He takes us back to the work of Harlow (more famous for his surrogate monkey mother experiments), McGregor’s “Theory X, theory Y“, and Type A/B theory.
He reports numerous studies showing that altruistic behaviour can be tainted by financial incentives and suggests that financial incentives only work for certain kinds of work and that even then over the long run they don’t – remember Herzberg’s 2-factor theory?
He asks why people contribute to Wikipedia and devote hours to work for which they receive no financial recompense. It’s not always about the money.
In fact he believes that it’s more about Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
He suggests that you can be a Type I or a Type X which he describes as:
Type I behavior: A way of thinking and an approach to life built around intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, motivators. It is powered by our innate need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
Type X behavior: Behavior that is fuelled more by extrinsic desires than intrinsic ones and that concerns itself less with the inherent satisfaction of an activity and more with the external rewards to which that activity leads.
If you want to know which you are, go to his web-site and complete a free self-assessment questionnaire.
And if you haven’t seen his presentation on motivation on RSAnimate on Youtube it’s here.