Dan Pink - The mystery of motivation

Here is a 15 minute talk by Dan Pink on motivation and the mysteries of it. Motivation theory is quite a large area of theory in psychology but he is having fun pointing out that while many motivation factors are well known in psychology research they have not made the transition to organisation. Particularly the important are of intrinsic motivation: autonomy, mastery and purpose. This is a safe video to send to senior managers as well.

This next video is also from Dan Pink but has the same material presetned in that animatred manner which is becoming more popular on You Tube.


A serious conclusion from Work motivation theory and research at the dawn of the twenty-first century, by Latham, Gary P; Pinder, Craig C in the Annual review of psychology, 2005, Volume 56, Issue 1

I've highlighted areas that are relevant to psychodrama, group work, and the concept of warm-up. These areas are highlighted because they point out that in psychodrama training considerable importance in given to affect, context, reciprocal role responses, world-view (which includes values, needs, goals, and the like), things out of awareness (in pre-, non-, or un-consicous functioning), and while warm-up is not a new model it is certainly new to the folks that live in the motivation theory world.

Conclusions emanating from this review are tenfold. First, three theories dominate the motivation literature: goal-setting, social cognitive, and organizational justice.1 The latter two emerged subsequent to the Korman et al. (1977) review. In the ensuing period, behaviorism and expectancy theory have been overwhelmed by goal-setting and social cognitive theories, while equity theory has given way to conceptualizations of organizational justice. second, whereas theory and research in the third quarter of the twentieth century focused almost exclusively on cognition (Latham & Budworth 2004), this is no longer true. Today there is recognition of the importance of affect and behavior as well as the reciprocal interactions among cognition, affect, and behavior. Research on affect is blossoming. Third, the ability to predict, understand, and influence motivation in the workplace has increased significantly as a result of the attention that has been given to all rather than only a few aspects of an employee's motivation. There is now ongoing research on needs, values, cognition (particularly goals), affect (particularly emotions), and behavior. Fourth, whereas the dependent variables historically studied were limited to traditional measures of job performance and satisfaction, today's dependent variables range from citizenship to counterproductive behavior. Fifth, Cronbach's (1957) plea a half century ago for experimental and correlational psychology to combine forces has been heeded. Researchers have done a creditable job of explaining the mechanisms, particularly individual differences (traits), that mediate between independent and dependent variables. Sixth, the importance of context to motivation has been recognized much more in recent years than in the past; so much so that an additional chapter could be devoted to it. Significant advances have been made in understanding how national culture, characteristics of the job itself, and the fit between the person and the organization influence motivation. Seventh, these advances in the study of motivation may reflect the fact that this subject is no longer restricted to the research findings of North Americans. Today motivation is studied empirically by scholars worldwide (e.g., Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe). Eighth, behavioral scientists in the latter half of the twentieth century responded positively to William James' exhortation to systematically study consciousness [Note from Peter: This recommendation was made a hundred years previously]. At the dawn of the present century they are poised to expand their domain to the study of the pre- or subconscious. Ninth, the antagonisms among theorists that existed throughout much of the twentieth century have either disappeared or have been minimized. Much of the energy expended on theory destruction has been replaced by theory construction aimed at building upon and enhancing what is already known. Relative to the 1960s to 1980s, consensus rather than controversy characterizes the field. Tenth, the nomological nets related to work motivation constructs are thicker and tighter than ever before, but the size of the aggregate net (metaphorically speaking) is not growing at a rate commensurate with the energy that scholars and practitioners have invested since 1977. Few fundamentally new models of work motivation have appeared with the groundbreaking impact that Maslow's need theory, Vroom's expectancy theory, or Locke & Latham's goal-setting theory had when they were initially promulgated. Accordingly, Steers (2001) recently recognized the limitations of current theory and research in work motivation, and issued a call for groundbreaking papers for publication in a special edition of the Academy of Management Review in 2004. It is too soon to assess whether any of the papers published in response to his call will provide the new insights he sought and that we desire.

Another note from Peter: I wrote a paper on warm-up and it was rejected by most of the empirically based USA journals. There is work to be done!