The Intrinsic Motivation Fallacy

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“All you need is autonomy to be happy in work”

This is a quote I have heard on more than one occasion in my life as a gamification consultant. I have even had a friend quote his boss to me saying the following:

“You don’t need a pay rise, I read a book that siad money isn’t a motivator. So with that, I will give you more autonomy and purpose in your role.”

This idea that intrinsic motivation is an alternative to money comes from a misunderstanding of several studies and pop psychology books around motivation.  A key book that is often cited is that of Drive by Dan Pink. I have mentioned it in the past and when I first started in gamification it was a great jumping off point for me. In the book, he describes three intrinsic motivations that all people need to be happy in their lives and work: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. This is based on the work of Deci and Ryan around motivation called Self Determination Theory [1] – another text I have referenced often and of course the basis for my RAMP framework. Read More ...

3 Layers of Motivation (Updated for 2018)

Layers of motivation 2017 3 Layers of Motivation Updated for 2018

The more I consider motivation, the more I realise it is one of those things we in gamification use as a catch-all. It’s a bit like how we treat the term “game mechanics” and, well, gamification!

Generally speaking, you will hear the terms intrinsic and extrinsic when motivation is spoken about. You will hear Deci & Ryan, Dan Pink, Maslow and more spoken about. However, when it comes down to it our argument is always the same. Intrinsic motivation is always better than extrinsic rewards. At times you will also hear a further comment that a balance of extrinsic rewards and intrinsic motivation will yield the best results. Read More ...