Finweek English Edition - - MANAGEMENT -

There is a long-stand­ing de­bate about the re­la­tion­ship bet ween i ntrin­sic and ex­trin­sic mo­ti­va­tion. Over the past two decades, psy­chol­o­gists have pro­vided com­pelling ev­i­dence for the so-called over-jus­ti­fi­cat ion ef­fect – namely, t he process by which higher ex­ter­nal re­wards im­pair per­for­mance by de­press­ing a per­son’s gen­uine or in­trin­sic in­ter­est. Most notably, t wo l a r ge- sca l e meta- analy­ses re­ported that when tasks are in­her­ently mean­ing­ful (and cre­ative tasks cer­tainly fall into this cat­e­gory), ex­ter­nal re­wards di­min­ish en­gage­ment. This is true in both adults and chil­dren, es­pe­cially when peo­ple are re­warded merely for per­form­ing a task. How­ever, pro­vid­ing pos­i­tive feed­back does not harm in­trin­sic mo­ti­va­tion, so long as the feed­back is per­ceived as gen­uine.

Sim­ply put, the more you pay peo­ple to do what they love, the less they’ll love it. In t he words of t he psy­chol­o­gist Mi haly Czik­szent­mi­ha­lyi: “The most im­por­tant qual­ity, the one that is most con­sis­tently present in all cre­ative in­di­vid­u­als, is the abil­ity to en­joy the process of cre­ation for its own sake.” More im­por­tantly, peo­ple with a tal­ent for in­no­va­tion are not driven by money. Data f r om our r esea r c h a r c hive, which in­cludes over 50 000 man­agers from 20 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, in­di­cates clearly that the more imag­i­na­tive and in­quis­i­tive peo­ple are, the more they’re driven by recog­ni­tion and sheer sci­en­tific cu­rios­ity rather than com­mer­cial needs.

Few things are as ag­gra­vat­ing to cre­ative em­ploy­ees as bore­dom. In­deed, cre­ative peo­ple are prewired to seek con­stant change, even when it’s coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. They take a dif­fer­ent route to work ev­ery day, even if it gets them lost, and they never re­peat an or­der at a restau­rant, even if they really l iked it. Cre­ativ­ity is l inked to higher tol­er­ance of am­bi­gu­ity. Cre­ative types love com­plex­ity and en­joy mak­ing

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