Can 8850 Form Incentives
Can 8850 Form Incentives
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Can 8850 Form Incentives 2016-2019

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You our motivations are unbelievably interesting I mean I find I've been working on this for a few years and I just find the topic still so amazingly engaging and interesting so I want to tell you about that the science is really surprising the science is a little bit freaky okay it we are not as endlessly manipulable and as predictable as you would think there's a whole set of unbelievably interesting studies I want to give you too that call into question this idea that if you reward something you get more of the behavior you want if you punish something you get less of it so let's talk let's go from London to the mean streets of Cambridge Massachusetts in the northeastern part of the United States and let's talk about a study done at MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology here's what they did they took a whole group of students and they gave them a set of challenges things like um memorizing strings of digits solving word puzzles other kinds of spacial puzzles even physical tasks like throwing a ball through a hoop okay they gave them these challenges and they said to incentivize their performance they gave them three levels of rewards okay so if you did pretty well you got a small monetary reward if you did medium-well you've got a medium monetary reward and if you did really well if you were one of the top performers you've got a large cash prize okay we've seen this movie before this is essentially a typical motivation scheme within organizations right we reward the very top performers we ignore the low performers and the other folks kind of in the middle okay you get a little bit so what happens they do the test they have these incentives here's what they found out one as long as the tasks involved only mechanical skill bonuses worked as they would be expected the higher the pay the better their performance okay that makes sense but here's what happens but once the tasks call for even rudimentary cognitive skill a larger reward led to poorer performance now this is strange right a larger reward led to poorer performance how can that possibly be now what's interesting about this is that these folks here who did this are all economists at two at MIT one at the University of Chicago one at Carnegie Mellon okay the top tier of the economics profession they're reaching this conclusion that seems contrary to what a lot of us learned in economics which is which is that the higher the reward the better their performance and they're saying that once you get above rudimentary cognitive skill it's the other way around which seems like this kind of the idea that these rewards don't work that way seems vaguely left-wing and socialist doesn't it it's kind of this kind of weird socialist conspiracy for those of you who have those conspiracy theories I want to point out the notoriously left-wing socialist group that financed the research the Federal Reserve Bank so this is the mainstream of the mainstream coming to a conclusion that's quite surprising seems to defy the laws of behavioral physics so this is strange it's strange funny so what do they do they say let's this is this is freaky let's go test it somewhere else maybe that $50 a 60 dollar prize isn't sufficiently motivating for an MIT student right so let's go to a place where $50 is actually more significant relatively all right so we'll take the experiment were going to go to mathura india rural india where $50 $60 whatever the number was is actually significant sum of money so they replicated the experiment in india roughly as follows small rewards the equivalent of two weeks salary I mean sorry small performance low performance two weeks salary medium performance about a month salary high performance about two months salary okay so there's a real good incentives okay so you're going to get a different result here well what happened though was that the people offered the medium reward did no better than the people offered the small reward but this time around the people offered the top reward they did worst of all higher incentives led to worse performance what's interesting about this is that it actually isn't all that anomalous this has been replicated over and over and over again by psychologists by some extent by sociologists and by economists over and over and over again for simple straightforward tasks those kinds of incentives if you do this then you get that they're great for tasks that are algorithmic set of rules where you have to just follow along and get a right answer if then rewards carrots and sticks outstanding but when the task gets more complicated when it requires some conceptual creative thinking those kinds of motivators demonstrably don't work fact money is a motivator at work but in a slightly strange way if you don't pay people enough they won't be motivated what's curious about there's another paradox here which is that the best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table pay people enough so that they're not thinking about money and they're thinking about the work now once you do that it turns out there are three factors that the science shows lead to the better performance not to mention personal satisfaction autonomy mastery and purpose autonomy is our desire to be self-directed to direct our own lives now in many ways traditional notions of management run afoul of that management is great if you want compliance but if you want engagement which is what we want in the workforce today as people are doing more complicated sophisticated things self-direction is better let me give you some examples of this of almost radical forms of self direction in

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