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Motivational Factors for Complex Work

In is book Drive, Daniel H. Pink identified three vital sources of extrinsic motivation for individuals engaged in something more complex than simple, straightforward tasks.

Many people have heard of these three factors via this lively video created by RSA Animate.

BTW, I would point out that these factors are strongly correlated with some of the Core Design Principles for the Efficacy of Groups.


1. Autonomy

Autonomy can be thought of as the desire to direct our own lives – including the work that we perform as part of a group.

Notice the correlation between this motivational factor for individuals and one of the core design principles for groups: local autonomy.

2. Mastery

Mastery can be thought of as the urge to get better and better at something that matters.

We an also think of this as an urge towards improvement.

3. Purpose

Purpose can be thought of as the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Notice that the “something larger than ourselves” often takes the form of contributing to a group in which we feel a strong group identity.


Next: The Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition