Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Effective Motivators

Dan Pink spoke at TED about the disparity between what science knows about human motivation and what techniques business uses to motivate employees.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that higher rewards lead to lower performance, except in the most non-cognitive tasks. The carrot-and-stick approach only works for tasks where the solution is obvious -- e.g. a mechanical task that requires no thinking.

Key to his argument are the results of numerous variation to the Duncker's Candle Problem.

The better motivators are intrinsic rather than extrinsic:

  • Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives
  • Mastery: desire to do better and better at something that matters
  • Purpose: service of something larger than ourselves.

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