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28 Mar 2010

In going through some old posts, I stumbled upon an unexpected connection. From nearly two years ago:

I came across a fantastic article (PDF) this morning discussing various considerations of software development team compensation, like how money isn’t an eternal motivator... In fact, using money as a primary motivator can be quite damaging in the long-term:

"…once employees get used to receiving financial rewards for meeting goals, they begin to work for the rewards, not the intrinsic motivation that comes from doing a good job and helping their company be successful. Many studies have shown that extrinsic rewards like grades and pay will, over time, destroy the intrinsic reward that comes from the work itself."

And from just a few weeks ago, at GDC 2010:

Hecker drew a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from within: a desire to do a thing for the sake of the thing itself (Csikszentmihalyi terms this an “autotelic” task). Extrinsic motivation comes from without: a desire to do a thing for the sake of an expected, associated reward — like an achievement!

Hecker’s thesis was that “the research shows that in most cases, extrinsic motivators are ineffective and actually decrease intrinsic motivation on interesting tasks.”

This is perhaps of trivial interest, but it serves to indicate that this research has been around for a while. And yet we're all still clinging to the game design crutch of "extrinsic motivation", not putting much thought, effort, or even attention toward that issue. :(

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business game-design