Creativity is the key resource of the future. Creativity needs a suitable environment. It can flourish only in gay brains. And a properly dosed motivation is necessary.
Experts arguably argue whether the motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic, that is, in the interior of a human being is sufficient or needs to be fired from outside.
The one is vehemently for extrinsic activities, and curses, and correspondingly investigations, which are supposed to underpin such activity. The others are consistently opposed to this, and they also submit appropriate studies to prove their opinion. The bearings are thus split. And the truth? It lies, as so often, in the middle. And it is to be considered nuanced.
Joachim Bauer, an acknowledged neuroscientist who wrote wonderful books, puts it in a nutshell: the core of all human motivation is to find and give attention, appreciation and affection. The motivation systems switch off when there is no chance of social care, and they jump when recognition or love is in play.
Motivating has many faces
Motivating can be spur, encouragement, approval, understanding, consolation, and encouragement. It can express itself in confirmation, applause and admiration. It can dress up as good or bad praise. It can contain emotional and monetary rewards, serve, steer, fertilize, bait, manipulate, seduce, celestial or devilish purposes. Motivating manipulated?
Any communication – whether verbal or expressed by body language – and even manipulates any noncommunication. So, in the end, is also a highly earned, but not pronounced praise pure manipulation. The feedback of other people as a response to one’s own behavior is an indispensable prerequisite for getting a sense of our own identity.
Algorithmic or heuristic?
In his book Drive, the writer Daniel Pink points out that rewarding motivation has to be different depending on the task. He distinguishes between algorithmic and heuristic tasks.
Algorithmic tasks are simple routine work with a defined approach. In this case, “if-then-then” reminders (“if you see tomorrow … then …”) can be useful as they draw attention to the goal pursuit. Such rewards, however, generate dependency and must therefore always be presented again and again.
Heuristic tasks are more complex. A suitable solution still needs to be found. Here, previously promised rewards are counterproductive because they narrow the focus and therefore block creative thinking. In addition, they can extinguish the intrinsic motivation or lead to incorrect behavior, since the bonus becomes the actual goal.
This is why, in this case, “now-there” reminders (“Now that the project has been successfully implemented, …”) are more meaningful, ie those that come unexpectedly and are only offered after a task has been fulfilled. Content feedback is more valuable than money.
How monetary motivation
Dan Ariely, the behavioral economist, came to similar conclusions in his research. In one case it was about money as a bonus for performance. Small amounts were quite a spur. High bonuses, on the other hand, led to a marked worsening of the results because the students were completely cramped for fear of a possible failure and the associated loss of money.
In a further test, three groups of test subjects, which had to apply certain letters on the pages written on the paper. The participants in the first group should write their names on each sheet. As soon as one was finished, they handed it over to the trial leader, who looked through it from top to bottom, nodding approvingly and placing it on a pile. This group averaged 9.0 leaves.
The persons from the second group did not label the leaves. The trial director put her aside without looking at it. This group gave an average of 6.8 leaves. For the participants of the third group, the filled sheets were immediately placed in a shredder without looking through them beforehand. This group averaged 6.3 leaves. Yes, it is quite amazing how much more motivation brings a little emotional recognition.
How praise can be used
The American scientist Carol Dweck investigated various types of praise and came to the following conclusion: Whoever was praised for his intelligence, then tended to avoid challenging tasks in order not to fall short of expectations. However, those who had been praised for their efforts strengthened their efforts in follow-up work. The participants of the second group finally mastered the tasks by thirty percent better than those of the first group.
Finally, an experiment at the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) has shown that a workgroup is boosted and its achievements are significantly increased when three people are praised from their midst. On the other hand, there was little to sing out just one person. A praise to all increased the group output easily. It is obviously the most motivated to score several top masters.