A Question of Motivation

A very quick blog this week, whilst I work on a few deeper ones (possibly)

An argument that is pretty constant in Gamification, is that of Extrinsic vs Intrinsic motivation / rewards. Things like badges, points and even money vs altruism, autonomy, status and more. The general consensus, based on the works of people like Deci and talks by people like Daniel Pink, is that extrinsic motivation is in no way better than intrinsic motivation. The research shows that being almost bribed to do stuff will actually decrease your effectiveness.

That said, almost everyone agrees that extrinsic rewards are very handy for on boarding – for quick fixes and pushes.

Anyway, here is my question / puzzle.

Your boss invites you in to his office with two offers.

1. You can have promotion, earning you extra social status – but of course extra responsibility and workload. However, rather than getting a pay rise, you can choose a charity for the extra money to go to.
2. You can stay the same grade you are now, but you can have the pay rise that would be equivalent to a promotion. Again, the workload would increase.

The first choice gives you lots of mice intrinsic options. Choice, Status, Altruism, Charity, Autonomy, Relatedness etc. The second choice is purely extrinsic – you get more money.

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic – What would you choose?

 

For me, my motivation to work is to provide for my family. As such, I would personally go for the money! In gamification, there are a lot of people concentrating on making systems more interesting and engaging, but so few seem (on the surface at least) to be looking at what motivates each individual. Not every person reacts in the same way to every situation – no matter how well researched the psychology is.

 

A Question of Motivation technology gamification

A gamification thought leader and evangelist, I love to write about it, talk about it and bore people to death with it! If you really want to get to know me, check out the About page.

I’m doing a little bit of research on “Fun”, which I will share with you all in due course. Would you be able to help by doing a short survey? http://www.gamified.co.uk/fun-survey/

A Question of Motivation technology gamification  A Question of Motivation technology gamification  A Question of Motivation technology gamification  A Question of Motivation technology gamification  A Question of Motivation technology gamification  A Question of Motivation technology gamification  




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  • Isidro Rodrigo

    Hi Andrzej!

    Nice puzzle! I think donate to charity is not necessarily an intrinsic reward (even if I’m able to choose which one). In the given context of uncertainty and as long as money is not a drive by itself, but a mean to do other things, I bet a great majority of workers would choose money over charity, arguing flexibility: they will spent their raise later on a mix of intrinsic / extrinsic ways (including maybe charity ;D).

    I will also do it this way!

    • http://www.marczewski.me.uk/ Andrzej Marczewski

      Nice answer.

      For me, my personal motivator is to provide for my family. Therefore, I go for the pay rise.
      May need to add a bit saying that the pay rise can not be donated to charity ;-)

    • http://www.marczewski.me.uk/ Andrzej Marczewski

      Thanks :)

      For me, my motivation to work is to provide for my family. As such, I would personally go for the money! In gamification, there are a lot of people concentrating on making systems more interesting and engaging, but so few seem (on the surface at least) to be looking at what motivates each individual. Not every person reacts in the same way to every situation – no matter how well researched the psychology is.

  • http://www.capgemini-consulting.com/ceblog Customer Experience Blog

    My natural and gut instinct reaction to the question you pose is to go for 1 every time! For me, the status that goes with getting a promotion is much more satisfying than more money at the end of the month. Of course, there is also the question of whether you already have enough to ‘pay the bills’ influencing your decision.

    For me, quality of work, personal status within a social context and altruism drive my decisions (but that is perhaps because i feel i don’t NEED to ‘earn more money’).

    • http://www.marczewski.me.uk/ Andrzej Marczewski

      Show Me The Money ;)

  • Schnaars

    It is a great blog post, but you’re being fooled by the extrinsic value of a short term gain – a badge vs. a level if you will. Assume that the title raise is from manager to director. Fairly mid-level and that the compensation boost is £20K per year.

    What is stopping you from quitting, with the new title, in 3-months and parlaying that in to a £30K per year raise? You say that you want to do better for your family, but think of the acceleration to your career with the promotion. Think of the new social circles that you’ll be included in? Think of what you’ll learn in the new job. All invaluable assets that will lead to longer term career growth. Simply by giving £20K in your name to a museum, will have you running with a pretty interesting circle (http://www.thetech.org/individual-giving/inspiration-circle).

    In this case, I’d argue that the short term money is the badge. The promotion is the level up.

    • http://www.marczewski.me.uk/ Andrzej Marczewski

      Thanks. I can’t argue with you, certainly would be short term gain vs long term larger potential gains. Sometimes though, the badge has a more important immediate value. My point is that the situation of the individual has to be taken into account.
      What if that immediate pay rise got debt collectors off my back? What if it allowed me to pay off debt for a family member that was desperate for it. What of it allowed me to get a treatment for my child sooner than a promotion an potential gains that holds? What if it means that finally at the end of the years from hell you can give your kids a good Christmas.
      Or you can tell then you have a museum the money oh could have bought their swing set with?
      Not everything is black and white. Many people preaching Gamification (not all!) seem to think it is one rule for all, all of the time.

  • http://twitter.com/simonamunan simonamunan

    It is such an interesting discussion you have opened. As a response to your dilemma, i would most definitely go with the first choice, that offers intrinsic satisfaction. Not having to take care of other human beings, but myself is maybe making me more decisive on this.

    But i also think that preferring to use strategy of intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic is not always the best solution in whatever context.

    Deeper understanding and analysis of the target group you are trying to gamify and by that satisfy their deepest needs is required, so that a good decision over what kind of motivation tactics to be used can be reached.

    Hopefully in the future every entity trying to gamify the experience of others, will research their behavior more extensively on the given situation.

    And it is very tricky how do they fail to do that when they create the gamified systems, which raises further questions, such as is it possible to personalize the gamified experience for each individual, are companies/organizations not aware of the need to do that or are they to inert to engage in complicated analysis of their users, etc.

    • http://www.marczewski.me.uk/ Andrzej Marczewski

      Personalisation is a massive key to almost anything like this. everyone wants to feel that the experience is tailored to them!

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