Blog Post

How do you develop intrinsic motivation?

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 18 December 2011



How do you develop intrinsic motivation?
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 138
Posted DateSunday 18 December 2011 11:34 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=1860799&type=mem ... 
CategoriesMeasures, Targets and Rewards

Those of you who know me, will be aware of my strong views about the role of rewards in KM and in business in general.

In the KM World Discussion Form (note: you need to be a member of the forum to read this) there is a short discussion on rewarding knowledge sharing.

In it, Mahesh Varavooru poses the question "How do you develop intrinsic motivation? Or is it a fact that it cannot be developed?".

This was my reply:

In his book Drive, Dan Pink states that there are 3 fundamental things that research has shown to motivate us:
  • Autonomy: the freedom to do what we want how we want
  • Mastery: the freedom to master a discipline, to become "the best"
  • Purpose: a higher purpose then earning money; doing something that we feel is worthwhile

So as a manager, possible ways to allow people's intrinsic motivation to emerge might include:
  • giving them more autonomy in how they do their work
  • giving them more time and opportunity to master their chosen field or profession
  • where possible allowing them to pursue or identify a purpose in their work other than just making money

I would also add that we should start with the assumption that all of us wish to do good work.

And so we should stop trying to do things to each other by rewarding each other with goodies or trying to manipulate each other in any other way.

We should treat each other with respect and work together for the common good.

It may seem idealistic but I suspect this is far more effective than trying to manipulate people.

Motivation is emergent. If you try to develop it in someone its not motivation - its manipulation.

Not everyone agrees - that's not surprising - but take a look at what Dan Pink has to say and the works of Alfie Kohn - it's food for thought :-)

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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