Culture of Intrinsic Motivation LO10197 ("")
Fri, 27 Sep 1996 11:06:35 +0000

Replying to LO10178 --

Rol responded to Bill's question,

> Bill, of course intrinsic motivation exists in business. Believe it or
> not, I love to go to work, and I have been in the same department for 15
> years. Every day is different and challenging, and a learning
> opportunity.

> I cannot tell you exactly why Bean people are so committed, but if forced
> to speculate, I would say that the company's focus is on excellence and
> service, and these are values that will drive motivation. It is
> interesting that you mentioned the self-evident truths, because I think
> these -- excellence and service -- are values that most people very
> naturally accept and support enthusiastically. For me, striving for
> excellence and serving others both qualify as SETs.
> Unlike the other organizations I mentioned (school, social work, college)
> Bean does not have a dysfunctional organization. We certainly have our
> arguments and fights, but generally we work well together. I think when
> the 'calling' is not as strong as it is for teachers and social workers,
> then the organization needs to be a lot better in order to attract the
> same levels of intrinsic motivation.
> It is difficult in our society to create this same intrinsic motivation in
> the blue collar jobs, but it is not at all impossible. LO, high
> performance, SETs, and aggressive delegation are all part of the equation,
> but I don't know what else.

IMO, Rol's company's focus on excellence and service will release
intrinsic motivations "IF" the hierarchy walks its own talk and are not
seen to be talking out of the side of their mouths. If we can't "trust"
the bosses, we don't want to do what they think is right.

The reasons for this are several. Every person wants to excel at whatever
they do. Each respects high standards of quality, honesty, productivity,
integrity and other straightforward, easy to understand values. Almost
everyone wants to join efforts to do "great" things, to accomplish
difficult things which are "highly respectable" as judged against that
person's value standards. Almost everyone feels very positive emotions
over things which surpass their own standards and they "willing" join such

As the standards of whatever management is professing/acting go "down",
more and more people start to disrespect the standard and thus decide not
to join. If management decides to profess excellence and service, but does
not provide "great service" to their own people ala Rol, they are not
walking their talk and will have many people standing on the sidelines
bitching about being "numbers". Trust goes south and commitment follows
trust downward.

If Rol's comment on blue versus white collar means that intrinsic
motivation is harder to stimulate in blue, our experience has indicated
the opposite to be true to a significant extent. This experience relates
to excellence and service and not education or the environment.
Straightforward values are a strength of less educated people and they are
very responsive to their use in the routine work day. Quality and service
are elements which they see everyday right in front of them in terms of
customers or products, making them very receptive to achieving higher
standards. They have less questions and have little tendency to wax
philosophical or to bring in extraneous issues than their more educated
white collar comrades.

The one exception to the above is blue collar accompanied by a union.
This changes the imbalance to one of balance between the degree of
difficulty of blue vs white. But then, white collars such as teachers are
often unionized so the difficulty with them goes higher as well.

Regards, Joan
Joan Pomo The Finest Tools for Managing People
Simonton Associates Based on the book "How to Unleash the Power of People"
URL: (use caps indicated)


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