Humans like to know that there is value and need behind the work they do.
Businesses can radically change the economy by abandoning the old system of reward and punishment, replacing it with a focus on autonomy, mastery, and purpose. This change would revolutionize productivity and the way work is accomplished. Innovation would similarly increase over time.
Source is TedTalks.com
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