Academic journal article Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning

Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us

Academic journal article Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning

Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us

Article excerpt

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Tim S. Griesdorn Author: Daniel H. Pink Publisher: Riverhead Books (2009) ISBN: 978-1-59448-884-9

Daniel Pink is no stranger to the New York Times bestseller list, and his latest book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, is no exception. Pink does a masterful job of condensing empirical research from Edward Deci (Professor of Psychology at the University of Rochester), Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Professor of Psychology at Claremont Graduate University), Harry Harlow (Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin), and others into an interesting and readable book about intrinsic motivation. Pink points out the mistake of using external rewards like money and shows how the use of these rewards leads to less of the desired behavior once the reward has been removed. He stresses the need to develop autonomy, mastery, and purpose if one wants to create lasting change, or intrinsic motivation.

The book is 242 pages. Following the introduction, it is divided into three parts: A New Operating System (3 chapters), The Three Elements (3 chapters), and The Type I Toolkit (7 sections). The book concludes with a chapter by chapter recap, glossary, discussion guide conversation starters, and links to on-line resources for more information including a quarterly newsletter and an intrinsic motivation assessment.

Part One: A New Operating System

Chapter 1: The Rise and Fall of Motivation 2.0

The first chapter of the book focuses on what Pink calls the operating system of Motivation 2.0. In this chapter, Pink describes how human motivation has evolved from survival mode (Motivation 1.0) to external rewards and punishments (Motivation 2.0). Motivation 2.0 worked well during the industrial revolution when labor was treated like an input and to get more output you rewarded certain behaviors and punished others. As economies grew more complex and people had to learn more sophisticated skills, the old methods of carrots and sticks became less reliable. Pink cites research from Abraham Maslow (psychologist who developed the hierarchy of needs pyramid), Frederick Herzberg (management professor who focused on factors related to employee motivation), and W. Edwards Deming (management consultant who helped Japanese manufacturers improve quality by focusing on continual improvement) to suggest additional factors that needed to be considered when trying to motivate workers. Pink argues that we need an upgrade from Motivation 2.0, because it is becoming incompatible with "how we organize what we do; how we think about what we do; and how we do what we do" (p. 20).

Pink points to Wikipedia and Firefox as examples of opensource design that utilize volunteers instead of employees. Why would people volunteer to work? Because they have an intrinsic motivation for the task, they experience a state of "flow" when working on these projects. Pink refers to behavioral economics as changing the way we think about human economic behavior. Since routine work can be easily outsourced, most job growth in this country is coming from creative, artistic, and empathic endeavors, and these require greater intrinsic motivation. Therefore, companies need to allow their employees more flexibility in how they do their work, like telecommuting from home.

Chapter 2: Seven Reasons Carrots and Sticks (Often) Don't Work

Pink summarizes Motivation 2.0 as having two ideas: "rewarding an activity will get you more of it, and punishing an activity will get you less of it" (p. 34). He goes on to explain that the opposite is often true. Rewards can lead to decreased motivation, and punishments can often lead to increased negative behavior. Pink cites the empirical research of Edward Deci (1969) with Soma puzzles. Soma puzzles use three dimensional block shapes (similar to those in the game Tetris) that can be combined in different ways to create objects, like a dog or an airplane. …

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