Why do people give to charities? Volunteer? Write blogs -- for free?
Why do we do the things we do?
Money? Pride? Love? Sense of accomplishment?
How many of us really love what we do everyday at workplace, at school? How many of us afford to do what we love to do?
For employers, recruiting the right personnel to do their job(and loving it) could improve performance and level of competence. For employees, choose the wrong job and you're buried in quicksand for the rest of your life.
Our motivations are unbelievably interesting--the science is really surprising, and a little bit freaky. We are not as endlessly manipulable and as predictable as you would think.
We understand that when we reward something, we get more of the behavior we want, and when we punish we get less of it.
The researchers thought that maybe the 50 or 60 dollar reward isn't sufficiently motivating for MIT students. So they went to the Madurai, a rural area in India to repeat the experiment. In rural India, 50 dollar USD is roughly equivalent to two-weeks salary for an average worker, which makes it a significant sum of money.
So what happened?
The people that were offered the medium reward did no better than those that were offered the small reward, but the people offered the top reward, they did worst of all.
It turns out that there are three factors that lead to better performance and self satisfaction.
Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose
At a company party on a Thursday afternoon, the employer of the Australian software company said of their developers
"For the next 24 hours you can work on whatever you want
It turned out that in one day, a pure, undiluted autonomy has led to a whole array of fixes for existing software and a whole array of ideas for new products that otherwise had never emerged. This is not the conventional innovation bonus. All they did was to request for something, and got out of the way, thus reducing the pressure set upon the developers.
Because it's fun, and you get better at it, and it's satisfying.
Which leads us to purpose.
Example of people doing something not because of money? Well, Linux is one, Apache is another, and finally, the very-essential-lifeline for students, Wikipedia.
Companies that are thriving now are more purpose-driven than profit-driven, partly because it makes coming to work better, and partly because it's a way of getting talent. The science shows that we care about mastery very deeply, and we want to be self-directed, and that we are purpose maximizers. If we start treating people like people instead of horses, then we would not only build organizations that make us better off, but also make the world a little bit better.