From oct 2010 my educational posts are published only on Pip

29 maj 2010

Motivators to greater achievements: Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose

This 10 minutes film from is entertainingly visulized as it describes the results of to some surprising research on motivation. It's actaully quite obvious and yet it contradicts traditional models of rewardings and bonuses as incentive models.

A summary for you who don't have 10 minutes:

It is a common theory that if you reward something, you get more the behavior you want.

MIT studies show that as long as the task involves only mechanical skills the bonuses work as expected, but once the task called for rudimentary cognitive skills, a larger reward showes poorer performance. It actually works the other way around.

Further tests in India with a much different target group proved this result with an even stronger effect. Huge rewards resulted in disastrous achievements.

The conclusion is that you have to pay enough for your employees not to care about the money, because if you don't pay them enough they will not be motivated at all, BUT the factors that lead to better performance from these employees are:

Autonomy - the desire to be self directed and engaged outrules money
Mastery - we like to get better on stuff, when we improve it's fun
Purpose - only bad things are generated when the profit motive is set above the purpose of the work

I will think more about those bad things not described here in an upcoming post.

More from me about what is fun:
The goal of having fun
Fun is challenges

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