BBC: Does Money Really Motivate People?


May 10th 2012.


Pioneering work in the field was carried out in the early 1970s by Edward Deci, a psychologist at Rochester University in New York. He found that students offered cash prizes to solve puzzles were less likely to continue working on them after payments had been made, compared to students who were offered no money. Deci’s work helped clarify the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation – doing things because you like doing them in their own right or doing them because you want a reward that has been offered.

“People have three psychological needs – to feel autonomous, to feel competent and to feel related to others,” he says. Payment, according to Deci’s research, does not fulfill these needs. Over-emphasis on financial reward undermines autonomy and therefore intrinsic motivation, he says. “This [negative effect of money on motivation] matters hugely. You need high quality performance from bankers. You need thinkers, problem solvers, people who can be creative and using money to motivate them will not get you that.”…

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By Carinne Piekema