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Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us is the book devoted to the research of the drivers of human behavior and motivation. Daniel H. Pink, the author of the book, presents the results of his own research on the topic and explains his self-determination theory (SDT). The ideas introduced in his book are coherent with the tendencies in the modern world as they describe the drivers of people’s behavior in light of the modern working environment.
The existence of the autonomous driver of human motivation is the cornerstone of Daniel H. Pink theory which has been introduced in Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us.
Motivation as the Main Tool of Performance Improvement
Starting from the 1980s, the focus of the research and practical implementation shifted from the technical aspects of economic performance to the behavioral ones (Robbins & Judge, 2009). The scholars and practitioners realized that the concentration of attention on the equipment, technologies, workforce skills are important but they are not the only determinants of the high productivity. The psychological aspects play a crucial role in the organization functioning as well.
“Organizational behavior is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within organizations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organization’s effectiveness” (Robbins & Judge, 2009, p. 2).
Motivation is one of the elements of organizational behavior. Motivated people are those who make their decisions aimed at achieving something that they value (Motivation n.d.). That is why goals and values are used to describe the methods of motivation. De Janasz et al. (2012) define the goal as “a level of proficiency or standard of behavior we wish to attain within a specified period of time” (p. 52).
At the same time, the values are defined as “concepts or beliefs about desirable outcomes that transcend specific situations and guide your selection and evaluation of behaviors and events” (De Janasz et al., 2012, p.54). These two concepts underlie any motivation theory.
The Self-Determination Theory by Daniel H. Pink
There are various motivation theories. Along with the development of the production process and organizations, the views on drivers of people’s behavior have been changing.
The motivation theories are divided into traditional theories and modern ones. The self-determination theory presented by Daniel H. Pink can be referred to the modern theories. Moreover, it encompasses the reformative vision of the employees’ motivation. Probably, it can be said that the author of the theory is one of the pioneers of the modern theories of motivation.
Under the traditional view, it is assumed that people dislike working; money remuneration is the most important stimulus for work; people cannot manage themselves and direct their work process; the strict control and supervision are necessary for high productivity of the workforce (Motivation n.d.).
In contrast, modern theories of motivation emphasize the importance of such concepts like job satisfaction, participation, job enrichment, and the quality of work life (Motivation n.d.). The self-determination theory developed by Daniel H. Pink is also based on the emotional side of the job.
In the book Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, Pink describes his new conception of the drivers of human behavior stressing the importance of the autonomous factor. The autonomous factor is defined by him as the inherent intention of people to do what they like.
It is our personal trait. Every one of us prefers to do something that they find interesting or enjoyable and to avoid the tasks they consider boring and uninteresting. In this context, the understanding of the hobbies, interests, preferences of employees is vital to effective motivation.
In the explanation of his theory, Pink concentrates on three concepts which are the autonomy, mastery, and purpose. These concepts form the elements of the motivation approach which should be applied by organizations according to Pink. The first element, the autonomy, is described as the time and area of the working process which the employee can manage by themselves. If people have autonomy in their decisions and daily tasks, they will feel comfortable and fulfill their commitments more consciously and qualitatively.
The second element, the mastery, is about necessity being professionally competent. The self-development is the vital thing in the self-realization and professional studying is perceived by people positively. The last element, the purpose, implies that the management should communicate the purposes of the work clearly giving to the employees the understanding of the strategy organization. If people know for what they are making efforts, they will be better motivated at the achievement of the results.
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In contrast, if they lack the feeling of common purpose, they will not recognize the contribution which they are able to make in the organization’s success. In addition, the common purpose unites people and coordinates their efforts in the same direction. In the end, it facilitates solidarity within the organization.
In giving advice how to maintain the mastery in your profession, the author makes the following points: the deliberate practice; continuous repeating, seeking constant feedback; focusing strictly on where you need help; being prepared for the morally and physically exhausting work (Pink, 2009).
The ideas presented in Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us to suggest that the professional and emotional competences play an important role in the success of the particular employee and the organization as a whole. Nowadays, there are numerous tests measuring the IQ and EQ of employees.
These two measures tell about the development of different kinds of brain activity. “IQ affects our ability to reason, to process information, to think analytically”, whereas “EQ affects our ability to use emotions in relating to others at work and in our personal lives” (De Janasz et al., 2012, p.80). Undoubtedly, the mastery mentioned by Pink should encompass both the development of professional and emotional intelligence.
Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink represents the outstanding work on the issues of human behavior in the organizations and effective tools of motivation. The author presents his self-determination theory in the book. The theory can be referred to the modern theories of motivation emphasizing the importance of the psychological aspect of work. The author stresses the importance of the inherent autonomous factor.
He makes the conclusion that people will be motivated at achieving better results if they like what they do. The concepts of autonomy, mastery, and purpose are used by the author to explain the basic elements of effective motivation. Overall, the book Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us is interesting to read and helpful for the understanding of the drivers of employees performance.
De Janasz, S. C., Dowd, K. O., & Schneider, B. Z. (2012). Interpersonal skills in organizations. New York, USA: Mc-Graw-Hill. Motivation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.west.net/~ger/Orientation/andragogy.html
Pink, D. H. (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. London, the United Kingdom: Penguin Books.
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2010). Essentials of organizational behavior. Boston, USA: Pearson Education.