Praise from the boss doesn't always motivate us, study finds

Posted on October 23, 2015

Recent research found that individuals reported lower intrinsic motivation if they expected to receive a verbal reward for a complex task – in other words, they enjoyed the task less, and had a reduced desire to do it.

For simple tasks, on the other hand, respondents’ intrinsic motivation was higher when they expected a verbal reward – probably because if the task in itself is not motivating, then the extra encouragement is helpful.

While managers can use ‘verbal rewards’ – often as simple as saying ‘thank you’ – for simple or repetitive tasks, this approach can backfire for complex tasks and projects. That is likely to be because the latter are interesting enough in themselves to be motivating, so that extra encouragement is unwanted. In fact, it can even rob staff of their own inner drive.

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Category(s):Workplace Issues

Source material from Library of Alexandria


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