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What Motivates Us?Ethics in Business

Roberto Roman
BU 200
Introduction to Business

Chaminade University of Honolulu
Date (May 3April 17, 2013
Motivation plays a key role in the daily lives of most people. A well-motivated individual will be more attentive, efficient, hardworking, and happy. So what leads a person to be motivated? How can one obtain motivation? Maintain it? How is having a personal drive, or goals motivators for you in the work place or private life?

When we look at what drives people to satisfy needs, there are two things that aid, and that is having intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Personal satisfaction is what helps to motivate some while others prefer things such as promotions or pay raises. According to Amit J. Shah of Frostburg State University, people gain motivation in a variety of ways whether through interpersonal relations, personal satisfaction, compensation or benefits. It is not uncommon to be motivated by multiple things. Most people would be satisfied with their work and would love compensation at the same time.

A recent study was done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where a group of the country’s top economists were put through a behavioral study. Dan Pink explains in the video “Drive” that people are not as predictable as they seem. The thinking is that if you reward behavior you get more of what you want versus punishing behavior getting less of what you want. The study showed that when it came to mechanical tasks, a higher reward led to better performance and when it came to cognitive tasks the same type of high reward led to poorer performance. This is what led many experts to believe that having autonomy is better than being directed every step of the way. Autonomy leads to empowerment in the workforce. An autonomous individual will produce more when not enticed with incentives. In this study simple tasks were easy to achieve the higher reward and the more complicated tasks fell short proving that if there is too much direction the individual cannot act on their own and will actually do worse.

Education is often a motivator for people both in the work place or private life. In a lecture by Lisa Vandamme Capitalist Magazine (2010), she writes about motivation and education. In this lecture the topic of pay to learn is discussed. This was a program that paid students to improve test scores in an effort to motivate learning. As a tax payer I find it ridiculous that an 8th grader would be getting $8 dollars an hour to obtain a standard education. In this case the motivator was compensation. In high school my incentives were to be able to get into a good college and join the educated populous of America, now we see that money has become a huge driving force in the youth of the country. She concludes with basic principles of motivation in the education system. The teacher must identify the value of their course and name the value. If done properly incentives can go away and simply enjoy the eager response of children.

The idea of inspiring and taking care of others is something that must be instilled in every leader. As a veteran, that ideal was instilled through the progression in rank. When you are left with having to motivate people from different demographics, religions, and nations, inspiration is the best thing to do. If the question is what is the best way to motivate someone? I would answer through inspiration. This country in my opinion has gone away from that especially in our education system. If the younger generation is not inspired to learn or achieve goals you are left with a lazy less efficient, less productive workforce. Being in the technology age has made the world a little smaller, but the fact still remains that a properly motivated individual can reach the stars if they apply themselves, and non-motivated...
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