What View of Motivation Do You Have?

This is an interesting, quick survey on motivation at Dan Pink’s website.

Dan Pink is the author of the excellent book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. This survey reveals if you primarily hold to a Type I or Type X view of human motivation:

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 fueled 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.

One interesting observation: When most people think of productivity, they almost immediately tend to think in terms of Type X. Ironically, Type X is horribly detrimental to productivity in most cases. We are most productive (and, more important, enjoy what we are doing most) when we operate according to Type I.

  • http://www.armchair-theology.net Dave

    The survey assessed me as a Type X but I suspect that has to do mostly with the way the questions were formed. It assumed that the job you currently hold is where you want to be. I’m in the military and waiting for my service commitment to be up so I can go to seminary full time. I’m very much a Type I and my desire for vocational ministry is very much spurred by that but the survey didn’t take that into account.

  • Andy Chance

    I’m not sure if this applies, but I think it would be helpful to explore how extrinsic rewards contribute to intrinsic motivation.

    For instance, it’s one thing to be intrinsicly motivated in general; it’s another thing to not get a raise for long time or receive extra time off or be resourced poorly or to have a poor work environment, etc. In that case, the lack of extrinsic acknowledgment is going to lead to a lack of intrinsic motivation.

  • Matt

    Great points on both fronts.

    Andy: Yes, I think that lack of extrinsic factors in the way you described is certainly demotivating. And it is interesting that God is zealous to reward us in _all ways_ in the new heavens and new earth–spiritually with fellowship with himself, but also with eternal riches in all other forms as well.

    In relation to this life at least, the way I think it works is this. The extrinsic factors you mention are “hygiene factors.” This means that their presence doesn’t in itself motivate, but lack of them does _de_motivate.

    This what most studies with pay, for example, show. If you don’t pay someone enough, they will be demotivated. But the presence of sufficient salary and benefits is not itself motivating (for most — some people are perhaps primarily motivated by money). Sufficient salary needs to be provided not because it motivates, but because without it the person will (rightly, in most cases) be demotivated.

    The solution in my view, at least when it comes to pay (I know you mention other things as well) is for organizations to pay not only competitively, but more than competitively so as to get the issue of pay off the table. Then they ought to ensure that the conditions for intrinsic motivation are in place so that people are enabled to truly perform at their best.