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What Really Motivates Staff?
December 7, 2017
A day to come seems longer than a year that's gone.
-Scottish proverb

Writing in Psychology Today, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PhD describes new research about what truly motivates people to enjoy their work.

First, she describes previous research:

"In a classic set of studies on motivation beginning in the 1980s, University of Rochester psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan shook up the worlds of education and business alike by proposing that paying people to improve their performance would only worsen their motivation, as well as their productivity. Their approach gradually morphed into what would be called self-determination theory (SDT), a model proposing that people do better work when they’re internally rather than externally driven, but that they obviously still need a salary...Deci and Ryan showed that it was the degree of self-control (or determination) that influences productivity and ultimately satisfaction at work. If you feel that you’re 'the boss of you,' at least to the extent possible at your job, you’ll feel more fired up to do your job..."

The author goes on to describe new research carried out by Norwegian Business School’s Bård Kuvaas and colleagues that is consistent with the earlier studies. This is how Whitbourne sums up the new findings that love, more than money, is the greater motivator:

"Love, in the form of inherent interest, therefore seems to be the driving force in truly satisfying work, and moreover, will get you through the tough times of getting up early or having to give up some of your personal life. Yes, you need to be paid (unless it is volunteer work or work around the home). However, what is really going to bring you the greatest gratification will be the job’s ability to allow you to express your true identity, skills, and values."

Source: "When Love is the Driving Force in Work," by Susan Krause Whitbourne, PhD, Psychology Today, September 26, 2017

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