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What Really Motivates People?

Summary: The reward and punishment theory that is the basis of early 20th century behaviorism has become a deeply entrenched motivational practice in American performance management. However, recent studies have shown that while short term results may seem favorable, in the long run these strategies can damage relationships by encouraging internal competition for rewards. This, in turn, destroys motivation by reducing work to an economic transaction. Other studies demonstrate that people respond best to intrinsic motivators such as earning the respect of co-workers, having the responsibility of doing one's work without supervision or rigid policies, and being held accountable for producing solid results. Instead of asking how others can be motivated, managers should be asking how workplace conditions can be created that provide the freedom for people to use their talents and skills for the benefit of society and the organization.

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  • Topics:
  • Keywords: Morale,Demotivational factors,Human factors,Performance management,Motivation,Work Redesign
  • Author: Strickler, Jane
  • Journal: Journal for Quality and Participation