#8 Movement is not Necessarily Motivation: The Carrot And The Stick Don't Motivate

In a 1968 Harvard Business review article Herzberg summarized his work.  This summary was then republished in 1987 with a couple Herzberg updates added to the end.

In these summaries his core theory remained pretty much unchanged…

"Environmental factors ( i.e. hygiene) can at best create NO DISsatisfaction on the job, ...  In contrast, what makes people happy on the job and motivates them are the job content factors ( i.e. motivators)."

He also took the time to re-emphasize a point from his original writing. A point that he  feels most people misunderstand. The important difference between motivation and movement.  Here is a detailed quote/description.

"Movement is a function of fear of punishment or failure to get extrinsic rewards. It is the typical procedure used in animal training and its counterpart, behavioral modification techniques for humans.  Motivation is a function of growth from getting intrinsic rewards out of interesting and challenging work.

While the immediate behavioral results from movement and motivation appear alike, their dynamics, which produce vastly different long-term consequences, are different.  Movement requires constant reinforcement and stresses short-term results. To get a reaction, management must constantly enhance the extrinsic rewards for movement. If I get a bonus of $1,000 one year and $500 the next, I am getting extra rewards both years but psychologically I have taken a $500 salary cut.

Motivation is based on growth needs. It is an INTERNAL engine, and its benefits show up over a long period of time.  Because the ultimate reward in motivation is personal growth, people don’t need to be rewarded incrementally.  I write a book - a big accomplishment.  Then I write an article - a lesser accomplishment, but nevertheless an addition to my personal growth."

So Herzberg emphasizes that giving someone a bonus for hitting a goal is not motivation. It’s animal training. It’s manipulation that can work in the near term. It’s also a bit of a drug. One that you have to supply in ever larger quantities because it becomes an entitlement. 

Carrot and stick don't motivate
Carrot and stick don't motivate

Shrink that bonus. Even though it’s still a nice chunk of change and definitely better than nothing. And you just spent money to bum people out. 

The carrot, and the stick for that matter, can work just fine in the short term, but they’re not motivation. You’re not tapping into the real core of the person. The internal stuff that keeps their juices flowing over the long term. The stuff that's a lot harder to understand and put in place, but so worth the effort. 

That’s what we’re going to talk about next. We're going to finish up Herzberg’s 1987 update by refreshing our understanding of the motivators.

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