Culture of Intrinsic Motivation LO10170
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 17:26:36 -0400

Replying to LO10123 --

> Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 06:38:30 +1200 (NZST)
> Subject: Culture of Intrinsic Motivation LO10123
> .... The crucial issue is whether the work is
> viewed as socially meaningful. Our experience is that the perception of
> meaningfulness has less to do with what the activity is than it has to do
> with the articulation of purpose (vision). By this I mean that while it is
> easy to define a social service as socially useful, it is also possible
> for manufacturing and other purely commercial organizations.
> In our research experience the key is the attitude towards profit....if
> the culture
> says "This organization exists to ......(make the life
> of families easier (washing machines); transform the way the world
> communicates (telecommunications); transform human access to information
> (Microsoft)), and in order to keep on doing that we need the lifeblood of
> profit." then we are more likely to find intrinsically motivated
> employees.
> The important paradox here is that in a world where the knowledge and
> innovative dynamism of employees is the key source of added value the more
> a firm emphasizes profit as an end in itself, the less likely it is to
> make one. There is a similar paradox for employees - the more an employee
> works out of the view 'I only come here for the pay' the less likely s/he
> is to keep on receiving any.


Great stuff! (I also liked what you had to say about Vygotsky.) The
paradoxes you cited really capture an important systems dynamic. (I'll
have to think about how to diagram it!) Yes, the social dimension is
essential to meaning, and the _articulated_ connection to that dimension
is essential for someone to feel their work is meaningful. I just want to
emphasize this articulation as an ongoing process - first the connection
has to be made, and then it has to be maintained, and it needs to inform
action. All this connects to mission statements (see that thread for an
in-depth discussion) and why so many of them seem meaningless.

I think this conversation is helping me understand why mission statements
are important through their impact on intrinsic motivation.



Jeff Brooks <>

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