People are motivated when they feel appreciated at work

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All our quirks are fuel for psychologists, who spend their professional lives trying to dig into our heads, uncovering the processes that drive us to be so maddeningly unpredictable and amazingly complex. Understanding a little of what these explorations have uncovered isn’t just a great way to feed your brain; it can also help you succeed in business (or relationships). These great TED Talks from some of the field’s leading lights make learning about human psychology so fascinating.

What makes us feel good about our work? Dan Ariely

The takeaway: People are motivated when they feel appreciated

Summary of discussion:

  • All people care about is money
    • He believes this is a simplistic view about why people work
  • Did experiments for:
    • The meaningful condition (and not big meaning of life work either) – more is done, even with less reward; the amount of work increases if the person likes the work – love of the work increases
    • Sisyphus condition (where work is cyclical and meaningless) – less is done, even with more reward; the amount of work done does not increase even if the person likes the work – love of the work is crushed
  • Finding: The importance of meaning for motivation and innovation
  • Experiment about clerical work – conditions
    • 1) work was “owned”/named and effort was appreciated/acknowledged
    • 2) work was not owned and was ignored
    • 3) work was not owned and was shredded
      • Results:
        • People worked harder for longer in condition one
        • People worked less hard and for less time in conditions 2 and 3 (almost identical)
      • Findings:
        • Motivation is easy to achieve
        • De-motivation is also easy to achieve
      • He discusses the Ikea effect and how it is important to make the assembly of objects (even pre-mixed cakes) effortful (ie not too easy) so that people feel as if they made the object themselves (furniture, cakes etc.,) – ie. that they had put the effort in.

Source: https://www.airsassociation.org/services-new/airs-knowledge-network-n/airs-articles/item/19486-the-8-coolest-ted-talks-on-psychology

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