New York Magazine:
It is Monday morning. You have just arrived at work, and you get one of the following three emails, each promising a different reward if you get everything done that day: One says you’ll get a cash bonus. Another says your boss will give you a rare compliment. A third says you’ll get a voucher for free pizza. Which of these would motivate you to get the most done?
If you are like the subjects in a study led by Dan Ariely, the answer (obviously, I’d argue) will be pizza, with compliments coming in at a very close second.
More to the point, what matters most to you when you are actually doing a task turns out to be pretty different from what you assume will matter. As evidence, Ariely describes a study done by University of Chicago researchers Kaitlin Woolley and Ayelet Fishbach, who did a series of experiments involving gymgoers’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
As Wharton professor Adam Grant has explained it, the motivational power of money and prestige at work fade more quickly than a sense of appreciation.
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