What motivates us at work? Hint: more than money

Obvious, right? And yet these basic insights are absent in so many debates, from the (downright dumb) idea of introducing performance pay for teachers to the impacts of increasing income taxes at the top…

ideas.ted.com

“When we think about how people work, the naïve intuition we have is that people are like rats in a maze,” says behavioral economist Dan Ariely (TED Talk: What makes us feel good about our work?) “We really have this incredibly simplistic view of why people work and what the labor market looks like.”

Instead, when you look carefully at the way people work, he says, you find out there’s a lot more at play — and at stake — than money. Ariely provides evidence that we are also driven by the meaningfulness of our work, by others’ acknowledgement — and by the amount of effort we’ve put in: the harder the task is, the prouder we are.

“When we think about labor, we usually think about motivation and payment as the same thing, but the reality is that we should probably add all kinds of things to it: meaning…

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